From THE GAGGLE at Newsweek:
The last time we saw Tom DeLay, he was a scandal-ridden leper slinking back to Texas with nothing left but that giant, threatening smile that made even people who liked him kind of hate him. He had lost it all─his post as house majority leader, his congressional seat, his standing reservation at Signatures, Jack Abramoff’s expense-account lunchery for Republicans headed for ignominy, or prison, or both. Perhaps worst of all, DeLay had lost his mojo as “The Hammer,” the one guy you didn’t dare cross on Capitol Hill and expect to survive. Until the end, he cast himself as a victim of power-hungry Democrats, even though it was Republicans who ultimately threw him overboard. He knew how it worked—after all, he’d done the same thing to Newt Gingrich. And so DeLay went, but he didn’t like it, and like a character straight out of a Sergio Leone spaghetti Western, he promised to get justice and clear his name. “I’ll be back,” DeLay vowed.
Turns out he was right. Last night Tom DeLay made his comeback, and truly, it was a low moment in our nation’s long and stormy history, by which we mean it was totally and completely awesome in every imaginable way.
Disgraced politicians choose many paths of redemption, but never did we imagine his resurrection would involve gratuitous booty shaking, cringe-inducing lip syncing and a knee slide straight out of Footloose 2: The Grandpa Years. But that’s what happened last night as DeLay made his big debut on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars. The honest truth is that no words are equal to the task of describing the six astonishing minutes of screentime DeLay commanded last night. It was like the mother of all car wrecks: sickmaking in the extreme, but impossible to turn away. The Hammer was the last “star” to dance on last night’s premiere. His segment begins with a strange Matrix-esque scene, featuring DeLay boogying it up and leaping the air, old-school Toyota-commercial style.
Within seconds, we are with DeLay in the studio, and he is decked out in some truly bootylicious dancing apparel: baggy gray sweat pants, pulled up high on the waist Al Bundy-style, and a crimson Texas A&M t-shirt─tucked in, of course. A lovingly worn pair of Aggie calf warmers would have completed the Flashdance tableau, but we’re just getting greedy. DeLay’s partner, pro dancer Cheryl Burke, gives him a pep talk and DeLay looks on, endearingly starstruck as if he simply cannot believe that he is actually about to put his hands on a woman who looks like that without facing charges the next day. “I’ll teach you how to dance,” Burke says. “And you’ll get the votes.” It’s the first of many absolutely unscripted, completely spontaneous one-liners paying homage to DeLay’s days on Capitol Hill.
As we move from the rehearsal studio to the dance floor, ABC sneaks in one more zinger, straight off the top of his head, that the writers had nothing to do with: “I’ve been a conservative all my life, but I know that if I want to do well in the cha-cha, I’m going to have to vote with the Republicans and party with the Democrats.”
Suddenly, there is DeLay on the dance floor, and he is wearing … what is he wearing? It’s an all-brown vest suit with zebra trim and a little bit of rhinestone. It is very Boogie Nights. Somewhere in Idaho, Larry Craig is leaning in very close to his television.
At several points in the routine, DeLay suggestively points at Bruno Tonioli, the most outspoken judge on the show—maybe in an effort to score extra points. “You’re crazier than Sarah Palin!” Bruno says afterward in a moment of astute political analysis. And therein lies the explanation, long puzzling, for DeLay’s decision to agree to do the show. It is his ultimate penance for the wrongs he committed and the careers he crushed back in his Hammer days—a beautiful gift to his fellow citizens in a bleak time of recession.
Read the rest and see the video (if you dare) at the link above.