This workshop from the DemFest weekend just past was greatly anticipated, well-attended, and without disappointment.
Panelists Lou Dubose, Chris Bell, Richard Morrison (you already ought to know who they are) were joined by Sue DuQuesnay, whom you may know better as Juanita Jean HerOwnself, owner of The World's Most Dangerous Beauty Salon.
The two men who have taken on Tom DeLay mano y mano in the past year talked about that experience. Bell is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the filing of the House ethics complaint against the Majority Leader, an action that was heartily discouraged by even Democratic House leaders, but which has slowly revealed the enormous and tangled web of influence peddlers, former House staffers, corrupt children's foundations and PACs and more that The Hammer has spent many years painstakingly weaving together.
Morrison spoke of his campaign in the last cycle which was viewed by everyone but him in the early stages as quixotic, but which resulted in an extraordinarily narrow margin of victory for La Cucaracha Grande.
Both men talked about how it's all about the money. It got DeLay the power he craves so greedily, it keeps him there in his position of influence by intimidation, it has purchased for him dozens and dozens of sycophants masquerading as House Republicans, and will ultimately be his downfall.
Morrison noted that DeLay outspent him by a factor of nearly 7 to 1 in the fall, 2004 campaign. This illuminates the value of having a high-profile Democratic candidate in the next cycle, one that can both raise his own dough as well as draw national funding. Having exposed the Bugman's vulnerability, it also creates a race that the DCCC and others will now target. So if DeLay calculates that he must again raise and spend to the same advantage to be re-elected in 2006, and if Nick Lampson can raise $2 or $3 million compared to Richard's $600,000 ... well, you can do the math.
More importantly even than that, believe it or not, is that DeLay will have considerably fewer dollars to send to his cronies and lickspittles, which means a more level playing field for Dems in House races around the country. With his lawyers still clamoring for payment, with his legal troubles still on the rise, with something stupid coming out of his mouth every time he opens it ...
... there's just a lot of schadenfraude still to look forward to.
On the news over the weekend that KBH wouldn't be running for governor, that CKMcCRS would, and that TRMPAC indictments are imminent, Chris Bell felt like he had hit the trifecta. "I think I'll go to Vegas," he said.
And Juanita Jean? Well, she had to apologize for something she said at the forum, but no, it wasn't for calling anyone a Nazi. Scroll down to the June 20 entry.
I'll have a post-mortem on the weekend including the social events and the get-togethers of kindred spirits and links to some photos "shortly".