Newt Gingrich Criticizes Tom DeLay on Ethics
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, no stranger to ethics questions, today criticized House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
There was fresh criticism Tuesday of embattled House Majority Leader Tom DeLay from a prominent member of his own party. In an exclusive interview with CBS News Correspondent Gloria Borger, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said it’s time for DeLay to stop blaming a left-wing conspiracy for his ethics controversy and to lay out his case for the American people to judge. “I donÃ¢€™t want to prejudge him and my hope is that Tom will be able to prove his case,” said Gingrich, who engineered the Republican takeover of the House in 1994. “But I think the burden is on him to prove it at this point.” Is he doing that? “I donÃ¢€™t know yet. I think the jury’s out,” said Gingrich.
“DeLay’s problem isnÃ¢€™t with the Democrats; DeLay’s problem is with the country,” Gingrich continued. “And so DeLay has a challenge: to lay out a case that the country comes to believe, that the country decides is legitimate. If he does that he’s fine.”
When Newt Gingrich is calling your ethics into question, or Bill Clinton says you’re a wee bit too obsessed with sex, it’s time to admit you need help.
Update (1423): Gingrich’s old press secretary Tony Blankley is having none of it, accusing Republicans who won’t stand up for DeLay of moral cowardice.
Tom DeLay has been the most effective majority whip in living memory, never having lost a vote. He has engineered passage of every vital piece of Bush legislation as majority leader (sometimes with as little as a single hard-sought vote difference). By his tough work in Texas he has almost assured Republican control of the House for at least another decade. (I say “almost,” because a party of nitwits and cowards are capable of throwing away anything.)
And he has done what every able leader of men has been doing since the dawn of man — he has gone hunting and brought home the meat to nourish the whole tribe. Yes. Money: The lawful collecting of which is the essential condition to politically function. If a political party doesn’t have money, it doesn’t have a chance.
If a party can be stampeded — by phony charges and a run of shoddy stories in whorish newspapers — into dumping their most effective congressional leader, I wouldn’t give two cents for their near term future. A party that would voluntarily cut off its own testicles and FedEx them to their opponent as a trophy is not likely to manifest any regenerative powers. That’s the thing about losing those organs.
Entertaining, to be sure, but a rather backhanded, if wholehearted, defense of DeLay. It’s not so much that he’s really ethical but, damn it, his tactics have been good for the party.