What's that sulfurous smell emanating from ABC-TV these days?
It's not that network's usual crappy new fall prime-time lineup, although it's pretty stinky.
No, it's Toxic Tom DeLay, aka The Exterminator, the unctuous little weasel now making a fool of himself (again) on ABC's dismal enterprise called "Dancing With The Stars." The very same well-tailored humanoid who was directly responsible for some of the most acrimonious and bitterly partisan sessions of Congress.
The same fancy dancer who was responsible for Bill Clinton's ridiculous, time-wasting impeachment, and whose reapportionment schemes gave us the likes of Goat Boy Gohmert, aka Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert, pointy-headed co-leader (along with Rep. Michelle Bachman, of course) of the Tin Foil Hat Brigade in the House. As one commentator put it this week:
"DeLay is responsible for some of the greatest miseries of our time, from the Patriot Act to the non-response to the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina."
OK, but will he dance for us?
Thanks to the ethically challenged ABC programming geniuses who decided to let this grinning eel put on his fancy dancin' clothes and soften his image for the good folks on the jury at his upcoming felony trial.
What, were Gov. Mark Sanford, jailed Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, and Dennis "Jabba The Speaker" Hastert unavailable for this year's festive dance-a-thon?
The New York Times' Maureen Dowd may well have summed up the bio ABC scanned before selecting DeLay:
"The former exterminator drove the loony Clinton impeachment, pushed the nutty Terri Schiavo legislation, gutted the House ethics committee, engaged in gerrymandering schemes, enhanced the pay-to-play political culture and made the Republican Party so sulfurously partisan, ethically suspect and God-centric that voters recoiled."
OK, but can he shake his booty? After all, ABC execs may well be saying in private, Glenn Beck turned us down. Something about uncontrollable gyrations and spontaneous sobbing episodes. Maybe next year.
I remember an interview former Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal gave to NPR's San Francisco affiliate KQED-FM, in which Blumenthal put a very fine point on DeLay's thuggish tactics, and how The Hammer threatened even fellow Republicans on such things as the notorious, sleazy 3 a.m. vote to ram through the laughable prescription-drug bill.
"I had Republicans call me who were scared of the guy. They'd never been threatened by anyone before," said Blumenthal about ABC's latest dancin' fool.
So, has network TV reached the bottom of the barrel? Or is the barrel just getting deeper?
As offensive as putting smarmy legislative thug DeLay in a dance costume and asking him to smile for potential jurors may be, consider this:
Prince Rupert Murdoch's Fox Network once gave Pauly Shore his own series.
I thought that was the bottom of the barrel.
Now I'm not so sure.
Follow Bill Mann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/newsmann