Dancing DeLay begets one-liners
Like, will they make him dance to “If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve got the Time”?
The Hammer – aka Tom DeLay – used to have mucho power, back when the Republicans were in charge in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was Republican Majority Leader and a guy who polarized, to put it mildly.
But him joining this season’s contestants on the ABC danceathon (first show Sept. 21) causes us to recall when DeLay, a bug exterminator, was a hard-drinking back-bencher in the Texas House of Representatives.
DeLay’s lifestyle earned him the nickname “Hot Tub Tom.” Let your mind run, or see what you turn up on the Internet.
DeLay says now he regrets his playboy past. In his own book, he writes about his Austin activities before he became a born-again Christian in 1985, his first year in Congress:
“When my third session [in the Texas House] came around I roomed with my best friend, Gerry Geistweidt. We rented an apartment that had an old, shoddy hot tub. We dubbed our new place Hot Tub Haven, more as a joke than as a reality.
“Years later Beverly Carter of the Fort Bend Star picked up on the name Hot Tub Haven and began dubbing me Hot Tub Tom in her articles. The name stuck and came to symbolize all my excesses.
“I certainly deserved it. I drank too much. 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.”
After he came to Jesus and quit whiskey, he began a two-decade run in Congress of seeking and using – and often misusing – power.
He was not shy at telling lobby firms they should hire Republicans, not Democrats, and give campaign cash to Republicans (including him), and quit giving it to Democrats.
In the 2002 elections for the Texas House, DeLay engineered the delivery of $190,000 in corporate dollars to Republicans in several House races.
All told, 17 of the Republicans in targeted races who received money through DeLay’s efforts were elected. The GOP took over the Texas House for the first time since just after the Civil War.
In 2003, after electing Tom Craddick of Midland as speaker, the Republicans, at DeLay’s behest, performed the first mid-decade congressional redistricting not ordered by a court. In fact, the Republicans re-drew a congressional map drawn by a three-judge federal court in 2001, after the Legislature had failed to do it.
That butchering of Democratic congressional districts forced out Democrats with 85 years of seniority among them, to be replaced by freshmen Republicans. At least three of those DeLay-excised Democrats would be committee chairmen today if they were still in congress.
However, in Texas it’s a legal no-no to use corporate dollars in elections. So after considerable investigation, then-Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle got a grand jury to indict DeLay.
The still-pending case hasn’t sent The Hammer to the slammer – yet. DeLay and his attorneys say he didn’t do anything illegal. He even smiled broadly when his mug shot was taken, as though auditioning for “Dancing” rather than a possible prison term.
DeLay got Republicans to alter U.S. House rules that say an indicted leader must temporarily step aside. But when that created a publicity stink, they reversed themselves. So The Hammer’s actual indictment sidelined him as majority leader.
DeLay scored a convincing win in the 2006 GOP primary. But a month later, as he faced a November challenge from Democrat Nick Lampson, whose previous district DeLay had destroyed, The Hammer took the path of least resistance and resigned.
A few more one-liners:
“We thought the only dancing Tom DeLay had done was when Ronnie Earle fanned his six-gun at The Hammer’s toes.”
“Would it be fitting if ‘Dancing with the Stars’ had Delay twinkling his toes to the tune of ‘Jailhouse Rock’?”
“Will DeLay’s dancing costume be an orange jumpsuit, or have horizontal black and white stripes?”
No matter how DeLay fares on “Dancing With the Stars,” if he can fade the legal heat in Austin, The Hammer will thereafter be known as “Fancy Dancer.”