Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg needs our sympathy and understanding.
She’s a chronic sufferer of big-shot rage, a mental condition that afflicts the powerful. Big-shot rage is also known as don’t-you-know-who-I-am syndrome.
One way you can tell if people have this condition is when their pants no longer fit because they’ve suddenly grown too big for their britches.
Two kinds of people are stricken with big-shot rage, the high AND the mighty.
If you are upset because somebody is sitting in the front-row seats that you figure should have been saved for you, you’re a candidate for big-shot rage. If you think your garbage can should be picked up on trash day before anybody else’s on your street, you might be a sufferer of big-shot rage. If you think the cops should give you special treatment, you could exhibit big-shot rage.
A couple of weeks ago, Lehmberg was arrested for DWI after driving wonky out on RM 620. She was driving a Lexus in a lane reserved for bikes. Her blood alcohol level hit 0.239, nearly three times the legal limit, even though she said she’d had just two vodka drinks.
So maybe they were Big Gulps.
Being the county’s head law enforcement figure and getting busted for DWI is a wicked combination. From here on out, Lehmberg will be remembered for her mistake. Jokes will be told. Remarks will be made. “I’ll have what the district attorney on the floor is having.”
Lehmberg’s big-shot rage came roaring to the surface after she was locked up. She huffed and she puffed and she started kicking the door to the holding cell. To stop her from acting up, sheriff’s deputies strapped her to a chair.
“We told you several times to stop kicking the door; you could hurt yourself,” a female deputy told her. It’s also a fine way to ruin a pair of shoes.
In her version of “I know the mayor,” Lehmberg repeatedly asked the jailers if they’d called Sheriff Greg Hamilton. “You should; you really should,” she said. Surely the sheriff would spring her. After all, someone of rank was in the tank.
“Did you call Greg. Did you?” Lehmberg asked the jailers. “I’m not a criminal,” she added, lapsing into Nixonese.
She even blamed the jailers for her predicament. “You’ve ruined my career,” she said. No, Ms. Lehmberg, if you’re career is ruined, it is you who did the dirty work.
There was even a fashion disagreement. “You’re going to have to take off those pants and put on jail pants,” a female jailer told the DA. “I’m not putting jail pants on,” Lehmberg said. Maybe she wanted something from Ann Taylor.
In Lehmberg’s favor, she had the guts to apologize to Travis County residents, plead guilty and accept a 45-day jail sentence. She’s now in the county jail. Her future is murky. Maybe she’ll get an offer from a University of Texas frat to become house mother.
Meanwhile, a former assistant state attorney general has filed a petition to remove her from office. If that happens, Gov. Rick Perry will pick her replacement, surely a Republican. Which is ironic, since Perry had his own, though much milder, bout of big-shot rage in 2000 after his driver was stopped for speeding and he told a DPS officer, “Why don’t you just let us get on down the road?”
So maybe Lehmberg should go. Being a Republican, maybe her replacement would come with a chauffeur.