NYT Double Standard: 'Combative' Tom DeLay vs. 'Impassioned' Jim Wright

June 9th, 2006 11:15 AM

The NY Times’ Carl Hulse says goodbye and good riddance to Rep. Tom DeLay, the former Republican House majority leader resigning his seat in Congress today, with “Defiant to the End, Delay Pats Himself on the Back and Bids the House a Torrid Goodbye.”

“Representative Tom DeLay personifies the word ‘unapologetic.’

“Leaving Congress on Friday under indictment in Texas and under a cloud in Washington for his relationships with a lobbyist and two former senior aides who have pleaded guilty to felony corruption, Mr. DeLay, the combative former Republican majority leader, was not about to distance himself from himself.

"‘I did a good job,’ said Mr. DeLay, the linchpin of the House Republican majority for the last decade and the mastermind of a formidable political operation that melded legislating, fund-raising, conservatism and business advocacy as never before. ‘I helped build the largest political coalition in the last 50 years. The

“To the Republicans he kept in power in defiance of the odds and a torrent of criticism, Mr. DeLay was a brilliant tactician, one they rewarded with standing ovations on Thursday as he took the floor one last time to deliver an ode to the bare-knuckles partisanship that has been his trademark.”

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DeLay’s actual speech wasn’t as “bare-knuckles” as Hulse would have us believe. It began with a tribute to Congress and ends with the line: “And so with love and gratitude for friend and foe alike, patriots all, I yield back the floor of our beloved House and I exit as always, stage right.”

The Times wasn’t nearly so disapproving when it came to another high-ranking Texas/>/> congressman who got in (much hotter) ethical water, resigned his seat, then gave a speech defending his conduct on the House floor.

Reporter Robin Toner’s May 31, 1989 front-page story gave former Democratic House Speaker Jim Wright’s side of the story (“Turmoil in Congress -- Wright Resigning As Speaker; Defends His Ethics And Urges End Of ‘Mindless Cannibalism’”).

Toner didn’t seem bothered by the corrupt Wright’s defiance after announcing his resignation.

Jim Wright today announced his decision to resign as Speaker of the House of Representatives with an impassioned defense of his conduct, an angry attack on the ethics committee and a plea to end ‘this period of mindless cannibalism’ in the House….Mr. Wright, who has seen his political standing crumble under the force of a yearlong ethics investigation, announced his plans in a one-hour speech from the floor of the House in which he alternated between anger and grief, sad humor and podium-thumping passion. 

“Like a lawyer arguing in his own defense, he dealt with the ethics charges one by one. As he spoke he waved House documents that he said backed up his assertion that he had abided by the rules.

“His colleagues gave him warm, emotional applause as he accepted the inevitable, and the Democrats jumped to their feet when he called for an end to the bitter partisan warfare that has dominated the House. “

''‘All of us in both political parties,' he said, ‘must resolve to bring this period of mindless cannibalism to an end.’”

Note how the very trait Hulse finds pugnacious and unpleasant in a Republican is seen as passionate and emotional in a Democrat.

For more New York Times bias, visit TimesWatch.