It looks like "Dancing With The Stars" ended up getting twin sons of different mothers in its upcoming season.
In former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin and ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), the show will have two high-profile Texas "playmakers" with past legal problems who are looking for a novel way to revitalize careers that peaked as much as a decade ago.
No, the similarities aren't exact: Irvin's legal problems involved lines of coke, while DeLay's involved charges of trying to circumvent state campaign finance laws. But anyone who saw Irvin play on the field could believe that he might have the necessary strength and grace to win a dance contest -- and football players like Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith have done particularly well on the show.
But Tom DeLay -- a conservative Republican politician? Really?
No, seriously. Really?
Yes, it's a bizarre-sounding idea. Yes, it's a stunt, both on the part of "DWTS" for identifying DeLay and DeLay for accepting. But this isn't the first time that the show has grabbed someone out of left, er, right field.
A few seasons back, the sacrificial conservative was righty columnist and former CNN and MSNBC host Tucker Carlson. Tucker, alas, went home pretty early in the competition. Jerry Springer, on the other hand, stuck around until nearly the end. But what makes DeLay think he can do as well -- if not as bad as Springer? Or, for that matter, how can he see doing well enough that he won't completely embarrass himself? If your nickname is "The Hammer," do you want to risk stepping on someone's toes?
Well, like many a politician, DeLay has a high opinion of himself.
But making a total fool out of himself isn't in his game plan. That means he can probably dance better than one might think. Folks in the heartland can do things like, yes, the Texas two-step.
Furthermore, remember the lesson of American Idol: The voters on reality talent shows tend to be from the more conservative parts -- i.e., south of the Mason-Dixon line -- and they support their own. Despite the media and the judges' love affair with Adam Lambert on this year's "Idol," the good-boy Christian Kris Allen from Arkansas ended up winning.
No one will confuse Tom DeLay with Kris Allen, but don't be surprised if some conservatives decide to tune in to "DWTS" out of curiosity. If DeLay doesn't do half-badly in the early rounds, he may stick around longer than people think.
Back in 1994, they would have given him longer odds on winning the House for the Republicans.