Calling It Quits

I interviewed Rep. Tom DeLay a few weeks back. At the end of the interview, I asked him if he and his wife ever look at each other and just say, "Enough is enough." With a cloud of corruption — real or imagined —- hanging over them, I wondered how even a dedicated politician like DeLay kept going. He told me that he believed that there was a fight to be fought and that it was worth fighting.

Well, sometime in the past few days, enough became enough.

Two things changed since my talk with Mr. DeLay. They got a look at the polls in Texas' 22nd District which showed his lead against formidable opponent Nick Lampson was narrowing. The second is that DeLay's former staffer, Tony Rudy, who left to work for Jack Abramoff full time, agreed to cooperate with the government's investigation.

DeLay says he has done nothing wrong. He calls himself the "most investigated member on Capitol Hill" and he says, nothing stuck.

Still, there comes a time in every embattled politician's career when he must decide if it is time to go. The trials will go on and Tom DeLay may be exonerated. He may make a great comeback, although that looks unlikely right now. For now, enough is enough.

When will "enough be enough" for the rioters in France? Maybe when their spring break rolls around.

One of our contributors on the French story said today that he had read in papers that the students were encouraging to keep fighting all the way until their spring break. Now that's dedication.

Recent protests over a job law that would allow employers — mon dieu — to fire their employees who were under 26, have rocked the country. The thinking was that the law would give employers the flexibility to take on more young workers as their businesses grew, but the ability to cut back if making a profit required it. Would you add employees freely if you knew you were taking them on for life?

They have a 22 percent unemployment rate already for young French workers. So why are they so afraid of shaking things up and trying a new system? Obviously, the one they have is not working.

Terry Keenan gave us a great example today in the recent Lucent acquisition of French company Alcatel. In any merger, jobs will be lost as the company combines its resources. But in this case, all the jobs lost will come on the U.S. end of the deal, because the laws forbid the firing of French workers. So why would international companies seek to expand in France?

The problem with guaranteed jobs is that it is a guarantee of nothing. Well, maybe it does guarantee that businesses will have a very hard time growing and workers are unlikely to see themselves truly rewarded for hard work.

Maybe it's time for French workers to bite the bullet and take a leap of faith in a system that may truly bring them back the glory that they so obviously ache for. If the French want to be revolutionary once again, they need to be courageous enough to say, "enough is enough."

See you tomorrow,

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