The Role of Congressman Tom DeLay, Republican
Activists and Donors, and the White House
"W"e believe DeLay puts his situational principles and win-at-all-costs lust for
power first, to the detriment of the city.
—HOUSTON CHRONICLE, MARCH 9, 2002, ON NON-REDISTRICTING ISSUES
Much has been written in recent years about Congressman Tom DeLay. Some of it has been scathing, some of it highly complimentary. After reading some of these materials, I found that the only apparent consensus was that DeLay elicits strong feelings: people tend to love him or hate him; there are very few who are ambivalent.1
DeLay served in the Texas legislature from 1979 until he was elected to Congress in 1984. He was in the Texas House alongside many other actors in the 2003 redistricting, including Tom Craddick; former Speaker Pete Laney; TRMPAC treasurer Bill Ceverha; Governor Perry's chief of staff, Mike Toomey; and Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst's chief of staff, Bruce Gibson. Few if any of his colleagues from the Texas House recall DeLay as being a significant actor while in that legislative body.
In Congress, DeLay became a major partisan force. He was elected deputy majority whip in 1988 and became majority whip in 1994. DeLay was credited by many as being more responsible than any other Republican congressional lawmaker for consolidating the gains of the "Republican Revolution of 1994" and "institutionalizing an enduring Republican majority in Congress."2 During the Clinton era, he was a pivotal figure in the Republican fight for impeachment and against health-care reform. Under George W. Bush, DeLay was responsible for maintaining discipline among Republican lawmakers and support behind Bush's legislative program, including the major tax cuts.