March 7th, 2010
01:01 PM ET
7 years ago

Pelosi, Reid acting out of arrogance, DeLay says

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said he thinks the two leading Democrats on Capitol Hill are being arrogant in the way they're trying to get legislation passed.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said he thinks the two leading Democrats on Capitol Hill are being arrogant in the way they're trying to get legislation passed.

(CNN) – The man nicknamed “The Hammer” for his ability to impose party discipline faulted the two leading congressional Democrats for what he calls their “take or leave it” approach to passing legislation.

“I think what they're doing wrong is because of arrogance,” former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “They have huge majorities . . . and you would think you could pass anything and pass it quickly with those kinds of majorities.

Related video: DeLay weighs in on top Dems

“Why is it? Why can't they? It's because they're going back in rooms and then telling the members, take it or leave it. You can't do that. It's obvious.”

DeLay told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that when he was a leading House Republican, he tried early on to identify the problems members of his caucus were having with particular bills.

“[A]nd we'd take care of those problems so that by the time it got to the floor, they wanted to vote for it because they had ownership of it,” DeLay told Crowley.

DeLay suggested a contrast between his approach and how he sees Speaker Pelosi operating on Capitol Hill now.

“Nancy Pelosi writes the bill,” DeLay said, “hands it to the chairman, says get it out of committee in an hour and we're going to the floor, we're going to debate it and I'll break arms if you vote against me. That will come to haunt you and bring you down.”

Crowley asked DeLay whether he missed being in the political fray with Capitol Hill’s leading Democrats.

“Twenty-two years was enough for anybody,” DeLay said of his political career, “especially in a position - that's - it's - you know, you're working 12, 14 hours a day, scheduled every 15 minutes. I was getting exhausted anyway. So, no, I really don't miss it.

“Well, I shouldn't say it that way,” he added. “I would have loved to be right in the middle of that health care reform fight.”

DeLay, a former House Majority Leader and House Majority Whip, resigned from his congressional seat in 2006 after being indicted in 2005 on charges of conspiring to violate election law as well as money laundering. DeLay has maintained his innocence throughout and his case is still under way. In his sit-down interview with Crowley, DeLay decried “the criminalization of politics.”

DeLay, who was also admonished by the House Ethics Committee during his tenure in Congress, expressed solidarity with Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-New York, who was recently suffered the same fate at the hands of the same committee and who has taken a temporary leave of absence from his chairmanship of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee in the wake of his ethical problems.

DeLay told Crowley that he thought the Ethics Committee’s practice of issuing public admonishments was an abuse of power. But, he also said that Rangel had no choice but to step down from his leadership post given the position Democrats have taken in the past.

“[H]e should have, because Nancy Pelosi set the standard,” DeLay said, “When I was admonished, she called for me to step down and demanded that I be set down, called me corrupt. And it ought to apply to Charlie Rangel too. The same thing happened to him, and then she tried to defend him. Now you got to be consistent. I don't agree with it, but you’ve got to be consistent.”

Follow Martina Stewart on Twitter: @MMStewartCNN

Filed under: Harry Reid • Nancy Pelosi • Popular Posts • State of the Union • Tom DeLay
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Ruth

    Tom Delay is a dancing clown. He needs to shut up and dance. He certainly is not for the american working class. Go dance, you clown.

    March 7, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    Back to the drawing board.

    Fire the whole bunch and replace them at lower salaries with people who are more qualified. Then threaten THEM. That should get balls rolling, when heads start rolling as well.

    March 7, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. JohnRJ08

    Oh, this is rich. This is the man who was the first to orchestrate a fully polarized Congress and who ordered every Republican to refrain from applauding during any of President Clinton's State of the Union speeches. He invented the angry, stone-faced opposition we're seeing in full swing today. On top of that, the man is a convicted felon.

    March 7, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Charlie in Maine

    Oh My. Mesage from Kettle to pot, your black.

    Hey Delay I've got a question why is it that when you used this thing to pass Bush;s tax cut it was fine but when we want to use it to actually help people suddenly it is arrogance? If it is arrogance to bring healthcre rform to the people I can live with ythat.

    I wish the GOP leadership would in the words of Dick Cheney by way of Mark Sanford "Go hike the AT with yourselves"

    March 7, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. Dave Harris

    What planet is this guy on? It's Republicans, despite their minority status, who have paralyzed the government, much to the delight of their followers, who are convinced that Democrats are the agents of Satan. Republican arrogance knew no bounds when they were in charge, now the Democrats can't do anything because of obstruction tactics by the Republicans. Maybe Democrats should get arrogant so they can get something done!

    March 7, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. Sue F

    And we should listen to anything this crook says?

    March 7, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. JohnRJ08

    Why, in the name of God, is Candy Crowley interviewing this man? What positive contribution could he possibly make to our political processes or what new and truthful information could he provide voters? The answer is none. CNN continues to take a position of advocacy against this administration by its choice of guests and its total lack of follow through when those guests make dishonest statements. Yesterday, it was Parker Griffith being given free air-time to lie for the insurance industry. Today, it's Tom Delay, who isn't even in government anymore and is a convicted felon.

