Tom DeLay’s Resignation Letter

Tom DeLay has published a letter to his constitutents in the 22nd Texas Congressional District announcing his resignation from Congress. It’s rather long and sums up his 21-year congressional career and his many accomplishments, real and perceived. It contains no contrition, however, for sowing the seeds of the Abramoff scandal, the K Street Project, and perhaps the loss of the House to the Democrats this November.

Now, however, after many weeks of personal prayerful thinking and analysis, I have come to the conclusion that it is time to close this public service chapter of my life.

It’s time to begin opening new chapters and pursuing new opportunities to engage in the important cultural and political battles of our day from outside the arena of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Because I care so deeply about this district and the people in it, I refuse to allow liberal Democrats an opportunity to steal this seat with a negative, personal campaign.

The voters of the 22nd District of Texas deserve a campaign about the vital national issues that they care most about and that affect their lives every day, and not a campaign focused solely as a referendum on me.

So today, I am announcing my intention to resign my seat in the House. I will make that resignation effective sometime before mid-June, but largely dependent on the congressional calendar. I plan to begin focusing on the next phase of my life as a private citizen.

[…]

With the news of my decision, there of course will be great speculation among the political pundits and media about my reasons both for this decision and its timing. I am quite certain most will put forward their opinions and conclusions devoid of, and unencumbered by accuracy, facts, and truth, so I thought I might try to make everyone’s job a little easier.

The people of the 22nd district have been extremely loyal and true to me, and throughout my service to them, I have always done the same. I have always acted solely on my beliefs and convictions, nothing more.

I have no fear whatsoever about any investigation into me or my personal or professional activities.

As one of my colleagues in the House leadership astutely observed a while back, the wheels of justice turn much more slowly than the wheels of allegation.

I will be quite content to be judged when the passage of time has provided both all of the facts and a greater sense of perspective than is possible for most today.

As difficult as this decision has been for me, it’s not going to be a great day for liberal Democrats, either.

My loyalty to the Republican Party – indeed, my love for the Republican Party – has played no small part in this decision.

Having served under Republican and Democrat control in the House, I know first hand how important it is for Republicans to maintain their national majority. A Democrat Congress in 2007 would, without doubt or remorse, raise hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes, summarily cut and run from the war on terror, and immediately initiate an unconstitutional impeachment of President Bush.

However certain such antics might make a Republican resurgence in 2008, the times are too grave to waste even two years in the life of this nation…and allow even one more vote for their agenda of pessimism and failure.

[…]

Today is obviously not an easy one for me, but difficult days always demand the most from us, and, in that sense, are the ones most worth living.

I have no regrets today, and no doubts.

I am proud of the past. I am at peace with the present.

And I am excited about the future, which holds, as always, America’s brightest days… and mine, too.

Thank you, and may God bless you all. He has certainly blessed me.

Sadly, he sounds remarkably like Cynthia McKinney, except blaming his fall on the evil liberals rather than whitey. One would think he would take some modicum of responsibility for the mess he has created. That he has no regrets and no shame is quite sad, really.

My long held view that DeLay was often on the wrong side of the ethical line but always at least barely on this side of the criminal line remains unchanged. My guess is still that DeLay will ultimately be acquited of the charges against him. But simply not being a criminal is too low a standard for a congressman, let alone a party leader.

Update: Rep. Jack Kingston (R, GA-1) joins in DeLay’s pity party, observing, “The hatred and relentless criticism of Tom DeLay breaks all records. He makes Newt Gingrich, Dan Quayle, and Bill Clinton look like their tenure in Washington was a honeymoon.” Quayle was a decent guy put into a position of too much prominence before he was ready. Gingrich and Clinton were both brilliant men with deeply flawed characters. I’m not sure DeLay benefits from comparison with any of them.

Kingston adds, “He will be missed around the halls of Congress and in bible study.” Perhaps DeLay should have studied a little harder?

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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.