Republicans wishing that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, could clean up the political and ethical mess that surrounds him, likely saw yesterday as one step forward and two steps back.
On the same day that DeLay came forward and apologized for issuing a veiled threat against judges in the wake of the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case ("The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior"), DeLay also demanded that Congress conduct an independent review of the judges involved in the controversy.
Several federal courts refused to intervene in the Schiavo case despite novel legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush authorizing them to do so. DeLay's request could lead the House Judiciary Committee to impeach those judges. And while nobody expects that to happen, the fact that DeLay made the request suggests he continues to have a tin ear regarding the Schiavo controversy (which poll after poll has shown to be a disastrous one for the GOP) and still remains in the tight grasp of the religious right, which made the saga a cornerstone of its political agenda.
Eric Boehlert, a former senior writer for Salon, is the author of "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush."