For those of you who have followed my column over more than a dozen years, you know that I am an unapologetic liberal. I live in a really red state and write my column for people who are generally red staters. Therefore, it will come as a great surprise to find me writing a column defending Tom DeLay, the House Majority Leader from Texas.

The handful of my liberal readers out there will think that I have lost my mind. Tom DeLay has become the poster child for all that is wrong with the Republican Party today. Nevertheless, we bleeding-heart liberals need to be constant in defending those that have suffered in life for whatever reason. We can't support the causes of women, minorities, and those for whatever reason can't get a fair shake in our society and not support DeLay. He needs to be accorded the same rights that we demand for others-even though I can't think of any substantive issue upon which we would agree.

For those of you that don't know DeLay, he is the House Majority Leader-the second ranking Republican in the Congress, and he is in deep trouble. He has been rebuked by the House Ethics Committee three times last year for ethics violations. To defend him from further trouble with the committee or the House, the Republicans last fall changed the rules so that even if he were indicted by a Texas grand jury, he could remain as Majority Leader. The grand jury is looking into alleged crimes and has indicted several of DeLay's closest friends for wrongful use of funds for some state elections and for improper use of funds alleged bribes from several Indian casinos. Non grand jury critics cite questions regarding overseas junkets, payments made to his wife and daughter for working on his campaigns and other questionable deals with lobbyists, etc. DeLay's problems are a lot like those pesky cockroaches of which you can never seem to eradicate. Shine a bright light around DeLay and more problems crept out from behind the walls.

It seems only a matter of time before DeLay will be charged with a shopping cart full of alleged offences. I believe that he should have his day in court to defend himself from this ever-increasing onslaught of charges. However, I suggest that he needs a better and more effective defense than his handlers are using presently. He either stonewalls his critics, or he leads the charge for Congress to interfere in the Terri Schiavo case. When you stonewall or go on a publicity crusade, you merely infuriate the opposition. DeLay needs his message out before he is swallowed up by a tsunami of irate Democrats and fearful Republicans who worry about DeLay affecting their re-election campaigns.

A much better defense for all of DeLay's alleged criminality and poor judgment can be found years ago back in Sugarland, Texas, where he started out working as an exterminator. Actually, the thing that got him to run for Congress was that Washington was attempting to add more regulations on the use of insecticides. The government and the EPA were concerned about harmful effects of insecticides on humans and other animals. Mr. DeLay went to Washington to get government off the backs of bug-killing professionals like himself.

I think that DeLay heeded those warnings about the harmful effects of insecticides on people-let alone birds and animals. All those years of messing with his arsenal of bug killing liquids has taken its toll on Mr. DeLay. Therefore, his best defense is to blame all of these lapses of judgment on years of contact with all those poisons. His defense should be that those neurotoxins that kill cockroaches and termites have caused permanent damage to his brain. Compounds like with chlorinated hydrocarbons like DDT, aldrin, chlordane, and endrin have rendered him incapable of making ethically correct decisions.

Mr. DeLay is merely of victim of overdosing on chlorinated hydrocarbons. Perhaps, I should stipulate that my doctorate isn't in medicine. Nevertheless, DeLay's best defense is that he overdosed on insecticides. How else do you account for all the allegations of criminal conduct?

DeLay's case should be a warning to all of us. We should increase the regulating of all the other troublesome substances out there that could cause our children potential neurological problems. We need to look at mercury in every aspect of our lives from the water we drink, to the air we breathe, and even the injections that we blythefully accept from physicians. Lord knows that we don't want to create an entire new generation of people that are tragically affected like Tom DeLay.