Here’s something to give thanks for: Tom DeLay has been convicted, and is facing at least a few years in prison.
Judge Pat Priest has wide discretion in sentencing the former majority leader, who was known as “The Hammer” for his no-holds-barred style during 20 years in the House of Representatives. Mr. Delay could be sentenced from 2 years to 20 years in prison for the conspiracy count, and from 5 years to 99 years, or life in prison, for the money-laundering count.
Nineteen hours of deliberations led the Texas jury to convict on two counts.
The verdict was the latest chapter in a long legal battle that forced Mr. DeLay to step down. The trial also opened a window on the world of campaign financing in Washington, as jurors heard testimony about large contributions flowing to Mr. DeLay from corporations seeking to influence him and junkets to posh resorts where the congressman would rub shoulders with lobbyists in return for donations.
Ideology, it’s said, is often a cover for self-interest, and a good enough cover that even the self can be fooled. I think DeLay probably combines sufficient ambition and insufficient introspection to believe that he’s a good Christian with the interests of America at heart. Even when he’s laundering money.