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Why do they call you “Hot Tub Tom”, Hot Tub Tom?

For those of you who have not yet read Jeffrey Goldberg’s New Yorker article on the current unpleasantness within the Republican Party, let me nudge you towards it, as it’s a fine read. I’ll outsource the Tom DeLay-related snarkery to my friend Juanita (and again) and will simply address the following amusing tidbit:

“Bush was never a conservative, but Tom DeLay was one of us and he betrayed us,” Richard Viguerie, a founder of the modern conservative movement, says. “He’s like a lot of these guys. They campaign against the cesspool. ‘I’ll clean up the cesspool of government,’ but after a while they all say, ‘I made a mistake–it wasn’t a cesspool, it was a hot tub.’ That’s what they called him, you know, Hot Tub Tom.”

I’m not sure if Viguerie is simply connecting DeLay to his current meme about how “conservatism” has been betrayed, or if he’s creating a just so story about DeLay’s old nickname, but as we all know around here, DeLay earned the moniker “Hot Tub Tom” back when he was in the Texas Lege, and it had to do with his party animal proclivities. See, for example, this WaPo profile from 2001:

Tom DeLay was always a top student, an athlete and popular with his peers, but also did his share of drinking and carousing. After two years as a pre-med student, DeLay was asked to leave Baylor University for behavior that was partly fueled by booze and that thwarted his chance of fulfilling his father’s ambition for him. (He eventually got a degree in biology at the University of Houston.) Later, as a Texas state legislator from 1978 to 1984, DeLay had a reputation in Austin less as a lawmaker than as a partyer and playboy known as “Hot Tub Tom.” He roomed with other fun-loving male legislators at a condo they dubbed “Macho Manor.”

Here’s a CNN transcript that says basically the same thing. This isn’t to say that Viguerie’s formulation isn’t clever, just that it isn’t true. So please don’t be misled.

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