The Hammer: Tom Delay, God, Money, and the Rise of the Republican Congress

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Public Affairs, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 306 pages
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He hailed from the roughneck camps of the Texas oilpatch and the dysfunctional home of an alcoholic father. He started his professional career as owner of a pest control business. His colleagues in the Texas Legislature thought of him as the right-wing crank from a no-account Houston suburb, if good fun at a party; they called him "Hot Tub Tom."
Today, Tom DeLay is arguably the most powerful man in Congress. He has succeeded in turning the House into a single-party operation - all without the backing of Karl Rove or George W. Bush. He has presided over a transformation of the House of Representatives that has rendered its age-old traditions - the committee system, floor debate, bipartisan collaboration, social relations across party lines - as dated as the brass spittoons that once graced the members' lounges.
How did he get from there to here? In The Hammer Lou Dubose and Jan Reid track DeLay's rise to the pinnacle of power, illuminating not only his personality and policies, but the forces in American politics that have made him a player. Long known for his inflammatory oratory - he dubbed the Environmental Protection Agency "the Gestapo of Government," and said he hadn't served in Vietnam because too many minorities had signed up, leaving no room for people like him - DeLay's real power resides in his less public mastery of the loopholes and evasions of campaign finance law and of Byzantine congressional procedure, as well as his deep ties to the evangelical Christian right. The Hammer details how DeLay turned his anti-regulatory stances into the largest and most organized political funding network ever seen, harnessed the political power of the evangelical movement, and made lobbyists the workhorses for Republican policy. It explains why the changes DeLay has spearheaded in the way politics works are likely to last for at least the next quarter-century.

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The hammer: Tom Delay, God, money, and the rise of the Republican Congress

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When Tom DeLay was a back-bencher in the Texas legislature, his nickname was "Hot Tub Tom" in recognition of his swinging lifestyle and relaxed approach to government duties. Today, as majority leader ... Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Jan Reid is a senior writer for Texas Monthly.

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