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. AndyBlue

    A republican making accusations about someone. Hmm

    That and sitting on their hands are the only accomplishments besides pushing fear.

    March 7, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. Arrogance in Spades

    To all those whose only comment is to say Delay himself was arrogant or to point to the arrogance of prior administrations.
    That DOES NOT lessen the fact that here Delay speaks the truth.
    Plosi, Reid and Obama ARE in fact arrogant.

    Their arrogance outmatches anything seen before.
    Forget Bush – he's gone.
    Stop pointing to his faults in an attempt to diminish yours.

    For God's sake when will they stop countering every criticism with the line from an old Saturday Night Live skit. "If I am, then what are you?"

    March 7, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. Squigman

    Here's a flash for you Tom. I'd much rather be thought of as arrogant, than to be known as ignorant, and I've seen few ideas, comments, or arguments put forth by republicans that could be placed anywhere but the ignorant file. The ignorance started with the election of "W", and has steadily increased from there. You, and your party will not be happy until you've collectively placed yourselves in positions of power, regardless of the ruination of the country.

    March 7, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. allycatred

    We the people HAVE TO GET THE REP. OUT OF WASHINGTON. We the people have the power to do it. We have to save lifes and take back our country. The nexted time some senator that don't call the President MR. PRESIDENT GET FINED 5,000.00 EVERY TIME. Lets get these so called men out of there. There have to respect to our President and one other. This is a childs games they are playing. Let us all step in and take over. Does any one have a meeting place? Think don't let our country get out of our hands.This not what Gods wants for us. We need good grown up men to honor our country. Please i ask you in our Fathers name. God bless you all that will go with God. thank you

    March 7, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. Tom B

    Delay is complaining that other people are using his approach?

    Can we call the Republican party the Hypocrisy party?

    March 7, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. plainfact

    This guy is insane.
    I mean I don't have health insurance and he calls Pelosi and Reid arrogant. I would like to debate him over the urgency of Healthcare for all.
    He does not have any right to speak in this matter unless he makes open what kind of coverage he has..
    PERIOD

    March 7, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. Jim in Idaho

    This is a guy who many times over told the Democratic minority to take it or shove it....probably in those exact words. For Tom ("The Hammer") Delay to call some other politician arrogant, and then for that Delay opinion to somehow make the "news" is even more pathetic than his tour on Dancing With the Stars. This is a guy who himself was arrogant enough to have gotten himself thrown out of his leadership position by his own peers...a guy who prior to being a politician was literally an insect exterminator. Who gives a d___ what Tom delay thinks anymore?

    March 7, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. Linda

    Arrogant is a party that simply doesn't accept that any other party can be elected to the White House. These guys caused havoc when Bill Clinton was President, practically destroyed our country when they were back in power and have been fighting the Obama administration since 11/4/08. We are a democracy and it is supreme arrogance to believe that you and your party are the only ones who can be in power and it is especially arrogant since you all do an awful job when you are in power - arrogant and greedy what a combo.

    March 7, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. Bob (Illinois)

    ...and the Republicans are acting out of spite and ignorance...

    March 7, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. John K in Fla

    Anyone who bothers to read and comprehend, and take what they do seriously is labled arrogant. Its easier to work up the Beer Hall (oops...Tea Party) crowd into a frenzy about whoever it is they think is betraying them today. Some leadership, Republicans!

    March 7, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. Bill

    I'm not that happy with any of the members of Congress, either Democrat or Republican, but Tom DeLay calling anyone arrogant is the most insane thing that I have ever heard.

    He is and has always been the epitome of arrogance, whether in congress, private life, or on "Dancing with the Stars".

    March 7, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. markus

    “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.”

    Mr. Delay, don't you mean "you can only do that if it's the Republican Party"?

    it's hilarious- the GOP were in lock-step most of the time while he was around- NO option for free-thinking or individual thought, but because the Republicans are NEVER wrong, THAT was okay.

    It's alright that the GOP would ram stuff down our throats while they were in power, because that MUST be what the American people want. I mean, their way is the only way to go, right? The people with Democratic leanings in this country don't matter.

    the hypocrisy coming from Mr Delay and the rest of the party is so OVERWHELMING that it nauseates me.

