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TRUIVAIWATAIK -r # act1. At0 040,I :0661 h ttp :/ /majority whip .house .gov idfiles Mfiles.htm Yfl+at ‘s News i What 5 Cool? 1 Handbook j .Net Search; E N opotiineilt ?1,710 FEATUREI The Ober-Hammer: Tom DeLay Online BY MARK MURRAY U.S. House Majority Whip Tom DeLay didn’t get his nickname “the Hammer” for his carpentry skills; he got it for his ability to pummel lobbyists for money. But the nickname also aptly describes the Sugar Land Republicani’s talent for delivering blows to his political opponents. F1or instance, The New Republic reported the Whip’s harsh attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency dent Clinton’s 1996 State of the Union address. \(“I was so shocked I couldn’t even boo,” said DeLay. “I’ve never seen such a performance. I got knots in my stom ach watching the president of the United States look straight into Radio, in an interview last month with DeLay, captured the Whip’s caustic rhetoric against Clinton’s recent proposals for public school standards and campaign finance reform. Leaping into cyberspace, the Hammer has also taken his partisan rancor on-line. On his Majority Whip World Wide Web page \(located at ated a site called “The D-Files” a play on the popular sci-fi TV show, “The X-Files”to take additional shots at Clinton and the Democrats. Web-surfers are greeted by the D-Files’ logo, and the announcement “The Truth is in Here.” With another mouse click, viewers enter DeLay cyberspace: “Welcome to the D-Files! You don’t need to be an FBI Special Agent to know that much of today’s liberal rhetoric is ‘out of this world!’ This site is dedicated to debunking many of these fantastic stories by using facts to cut through the ‘smoke and mirrors’ approach used by these unscrupulous individuals.” Within the site, one D-File labels the Democratic critics of the GOP-controlled 104th Congress with epithets usually reserved for comic-book villains \(“the guardians of gridlock,” “masters of disachievements of the 104th Congress compared to the “politics as usual,” Democratic-controlled 103rd Congress, citing such Republican-supported legislation as the line-item veto, telecommunications reform, cuts in government spending, ethics reform, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Another D-file attacks President Clinton directly, enumerating his reversals on issues like affirmative action,, welfare reform, term limits, and inhaling marijuanaand features a computerized graphic showing Clinton’s head flip-flopping every half second. One file spends several paragraphs tritely accusing Clinton of the imagined evils of an increase in the minimum wage. So is this cyber-politics as usual? You might think that all members of Congress use the World Wide Web to lash out at their opponents. But it turns out they don’t. Take Senate Mi nority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, for example. He solely for constituent services, information about South Dakota, and access to his press releases. U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett, the often confrontational and outspoken Democrat from only as a benefit for constituents. According to Doggett, his web page is “just another way to listen to folks at home and to make Texans more aware of the services [he] can provide.” Idaho Republican Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth, like DeLay, is known for her own abrasive rhetoric, such as her “endangered salmon bake” fundraiser and a promotional shirt that proclaims “Earth First!We’ll log the other planets later.” Yet Chenoweth uses her web page\( only for constituent services, access to legislative information, and a description of Idaho. Even Newt Gingrich himself doesn’t use his for partisan stone-throwing. Not only is DeLay’s web site aberrant for its fierce rhetoric, but it is also distinguished by its use of dubious “facts,” despite its declaration that “The Truth is in Here.” For example, in its praise of the 104th Congress, DeLay’s page claims that the GOP Congress passed legislation to “end welfare as we know it twice,” and that Clinton vetoed every effort. Unfortunately for DeLay’s claims \(and welfare recipihanded to him by the 104th Congress. The site, moreover, lists the Republicans’ accomplishments in fighting crime, while claiming that the Democrat-controlled 103rd Congress just “spent more money on social programs like midnight basketball.” The D-Files, however, neglect to mention that the 103rd passed a law authorizing $30.2 billion over six years to fund police, prisons, and crime prevention. It set aside only a fraction for the midnight basketball program. Not surprisingly, Tom DeLay has taken governmental World Wide Web pages to a new, low level. Unlike other outspoken legislators, DeLay has designed a web site to sink his teeth into his opponentseven to the point of stretching or falsifying the facts. Coming from the Hammer, should we expect anything less? 14 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MARCH 28, 1997