Sheila Jackson Lee’s unequaled talent for getting her face and intricately braided hair (or hairpiece) before the public is once again eliciting sighs of disgust and mass eye-rollings, thanks to a dispatch from the Houston Chronicle’s Mary Flood, a real reporter who’s being forced to play blogger during the big trial over at the federal courthouse (and hopefully getting a sizable stipend for the double duty).
Flood reported that the “ubiquitous” congresswoman (“ubiquitous” having become the ubiquitous descriptive for Jackson Lee; we can’t think of a better one at the moment but will gladly take suggestions) showed up at the Enron trial Thursday, where she duly planted kisses on Ken Lay and his forlorn-looking wife, Whatshername.
But Sheila wasn’t down at 515 Rusk just for the smooches and face time. She owes Ken Lay, and it wouldn’t have been all that surprising if the congresswoman had gone ahead and planted a big wet one on either of Lay’s pasty lower cheeks. For in addition to being the crook or dumbass (whichever you prefer) who presided over the biggest corporate failure in U.S. history, Ken Lay also must shoulder more than a modicum of blame for the election of Sheila Jackson Lee to Congress.
Back when the Ubiquitous One set out to unseat fellow Democrat Craig Washington in [whatever year that was], it was Lay who took Jackson Lee under his wing and acted as her connector to the pocketbooks of Houston’s corporate bigwigs, giving her a needed leg-up in fund-raising. Lay was her key supporter, in fact.
Washington---obstinate man of principle and/or shady self dealer (whichever you prefer, or both)---had P.O.’ed Lay and others in the city’s corporate elite for his refusal to play ball on natural gas deregulation and other issues dear to them. Jackson Lee, while just as liberal as Washington, was viewed by Lay as more malleable and personally agreeable. (If we are not mistaken, that was the campaign during which Jackson Lee called on Washington to take a drug test, which Washington said he would do if Jackson Lee agreed to take an IQ test. Washington was a likeable sort, despite his shortcomings.)
Because there are no African-Americans on the jury (according to the Chronicle), and because we doubt the no-nonsense judge would permit the congressional cheek-pecking to take place in eyeshot of the jury, we assume that Jackson Lee did not grace the court with her presence as part of some smarmy defense ploy. There is a precedent for that sort of thing, though: We remember when Rusty Hardin was defending former Oilers QB Warren Moon a few years ago against charges he had cuffed his wife, and one afternoon Clyde Drexler showed up unannounced in the Fort Bend County courtroom and spent the better part of an afternoon sitting in the gallery behind the defense table. The Glide, mellow as always, just stared up beatifically at the jury. Moon walked.