DeLay Waits...

Tuesday, March 7, is the first hurdle for Rep. Tom DeLay.

If he does not cross it, the man who lost his powerful position as House majority leader may lose his seat in the House as well. Tom DeLay has waged 10 successful elections in Congressional District 22 in Texas, but Tuesday he faces serious Republican candidates who hope to beat him. They have a chance of doing just that.

As you know, DeLay is under indictment for money laundering in Texas. He also had a close working relationship with convicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. That story is yet to be fully told, but FBI investigators are working the case with great tenacity. Last week I sat down with Tom DeLay in his office on Capitol Hill. He says there is no evidence that will incriminate him in the Abramoff scandal. He says his lawyers have assured him that he has nothing to worry about. That remains to be seen.

The Houston Chronicle is endorsing Tom Campbell. They have never been big DeLay fans, but they also don't usually weigh in on the primary.

Campbell's TV ads mention the word "integrity" as many times as they can squeeze them in, with no direct reference to DeLay. None is really needed.

DeLay has to get 50 percent plus one vote to come out on top in the primary and avoid a run-off with the second place winner. If he clears the primary he'll go up against the very well-funded Democrat Nick Lampson, who lost his seat in DeLay's redistricting push in 2003. Lampson has plenty of motivation to make a comeback against DeLay.

Texas voters know that they lost a good deal when Tom DeLay lost his leadership position. The question for them now is: Are they willing to vote him back in given the "Pigpen"-like cloud of dust that is following him around?

DeLay has always been unapologetic about "bringing home the bacon" for Texans and they like it that way.

So do they stick with the man who has been known as the most "efficient and feared" politician in Washington or do they take a chance on a fresh face?

We'll get a feel for the pulse in Texas on Tuesday and maybe for a bit of what's going on around the nation as well.

And a last word on the Oscars last night: Yes, I watched, until Reese Witherspoon won and then I went to bed. Not a huge fan of “Crash” or “Brokeback Mountain,” (yes, I saw both) I didn't really care which won the big award.

I was impressed with the acceptance speeches of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Reese Witherspoon. They both were humble and heartfelt and thanked their families. They had class. A word not often used these days, but a good one. Such a relief not to hear the "I love my life!" proclamations of Julia Roberts or some political — I'm the smartest guy in the room —- style musings from an actor we'd much rather see act than pontificate.

I couldn't help but think while watching the montages of film noir and the movie stars who passed away this year, that Hollywood used to do what they do a lot better. I'm not a Hollywood-basher. I happen to love movies and acting and the medium that really can be a window on our lives or a look into someone or somewhere far away. I just want more of the movies I see to be really, really, well — good. That's all.

See you tomorrow.

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