When Tom DeLay was indicted a while back, the Republicans took their reputations and the rules of the House seriously and forced him out of his position as Majority Leader. It was a shining moment of ethical virtue and showed the world that politics did not trump their dedication to what was Right.
Oh wait, no it wasn't.
No, when one of their own came up on charges, the leadership tried to rewrite the rules so DeLay could continue to serve in his position. It was only after months of political pressure and plummeting poll numbers (all indicating a midterm loss of DeLay's treasured seat) that the Hammer finally fell.
So when the Democrats faced the same set of embarrassing circumstances—a member who had not been convicted of any wrongdoing, but whose case was more and more damning by the day—did they rally the wagons; image be damned? No. They've put him out to pasture...almost.
William Jefferson hails from New Orleans, where political corruption and bribery are as much a part of the city's history as gumbo and Tipatina's bar. You might be as likely to find $90,000 cash in a politician's freezer as you are to find gallons of Hurricane mix. But that shit don't play in the Big House—not this year when war's been declared on the Culture of Corruption!
Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi made her move on Jefferson earlier this month by asking the embattled Representative to step down from the House Ways and Means Committee. She did it publicly, which is more command than request, but Jefferson refused. That forced Pelosi's hand. You can't very well rail against crooked Republicans while you have a fox in your own henhouse. And while it might piss off the Congressional Black Caucus to no end, it's the right political move to send Jefferson packing. And above all else, this is about politics.
"I wish the White House would follow our lead on this," said Pelosi.