Friday, June 09, 2006


Tom DeLay left Congress yesterday with a farewell speech in which he sounded like a thug rapper trying to ramp up a beef:

... In preparing for today, I found that it is customary in speeches such as these to reminisce about the "good old days" of political harmony and across-the-aisle camaraderie, and to lament the bitter, divisive partisan rancor that supposedly now weakens our democracy.

I can't do that. Because partisanship, Mr. Speaker - properly understood - is not a symptom of a democracy's weakness, but of its health and strength - especially from the perspective of a political conservative.

Liberalism, after all, whatever you may think of its merits, is a political philosophy - and a proud one with a great tradition in this country - with a voracious appetite for growth. In any time or place, on any issue, what does liberalism ever seek, Mr. Speaker? "More." More government, more taxation, more control over people's lives and decisions and wallets.

If conservatives don't stand up to liberalism, no one will! ...

Had liberals not fought us tooth and nail over tax cuts and budget cuts and energy and Iraq and partial-birth abortion, those of us on this side of the aisle can only imagine all the additional things we could have accomplished. But the fact of the matter is, Mr. Speaker, they didn't agree with us....

(Now, it goes without saying, Mr. Speaker, that by my count our friends on the other side of the aisle lost every one of those arguments over the last 22 years... but that's beside the point!)...

He was still trash-talking after the speech:

"The hatred is amazing ...

"The Democrats hate losing. They hate being out of power," he said.

Nancy Pelosi, alas, apparently didn't come up with anything better than the usual line:

She ... said DeLay's legacy "will be a culture of corruption that he built here in the Congress."

Please, Nancy -- stop. That line just doesn't work. Americans think both parties are corrupt.

Here was a chance to say something new. After the preening of another GOP trash-talker earlier this week, in your place I would have said something about "the Ann Coulter/Tom DeLay Republican culture of all-out partisan warfare and character assassination." I would have said that "it's a culture of gloating in victory and bitter resentment in defeat, and no compromise, ever." And I would have added, "If you don't think things are done very well in this city, this is a big part of the reason why."

Here was a chance to address Americans who regularly tell pollsters they hate partisan bickering. I think it was an opportunity missed.


DeLay also said this:

Conservatives, especially, less enamored of government's lust for growth, must remember that our principles must always drive our agenda, and not the other way around. For us conservatives, there are two such principles that can never be honorably compromised: human freedom and human dignity.

Yeah, right, Tom: turning Terri Schiavo into a political pinata and trying to seize power from her husband and the courts was a real blow for human freedom and human dignity, and a real sign that you hate "big government."

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