Vir­tual Ham­mer: Blog from De­Lay nails hits from both left and right

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Charles Hurt

Meet Tom De­Lay, the blog­ger. The for­mer House ma­jor­ity leader — long known as “the Ham­mer” for his force­ful wield­ing of power at the high­est lev­els of gov­ern­ment — has launched his own Web log to cast his con­ser­va­tive word and bran­dish his acer­bic crit­i­cism­sofDemocrat­sande­ven­some fel­low Repub­li­cans.

“It is a re­gret­table fact of the cur­rent Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal age that too many Repub­li­cans have failed to con­tinue an ag­gres­sive fight for the prin­ci­ples which bring us to­gether as Repub­li­cans and con­ser­va­tives,” Mr. De­Lay wrote Dec. 11 in one of his first post­ings at the site, www.tomdelay.com.

“The elec­tion of 2006 was an ex­am­ple of what hap­pens to a party and a move­ment when we fail to fight for the prin­ci­ples that brought us to­gether in the first place,” he wrote. “In short, it is time for true con­ser­va­tivesandRepub­li­canstogo back on of­fense.”

By evening, Mr. De­Lay had un­loaded on one of the most pop­u­lar Democrats to tar­get.

“Not­sat­is­fied­with­be­ing­per­haps our­na­tion’sworstPres­i­dent,Jimmy Carter has de­cided to ‘write’ a book on the Mid­dle East that has fur­ther so­lid­i­fied his po­si­tion as a fail­ure as a for­eign pol­icy prac­ti­tioner, ac­tivist and­pun­dit,”hewro­te­ofMr.Carter’s book “Pales­tine: Peace Not Apartheid.”

Mr. De­Lay’s In­ter­net de­but was re­ceived much like his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer, which ended ear­lier this year af­ter he was in­dicted on charges in­volv­ing sus­pected cam­paign fi­nance ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties. Half loved him and half hated him.

“Dear Tom De­Lay, may I say, we have missed you,” Dani Triplett re­spond­ed­toMr.De­Lay’sfirst­post­ing. “Just your pres­ence on the Web has given me a sense of se­cu­rity. There are many of us that know the Democrats lied and forced you out but, you will have your day!”

Added a blog­ger with the han­dle “fabi­an­smith”:“TomDe­lay­is­my­su­per­hero of pol­i­tics. We need you to run in ’08.”

Th­e­site­has­com­ment­mod­er­a­tion and mem­ber reg­is­tra­tion, which is un­sur­pris­ing given the vit­riol and hateth­e­siteim­me­di­atelysparke­don the left. The blog went live Dec. 10, a day ear­lier than ex­pected, but the newsspread­likewil­d­firethroughthe lib­eral bl­o­go­sphere be­fore the com­mentscould­beed­ited.Alib­er­alan­tiDeLay site, www.tomde­lay­dot­com.blogspot.com, did a screen cap­ture­o­fasam­ple­ofthecom­ments lib­er­als left be­hind there.

“What a mag­nif­i­cently, ter­rif­i­cally bor­ing and ir­rel­e­vant blog,” wrote “Miles Coverdale.” “Hon­estly, who on Earth cares what you have to say?”

And that was the rel­a­tively po­lite stuff.

“You left Congress dis­grace­fully and you want peo­ple to take you se­ri­ously?” asked an­other blog­ger whose In­ter­net han­dle was a vul­gar­ized ver­sion of Mr. De­Lay’s name. “You should be in prison you.”

Of the 111 com­ments saved at thep­ar­o­dysite—and­later­re­moved from tomdelay.com — dozens used ob­scen­i­ties and many wished im­pris­on­ment and rape on Mr. De­Lay.

“He just in­fu­ri­ates the left,” said David All, spokesman for Rep. Jack Kingston, Ge­or­gia Repub­li­can and one of the more tech-savvy staffers on Capi­tol Hill. That rage will help make Mr. De­Lay’s po­lit­i­cal blog an in­stant sen­sa­tion, he said.

“On­theright,nooneques­tion­shis agenda. He is con­ser­va­tive, he be­lieves in our party,” he said.

Oddly, Mr. All said, be­ing cast into the mi­nor­ity could open the bl­o­go­sphere more to Repub­li­cans as they grope for any sort of po­lit­i­cal power.

“You re­ally need to be in the mi­nor­ity to get the In­ter­net,” he said. “Democrats had it four years ago with Howard Dean. Repub­li­cans now have a great op­por­tu­nity, and that’s what Tom De­Lay can play into.”

Getty Images

For­mer House Ma­jor­ity Leader Tom De­Lay, Texas Repub­li­can, has en­tered the bl­o­go­sphere to “fur­ther the on­line dis­cus­sion in the mar­ket­place of ideas,” at www.tomdelay.com.

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