That gnawing emptiness I have struggled with for so long was really starting  to sap my soul. But now I know it was just my Tom DeLay deficiency. Thank goodness he's back.

After leaving Congress under an ethical cloud last year, DeLay (R-Texas) hit the talk show circuit and was so magnanimous he practically sounded like he was trying out for the role of GOP elder statesman. He said he could do more from the outside and would continue working on behalf of the principles he and so many social conservatives hold dear. But it hasn't taken long for The Hammer to come out swinging once more. In his new book, No Retreat, No Surrender, DeLay bashes former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) as "an ineffective speaker of the House," a description even Gingrich's enemies would likely dispute. DeLay takes a whack at President Bush in his book — no surprise there, since the only challenge these days is to find people NOT criticizing Bush. But the real shocker is that DeLay couldn't spare poor Rep. J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), the man DeLay pressured into the job of Speaker in 1998. "I consider George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Denny Hastert all to be good men," DeLay reportedly writes, "but there is not an articulate voice among them.

It's hard to guess what DeLay's five-year plan is. I just hope the book does well and he soon hits the tour. There's no telling what could pour forth with friendly crowds at book signings.