Saturday, June 09, 2012

Crumbling from internal strife, TXGOP continues to wage jihad

Republican delegates to the state party convention in Fort Worth continued for a second day Friday to tussle among themselves over the direction of their party. Some booed the name of Mitt Romney, their presumptive presidential nominee, and a sizable number of convention-goers walked out on House Speaker Joe Straus.

The moves highlighted tension between traditional conservatives and tea party or movement conservatives, even as the GOP celebrated its Texas dominance, legislative accomplishments and unified front against President Barack Obama.

Nearly 300 miles to the southeast, Democrats at the George R. Brown Convention Center spent Friday attending caucus gatherings and tending to party business, but many kept an ear half-cocked to what was happening in Cow Town. To those of a certain age, it brought back memories of their party struggles during the so-called McGovern era, when true believers worked to purge the party of its moderate elements.

“The problem for Republicans, the challenge for them is that they are losing control over their own folks,” San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro said. “They have no control over their party right now. They have no control over their base.”

Although Castro professed to prefer “level-headedness all around” among elected officials of all stripes, he maintained that Republicans were leaving their constituents behind – to Democrats’ benefit.

“They’re leaving everyone behind,” he said. “They’re leaving the business community behind, that knows you have to invest in brain power to be a competitive 21st-century Texas. … And, of course, they’re leaving women behind and Hispanics behind and everyone else. It’s not a question of wishing them to be more extreme; we wish for the exact opposite. It’s a comment on the consequence of what they’re doing that I don’t believe they fully realize.” 

What's kinda fascinating about this to me is that I feel precisely the polar opposite from Speaker Straus -- who for a Republican surprisingly makes sense on an occasional basis --  with respect to what's going on the TDP (which is why I can't be a MOT any more.) Today Dems will either elect a progressive woman to chair of the state party or a conservative male. Same in CD-07. Same in other races in other places around the state. I advocated for the only progressive running in the US Senate primary; Democrats instead nominated a Blue Dog from East Texas and a 79-year-old man with a familiar last name who had run as a Republican previously.

Even if you take into consideration that the people in the article are talking about George McGovern forty years ago in this context (and recall that gave us Richard Nixon, a RINO by today's standards), no sane person could consider the developments to date in the Texas Democratic Party as 'moving to the left'. That will be the subject of tomorrow's post, however.

Straus had a tougher audience at the convention, where Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, has set up a booth and is handing out stickers touting his plans to challenge Straus for House leadership in 2013. The speaker got applause, but there also were some calls of “oust Straus” during his speech, and there was a walkout by a large number of convention-goers who left the arena individually but gathered outside to chant “Oust Straus.”

“We’re upset that Straus is not a conservative, and he’s not by any means our candidate,” said delegate John R. Marler of Georgetown. “He has granted to Democrats key committee positions that should never have gone to anybody but Republicans.”

Asked about the boos for others before his own speech, Straus said, “I think it’s disappointing when our party’s leaders or even those who are contenders to be party leaders are booed, but there are no flags for unsportsmanlike conduct at political conventions.” 

Straus got elected -- by Democrats and not-extremist Republicans -- because he was the lesser of two evils running for speaker. It will be the same in 2013. He then hands out committee chairmanships to the opposition, just as every single other Speaker has in the history of Texas.

Try as they like, TeaBaggers cannot, will not ever have total control. They have too much as it is.

Yes, November cannot come soon enough so that these RWNJs get their sacs sails trimmed back a good bit.

It works for me that they don't see it, don't get it.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Democrats: what to see, do, eat and drink while you're here

First, let's begin with what's in close proximity to the Hilton Americas/Geore R. Brown Convention Center, where everything convention-related is happening.

The Grove is the closest restaurant and bar to you outside of the hotel. It's part of Discovery Green, where lots of things will be happening also.  I like The Grove because it's both casual and upscale at the same time. It will probably be crowded with Democrats all weekend, so don't expect to have a quiet conversation. Have the shaved prosciutto with almonds and fruit and a glass of cabernet or a mojito (or something drier and more bitter if you prefer). The Lake House has the inexpensive hamburger and hot dog options with the same fabulous views of the park, just a lot more screaming children.

