Sunday, August 02, 2009
On the floor of the U. S. House of Representatives, the tension was palpable.
After weeks of intense negotiations over the climate-change bill, during which the energy lobbies had exerted tremendous pressure on individual representatives, who were also feeling the heat from their engaged constituents, the final vote on the Waxman-Markey bill occurred on Friday, June 26.
The Democratic leadership knew that the final vote would be very close, and knew they must have a victory, leading Speaker Nancy Pelosi to be a constant force on the floor, tallying votes, confirming commitments, twisting arms; President Obama was also on The Hill speaking to as many undecided or recalcitrant representatives as would meet with him.
A Democratic legislator the leadership did not think they needed to worry about was Ciro Rodriguez of the Texas 23rd District. When Speaker Pelosi had polled him prior to the vote, he indicated he would vote “yes” on the measure, supporting his party’s longstanding commitment to enact much-needed legislation to begin to combat the effects of global warming.
He did not tell her the truth. When the time came to vote, instead he opposed the legislation, and then hustled off the crowded floor. Bedlam erupted. After Rodriguez sprinted out of the chamber, frustrated floor managers shouted after him and dispatched a search party. Politico blogger Glenn Thrush captured the high drama:
At one point, New York Rep. Anthony Weiner bounced from a huddle of leadership members and began calling the rep's name, like a wayward toddler, as he scanned the Speaker's Lobby and the adjacent balcony. “[Rodriguez] cast his 'no' and then ran the hell out of there," said a member of the whipping team, still steaming after the vote. "We tried him at his office and they said he was gone."
Why did Rodriguez say one thing and do another? Why did the former social worker not own up to his negative opinion about the legislation as a host of other Democrats had done? And why, like a child caught in the act, did he bolt from the floor - thereby compounding his guilt?
At one time Ciro was one of the best progressives in the House. That was during his first stint in Congress, from '97 to '05, when he represented CD 28. After Tom DeLay's redistricting, Ciro was defeated in a Democratic primary by fellow Blue Dog (and Bush lapdog) Henry Cuellar by a whopping 58 votes.
In my humble O, Rodriguez has done almost nothing since to merit that renewal.
Let's hope a real Democrat challenges this Blue Dog turncoat in 2010.
Saturday, August 01, 2009
The battle over alleged voter registration hijinks in the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector office took another turn today when Leo Vasquez reportedly removed Ed Johnson from his job as Associate Voter Registrar and reassigned him to Communications.
Johnson, along with State Rep. Dwayne Bohac has been the subject of a series of investigative pieces by the Democratically funded Lone Star Project out of Washington, D.C. LSP's allegations took a decidedly more serious turn yesterday when they questioned whether the Johnson-Bohac political consulting firm had improperly obtained drivers license data for their voter files.
Bohac has not returned our call seeking comment.
Matt Angle has been hard on this case:
The Lone Star Project’s exposure of the ongoing scandal in the Harris County Elections Office clearly spooked Republican State Representative Dwayne Bohac (HD138 – Houston). When the story broke, Bohac suspiciously pulled down his campaign consulting firm website and, since then, has refused to answer any questions regarding his ties to the Elections Office or his firm’s work for local Republicans officeholders like State Representative Ken Legler (HD144) and Congressman Michael McCaul (CD10).
Why has Dwayne Bohac “gone to ground” and hidden from the media?
Maybe because of this:
Dwayne Bohac must either produce evidence that CDS obtained Texas Drivers License records from a source other than the Harris County Elections office OR admit that he lied to clients and did not enhance their voter data with driver license records. Otherwise, Dwayne Bohac and Ed Johnson conspired to illegally obtain Texas Driver License records and use them for commercial political purposes which is a violation under the Texas Transportation Code, Sec. 730.013, and the federal Driver Privacy Protection Act of 1994.
More stink to come out about this.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst appears to have the support of at least two Congressional Democrats as a potential appointment to an open seat for U.S. Senate: Chet Edwards (Waco) and Ciro Rodriguez (San Antonio).
Dewhurst spent Thursday afternoon chatting with the two Democrats in the halls of the U.S. Capitol Building. They ran through issues ranging from the Hispanic vote to the partisan breakdown of Texas to Dewhurst’s chances of success in running for the Senate seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison (R).
Dewhurst has not-so-quietly been ramping up a campaign to replace Hutchison, who confirmed Wednesday that she will resign her seat this fall to run for Texas governor. She plans to formally announce her 2010 gubernatorial run next month.
Certainly seems to make Vince's scenario more plausible. Chet and Ciro seem to have been sought out for a blessing, which is just nauseating.
I owe a long post on my disgust with conservative Democrats, particularly our flea-bitten breed here in Deep-In-The-Hearta, and I hope I can get it done without strangling one of them.
Update: More of this from Burka:
Both Green and Edwards thought the leadership made a mistake by taking up the global warming bill before health care. “A lot of House members think it was wrong to do energy first,” Green said. “Polling it, it [global warming] is not a big issue in my district. Air quality is a big issue.” He was particularly annoyed that multinational energy corporations get a better deal from the European community than from our own Congress. Edwards said of the emphasis on energy, “It was a mistake. Why would you put a bill whose impact is 20 years from now ahead of a bill that deals with a system [health care] that is unsustainable now?” The decision to go with energy was made by Nancy Pelosi — it was her top priority — and by Obama, who wanted to have talking points at the G-8 conference.
Paul Burka, Gene Green, and Chet Edwards are three of the most massive douchebags in the entire state of Texas.