The Rant 

Staff writer Chris Davis is ranting for Tim Sampson this week.

With the nimble-minded literacy of a drunken frat boy calling the girl he just date-raped a whore, conservative wit Ned Rice has often praised Tom DeLay's audacity and sternly cautioned "the Hammer's" critics not to make fun of the recently indicted congressman's long career as a professional bug-zapper. "If you're going to hang a label on Congressman DeLay ... you could do a lot better than 'the Exterminator,'" Rice wrote, thereby identifying those who mock DeLay's unwavering commitment to a termite-free Texas as latte-drinking liberals who look down their snotty noses at the noble dirt on the sacred, calloused hands of the American clock-puncher.

"It sounds like 'the Terminator,'" Rice added, "and [Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger] is really popular." Of course, Schwarzenegger's high poll numbers were a short-lived phenomenon, buttressed by the widely held belief that the governator's most conservative urges would certainly be buffered by the availability (or not) of wife Maria Shriver's liberal poontang. But in recent months the Kindergarden Candidate's job-approval numbers have tanked like HCA stock, and Rice's conflation of ethically challenged prison-bait like DeLay with Conan, the invulnerable Martian robot who gave Satan such an ass-whoopin' in the unwatchable End of Days, has been squashed flatter than a Dallas doodlebug under the star-spangled boot of justice.

It's a liberal frame-up job, I hear some of you saying. How can a God-fearing man like Tom DeLay with the unwavering blessings of such theologically astute organizations as the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and the Traditional Values Coalition be anything less than a Christian martyr? The point is well taken: Whenever I think of the Bug-Man's documented fund-raising miracles and his ability to take free swanky golf vacations to Scotland, I'm reminded of Christ's famous encounter with the money-changers. Like DeLay, Jesus sat down with the temple's highest rollers and laid out a divine protection racket, offering tax breaks, criminalized abortion, a sword-for-plowshares exchange program, and an end to the scourge of loving homosexual relationships in exchange for a small donation to the war chest. Whenever I hear the inspirational tale of how St. Tom took sizable campaign contributions from Saipan and then blocked a congressional investigation into the Micronesian island's hellish sweatshops, it calls to mind Jesus' powerful declaration that on earth -- as in the kingdom of heaven -- the mighty will be given dominion over the weak (who, if left unexploited, would probably die from sheer laziness). But the clearest proof that DeLay is indeed a man touched by God, and not just another slick song-and-dance man riding high on the D.C. snake-oil circuit, is the brave and selfless work he did to give a voice to the voiceless and to bring a Bill Frist-certified gleam of hope back into the eyes of a terminally brain-dead woman. Like the Big Bird Watcher in the Sky, Tom DeLay's generous, benevolent, all-seeing eye is truly on the sparrow.

But what about Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle? Isn't he just a liberal partisan out to destroy the reputation of an innocent lawmaker? That's certainly the story the DeLay camp is pushing. The fact is, Earle didn't issue the indictment against DeLay; that service was rendered by a grand jury led by an ex sheriff's deputy who openly admires DeLay. But in his 24 years as a public servant Earle has prosecuted four times as many Democrats as Republicans, so the man clearly has some sort of partisan agenda.

Ned Rice just doesn't get it. DeLay's critics aren't speaking pejoratively when they call him the Exterminator; they are speaking literally. Before he was the king of K Street, DeLay was in the business of using deadly chemicals to keep East Texas free of rats and roaches. It's becoming increasingly obvious that, like Saddam Hussein, the infamous Butcher of Baghdad, DeLay gassed his own people.

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