Stumper of the Week: Tom DeLay’s Hammer Logic


If there’s one universal truth about Texas politics, it’s got to be this: Republican or Democrat, Green or Libertarian, conservative or moderate or (perish the thought!) liberal, our politicians tend to say the gol-darnedest things. As Molly Ivins once noted, “I never saw anything funnier than Texas politics.” And considering the consequences of it all, we damn well better laugh.

So every Friday from here till the end of this year’s campaign stumping—with your input, dear readers—we’ll be honoring one of Texas’ finest each week for making the single most outlandish, puzzling, illogical or just flat-out ridiculous statement. (Talk about fierce competition!)

Without further ado, here are this week’s Runner-Up Stumpers:

Enthusiasm is contagious

“This was the last thing I had in mind. Now that I’ve gone through it, it’s still the last thing.”

Bill Flores, Republican challenger to Congressman Chet Edwards, D-Waco, after being asked what prompted him to run at a Johnson County Republican Women’s luncheon

…Or a question, for that matter

“I’m not going to answer a hypothetical.”

—Mark Miner, spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry, asked by the Statesman’s Jason Embry “whether Perry preferred toll roads to higher gas taxes.”

It’s the size of your snap that matters

“I snap mine and there’s $190 million.”

Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso and chair of the House Transportation Committee, asked by El Paso Inc. why he wants to replace a TXDOT commissioner from his home district, Joe Houghton, especially considering that when Houghton wanted a study on ports of entry, he snaps his fingers and there’s $2.5 million for the study.”

And (drum roll, please!), the Stumper of the Week:

Who criminalized what?

“The only regret that I have is this criminalization of politics—it’s not bad enough now to just beat ’em in policy or let them ruin your reputation. They’ve got to bankrupt you, ruin your family, put you in jail, put you in the grave and then dance on your grave.”

Former House Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, interviewed by ABC News’ Brian Ross after the Justice Department closed its investigation of his dealings with former super-lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff without charging DeLay. “The Hammer” still faces trial in Texas on money-laundering and conspiracy charges. “It’s bad enough for people to call me corrupt, but it really makes me angry when people think I’m stupid,” DeLay also told Ross.

STUMP US! Send your favorite campaign stumpers of the week to [email protected].