REED WAS LET OUT OF THE PENALTY BOX?…. Wait a second. Ralph Reed believes he can show his face in public again? He thinks, after having disgraced himself, he should serve in Congress?

Sources close to Ralph Reed tell The Brody File that the former Executive Director of the Christian Coalition is “seriously” considering running for Congress in Georgia. According to one well-placed source, Reed has talked to key grassroots leaders and local elected officials in Gwinnett county and other parts of the district, but has not made a decision yet.

Eighteen-year veteran Congressman Rep. John Linder announced over the weekend that he’s retiring. This seat is in a big time Republican district in the Atlanta suburbs. Reed would be positioned well.

The report comes from radical TV preacher Pat Robertson’s “news” network, which presumably would be in a position to know about Reed’s plans.

Now, Reed has tried electoral politics since his involvement in the Abramoff scandal — he ran for lieutenant governor in Georgia in 2006. Republican primary voters wanted nothing to do with him, and Reed, despite being the one-time favorite, lost the race by double digits.

But now the right-wing hatchet man apparently believes he’s spend enough time in the penalty box.

While Reed ponders his future, let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane. After all, some of Reed’s more colorful and entertaining exploits happened fairly recently.

Remember this one, from June 2006?

Yet another delightful characterization of Ralph Reed, courtesy of today’s McCain report on the Abramoff scandal. This one comes courtesy of Jack Abramoff himself, via his discussion with Marc Schwartz, a public relations representative for the Tigua tribe in Texas.

Let’s pick up the report on page 148. Schwartz was evaluating whether the tribe should hire Abramoff as its lobbyist: To Schwartz, Abramoff appeared to have the right credentials. Abramoff claimed to be a close friend of Congressman Tom DeLay. He also discussed his friendship with Reed, recounting some of their history together at College Republicans. When Schwartz observed that Reed was an ideologue, Schwartz recalled that Abramoff laughingly replied “as far as the cash goes.”

Or, how about this one?

Ralph Reed, email to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, 1998: “Hey, now that I’m done with the electoral politics, I need to start humping in corporate accounts! I’m counting on you to help me with some contacts.”

Or this?

E-mails and testimony before McCain’s panel showed that Reed, who once branded gambling a “cancer” on society, reaped millions of dollars in tribal casino proceeds that Abramoff secretly routed to him through various non-profit front groups. Abramoff, a lobbyist for the tribes, paid Reed to whip up “grassroots” Christian opposition to prevent rival tribes from opening casinos.

I realize it’s been a couple of years — and some Republicans have surprisingly short memories — but the Abramoff scandal left Reed a humiliated disgrace. It wasn’t just some embarrassing misunderstanding; the scandal ruined him. Permanently.

That Reed would even consider launching some kind of comeback now is a reminder that reality has very little meaning on the far-right.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.