Newt Gingrich Criticizes Tom DeLay on Ethics

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, no stranger to ethics questions, today criticized House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Newt Gingrich Criticizes DeLay (CBS)

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 don’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 don’t know yet. I think the jury’s out,” said Gingrich.

“DeLay’s problem isn’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.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    “DeLay’s problem isn’t with the Democrats; DeLay’s problem is with the country,” Gingrich continued.

    DeLay has a problem with the Democrats and the lamestream media (but I repeat myself). Part of what finally did Gingrich in was his failure, once he became Speaker, to recognize that the LSM isn’t the country.

  2. Gary Johnston says:

    McGehee – Well, the country decided to trim his majority in the two elections he served as speaker, so the LSM must have been really cruel.

  3. oldtom says:

    A perspective to Delay’s behavior:

    2004 LA Times article on Rep. Maxine Water’s family’s employment

    Don’t have Lexis/Nexis to verify bona fides of article.

    These are bi-partisan practices which don’t don’t pass the “appearance of a conflict of interest” test.

  4. wavemaker says:

    When you play the game better and harder (and dirtier?) than the rest of the opposing team combined, sooner or later, people want to bring you down anyway they can — fair or not. Just a fact of political life, regardless of party.

  5. Steve says:

    The interesting thing about the “defense” article is that Blankley simply goes on the attack. He doesn’t attempt to show that the attacks on DeLay aren’t factual, only that they shouldn’t exist.

    If he doesn’t have anything to hide, why not allow the investigation, or even encourage it, then move on?

  6. Bachbone says:

    If Bubba Clinton and Newt Gingrich were put into a large sack, the sack shaken up and overturned, they’d both fall out at the same time. Neither has the good grace, nor good sense, to go quietly into the night.

  7. McGehee says:

    McGehee – Well, the country decided to trim his majority in the two elections he served as speaker, so the LSM must have been really cruel.

    At no time did the Republicans lose their majority, you might have noticed. The LSM still had a near-monopoly on information in those years too, you might remember.

  8. craig henry says:

    IIRC Delay was part of the group that tried to oust Gingrich as Speaker a year or more before Newt resigned. So i’m not surprised to see this from him.