- "DeLay is driving the agenda," said one senior Republican lawmaker who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of talking about internal party matters. "I guess he has to be because he is the only guy who can get this done."
In a closed meeting last Thursday, he was still dominating discussions of policy. And that extends to his nuts-and bolts role in House management:
- Mr. DeLay was serving in his familiar role last Friday, rounding up elusive votes on the floor of the House as Republicans barely staved off defeat of a measure they said would spur construction of oil refineries.
The explanation for this, which you get from spokesmen for more than one House member, is that the guy just gives good advice:
- "He is still dialed in and gives good counsel, and that is what we are seeking," said John Scofield, a spokesman for Representative Jerry Lewis, the California Republican who is chairman of the Appropriations Committee, in explaining why Mr. Lewis called in Mr. DeLay for advice last week.
Well, gosh darn it, they just don't know what they'd do without him. Fortunately for the Republicans, House members can seek counsel from anybody, even if, for some reason, they're kicked out of the House altogether. So, no matter what happens to DeLay, they'll still be able to contact him and seek his sage advice. As followers of mob literature know, there are precedents for large, economically significant American organizations being run out of prison...