Tom DeLay left the House yesterday, but not without a few parting shots.
“Given the chance to do it all again, there’s only one thing I’d change,” DeLay said in a defiant retirement speech on the House floor. “I’d fight even harder.”
In the end, DeLay probably achieved more for conservative politics than conservative government; he attacked big-government liberalism in his farewell address, but the growth of government and special-interest spending accelerated under Republican rule.
DeLay will be remembered for transforming the worlds of fundraising and lobbying, for shutting the minority party out of the decision-making process, for raising arm-twisting and intimidation to an art form.
For him and people like him, it’s always about the means, not the end. And for Tom DeLay, it was always about him.