Tom DeLay Targets Us, Our Film, and His Supporters' Wallets

All I can say is the guy must be desperate for money.

Jim "Hollywood" Schermbeck here. And according to Houston Congressman Tom Delay, my co-producer Mark "Buddy" Birnbaum and I are right up there with Babs Streisand as a threat to the American Way of Life.

Sitting in my home in Slaton, Texas (population: 5,567) yesterday, I was caught unprepared by Congressman Delay's warning cry beaming out from my computer screen:

Hollywood Liberals Meddle in Texas District 22 Race

Oh no, not those Hollywood liberals again! They're always mucking things up here in Texas. And what have they done now? The Congressman explained:

"The same day I secured the Republican nomination to continue serving you and the good people of the 22nd District, my Democrat opponent Nick Lampson's liberal Hollywood buddies gave me a "welcome" gift. They officially released a documentary about Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle's partisan witch-hunt."

Boy, that made me mad. For one thing, Mark and I have ourselves produced a documentary about Delay's successful master plan to stack the Congress with hard right wing Republicans, and Ronnie Earle's indictment of Delay for crimes related to that plan. It's called The Big Buy: How Tom DeLay Stole Congress, and it's coming out in May.

Talk about steamed! We've been working on this thing for over three years, all on our own dime, and then along comes some highfalutin Hollywood types that can afford to buy all the archival footage and academy-award-winning narrators they need and just pretend we never existed. Rot in Hell, Ken Burns.

Secondly, these Hollywood big shots blow into Houston and steal our idea of announcing our film on March 7th, the day of the Texas Primary. No wonder we only got the New York Times and AP. Everybody else was eating avocado finger sandwiches and getting free massages at the Hollywood shindig.

By this time, I was ready to get my pitchfork and put to siege the first community theater I came across. Then Congressman DeLay filled me in on the motive of these LALA land Delay haters:

"National Democrats are planning to hold thousands of house parties across the country to air this documentary, and raise money for my opponent. Much like Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9-11, this movie is a blatant attempt to influence the outcome of an election.

The director himself said, "It was important to get this out as soon as possible...given the elections this November."

Hmm. Except for the dot dot dot part, that looked an awful lot like a quote from me in the New York Times article on The Big Buy. Somehow those dots replaced the very portion of the sentence where I had mentioned Congressman DeLay's trial coming up this summer.

Well damn! Was it us the Congressman had been describing all along? Mark and me, Hollywood Liberals? I live in rural West Texas. I drive a ten-year old Civic. I just voted in the Republican primary. My family and I paint the town red by going to one of many chain restaurants in Lubbock. Mark is a grandfather who lives with his cat in a 30-year old middle-class home in North Dallas built by a Texas Instruments engineer.

No. You could call us a lot of things, but it would take more than different zip codes and higher tax brackets to even get us close to being transformed into "Hollywood Liberals," with pro-noun capitals and all. For some reason, Congressman Delay was deliberately trying to hide the fact the The Big Buy is a movie made about him by his fellow Texans.

And so the seeds of doubt were sown. If the Congressman was so wrong about us, the very target of his cry for help - mostly of the large denominational kind - what else did he get wrong?

For example, Mark and I have never met this Nick Lampson fellow that Delay seems really concerned about. We aren't raising money for him and none of the profits from our film, if there are any, are going to his or any other political campaign. I don't know how else to say this - it's as if Congressman DeLay is actually intentionally misleading people just to raise money for his campaign.

Now, the Congressman's reportedly been having cash flow problems of late. And he's probably used up a lot of the better known right wing targets in previous appeals for more money. But you know he's gotta be scrapping the bottom of the vast left wing conspiracy barrel when he comes after a couple of low rent freelance Texas documentary film makers who only have a hit because Delay was bright enough to get himself indicted.

On the other hand, as officially, if inaccurately, tagged "Hollywood Liberals" Mark and I are now elevated, along with medical doctors and Supreme Court justices, to Congressman DeLay's personal Axis of Evil. We really don't qualify, but the company is good.