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. Doug

    Tom DeLay calling someone else arrogant? Thanks, CNN, I needed a good chuckle this afternoon.

    March 7, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. Perusing-through


    Arrogance is the minority party (aka. REPUBLICAN GOP) who was booted out of power in 2006 and 2008, , , , to act as though they are still in charge and should still set the agenda. The ARROGANT GOP wants the Democrats to ignore the will of the people that voted the Democrats into leadership in the House, Senate, and White House.

    March 7, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  3. Fed Up

    Arrogance? You bet!! Pelosi and Reid have both stated they don't care what the American people want. They will have health care! I call that arrogance from an elected official. Obama starts it at the top.

    March 7, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. wikwox

    Well if anyone know arrogance it's Tom DeLay.

    March 7, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  5. bob

    Michael,by the time Obama's reign comes to an end in 2012 he will have tripled the national debt in 4 years. Oh wait! he is planning on offsetting that with the next 20 years worth of revenues making his reign totally deficit neutral

    March 7, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. ronalde

    Tom delay,how come he isn't in jail.He is the last one to be talking about arrogrance,for that he is at the top of the list.

    March 7, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. bob

    President Obama's policies would add more than $9.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, congressional budget analysts said Friday. . .The 10-year outlook by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is somewhat gloomier than White House projections, which found that Obama's policies would add $8.5 trillion to the debt by 2020.
    That's from the Washington Post, a paper so liberal it hasn't endorsed a Republican for President since 1952. As Doug Ross notes, "For those of you Democrats keeping score, that's roughly fifteen Iraq and Afghanistan

    March 7, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. Jared

    So grass is green, water is wet, and people given the power to do anything they want are now acting like people given the power to do anything they want. Anyone else floored by this insight?

    Both sides are painfully arrogant, preoccupied spending our money winning petty partisan popularity battles in their own names at our expense. And our response to this is to vote for the other misbehaving party or not vote at all.

    Please, bring on the third parties.

    March 7, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. Jilli

    Tell me again why Delays opinion matters? Why he even garners a platform?

    The man was thrown out of office.

    March 7, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. catmomtx

    Oh, give me a break. After eight years of my way or the highway, you're either with us or against us and Republicans, any Republican has the nerve to say Democrats are being arrogant? It is amazing what short memories Republicans/conservatives/right wing /Obama haters have.

    March 7, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. Goin back to Cali

    The Top Dems are not being arrogant. What's arrogant is when Bush won because of a "hanging chad" and his presidency was decided by the court instead of the American that's arrogancy!!

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

    Of course their arrogant. All of them starting with BHO. The people said No, yet they continue to push this thru.

    March 7, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. roger

    Bush and his boss, Dick, was and are the most arrogant humans on the face of the earth! Including most of the GOP!

    March 7, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. socal frank

    Isn't this guy supposed to be in federal prison? Is he part of the "work release program?" Shouldn't he go back to his day job of spraying poison in people's houses? Oh now I get it, he's still spraying poison – the verbal kind.

    March 7, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. MonasteryMonkey

    Why isn't this hypocritical crook aka "The Hammer" not in the slammer?

    March 7, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Tom DeLay is right and maybe it's time Congress take a good look at themselves as being arrogant, it wouldn't hurt maybe it would help.

    March 7, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  17. Denis Egan

    Their arrogance is apparent in their continuing denial of any valid thinking in mainstream America's fear of escalating deficit spending, expansion of government control of the private sector and the attempt to push a 2700 page, legalistic, trojan horse of a healthcare bill which will greatly increase federal debt and control of a basically great healthcare system. The fact that they never attempted to deal with tort reform and restrain astronomical law-suit awards, which drive up the insurance rates of all doctors, health-related institutions and products, tells mainstream Americans that these arrogant leaders are protecting their lawyer-base in the White House, both houses of Congress and the Democratic Party in general. And they then call the majority of informed, intelligent Americans, who they supposedly represent, names like astroturfers and tea-baggers. They will pay dearly in November.

    March 7, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. Time for Change

    Regardless of the out come of this year's election, Nancy and Harry need to be replaced.

    Their polarizing actions have driven a wedge into our society, as a result we have lost a year when changes could have been made and we could be further down the path to recovery. Instead, we are falling behind.

    Time for Change, time for New Leadership in Congress.

    Put Nancy and Harry in Time Out.

    March 7, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. usualone

    As the saying goes, "it takes one to know one." This man who is unethical as they come has no right to talk about others. He can talk about "DWTS" but that's about it. Even then he was judged as inadequate. Sad the Republicans have as those identified as Republicans speaking out, the Limbaughs, Roves, Cheneys, Delays, Palins. Really speaks about their character.

    March 7, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  20. tony

    So the guy who was known as "The Hammer," for his enforcement of party discipline and retribution against those who did not support the legislative agenda of President George W. Bush when he was the House Majority Leader, is criticizing ithe Democrats of arrogance and take-it-or-leave it approach?

    March 7, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. Mary in CT

    Huh? Oh ... pot, meet kettle.

    You can't blame Delay for trying to amass quarters so he can make calls when he's inside.

    March 7, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. John in WV

    I'll give DeLay credit for one thing. After spending nearly 6 years with the most arrogant administration in history, he ought to know arrogance when he sees it.

    March 7, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  23. Will Work for Health Care

    ... and just saying no to everything isn't arrogant???
    When is the GOP going to grow up and get serious??

    March 7, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  24. Carole

    I have been around the last EIGHT YEARS! So Tom the dancing fool needs to recollect what an embarassment he was.

    March 7, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  25. MK

    This duffuss can't even dance. Please don't give this guy airtime, who had to resign because of corruption.

    March 7, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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