    I'm an Independent, and while my fiscal leanings tend to be Conservative, I'm not an absolute with the GOP, and I tend to be socially liberal (you know, that pesky "equal rights and fair treatment for all" stuff that they hate), so I'd NEVER have a place in that party. Rush Limbaugh wouldnt allow it. So, while I don't care for the talk of reconciliation for putting this health care reform through, it's ridiculous that Republicans are whining that the Democrats are playing the game THEY'VE pretty much mastered...

    March 7, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  13. jane

    Oh, poor Tom. It's to bad he can't find another line of work.

    March 7, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. jsilver2th

    Check out that tie- it's two feet wide

    March 7, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. btannerski

    Arrogance is saying 'no' to everything, despite clear public opinion for the passage of legislation on numerous fronts.

    Arrogance is bring our country into 2 wars despite lack of proof of WOMD, causing our economic meltdown.

    Arrogance is George W. Bush causing us to go into 2 wars, cutting taxes despite being in 2 wars, as leading Medicare prescription drug legislation – all for the betterment of his cronies as compared to what is in the best interests of our country.

    Please....stop the BS Republicans...you are an embarrassment!

    March 7, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. shirley1

    Oh please...I live in Houston and believe me most of us don't want anything to do with Tom Delay....GOP bring up the next batter this one struck out big time!

    March 7, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. Stephan

    Just another glaring proof that the US needs Buddhism–not Christian politics.

    March 7, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. fred

    This proves what I have always said, namely that "The only thing worse than a Democrat is a Republican!

    March 7, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. BURNS IN NH

    i would say the dancing clown is the most correct description of
    the sitting president and his group of clowns. Where but America
    could anything like this happen. Seriously folks this is beyound
    any ones wildest imagination. We are in times that have been
    thrust upon us and what do we get get from those who we put into
    office. The 3 stooges and a whole lot more. No idea of what we want
    or need and yet they have the arrogance to call us stupid. Time for
    a major overhaul of all at the top. We the people need to stand tall
    against this type of governing and reclame our heritage and future.

    March 7, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. Sean

    Democrats are "arrogant" in trying to pass health care reform, and economic recovery initiatives.

    Republicans were "arrogant" in passing tax cuts for the rich, and starting an unjustified war.

    Hmmmm.......which do I prefer?

    March 7, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  21. Sherry, OC, CA

    Perhaps Tom Delay is speaking from experience. He is right.

    March 7, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  22. Lynn

    The "Mission Accomplished" banner proudly displayed onboard the carrier with GWB swaggering under it, look what a great job I did. You want to talk about arrogance, that was 5 yrs. ago and how many more thousands haved died in his useless wars. Cheney and GWB wrote the book on arrogance.

    March 7, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. Denial -- It ain't a River in Egypt

    Whether you like Delay or not - he is right.

    The Democrats biggest strength and biggest weakness is they are the "Big Tent Party" right now. It is made up a cross-selection of various but ultimately different groups: african americans, gays/lesbians, unions, white intellectuals, Catholics, Jews, "BlueDog Democrats", etc., etc.

    When a controversial issue comes up - for example, state-funded abortions - it divides this "Big Tent Party" right in two. (Gay marriage, government spending, Gitmo Bay, etc. are some of the dozens of other issues).

    Telling a Congressional Democrat you must vote for state-funded abortions "just because you're a Democrat" does not sit well with many of them - especially when they often have a majority of anti-abortion constitutents and a vote for such state-funded abortions is a recipe for electoral defeat come November.

    Still that is what Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and (yes) Pres. Obama are demanding them to do.

    March 7, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. ib

    I have seen a more arrogrant woman than Pelosi in my lifetime. She needs to be brought down off her high horse. If the demos don't start standing up to her they will be voted out. Oh that will be Bush's fault also.

    March 7, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  25. disgustedwithgopintexas

    Tom Delay is a jerk and needs to get a real job somewhere far away so we never have to see or hear from him again.... ever.

    March 7, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
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