That giant sucking sound you hear is air escaping from the collective blowhards also known as the Republican Party.

Deflation is a natural occurrence when bloated egos and arrogance get out of control. The GOP’s bubble had to burst and indictment of the party’s chief crook, the bribe-taking, vote-selling House Majority Leader Tom DeLay provided the pin prick that sent all that Republican hot air cascading through the halls of power.

DeLay’s indictment is far more than just the nailing of another corrupt politician. It is a signal that GOP dominance in the Capitol may be an endangered species, a sign that 11 years of running roughshod over the Constitution, allowing extremist elements to run the party and arrogantly thinking they are above the laws of the nation and decency are over.

Just a few months ago, Republican arrogance rode high inWashington. Bush won re-election  not for much for what he did right but for what John Kerry did wrong and Republicans in the House and Senate pledged to ram Bush’s accumulation of “political capital” down America’s throat.

No more. Bush’s political agenda looks like the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. His losing Iraq war leads a growing list of liabilities that has other Republicans scrambling for political cover. The President’s blank-check spending policies have pushed the deficit to record levels. And the Republican-run Congress has done its part, passing a pork-laden transportation bill that will keep America drowning in red ink and bacon fat for generations.

Bush’s flawed Social Security reform plan is DOA, which is no great loss. His plan, unworkable from both practical and political viewpoints, never addressed the real problems facing the program. America remains locked in its most senseless losing war since Vietnam and the Hurricane Katrina debacle proved a government stacked with political hacks cannot function in times of crisis.

Polls show Bush’s job approval ratings at record lows. Most Americans want the country out of Iraq and few have any confidence in either the President or the Republican-controlled Congress.

To the few remaining supporters of the GOP’s failed policies, the Tom DeLay indictment for criminal conspiracy feels like piling on, kicking a sick, dying elephant when it’s down on its knees.

Too bad. The well-deserved indictment of a known political crook is not the end of the GOP’s problems. Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist faces investigation for unloading his Hospital Corporation of America stock in an insider trading deal – the same kind of fat cat action that landed Martha Stewart in the slammer. The grand jury investigation into the White House outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, who just happened to be the wife of an administration critic, may end with indictments of at least two senior administration officials.

Arrogance has a way of breeding payback in Washington. The Democrats got theirs in 1994 when 40 years of arrogant leadership of Congress brought out enough voter anger to hand both the House and Senate over to the GOP.

Republicans should have studied history and leaned from the Democrats’ mistakes but they too fell under the spell of Washington’s madness of power, abandoning all of the promises from the so-called “Contract With America” and proving that an elephant can be just as big a jackass as a donkey.

Republicans may find a way out of the morass but I doubt it. The failed, extremist policies of the GOP and the rabid right wing that controls the party have plunged America into an ever-expanding sinkhole.

When the President of the United States calls a bribe-taking, corrupt politician like Tom DeLay “a good friend and effective leader in Congress” you know the Republican Party, as it is currently organized, is beyond hope or redemption and deserves every vile thing that can, and should, happen to it.