Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Texas Democrats I cannot vote for

So Beto/Bob had a very good night last.

He was composed and articulate and cool with the Clash reference and calm with the last retort to Poop Cruz's 'compliment'.  #TrueToForm is tailor-made for a meme or a tee shirt.

The Zodiac Killer was neurotic.  A barely-managed frantic, a slightly concealed flustered, and an undisguised contemptuous, all while throwing every piece of extreme conservative red meat against the wall hoping something would stick.  Reviews were poor for him.

Undeterred by recent polls showing the race in a dead heat, Cruz used the debate to double down on his core campaign strategy: igniting a fire underneath his conservative base, confident that their numbers are enough to win if they turn out in force. In his attempts to present O’Rourke through a kaleidoscope lens of Fox News fears, Cruz twisted and prodded with bad-faith attacks — coming across as a snide, oily weasel to the people who already hate him while pushing all the right buttons for the people he was really talking to.


O’Rourke, in what became a theme of the debate, shot back. “This is why people don’t like Washington, D.C. You just said something that I did not say and attributed it to me,” he said, ostensibly referring to Cruz’s Jim Crow attacks. “This is your trick of the trade, to confuse and incite based on fear.”


In response to what he called O’Rourke’s “soliloquy on the civil rights movement,” Cruz said, “One of the reasons I’m a Republican is because civil rights legislation was passed with the overwhelming support of Republicans. And indeed, the Dixiecrats,” Cruz said, turning to face O’Rourke, “were the ones imposing Jim Crow. The Dixiecrats who were beating those protesters were Democrats.” In that, Cruz was shamelessly aping the rhetoric of right-wing provocateur Dinesh D’Souza — whose presidential pardon he aggressively lobbied for. D’Souza makes a living hawking ahistorical screeds, including the notion that Democrats have always been the real racists.

As foul as Cruz is, I still cannot vote for Beto.

And the same still goes for Elizabeth Fletcher.  In her recent ad she's emphasized Democrats and Republicans "need(ing) to work together", without much beyond Harvey relief in the way of specifics.  So I would simply ask: for what purpose, Ms. Fletcher?  Impeaching Trump?  Passing Medicare For All?  A living wage?  Bail reform? 

I have stated multiple reasons why I just can't cast a ballot for O'Rourke and Fletcher, but if you still need another one, it would be the time and effort they have both spent attempting to persuade whatever quantity of disenchanted-with-Trump GOP votes there may be in Texas (and with Culberson in TX-7).  Indeed, if this is their path to victory, it is clear they won't be accountable to me for my most important issue, universal single payer healthcare, or anything else of a progressive/ democratic socialist bent.  Because they'll be keeping one eye on their next run for office.  Which, in Beto's case, might be the White House in 2020.

(I'll take a hard pass on that right now.)

But the two other statewide Democrats who have pursued a similar strategy that don't get my vote are agriculture commissioner candidate  Kim Olson and lieutenant governor challenger Mike Collier.

I wish I could; I certainly made every effort to get to a point where I could.

Olson fails for a handful of reasons: she was Jay Garner's right-hand gal when GW Bush needed someone to oversee Iraqi rebuilding for the 2003 war the Decider-in-Chief had just waged.  From that grew a controversy about the awarding of contracts that ultimately forced Olson out of the military.  The Texas Tribune and the Austin Statesman (link below) have your deep dives.

The Los Angeles Times reported on the allegations against Olson in 2006, and she discusses the episode at length in her memoir, “Iraq and Back.” But until the Austin American-Statesman published a story about the investigation earlier this month, the ignominious end to Olson's military career had not figured in the race for agriculture commissioner.

Olson dares me not to judge her unless I've been to a "frickin' war".  Sorry, Colonel; I do not accept your prerequisite.  That's not how politics works.

Now there's at least two people who are so bowled over by Olson's swagger that they consider this badassery.  That would be Beto O'Rourke and Charles Kuffner.  I'm of the opinion that if Kim Olson is your idea of a badass, you might be a bit of a wuss yourself.

Perhaps you can see my various and recent criticisms starting to coalesce here.  Wars, establishment Democrats, votes to authorize more spending for wars, all while whining "how will we pay for" Medicare for all, or raising the federal minimum wage, etc.  A question that never gets asked every time the Pentagon requests another dozen billion dollars every quarter.

We have to change Democrats' thinking about this sometime, somewhere.  Might as well be in the Texas ag commissioner's race.  A crine ass shame too, because Sid Miller truly blows goats.

You can watch a short faceoff between Olson and Miller here, courtesy TexTrib and Progrexas.

