Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Some Texas electoral postpourri

-- Tonight's Texas Progressive Alliance conference call guest was Dan Barrett, the lone Democrat in a field of seven challengers in Fort Worth's HD-97. He was also the leader in votes tallied, and his challenger, Mark Shelton, is coming under harsh (and legal) scrutiny from other Republicans in the district for his negative robo-calling at the end of the campaign.

-- Last week Charles Kuffner, Muse, and I had lunch with CD-07 Democratic challenger John F. Truitt, who is taking on entrenched incumbent John Cumbersome. Truitt had a radio program in Houston and was a Republican before coming to the light. He's got an idea about getting our soldiers out of Iraq:

Americans have the right to know if the people of Iraq want our troops in their country before investing more blood and treasure. Today our troops are held hostage by partisan bickering in Washington and the Iraqi government’s inability to act. Bush and the Republicans are stuck with “stay the course” and the Democrats can’t come up with a plan that doesn’t require the President to retreat and admit his failures. If the Iraqi leaders won’t get their act together, then we should go over their heads directly to the Iraqi people. Instead of demanding timetables for withdrawal which are automatically subject to a Presidential veto along with “surrender” and “cut and run” derisions, Congress should insert language that requires the Iraq government to hold the following referendum within the next three to six months as part of any Iraq spending bill.

This would be a very astute diplomatic move by the American government. By asking the people of Iraq to decide when foreign troops leave their country instead of American politicians, we don’t seem so arrogant. We can prove to the world our good intentions as well as our faith in Iraq’s democracy by asking for a referendum on the presence of coalition forces as soon as possible. The ballot should read precisely as follows:

“US & Coalition Forces would like to redeploy our troops outside of Iraq (nearby for aid in emergencies) over the next six months unless you want us to remain. Respecting the democratic rights of the Iraqi people, we ask: Do you invite US and Coalition Military Forces to stay in Iraq as guests of the Iraqi people for another year to maintain security and help rebuild your country? Yes ____ No ____”

If as expected the people of Iraq vote “no”, we can leave as promised, showing confidence in the democracy we created and leave behind, as well as respect for the wishes of the Iraqis. Realistically, if the people don’t want us in their country we cannot be effective. Remaining thereafter would only increase the resistance, tensions and violence, while sending more of our troops home in flag-draped coffins. By letting the Iraqi people decide if they’re ready to handle their own security or not, coalition forces can either leave or stay with honor.

-- Via eight feet deep and KFDM, attorney Larry Hunter will take on HD-19 Michelin Man look-alike Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton for the right to represent three counties in Southeast Texas in the statehouse.

I have more than a passing personal interest in this one, as Hunter is from my hometown and his firm handles a few estate matters for my family. He's got a solid resume' of getting elected in the district and has some ability to self-fund as well as raise money from a thick list of contacts. The district is considerably more purple than many in suburban and rural Texas, and Hamilton under-performed the other Republicans on the ballot in 2006. Those circumstances make HD-19 ripe to flip in '08. Update: Kuff has more about Hunter and Hamilton in a post which leads with the news that toll road lover and on again/off again Craddick ally Mike Krusee won't run for re-election in Williamson County's HD-52 . Diana Maldonado has already declared for the Democratics.

-- Finally, if you're interested in attending the 2008 Democratic national convention as a delegate, then you need to attend the workshop this Saturday in Houston to understand what's required of you to qualify.

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