The executives at ABC are on a mission to suck the last workable brain cells out of their viewing audience. I have a hunch that those executives dream of a day when every American develops a lizard brain view of the world that is as shallow as that of the eight-figure salaried executives who run ABC. When ABC launched the programming for I Survived a Japanese Game Show, here is what they knew: Those Japanese spectators who are laughing hysterically when American contestants dress up in giant monkey outfits and strapped on animal tails are not laughing with Americans, they are laughing at Americans. ABC executives understand that because, in a sense, these executives are laughing at the American public the same way.
ABC believes there is no bottom to stupid when it comes to America's viewing audience. Stupid sells.
Several weeks ago, we saw ABC begin new efforts to test America's stupid limits even further. They announced that Tom DeLay would be one of their dance competitors on Dancing with the Stars. Those executives appear to be comfortable with the probability that most of their TV audience is unaware that the G.O.P.'s kingpin of political corruption is, by ABC standards, a "star."
I don't doubt that by ABC and G.O.P. standards, DeLay really is a "star." But before the Rumba begins, let's look at his "star" qualities. This week DeLay is being prosecuted for money laundering two hundred thousand dollars worth of corporate campaign cash. In DeLay standards, that is one of the lesser political filth scandals. It is not likely that ABC executives have done any reading beyond the lame pilot scripts they endlessly pump out. If they did read, they would understand that their newest dancer has left a trail of ugly in almost everything he has touched as a politician. He never saw a legal, ethical, or moral conflict when it came to being corporate America's congressional bagman. For a quick cheat sheet on the political events that rose to the level of "Tom DeLay scandals," you could begin with the Family Payoff Scandal. That was where ABC's creepy little dancer funneled half a million dollars worth of P.A.C. money to his wife and daughter's private business.
Then there was the Westar incident where DeLay told a giant energy company that, to buy his influence and a "seat at the table with him," would cost Westar $50,000. They paid the money.
Maybe ABC producers failed to read about the time that their new tiny dancer accepted $70,000 from gambling casino lobbyists that was used to take the DeLay family on a European vacation. As you might expect, tiny Tom delivered for the casinos.
DeLay has always been quick to play the religion card. In fact, he says he was "born again" during all those years that he left his trail of filth and scandals. Religion never changed who he is -- a political thug. It is doubtful that a few Tango and Rumba lessons will alter that reality. To ABC, he may be a "star," but to that part of ABC's viewing audience that can read a newspaper, he is still nothing more than a political thug.