By Donna Smith
Former U.S. Republican leader Tom DeLay, known as "The Hammer" for his
tough tactics on Capitol Hill, hasn't nailed the art of typing but
that's not keeping him from a new career as a blogger.
The former U.S. House of Representatives leader's entry into the
blogosphere brought an onslaught of nasty responses during a trial run
on Sunday, December 10.
"I guess liberals are the only ones around on Sunday afternoons and
they inundated us with vile, nasty comments. We pulled it down and
cleaned it up," DeLay told Reuters.
In an interview, he said he writes out his submissions for
http://www.tomdelay.com in long hand and leaves it to aides to do the online
work. "I can't type, which is a disadvantage," DeLay said. "I come up
The blog was formally launched on Monday, December 11, with a call to
action for conservatives in which he said his blog could serve a role.
"Our liberal opponents would have Americans believe that they are
becoming more conservative; that they are moderating their radical
agenda so that they can claim to be the final arbiters of 'mainstream'
political thought," DeLay wrote.
"The time has come for a call to action for all conservatives to
rededicate ourselves to our principles, to taking direct, grassroots,
political action and work together to reclaim America," DeLay added.
Once one of the most powerful politicians in Washington, DeLay was
indicted on campaign finance-related charges and resigned from
Congress this year. Delay's seat in the House of Representatives was
one of those lost in November, when control of Congress slipped away
to the Democrats.
DeLay, who denies any wrongdoing, blamed Republican losses on a
failure to communicate and said his blog will provide a forum for
conservative commentary with links to other blogs on the Internet.
DeLay also started the Grassroots Action and Information Network,
which promises to be a force for the conservative movement "and a
staunch opponent of secular progressive pressure groups and radical
The former owner of a pest-control company, Delay was first elected in
1984 in the "Republican revolution" that took control of the House in
1994 for the first time in 40 years.
Closely allied with Christian conservatives, DeLay was a prodigious
fund raiser and helped push Bush's agenda through Congress.
Stephen Hess, a media expert at Brookings Institution, said blogging
was a logical choice for the former congressman as he tries to reclaim
power broker status.
"Tom DeLay plans to be active and have a voice and when you make that
decision, blogs are an opportunity, and when you think about it a very
cheap one at that," Hess said.
According to Technorati, a Web site that tracks blogs, there are
currently about 63.2 million blogs on the Internet. Of those about
850,000 are tagged "politics." Technorati says some 175,000 new blogs
are created every day.
Experts say good bloggers can rise above the crowd to attract a
Roger Simon, a novelist and screen writer who co-founded
Pajamasmedia.com, said the blogosphere was a "brutal meritocracy" and
offered this advice: "The blogs that are successful are written by
people who can write."
Micah Silfry, executive editor of Personal Democracy Forum, which
examines the impact of technology on politics, said it is hard for
politicians to become bloggers. They are used to talking at people,
not to people, and to be successful they have to have real
conversations, he said.
"Politicians have figured out mostly defensive tactics to deal with the
blogosphere, but not how to join it," Silfry added.
DeLay said he was happy with the response to his blog. "It's pretty
amazing," he said. "I am just knocked away by the number of people
involved. ... People have a lot to say."
Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.
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