What A World

Dancing in the Dark

Vote early and vote often for Tom DeLay

By Nancy Ford

Forget health care. Forget the economy. Forget Jon and Kate plus the eight overexposed product of their loins. The biggest story to hit the headlines this month is Texas conservative Tom DeLay being chosen as a contestant on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars.

Let the side-step jokes begin!

I’m not a regular viewer of the wildly popular show pitting accomplished performers against each other while saddled with far less-accomplished partners. Sounds a little too much like the McCain/Palin ticket for my taste. But apparently I’m pretty much alone in my lack of enthusiasm for the show: DWTS won People’s Choice awards in 2008 and 2009 for best competition/reality show which, each year since 2005, has at least momentarily reignited stars who once sparkled brightly in the cultural heavens.

The show has its moments, admittedly. I loved the supreme yet somewhat brittle Cloris Leachman giving the judges a taste of the moves a feisty 85-year-old woman still has in her. And the episode where Marie Osmond dropped to the floor like a sack of Mormon potatoes had its drama. Thank goodness she wasn’t pregnant at the time.

But … Tom Delay? If DWTS producers were looking for an out-of-work Texas politician to include in their cast, they could have aimed higher. Isn’t George W. Bush available?

On September 21, DeLay joins fellow DWTS contestants Donny Osmond, Kelly Osborne, Michael Irvin, and others intent on trying to recapture their public’s imagination one shin splint at a time. How long will it be until The Hammer, as he was not so gently nicknamed during his 25-year career as a Texas then-U.S. Representative, becomes The Hammertoe?

Americans already know DeLay is light on his feet. It’s hard to forget the grace he displayed in his Two-Step around the Constitution while leading the effort to impeach President Bill Clinton for lying about going to war a blowjob.

His Hustle was effective in orchestrating vociferous and borderline violent protests to stop the vote recount during the Bush-Gore showdown in Florida following the 2000 presidential election.

Maybe the former Majority Leader can add the Hammer Time to that dance litany, a double-time shifty side-step he performed in 2006 when he resigned from Congress following charges of corruption.

But whatever you do, don’t confuse DeLay’s being light on his feet with being light in the loafers. When it was announced that he would be joining the DWTS cast for its ninth season, DeLay held a dance shoe and scoffed on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews:

“Look at this shoe. A Texan doesn’t wear a shoe like this. This is what they’re makin’ me wear. It’s a little pump with high heels.”

Asked about his costuming, he also said to Chris Cuomo on ABC’s Good Morning America:

“I don’t know about sequins. Sequins and pink.”

Because we all know that sequins and pink and a little pump with high heels can drain the testosterone right out of a cowboy.

But perhaps Delay has good reason to fear for his heretofore well-guarded masculinity. Perhaps DeLay’s choreographic calling may touch something deep inside himself that’s never been touched before. Maybe viewers will vote to extend his turn on DWTS just long enough to get him hooked on the adrenaline of live performance—it’s even better than a filibuster. Soon, answering his terpsi-chorean muse, ol’ Tom begins studying with Paula Abdul for a spot with a 21st-century update of the Fly Girls dancers. Soon he’s spotted, rail thin and smoking cigarettes, applying for an intern-ship with Houston Ballet, wearing nothing but a dance belt and a halo of cigarette smoke.

It’s even feasible that DTWS could open up a whole new career for DeLay besides being an unelected spokesperson for conservatism. He could become the Andy Dick of reality television, popping up at a moment’s notice on talk shows and game shows when a real star has to cancel. After he is voted off DWTS (because Sara Evans’ texting muscles collapsed), DeLay could move on to:

Real Housewives of Sugar Land. We know the homes in Fort Bend County are in frequent need of an exterminator. Full circle.

Survivor: Queertown. Drop him in the middle of Houston’s Montrose or Dallas’ Cedar Springs and see how long he can can-can.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? After all, was that not the underlying theme to most of DeLay’s political career?

In any case, charge your cell phone: there may be an advantage to keeping DeLay on DWTS as long as possible. After all, if he’s busy rehearsing the proper execution of the Paso Doble, maybe he’s too busy to talk to the media about the threat of same-sex marriage on polite society.

And that’s something to dance about.


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