Two blocks away is downtown's vertical mall, Houston Pavilions. You have everything you could want here; shopping, upscale dining, a food court with Mexican, barbecue, Asian and all the rest, and some great clubs -- House of Blues, Scott Gertner's, Pete's Dueling Pianos. You can even go bowling if you want to.

More, you say? Head a few blocks further northwest to Main, where the light rail is. There you'll find Mia Bella Trattorria, one of the best Italian places in the city -- "try the veal". There's one in the Pavilions we haven't been to, and one on the light rail line we have.  Great brunch, great ambiance. And for some alternative entertainment, wander into Dean's Credit Clothing. This a stone's throw from where we're having the Bloggers Caucus. Lots of places in-between the two.

Need some groceries? Go into Georgia's or the Phoenicia. Both are awesome just to sit and have coffee or a light bite.

If that's not enough, jump the southbound train about four or five stops to the Ensemble/HCC station for some country/Cajun chow at Natachee's Supper and Punch, and browse the cool shops between there and the Continental Club. This is about as close to Austin's SoCo as Houston comes these days. Julia's is really the only thing in that two blocks that's upscale, and the food is marvelous. Someone with a lot of Cuban influences works in the kitchen there; they have that whole Latin/Caribbean fusion thing going on.

Keep in mind that if you feel like closing down the Continental -- or anything else -- the light rail may have stopped by then (it usually quits around 1 am) and you'll have to cab it home. If you catch the train but still can't manage the six blocks back to your bed, call Yellow Cab while you're riding the rail back north to Main St. Station so they're waiting for you when you get there. A six-block cab ride will cost you about $5 -- or maybe $6 or $7 with a nice tip for the driver.

Have fun and stay safe.

Stein captures Green presidential nomination

(Ed. note: As you know if you've clicked in here before, there's more to my political involvement this go-round than just being Blue.)

Dr. Jill Stein became the US Green Party's presidential nominee this week, getting enough national delegates to earn the right to challenge Barack Obama and M$tt R-money. Oh, and Gary "Toke" Johnson.

With 182 delegates required to win the nomination, and 194 delegates now in hand, Stein will go into the Green Party convention in Baltimore, July 12-15, with a clear majority of delegates. She has won over 66% of all delegates allocated, and 27 of 29 Green Party primaries, with the next nearest candidate, Roseanne Barr, at 22%.

Stein, a medical doctor who once ran against Mitt Romney for Governor of Massachusetts, is proposing a Green New Deal for America that will create 25 million jobs, end unemployment, and transition our country to a green economy. Her proposals will also guarantee public higher education and Medicare for all, break up the big banks, and end corporate domination of elections.

"Voters will not be forced to choose between two servants of Wall Street in the upcoming election,” said Stein. “Now we know there will be a third candidate on the ballot who is a genuine champion of working people."

See, that's kind of what the Democrats believe in as well, without all of the wars, drone assassinations, corporate sponsorships, and crapping on labor.

Here is Stein's "Green New Deal" speech, and the written version.

For those of you unable or unwilling to watch anything but a movie or read that much text, here is Stein's more informal campaign video "The Revolution in 8 Minutes":

Stein is coming to Texas and will be speaking this weekend at the Texas Green Party's state convention outside San Antonio. There will be a livestream link to that convention's happenings Saturday and Sunday; Stein is scheduled to speak about 1:55 Saturday afternoon.

Honestly, I'd rather be there than here in Houston but my health won't allow it. I'm going to make the best of what I have and can do; there's still a few Democrats I can heartily support.

More from Socratic Gadfly.

Related posts:

Texas Greens post 56 candidates for state and local offices

Greens likely to remain ballot-qualified in Texas after 2012