Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why Texas politics is so screwed up

Not because Tom DeLay is still foaming at the mouth on your teevee. No, his rabies is in its terminal stages; he was once part of the problem, but no longer. Texas politics is a clusterf*ck because AT&T sponsors Tom Craddick's debates, and because nearly a fourth of all Texans in a recent survey think Obama is a Muslim.

First, Mistah Speakah and his lickspittle Leslie Ward, AT&T v-p/lobbyist:

Ward was one of three panelists moderating Sunday’s debate between Speaker Tom Craddick and Democratic challenger Bill Dingus. The other two were local radio hosts—you know, journalists. What was Ward doing there? The debate was hosted by TV station KMID, and “sponsored” by AT&T. While it’s not unusual for corporations to underwrite debates, that doesn’t normally buy their lobbyist a seat at the table.

But there was Ward, asking Craddick and Dingus questions such as: “In the Legislature a lot of emphasis is placed on seniority and rank. Does having the Speaker come from Midland make a difference?” Rough translation: Mr. Speaker, how did you become so awesome and why is your opponent beating his wife? Texas Monthly pundit Paul Burka called the seniority question “obviously a softball pitched so that Craddick can knock it out of the park.”

What a sick sad joke Tom Craddick is, not just on the people of his Midland district but on the entire state of Texas. Thankfully and once again, his Republican colleagues will try to dislodge him from the Texas House dais in January 2009:

Promising a three-term limit on House Speakers and a return to traditional rules on seniority in the House, Rep. Jim Keffer (R-Eastland) said this evening that he would work to consolidate support behind his efforts to become the next Speaker starting on Election Night.

In something of a shocker of a press statement, Keffer said that after touring the state over the past year, he’s now “100 percent sure a new Speaker for the Texas House of Representatives will be chosen for next session.”

I could go on and on about the offense to human decency that is AT&T. This blog post is going out on their tubes. I pay them a lot of money every month for a landline, DSL service, and my cellulalr lines. In return they spy on me, they give tote bags to Democratic national convention delegates, they purchase Congressional Democrats for the purpose of passing legislation granting them retroactive immunity for their wiretapping ... that's an abridged list of the corporation's atrocities. But I digress.

Regarding the state of Texas politics, you know what's even worse? This:

A University of Texas poll to be released today shows Republican presidential candidate John McCain and GOP Sen. John Cornyn leading by comfortable margins in Texas, as expected. But the statewide survey of 550 registered voters has one very surprising finding: 23 percent of Texans are convinced that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is a Muslim. ...

The Obama-is-a-Muslim confusion is caused by fallacious Internet rumors and radio talk-show gossip. McCain went so far at one of his town hall meetings to grab a microphone from a woman who claimed that Obama was an Arab.

The Texas numbers are unusual because most national polls show that just 5 to 10 percent of Americans still believe Obama is a Muslim — less than half the number of Texans who buy into the debunked theories.

And just read the comments of some of the believers at the link.

Sometimes you can't be anything but embarrassed for your neighbors. About one out of every four random Houstonians -- people in the restaurant where I'm dining, in the cars next to me at the stoplight, at the supermarket or drugstore where I shop -- believe Obama is a Muslim.

No wonder they're so terrified about next Tuesday.

I just don't feel sorry for this level of stupidity any more, though. Fuck 'em. They can spend the next eight years with a raging case of Obama Derangement Syndrome, and we can all call it even.

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