Last night, I attended a banquet in honor of Tom DeLay. Mike Krempasky was there too. Mike relates what to me the most moving part of the event, a tribute to the Majority Leader by Russian Jewish immigrant Ena Feinberg:
After attempting to leave the USSR in 1979 and being denied, fired, and blacklisted – the Feinberg family by sheer chance caught the attention of Tom Delay. Tom and Christine Delay adopted the Feinbergs and fought for YEARS to secure their right to escape opression and live in freedom. Six or seven years after first trying to leave, the Feinbergs were visited by Tom and Christine Delay – traveling on tourist visas with no official capacity. Mrs. Feinberg told a powerful tale of the Delays (evangelical Christians themselves) bringing with them everything needed for a seder meal. And with the Delay’s help, the Feinbergs celebrated the first seder meal ever held in their own home. Tom Delay helped them escape the Soviet Union in 1987.
JOHN adds: That’s a great story. But there are certain categories of news that are subject to a strict boycott–like anything that reflects favorably on the House Majority Leader. David Klinghoffer has a column in the Forward about the attack on Delay and the lobbyist Jack Abramoff that, I think, relates in an interesting way to the story about Delay that Deacon posted. Klinghoffer’s piece is worth reading in its entirety, but here are some excerpts:
One Associated Press report honestly admitted, “A shorthand summary of Abramoff’s alleged dealings tends not to sound too shocking: collecting big checks from American Indian tribes for whom he performed limited work; steering clients’ contributions to outside groups in which he had a personal interest; sending politicians on junkets to curry favor.”
How mundane Abramoff’s activities really are becomes clear when you consider that, as the conservative magazine National Review’s Rich Lowry notes: “House rules prohibit travel funded by lobbyists. That would be unconscionable. But they permit travel funded by corporations, trade associations and nonprofits, with lobbyists allowed to accompany lawmakers for the trip…. Golly. It almost appears as if Congress has created a system with an enormous loophole to satisfy its members’ lust for all-expense-paid luxe travel.” Abramoff, it seems, was not careful about respecting the finer points of the loophole.
Yet this unshocking litany has driven some in media and political circles to excesses of their own: predictions that the damage caused to DeLay could spark antisemitism and torpedo the alliance of conservative Jews and Christians.
In a spirit of honesty, however, I admit that I’d like to see Abramoff left alone in large part because, instead of spending the millions of dollars he raked in on Ferraris and yachts, he lavishly spent it on causes that I think are good and important: an Orthodox high school he founded in the Washington, D.C., area, headed by a rabbi whose taped lectures I have long listened to with admiration; kosher restaurants (that lost a fortune but provided a public service); political organizations and candidates whose conservative philosophy I share, and so on.
Yes, I have a conflict of interest