Who Replaces DeLay?

| Mon May 2, 2005 7:31 PM EDT

It's hard to follow all the ins and outs of the Tom DeLay scandal, but one question I've long wondered is: Should the big guy get ousted, or forced to resign, or whatever form of ignominy will so sweetly smack him upside the head, well, who would replace him? Thankfully, Brian Montopoli did the legwork over in Slate. Seems that most of the replacement candidates, should they get the job, could step right in and do exactly what DeLay was doing—enforce the strict inter-cronyism between K Street and Capitol Hill, run the House with an iron-and-elephant-sized fist, and ensure that no piece of corporate pork gets left behind—and they could do it without suffering from the constant stench of corruption that seems to follow DeLay around wherever he tromps. Quite the deal!

So at one level it seems like the House GOP Leadership is a mostly well-oiled machine that could keep purring along just fine without DeLay. Maybe. On the other hand, the Bug Man's fall could pave the way for some always-entertaining inter-Republican mud-wrestling for power, the sort of thing that could render the whole caucus filthy, slipping all over each other, and wholly preoccupied for a good long while. Now that would be a grand day in Washington.