Tom DeLay Dinner: Shiva or . . . Hootenanny?!?
In the spirit of “You were there!” . . . a report from your Nation’s Capital. . .
Christine and Tom DeLay,
with the Hammer Cake
Monday’s Washington Post article about tonight’s dinner in honor of Tom DeLay quoted Marshall Wittman, (former Republican-now DLC staffer) as saying: “Tribute dinners are how politicians sit shiva for their dead.”
Well, maybe that’s often true, but the event tonight at the Capital Hilton was pretty festive and, as Brent Bozell said, had more the air of an old-fashioned hootenanny. . . for over 900 people.
Rocky Top. . . You’ll always beeeee….
With, well, fairly well-dressed people. And salmon and filet mignon. Not to mention the butter in the shape of the Capitol Dome.
Our friend Mike Franc, VP/Govt at Heritage, commented that the media has a very narrow perception of Tom DeLay, focusing on him as a K-Street kind of pol, (all about money, access and lobbyists) and that, perhaps, they might have seen a broader spectrum of who he is, and the issues and people he cares about through the dinner. I hope he’s right, though I’m a little skeptical that the human Tom DeLay will make it through the Main Stream Media caricature of him.
So here are a few things about DeLay that I think might interest you from the dinner tonight.
First, I hadn’t known he took his faith so seriously. Roy Blunt (R-MO, House Whip) said in his tribute that Tom “The Hammer” DeLay has a sign hanging in his office that reads, “This could be the day.” Then, one day recently, they were having a conversation about God’s plans vs. our plans. And Blunt said: “Tom, I didn’t know that sign was religious! I thought it was a threat!” Brought the house down.
I was also reminded of DeLay’s deep commitment to the pro-life issue. In his own remarks he commented that “Human life is not given its dignity by its quality, but by its Creator.”
The media portrays DeLay as the ultimate tough guy, (the word “arm-twister” did come up a few times tonight) but he was clearly moved by the night’s tributes. In particular, after Paul Weyrich’s remarks, he got up and embraced Weyrich, then sat down, wiping away tears.
Another emotional moment came during a video tribute to Delay that featured many of his home constituents from Texas. One was from a mother whose son has been serving in the Marines in Iraq and recently was severely wounded. She said that they had almost lost their son, and that Congressman DeLay made sure that they were able to get passports and visas immediately in order to get to him. He was injured on a Monday, and they were by his bedside by Wednesday.
The other thing that impressed me about the video tributes from his friends and constituents was that everyone spoke repeatedly of “Christine and Tom.” Here in Washington, you always hear about Tom DeLay. But tonight, it appeared to me that he and his wife — his high-school sweetheart — are a real team.
DeLay said that Christine leaned over to him and said she couldn’t believe she was there in the same room with all her heroes. It was that kind of night. Here I am with a conservative icon:
With Phyllis Schlafly
That’s just a brief overview — Brent Bozell gave fantastic remarks. I asked him if he would put them online; if so I’ll get the link up. And Morton Blackwell had a hilarious presentation; I’ll try to write that up tomorrow. The podium was a who’s who of the conservative movement: Becky Norton Dunlop, Emmett Tyrell, Phyllis Shlafly, Paul Weyrich, Ken Mehlmann, Cleta Mitchell, David Keane, Bob Livingston, Morton Blackwell and Tony Perkins. And many others — Jack Kemp, Jim Gilmore, John Hager, Bill Kristol, Bob Novak, Tony Blankley. . .
And here are friends, Shannon Royce and Catherine Snow from the Marriage Amendment Project.
Now I haven’t yet mentioned the protestors! Here are just a few scenes of the 30-odd protestors from outside the Hilton . . .
Hey, how ’bout peace through strength?!
This was a “carnival” across the street
But here are their true colors: a bumpersticker from one of the protestor’s cars