From the Los Angeles Times:
Can the onetime “Hammer” of the U.S. House of Representatives do a mean Texas two-step?
In a move startling even by the outlandish standards of reality television, “Dancing With the Stars” announced Monday that former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay — a pugnacious politician under indictment for alleged money-laundering — will be a contestant in the upcoming season.
“Every season we try to change the game a little and spread the net a bit wider,” said Conrad Green, executive producer of “Dancing With the Stars,” in an interview. “We wanted someone sort of iconic and who the audience would have strong feelings about.”
That would appear not to be a problem, given DeLay’s outspokenness on abortion, religion and the environment over the years. Green said he wanted to include a politician to shake up the dynamics of the program, which pairs celebrities with professional dancers. He added that he considered DeLay’s indictment before offering him the role, but decided it was not enough to keep him off the program.
For his part, DeLay seems to have put politicking on the back burner for now and thrown himself into his new role as a reality-show contestant. His blog, TomDeLay.com, had been scrubbed of political content Monday and renamed “Dancing With DeLay.”
DeLay’s wife, Christine, said the longtime politician, 62, is a big fan of the show and has been working out all summer to prepare for the rigorous contest. He has a repertoire that includes the two-step, polka, waltz, country swing and disco, she told Emily Miller, DeLay’s former communications director, in an interview posted on Politics Daily.
The news of DeLay’s selection triggered irate complaints from many fans and some amusement among the political cognoscenti. Shortly after host Tom Bergeron announced the new cast on “Good Morning America,” angry viewers posted comments on ABC’s message board denouncing the decision to invite DeLay on the glittery dance program.
The response in Washington was more sardonic.
“Also: Denny Hastert to be on American Idol,” ABC’s chief White House correspondent, Jake Tapper, quipped on Twitter.
DeLay — nicknamed “The Hammer” for the hardball tactics he used to keep members of Congress in line — lost his powerful perch during a corruption scandal that ensnared former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a close DeLay associate. Facing separate money-laundering charges filed by Ronnie Earle, then the Democratic district attorney in Travis County, Texas, DeLay decided not to seek reelection.
[...] Green said he hopes that the participation of a onetime prominent Republican lawmaker on the show will help him land one of his dream contestants: former President Bill Clinton. “For the honor of the Democratic Party, he needs to step up,” he said.
Yeah, and I want my ass to look the way it did when I was 20. Dream on.
DeLay already has a history of trying to corral support for contestants on the show. Shortly after leaving office in 2006, he sent a letter to supporters urging them to vote for country music star Sara Evans when she was competing on the program. DeLay noted that she was up against “ultra liberal talk show host Jerry Springer,” adding: “We need to send a message to Hollywood and the media that smut has no place on television by supporting good people like Sara Evans.”
Evans ended up quitting the program after filing for divorce from her husband of 13 years.
Sara? A quitter? The jokes just write themselves.
This is going to be even more fun than when Mothertucker Carlson tried his best to look like Fred Astaire and wound up looking more like Fred Thompson.
Tip of the hat to Crashing Vor for planting that movie in my brain, as well as the new title (even if it was meant for Princess Sarah).