The Hammer has resigned. He is not seeking re-election to the house.
This is a rather bizarre set of circumstances, and there is much left unsaid that speaks volumes:
1. DeLay's advisors have apparently been falling like ninepins, being indicted with all sorts of felonies in the past 12 months. Much of this is essentially corrupt behaviour, especially with the Jack Abramoff affair. None of these scandals have been directly linked to DeLay personally, but there was virtually no doubt whatsoever that investigations into the guy have been held off in order to collate evidence against him.
2. DeLay himself is under investigation in Texas for corrupt behaviour.
3. Primaries for the 2006 midterm election of a Republican candidate for Texas District 22 recently renominated DeLay. The guy went through this process apparently confident that he would be the Republican candidate.
So what is being left unsaid? It's my theory that DeLay has been given new information about the corruption scandals that is fairly likely to indict him. Rather than stay there, he's resigned. Rather than simply waiting out the 7 months or so he has left in his term, he's left a few months early.
DeLay's resignation comes on the heels of another Republican resignation, Randy Cunningham from California, done in also for corruption. The Abramoff affair is linked to a number of other high-profile Republicans, but DeLay's departture is one of the biggest political bombshells for a while. This will not help the Republicans.
And there is another group that it will not help either - Evangelicals. DeLay and Cunningham openly spoke about their faith in Christ. I find it an absolute tragedy that those who claim to be disciples of Christ are unable to act in a responsible and ethical manner when in positions of power.
Remember the mud that was flung upon American evangelicals during the "televangelist" phase back in the 1980s? People like Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggert allowed the name of Christ to be sullied by their sinful actions. This time it is even worse, since it affects the running of government and public trust in Evangelicals to be open and honest.
It would be nice to see DeLay exonerated for everything that he has been accused of - but I somehow doubt that he is innocent.
Years from now American Evangelicals will look back at this period of time and identify it as the point where their influence reached its peak - and where it became clear to everyone that they had lost their way.