Tom DeLay to Save "Dancing with Stars" From Old Fogey Smut
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay -- who has already suffered one gimongous embarrassment on ABC's dance competition series "Dancing with the Stars" -- is game to be humiliated again.
This time, he's one of the dancers.
While the show prides itself on the diversity of its "celebrity" competitors, DeLay will be its very first member of Congress who stepped down several months after resigning as House Majority Leader after a Texas grand jury indicted him on charges stemming from a campaign finance investigation.
But DeLay is also this year's token out-of-nowhere old-fogey on the show (Wayne Newton is also a member). And, ironically, this is the position held in the fall '06 edition by Jerry Springer -- or "smut" as DeLay called Springer at that time.
Back in the fall of 2006, shortly before "Dancing" debuted its new season, DeLay had sent out a blast e-mail asking people to vote for country crooner Sara Evans, who was going to be competing against Springer, among others.
Evans had been a strong supporter of the Republican party and, more importantly, her husband was a GOP fundraiser who had run unsuccessfully for political office in Oregon four years earlier and whose resume included chairman of Craig PAC, a national political action committee dedicated to electing Republicans at the federal and state level; her husband, Craig Schelske, also had been executive director of the conservative organization American Destiny Inc.
In his e-mail to "Dancing" fans, DeLay said that Evans "represents good American values in the media" while "ultra liberal talk show host Jerry Springer" did not.
"We need to send a message to Hollywood and the media that smut has no place on television," DeLay said. By "smut" he meant "Springer."
Embarrassingly for DeLay, Evans made "Dancing" history when she became the franchise's very first competitor to abruptly quit the show, because, she said, she needed to be at home with her little children while she filed for divorce, having just discovered Schelske, had cheated on her, had at least 100 nude photos of himself with his little colonel fully erect on the family computer at home, had watched porn on the family computer and had made requests online for sex with multiple partners on Craigslist.
It was a high point in the "Dancing" franchise.
A record number of viewers sat drooling like Pavlov's hounds through an entire 90-minute episode of "Dancing" a short time after she quit, just so they could watch Tom Bergeron's exclusive sit down with Evans to get the skinny on the scandal.
And where was DeLay on all this? What had become of his campaign to clean the "smut" out of "Dancing"?
DeLay was, uncharacteristically, speechless. No comment.
But now he's back in bed with "Dancing." ABC forgot to make any reference to the show's long connection with DeLay in making the announcement of his joining the show's next edition. Ditto DeLay's interesting past. Instead ABC limited its bio of DeLay to calling him "a prominent Republican and conservative firebrand" who is now president of a "strategic political consulting firm based in Washington and Houston with the name First Principles. And you thought politicians didn't do irony.
But today, when Bergeron announced the latest "Dancing" lineup this morning on ABC's "Good Morning America" he couldn't resist noting of DeLay that "when the producers last week were telling me who the lineup was, this next one was the one where I went 'You're kidding!'"
DeLay, meanwhile, was taking a very different, "smut" and "good American values"-free approach to "Dancing" this time around:
"It's official...I'm going to compete on 'Dancing with the Stars!" DeLay tweeted this morning, adding, "This is going to be so much fun. I will need your support."
But, as of yesterday afternoon, his supporters had not yet turned out to ABC's "Dancing" Web site; the comments were overwhelmingly anti-DeLay:
"This has been my favorite show since the first season. Tom Delay is a disgrace and that will prevent me from watching - unless he breaks his ankle and they show a re-cap on the news," one "Dancing" fan suggested helpfully.
"Where are the stars? ....I certainly don't classify political figures as stars - not even the president," added another.
"I'm especially turned off that ABC would put that Republican Thug Criminal Tom Delay on. Maybe if he's eliminated the first week, I'll watch," chimed in a particularly stern "Dancing" viewer.
"I think it is a disgrace to have Tom DeLay on this line up," added another.
"I have been a fan since the show start.... Tom Delay is a JOKE!" said yet another.
However, not everyone was non-DeLay:
"I think it is a great line-up. I knew everyone except the politician. Looking forward to another great season.....yeah DWTS," wrote one neutral "Dancing" fan.
"I think Tom Delay will be great and probably a better dancer than most," added the rare pro-DeLay commenter.
(This post has been updated.)
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