HOUSTON – Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's just-published memoirs skewer his former comrades in the historic 1994 Republican revolution for squandering the victory through useless and ineffective leadership.
DeLay's book, "No Retreat, No Surrender," which hit bookstores this weekend, singles out former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey, DeLay's predecessor as House majority leader. Former President Clinton is described as "slimy," and President George W. Bush is dismissed as "compassionate, but ... certainly no conservative."
Only DeLay's wife and daughter escape unscathed.
DeLay, dogged by charges of money laundering in Texas, resigned from Congress last June and is awaiting trial. He told The Associated Press on Tuesday that writing the book had been a "cleansing process" and that his co-author, Stephen Mansfield, "really captured me."
"This is the life of a leader in Congress, the history of what happened," DeLay said in an interview from New York. "I was a little worried about the parts where I pointed out people's strengths and weaknesses. That made me feel a little uncomfortable.
"Seeing that in print makes you kind of go, 'Oh, I don't know if I want to do this.'"
DeLay blames Gingrich, who is mulling a 2008 presidential run, for the GOP's inability to achieve many of its goals in the mid-1990s.
"Newt is an amazingly gifted man," DeLay wrote. "He is intelligent, articulate, informed and passionate to a fault ... It is equally true, though, that he was an ineffective speaker of the House."
DeLay paints Gingrich as vain, unable to translate his ideas into legislation and unsure how to push his party's agenda. At Gingrich's right hand was Armey, who DeLay describes as "so blinded by ambition as to be useless to the cause."
DeLay also says Armey told Gingrich that DeLay was behind an insurgency aiming to topple Gingrich — a lie, DeLay said, that ended his relationships with both men.
"I was livid," DeLay wrote. "He had lied to cover his ambitions, betraying both his movement and his fellow leaders."
Armey did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment. Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler said only: "No interest. Thanks."
DeLay briefly acknowledges indiscretions with alcohol and women, describing himself during his early years in the Texas legislature and Congress as a party boy with a roving eye.
"I drank too much," he writes. "I slept with women I wasn't married to. I neglected my family. This is the truth, and I recount it with a deep sense of grief that I ever lived in such a manner."
Despite the 2006 Democratic overturn of the 1994 revolution, DeLay calls 2008 a "grand opportunity."
"The vast majority of Americans are dissatisfied with George W. Bush and eager for change," he writes. "It is a wake-up call, a summons to battle ... Republicans were, as they long have been, right on the issues and terrible at communication."