Sugar Land Express in reverse

TPMCafe gets Paul Begala to write a reflection of his youth in Tom DeLay's district:

I grew up in Tom DeLay's district. If you want to get a feel for what it was like back then, rent "The Sugar Land Express." It's a prison break movie, made in 1974, based on a true story - the time in 1959 when a woman convinced her husband to break out of the Beauford H. Jester Correctional Institute. The movie was the biggest thing ever to hit Sugar Land. It starred Goldie Hawn and Ben Johnson, and was directed by a young nobody called Spielberg. Don't know whatever became of him, but they let us out of school to watch 'em film it.

It's a good read. When Public Campaign Action Fund (PCAF) was considering doing voter education in TX-22 in 2004, many politicos in Washington gave me two pieces of advice: 1) Don't waste your time (and money) because DeLay is untouchable at home, and 2) Talk to Begala. Well, at least the second piece of advice was sound. Begala, over a series of calls, shared the same recollections then as he posted at TPMCafe, although with a different ending.

He wraps up his piece with this:

My guess is folks are looking for a conservative, not a crook. I know Nick Lampson. He represents the best of my part of Texas - a strong sense of community, a real commitment to family values, a rejection of DeLay's brand of whorehouse politics and a passion for reform. DeLay's sleaze, combined with the quagmire in Iraq and Bush's sinking approval, could prove fatal.

How fitting it would be if Sugar Land, a town which caught the attention of Steven Spielberg because of a big-hearted loser who broke out of prison, returned to the national spotlight 32 years later because of a hard-hearted bully who may be sent to prison.

Interesting point about looking for a conservative, not a crook. Makes me think that DeLay use everything in his arsenal to define Lampson as a liberal, not a conservative. For organizations like PCAF with a substantial number of members in TX-22 we'll have to think caefully about what we do in this district.