By MARC MCDONALD
Tom DeLay, the first House leader to be indicted while in office in at least a century, has been quick to dismiss charges against him as driven by partisan politics.
DeLay and his friends and allies have been quick to denounce the prosecutor in the case, Ronnie Earle, as an "unabashed partisan zealot."
However, it's important to note that 12 of the 15 politicians investigated by Earle over the years have been Democrats.
Since 1978, Earle, has investigated a number of high-profile Democrats, including: Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Yarbrough, State Treasurer Warren Harding, Attorney General Jim Mattox, House Speaker Gib Lewis, former state Rep. Betty Denton and former state Rep. Lane Denton.
Despite this, DeLay and his allies have wasted no time in portraying the indictment as politically motivated.
Typical of the comments Wednesday was that made by DeLay spokesman Kevin Madden:
"This indictment is nothing more than prosecutorial retribution by a partisan Democrat."
DeLay chimed in with his own attacks during a rambling press conference in which he labeled Earle as a "zealot" and a "partisan fanatic."
I expect the great Republican slime machine to kick into action in full force in an effort to tar the name of Ronnie Earle, a former Eagle scout, who has held office for 27 years.
But it's clear that DeLay and his goons are going to have to find another flaming necklace to put around Earle's neck besides the tired cliche of "partisan politics," as this investigation moves forward.
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