DeLay news you might have missed

The beleagured House Majority Leader had more to say this week than just "I'm sorry."

Published April 15, 2005 5:49PM (EDT)

With all the hubbub over House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's uncharacteristic expression of contrition on Wednesday for remarks he made about the Terri Schiavo case, some other comments DeLay made to the press on Wednesday got less play. Which is too bad, because DeLay shared some pretty big ideas.

During an interview in his Capitol Hill office with staff from the conservative Washington Times, DeLay suggested that the time was ripe to give the U.S. government an extreme makeover: "What I find the most important is to redesign the government, now that we have the opportunity to do that."

"I started an effort to redesign the Appropriations Committee," he noted, "to make it harder to spend -- to make it easier to spend on our priorities and harder to spend on the Democrats' priorities."

But DeLay's ambitions are farther-reaching than hog-tying the Democrats on spending. He suggested that Congress, having been out to lunch for the last century or so, really needs to step up now, especially to rein in those pesky courts. "I blame Congress over the last 50 to 100 years for not standing up and taking its responsibility given to it by the Constitution. The reason the judiciary has been able to impose a separation of church and state that's nowhere in the Constitution is that Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had judicial review is because Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had a right to privacy is because Congress didn't stop them."

"We're having to change a whole culture in this -- a culture created by law schools," he went on. "People really believe that these are nine gods, and that all wisdom is vested in them." (Was he talking about the Rev. Jerry Falwell's new program for aspiring attorneys?)

DeLay also answered a couple questions about his alleged ethics violations, saying, "This stuff that's in the press is frivolous." But when Washington Times reporter Charles Hurt pressed the issue and asked if DeLay had ever "crossed the line of ethical behavior," DeLay turned a bit more demure. "Ever," he said, "is a very strong word."

By Page Rockwell

Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.

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