Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Staples, Patterson pile on Combs

It's Republican-on-Republican battery as these morons jockey for the lieutenant governorship three years from now.

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson are quick to slam Comptroller Susan Combs' widely criticized handling of a data breach that exposed the personal information of millions of Texans — a misstep that's marred her image as the one to beat if she runs for lieutenant governor in 2014.

They're also quick to cite another potential problem if she enters the GOP primary for the seat now held by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who may run for U.S. Senate. Why, Staples asked in a statement, "after two decades in politics, has Combs suddenly switched from pro-choice to a pro-life position on abortion? Switching political philosophy solely for political gain is not committed conservatism, it's opportunistic."

Abortion is still a federally granted right, but Teabaggers throughout the nation are waging war on women through their headlong rush to restrict reproductive choice by any means necessary. Texas passed its sonogram bill into law, and it has already drawn its first lawsuit. Kansas is the latest and most restrictive (though a federal judge has at least temporarily blocked it from taking effect). Abortion is, in fact, only an issue when Republicans can use it to placate their evangelical Christian supporters.

So it makes sense -- only in the conservative hive mind, naturally --  that rather than keep the focus on Comb's obvious incompetence, Staples and Patterson are making their future primary battle a litmus test on who's farthest to the right on a hot-button social issue.

Patterson, asked about his abortion position, cited his pro-life credentials and added, "Todd and I have the same position. And Susan, I'm not sure what her position is this week." 

Patterson and Staples actually differ a bit. Patterson said he opposes abortion except when the mother's life is in danger. Staples believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned "and is pro-life with three narrowly defined exceptions of rape, incest or life of the mother," according to his camp.

Combs consultant Reggie Bashur said, "Susan wants Roe v. Wade overturned. She thinks abortion has become a form of birth control and sex-selection. She is against abortion except in cases of life of the mother, rape and incest."

Compare that to her view as a state representative, as showcased in this paragraph in a 1995 Austin American-Statesman article (and yes, there's some irony in the first sentence, given the data breach): " 'I don't give my Social Security number to anybody,' said the 50-year-old Combs, explaining that the number can be used to obtain personal information. 'We are so casual about government intrusion in our lives. I'm pro-choice for the same reason.' "

A 2003 Associated Press story about Combs, then agriculture commissioner, said she "supports a woman's right to choose, with exceptions. She opposes 'partial-birth' abortions and third-trimester abortions and favors parental notification for minors seeking abortions."

It's like watching the Three Stooges poke, slap, pull hair and hit each other in the face with cream pies. Combs, Staples, and Patterson are all ridiculous, incompetent, and to varying degrees corrupt. In other words, the typical statewide Texas Republican elected official. If conservatives in Texas had any sense at all they would turn the whole lot of them out in 2014.

But I don't believe they do, or will.

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