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7:23 pm EDT        73°F (23°C) in Milan, NM

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I’m headed back east again, on a true coast-to-coast run that takes me from “the O.C.” to “the L.I.E.” (Orange County, CA to the Long Island Expressway in New York). I have a whole week to pull off this 2,900-mile (4,667 km) run; you can’t ask for much better than that.

You also can’t ask for much better than the implosion that has occurred within the Republican Party just today. Its criminal mastermind, (now former) House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), was indicted by a grand jury earlier this morning on charges of corruption, including illegally funneling corporate donations to his political action committee, and had to step down as Majority Leader. Even better yet, there has been a great amount of disarray within the party regarding the selection of DeLay’s replacement; apparently, the Republicans are going to go with an “unholy trinity” after it was revealed that their first choice was a closeted homosexual!

Rep. David Dreier (R-California) had been one of DeLay’s top deputies in the Republican leadership in the House. During the 2004 election campaign, Mike Rogers’ web site alleged that Dreier, who has a long history of voting against equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans, is himself gay, based upon a number of known facts. Dreier is known to live with his chief of staff Brad Smith in a Washington apartment, and in an interview with noted gay radio personality Michelangelo Signorile at the 2004 GOP convention, he responded, “I’m not going to talk about that” when Signorile asked him point-blank if he was heterosexual. Why would one refuse to come right out and say “yes, I’m straight,” unless one is gay?

From what I have heard, once the news of Dreier’s selection to replace DeLay became public, the offices of both Dreier and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R- Illinois) were deluged with phone calls from constituents on both sides of the political spectrum. A caller to Signorile’s radio program said that he had asked Hastert’s office whether Dreier would be history’s first gay House Majority Leader, and that the Hastert staffer confirmed that that would indeed be the case — in other words, Hastert’s office basically confirmed that Dreier is gay! Does this sound like a case of Republicans eating their young, or what?

Later on, Hastert announced that Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) would be tapped to replace DeLay, but that Dreier would “perform certain duties” of the position of Majority Leader. Additionally, Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) will serve as an assistant to Blunt, completing the unholy trinity of Republicans I mentioned earlier. I guess we can’t have a homo, even one as hypocritical and self-loathing as Dreier, in a position of leadership in the GOP, huh? That wouldn’t fly too well with the tiny minority of extremist right-wing nutjob Christofascist terrorists to whom the Republicans pander for votes.

I have heard another story, one that has nothing at all to do with American politics, that I found entertaining enough to mention here. Tomorrow’s edition of an Australian newspaper in Sydney (remember, it is already 9:23 am Thursday morning in Sydney) reports on the findings of a study that determined that SUV drivers are statistically more likely to be middle-aged males who don’t care at all about the environment, have rather negative views of ethnic minorities, and are hard-core gay-haters. I guess all you gay boys out there better make sure that the cute guy from the bar doesn’t drive an SUV before you go home with him. smile