Excerpt

Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute had the best quotes of the 60 Minutes piece, in my humble opinion. (Apologies to colleague and friend Craig McDonald and Mr. Earle.)

From the transcript on the CBS website:

Would this be considered a technicality – a way to revolve around a definition of administrative?

"We're not talking about Mother Teresa here who gets caught for turning right on a red light in a state that doesn’t allow such a thing," says Ornstein. "The history of Tom DeLay in Congress is that he's pushed every envelope. It is often the case that powerful people get their comeuppance because of something that a lot of people would see as a technicality."

Case in point is what happened to another Texan, Democrat Jim Wright, who was forced to resign as Speaker of the House and from Congress in 1989.

"When you look back at what brought down the most powerful member of Congress, Jim Wright, which was publishing a book, and having a bunch of copies go on bulk sales to people who then gave him royalties through some kind of subterranean process, wasn't even a violation of a law or a specific ethics rule," says Ornstein. "It was just the general sense that this is not how a member of Congress behaves. It was murkier than what we have now."

Does he think that the Republicans are taking better steps to make sure that what happened to Wright won't happen here?

"Do you think this is in the back of the Republicans' minds now that it happened to Jim Wright, 'Oh oh, we better take steps to make sure that doesn't happen here,'" asks Stahl.

"It's not in the backs of their minds about Jim Wright, it's in the front of their minds," says Ornstein. "They see the parallel here and they want to be sure this doesn't happen."

Right on, Norm.