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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With The Hammer, Lou Dubose and Jan Reid track the rise of Tom DeLay from owner of a pest control business to unremarkable, and hard-partying, Texas legislator (his nickname was "Hot Tub Tom"), to the congressional pinnacle of power. DeLay is the representative who has called the Environmental Protection Agency "the Gestapo of government," that he drove what he dubbed "The Campaign" to impeach Bill Clinton because Clinton lacked a "biblical worldview," that he didn't serve in Vietnam because too many minorities had signed up leaving no room for people like him, and recently stated any House adoption of a revised bill reinstating tax credits for poor families "ain't going to happen." DeLay is bold--a majority leader with extraordinary powers and extraordinary ambition--and whether he is maneuvering to redistrict Texas congressional seats or flying to Israel to critique the president, he uses that power to shape our politics here and abroad. It is time a proper introduction was made to this man, the only member of the House to keep half a dozen bullwhips on his office wall and a copy of the Ten Commandments on the windowsill. In the summer of 2003, the nation observed the curious spectacle of the Texas governor, lieutenant governor, house speaker, and Republican legislators taking direct orders from Tom DeLay, for off in Washington, D.C. One can argue that the House majority leader was just doing his job--helping gerrymander congressional districts to get rid of Democrats. But what an exercise in raw power! He has muscled and bullied in order to have his way on the shaming and impeachment of Bill Clinton, on the vote recount in Florida, on the redistricting prerogatives of statelegislatures, even to impose his reading of scripture on U.S. policy in the Middle East: DeLay dispatched himself to Israel to pronounce George W. Bush's "roadmap to peace" a dead-end street. For a writer, DeLay is a rich character, always out there--slam bang. The Hammer. The congressman would never be at home in the Houston country clubs and mansions of the two presidents named George Bush. He likes to say outrageous things. DeLay knows that even some Republicans view him with condescension. But he is a master of Byzantine congressional procedure and the art of accumulating and dealing out money; and he means to redirect the course of American history. Who are his progenitors? Look to Huey Long, Joseph McCarthy, and Richard Nixon (the congressional years).

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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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