Here was a broad-faced and slightly pudgy 45-year-old in wrinkled slacks and an untucked shirt urging his listeners that "folks at the very top of the [Republican National Committee] need to hear from us," while his neighbor waited to hear from him about lawn care. But Miranda's almost comical circumstances belie their serious origins. He works out of his home because he was fired last year from a senior Senate job amid allegations of theft and treachery that are now the subject of a federal investigation. Though hailed as a hero by the far right and reviled as a venal crook by Democrats, until recently, Manuel Miranda seemed destined to become a forgotten footnote of Washington political history. But the latest round of the judicial wars--and particularly the upcoming showdown over the Supreme Court--have offered this media-savvy ideological warrior a chance to rehabilitate his reputation and to perform that sublime American feat of turning disgrace into fame.