Texas Donkeys have essentially the same problem in 2018 as they did in 2014: a Republican nominated by the Texas Democratic Party.  "At least she isn't Jim Hogan" isn't good enough to get my vote.  Olson hasn't been reticent in the slightest about encouraging crossover votes.  Please ... do share that with your Republican friends and family, as she requests at the very end.

She's going to need all the help like that she can get.


Collier, to my POV, has been less offensive about the ask but no less relentless about asking.  And it seems to be working for him: he appears to have almost convinced Big Jolly to switch going back to April.  That's a kind of a big deal.

This past week was Collier's turn with Evan Smith.  The Republican-turned-Democrat acquits himself well for the most part, repeating his ongoing broadsides against the abomination that is Dan Patrick, and property taxes, and public school funding, but the slip I noticed was when he was asked in which chamber of the Lege do bills originate.  He did not know, and brushed it off as unimportant.  That's close to a fatal error in my book.

Leticia van de Putte got 38% in this race four years ago against the Number One Bum Steer in Texas (Monthly).  Can Mike Collier do better than she?  I am anxious to see.

Update: I overlooked mentioning this email from Collier's campaign that arrived immediately after the SD-19 calamity last Tuesday (I've left the bold emphasis but deleted the gold highlights).

As if Mike’s race wasn’t important enough already - it's now the most important race in Texas. Last night, the special election in Senate District 19 saw Democrat Pete Gallego lose to Republican Pete Flores, who had the help of big money from Do-Nothing-Dan.

What that means: The loss scenario in this race just went from terrible to catastrophic for Texans. Currently, our state senate requires a three-fifths majority to introduce any legislation, and now the Republicans will likely have a supermajority (21/10) leaving the Democrats fighting for lower property taxes, teacher pay, and healthcare, completely voiceless.

If we don't elect Mike, everything Republicans put forward will go uncontested with no check against the damage it could do to everyday Texans. Imagine for a second: a Republican supermajority in the Senate, with a vacant Democratic seat to boot, and no Joe Straus to temper the craziness in the House. Dan Patrick would now be unchecked in his control of the Texas Legislature — we’d see a comeback for school vouchers, even higher property taxes and yes, a return of the bathroom bill.

Perry, if we lose this race, there will now be nothing standing in the way of these anti-business, anti-Texan policies – nothing at all.

This is exactly the kind of fear-mongering you'd expect to motivate Republican voters, after all.  And I have found Gilberto Hinojosa's daughter to be nearly as offensive in her relentless Blue Dog shilling as her father.  Surely the people who sent Elliot Naishtat to Austin for many years can find a more suitable progressive replacement for this legacy flack in 2020.

My vote is never going to be coerced like this.


I could go on a bit more, but I will end an already-long post with a few provisos.

-- First, I am not opposed to 'Democrats and Republicans working together'.  This post, also from Big Jolly's shop, offered a few opportunities for that.  I cannot tell if there has been any follow-up by Democrats to SD-11 GOP Chair Scott Bowen's suggestions. (Senate District 11, south and southeast Harris County encompassing the area commonly referred to as Clear Lake but also Galveston and Freeport, is represented by Republican Larry Taylor.  I don't know who the chair is but the two SDEC members are Susan Criss and Quentin Wiltz.  I do know that the wrong emissary to send to any meeting would be John Cobarruvias.)

-- High-profile Republicans endorsing Democrats in this cycle is indeed a movement.

-- Again: If you want to vote for these Democrats, like Mrs. Diddie, or a straight Democratic ticket for that matter, go on.  Twenty eighteen is that kind of year.  I won't hold your voting for shithole conservative establishment Dems against you if you won't hold my undervotes against me.  What I will hold against you is your undervoting a Democrat who happens to be to left of you, like Franklin Bynum for Harris County court.  That I will not abide.  And if you do that, you had better find the nads to say so publicly.

You're the MFer squealing #VoteBlueNoMatterWho, not me.

-- If O'Rourke, Fletcher, Olson, Collier, or James Horwitz (Harris County judicial Democrat) should lose their races by one vote, feel free to blame me.  Not the Republicans who did not cross over, or the undervoters who didn't make it to the bottom of the very lengthy Harris County ballot.

If they lose by 50 or a hundred votes -- let's say, up to a thousand -- you might add to your blame game the above plus a few folks who did not show up to vote, for whatever reasons of their own.  Any creed you choose.

If they lose by more than a thousand votes, then add to those above a campaign that did not quite execute its GOTV strategy as well as it could have.

DO NOT BLAME UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE: Green Party voters, Russian hackers.

Because we all want to believe that Democrats are not stupid.

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