    March 7, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    I'd say DeLay (delaying his imprisonment) has seen arrogance in his own party more times that he cares to admit. Look at all the swaggering republicans storming forward with unfunded and undeclared wars - their strong-arm tactics to get tax cuts for their elite wealthy buddies - the highest percentage of Corporate campaign donations to the republicans across all political races - it goes on and on and on.

    March 7, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. Rush is too far left

    Of course they are arrogant, as are most liberal elitists that believe the american people are too stupid to know what is good for them.

    March 7, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. ads

    Who cares what the criminal has to say

    March 7, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. Clint

    Why is CNN giving this crook air time? This bum was my congressman, and he was as Texas trashy and corrupt as they come.

    March 7, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. ran

    CNN you make it just too easy. Of all the people who should have no say in anything is this guy.

    Pass the health care bill now and go on to the other peoples business
    using reconciliation again and again if the fear/hate/obstructionist/purity Republicans do not want to help.

    Just do stuff already.

    March 7, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Jim

    Tom Delay was part of the most arrogant congressional leadership ever and the media lets him say things like this without calling him out on his hypocrisy? These are the guys who shamelessly tried to redistrict the country so that their majority was permanent. These are the guys who made all the lobbying firms in Washington fire their Democrat employees or they couldn't have access. Republicans are always attacking others for their own weaknesses and its time the media called them out on it.

    March 7, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. Michael

    Here is arrogance! The GOP last eight years at the helm of leadership, did not pay for nothing, but drove our debt to 11 trillion dollars and yearly deficit to 1.3 trillion annually! Repuglicans left President Obama saddled, with 2 Wars (Iraq, Afganistan), 2 nuclear conflicts, Wall Street, Mortgage, Aujto, Healthcare, Education, Banking and Energy crisis! But, now they are the saviors of the world and we are supposed to trust them! History shows that every repuglican President in the last 30 years out spent democrats! In fact George Bush entered into his presidency with a surplus which he and the republicans squandered! Now, we have the same people who squandered this nations surplus, and left us on the brink of a economic collapse hoodwinking Americans with double speak, saying they have the answers! AMERICANS ARE EITHER INCREDIBLY STUPID OR MENTALLY CHALLENGED TO BELIEVE THE GOP!

    March 7, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. Hammerer

    The Obama,Pelosi,Reid group is at least consistent, they have been wrong on every issue that they have tried to ram through congress.
    They say that it is because the American people are not smart enough to understand. They know what is best for them.
    They first claimed that the American public was cowards and now they say they are stupid. Maybe so, this group is still in office.

    March 7, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. Sgt. Flagg T. McLiberty, Superpatriot

    HAHAHAHA anyone who takes DeLay seriously is not to be taken seriously. Abramoff, K Street, indictments – this guy is a disgrace.

    March 7, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  17. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    In the grand list of all time absurdities, Tom "I Am the Federal Gov't." DeLay accusing anyone of arrogance is certainly near the top.

    March 7, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  18. jennifer

    Nancy Pelosi is the poster child for what is wrong with Washington!! She doesn't even care how many of her fellow Democrats lose their jobs in November. Just so she can get her way. She acts like a queen and wastes millions of taxpayer dollars keeping planes ready to fly her back to California.

    March 7, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  19. Liberalism is a Mental Disorder

    Of course they are acting out of arrogance....they are liberals – that is all they know!

    March 7, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. Hannah

    I think the Dems need to show the repugs just what arrogance is and totally shut them out, just like the repugs did when they were in power during the bush regime. Remember cheney's secret energy meetings where he was meeting with oil companies and planning the Iraq war? Remember all of the signing statements bush used to bypass congress? If that isn't arrogance I don't know what is.

    March 7, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  21. LordMagnus

    Maybe its because the Republicans never tackle controversial issues, so its a lot easier to garner votes for their bills?

    This is why its easy to be a Conservative Republican. Its a lot easier to have things stay the way they are then it is to convince people that a change is needed in certain areas.

    While I don't think the current Health Care Bill is good for America, I commend the Democrats for bringing the issue to the forefront and thus resulting in meaningful discussion on the controversial issue rather than just ignoring it.

    March 7, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. John in Brooklyn

    Well...if there is one man who would know about arrogance, its Tom Delay.

    March 7, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. LACCNE

    I find it rather disturbing that one of the most interesting comments that Delay made was when he was asked the question concerning the issue of extending unemployment benefits he did just agree with Bunting's stand but stated that "these people just wait until a few weeks before their benefits run out to look for a job" as an excuse as to why they shouldn't receive benefits. Great job Ms. Stewart!!
    Evan Candy Crowley rolled her eyes at that statment!!!!

    March 7, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. Courtney Anne

    Tom Delay is a joke. No right minded person should listen to what he has to say. He was an embarssment on " Dancing with the Stars".

    March 7, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    An arrogant politician!?!?!?.....shocking

    March 7, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
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