WASHINGTON (AP)--Tom Delay, the Senior Republican of the House of Representatives has bowed out of his 21-year political career with a defiant and unrepentant 2-hour speech defending the "culture of corruption" of Republican conservatism and his own partisan politics.
"You show me a nation without obnoxious, tyrannical and corrupt partisanship by preening statesmen like me, and I'll show you a nation without money laundering by Republicans or respect for us God-like legislators," DeLay, the former House Majority leader, confusedly asserted.
DeLay, who was accused of laundering contributions for Republican campaigns, said in April he was stepping down.
Nicknamed "The Hammer" for his strong approach to tackling opponents, he strongly defended his time in politics now under investigation by federal prosecutors.
All of his fellow House Republicans were present at the bizarre speech, and gave him several standing ovations as he defended money laundering, Republican warmongering to steal foreign oil for Exxon Mobil, and other dubious activities. Meanwhile, all of the Democrats in attendance walked out during his tirade, especially when he attacked liberal ideology.
A series of corruption scandals led him to resign as majority leader in September 2005 and then this April to announce he was leaving Congress. Yet in his final speech, DeLay brazenly acknowledged charges that he illegally used corporate money to fund the Republican Party in Texas.
He noted that Democrats, seeking to win control of Congress in November's mid-term elections, have sought to condemn his "culture of corruption" within the Republican Party that extends through Congress, into the White House and right into the Supreme Court.
"So what?" asked DeLay as he continued his speech. "That and people like Jack Abramoff are what make America the great nation that it sorta is."
"I have scraped and clawed and laundered for every vote, every amendment, for every word of every bill that I believed in my heart would protect the pocketbooks of rich conservatives like me, while denying human freedom and human dignity to those less fortunate poor people and to those non-white Islamic nations that we steal oil from," DeLay said.
"And if given the chance to do it all again, there's only one thing I would change - I would fight even harder," he concluded.