March 7th, 2010
01:01 PM ET
3 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. Joe

    Calling politicians arrogant is like handing out speeding tickets at the Indianapolis 500.

    March 7, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. Dave in Saint Louis

    He speaks the truth. Even if it is a "takes one to know one" moment.

    March 7, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. Librarian

    Arrogance ? Coming from T. Delay this is really the most outrageous, vile comment ever made ! That guy belongs in jail and he is giving us lessons ? Please !!!

    March 7, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  4. Susan

    keeping on dancing Delay..............

    March 7, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. Phil

    This coming from a guy who says that people CHOOSE to be unemployed and wouldn't want to work if they kept receiving unemployment benefits.

    Let me get one thing straight, since this fool has no concept of what it's like to live like a typical American citizen. People don't CHOOSE to be unemployed. They work in order to make ends meet so that their children can one day live a life that's a little less difficult that it was for their parents. An average American can barely get by with the necessities with unemployment wages, much less save money.

    This national joke on the American people by the GOP has got to stop. They seem to think that people are stupid enough to believe that unemployment is a choice and that it's their fault they aren't finding jobs. When the media can finally shed some light on this hypocrisy, then we can move forward. Until then, it's the same old BS, pander, lie and fear campaign by the GOP until enough Americans are deceived into voting their corrupt and morally bankrupt ideology back into office.

    March 7, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  6. Dave

    They're politicians. Of course they're arrogant. Same goes for you, DeLay.

    March 7, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. scitizen

    I am amazed at Mr. Delay's logic implying that people receiving unemployment benefits do not want to find work and are forced to do so only when their benefits are nearly exhausted. This is representative of the elitist dichotomy that exists today in our legislature, corporate hierarchy and elements within our national psych .

    March 7, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  8. aranhas

    "All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely." The Dems had the ultimate Congressional power and wasted it through corruption, special deals, bribery, and hubris. There should be a lesson here somewhere, but, if there is, it won't be learned by either party. Power consumes the powerful.

    March 7, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  9. Brian

    Tom DeLay is ARROGANCE personified.

    March 7, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. Proud Liberal

    Mr. DeLay is quoted as saying: “They have huge majorities . . . and you would think you could pass anything and pass it quickly with those kinds of majorities."

    1) Not really. There are so many pressures at work in our pluralistic country. Many of these forces are very powerful–and very conservative.

    2) Corporations–and it is safe to say that most are extremely conservative–have extraordinary and obviously corrupting influence on both parties. Corporations essentially control Congress, possibly the Supreme Court, the media, the absurd talking heads of the Right, and what the American people think and read. They are also increasingly corrupting education–both public and private. This is why America is in the mess its in

    3) Corporations essentially run the show in Washington and New York. This is what President Obama (and the American people, and the rest of the world) are up against.

    4) Things are not as they appear. Don't call our country a "Democracy" –this is a half truth at best. Call it a "Corporocracy."

    March 7, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    The unending arrogance of the Republicans surfaces in times like this, showing they can dish it out (under Bush) but they can't take it.

    And this clown was convicted of election fraud and money laundering. Who cares what he thinks.

    March 7, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. Gil Oberdas

    Where does Tom Delay come off calling other arrogant?

    March 7, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. Dva

    Why would anyone even want to hear from Tom Delay. I would think the Republicans should concentrate on the positive people in their party. OOOPS, that's right, there are no positive people in their party. Convicted felons are a great advertisement for the Republican Party. There are those in the Democratic party that should take heed to what is going on and rid themselves of their members who serve to be a determent, the sooner the better. I wish the Dems would just go ahead with what they think is best for the people of this country and let the republicans continue to be obstructionists.

    March 7, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. Brooke - American Patriot

    Tom Delay is nothing but an obstructionist Republican (redundant, I know) like the rest of the useless lot. He does not deserve the coverage that CNN is giving him, he deserves to be in prison for a long, long time.

    March 7, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. rdepontb

    Didn't yoru own party toss you out? And now we should listen to you because....you need some speaking-engagement money? new book? accepting anonymous donations?

    March 7, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. Mickey

    Another Republican/Conservative domestic terrorist failure trying to dictate what the federal goverment says or does...you had your chance, now go pound salt.

    March 7, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Dee Dee Lynn

    Well, if there's an expert on the arrogance of power, I suppose it is Delay, whose own record in Congress will probably stand as a model of that very thing.

    After all, did he get his nickname "the hammer" because of a spirit of compromise or a willingness to listen to those who differed with him?

    No, he got it from taking money from powerful interests and then forcing his agenda down the throats of the rest of Congress, Republican or Democrat.

    March 7, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. Emma

    Who really pays attention to what Tom DeLay says? He is the one who applauded Bunning for his actions on the unemployment benefit bill.
    Are we now heeding the calling of an egregious greedy politician?

    March 7, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. the dude

    don't you have to be a bit arrogant in the first place to be a politician......

    March 7, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. JohnA Realist

    Why is it that the losing party always blames the winning party of being or doing what they did while they were in power and would do again if in power. Is it that they are just incapable of learning from their mistakes or are they so arrogant that they are blind to their own hypocracy? The later I think. The republican party has become the destroyer of all the good this country once stood for. Yet they blazenly claim to love this country, while working in their blind sighted way to undermine and give this country over to their pattron saints and big money men-Corporations which have no loyalty to the American people. It may be time once again for us to rise up and throw the money changers out. Only by forcing a complete change in lobbying laws(LIKE NO LOBBYING PERIOD) will we gain control of this downward trend in our government. Maybe then we can stop this rift that has caused both parties to build walls around which they can't see beyond. If they then still won't work for the betterment of this country then we need to end their service-with no retirement benifits.

    March 7, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  21. John

    Sure they're arrogant......

    but isn't everyone in Washington?

    March 7, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. Tinah

    Tom people is glass houses should not throw stones. I remember well how you ran the house "opposition be dammed". Why is this crook getting air time??

    March 7, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. OhioRon

    Sgt Flagg, So you are saying that when a Democrat gets accused of doing something wrong.... that is not a disgrace? Oh you libs, you are so consistent!

    March 7, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. normajean

    The Republicans and specifically Tom DeLay just can't get by a day without a slap at the Democrats.This is the old "pot and kettle"all over again.Considering the way these people have not been a part of renewing our country except with negativity, i would think if they can't do ANYTHING positive that they should just SHUT UP.I can't understand how they think this is not hurting their own constituents, but I guess they don't care about them either.

    March 7, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. Michael Boston

    It's disappointing to see continued partisanship on the Republican side of the aisle, how members continue to spout sharp vague sound bytes that paint a distorted picture of reality. In fact, politics are hard, it's obvious to me the democrats continue to calmly state what their opinions are in the middle of a cafeteria food fight. They aren't breaking thru and too many regular citizens are caught up in the McCarthism of our era.

    March 7, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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