Former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay – who served in Congress for more than 20 years before resigning under suspicion of violating campaign finance laws – visited the Elliot School Wednesday to promote his new book, “No Retreat, No Surrender: One American’s Fight.”
DeLay did not refrain from criticizing the Republican party while addressing attendees at the book signing and said the party needs to reform both its platform, its organization and its leadership. GW’s chapter of the College Republicans sponsored Delay’s appearance on campus
“Where are the leaders? That should be the most important thing (to address),” Delay said. He added that Republican party leaders are “fighting with each other, and if we don’t get our act together, we’re going to lose.”
DeLay listed important issues he believes conservatives need to focus on, including fighting the War on Terror, redesigning the tax system and governmental structure, fighting judicial activism and winning the culture war.
Sirius satellite radio personality Andrew Wilkow joined Delay at the event. Wilkow hosts the show “The Wilkow Majority.” Wilkow and DeLay plan to give a series of lectures to conservative groups at colleges across the country this fall, the two said, and GW was the first stop on their tour.
“Conservatives are horrible at debating (liberals on key issues),” Wilkow said. “Amen,” DeLay added.
Wilkow emphasized the importance of young conservatives on college campuses saying they are at the forefront of the political debate.
“The fight is coming,” Wilkow told the audience. “You guys will have to debate every day.”
In addition to criticizing the Republican party, DeLay discussed his personal employment history with the audience. He said his first career, as a pest exterminator, opened his eyes to the impact government regulation can have on small businesses. This experience ultimately inspired him to enter local politics, Delay said.
He also discussed the outcome of his indictment by a Texas grand jury on charges of conspiracy to violate election law and launder money. The former, less serious charge was dismissed, Delay said, while the outcome of the latter more serious charge is still pending in Texas courts.
“I’ve been indicted on laws that don’t exist in Texas,” he said. “In fact, they passed them three years after I was supposed to have broken them.”
CR Chairmain Chris Brooks described Delay’s tenure as house majority leader as “unparalleled and unprecedented.”
DeLay and Wilkow also discussed the 2008 presidential election and affirmed their support for any Republican candidate – with the exception of John McCain.
“McCain doesn’t believe in anything except himself,” DeLay said. “I’m with the frontrunner – which is undecided. The party is trying to find itself.”
As for the Democratic candidates, DeLay questioned the authenticity of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
DeLay said, “What you see ain’t what you get.”