Category Archives: Texas Politics

Lyin’ Ted, er – Make that Lyin’ Rafael

Sen. Ted Cruz (TP – Texas) has put out a pathetic attempt of parody song attempting to smear his opponent Beto O’Rourke with the following line:

“Liberal Robert wanted to fit in, so he changed his name to Beto and hid it with a grin.”

Of course, Rafael Edward Cruz felt no such similar need to fit in.  He just used Ted because he was a big fan of Ted Kennedy.  Red has to admit that Lyin’ Rafael has a ring to it. What it does show is that Lyin’ Ted learned from the beating he took at the hands of Trump.  Go after your opponent no matter what your personal circumstance might happen to be.  Trump was the consummate liar and crooked businessman – so he reversed that by calling his opponents liars and crooks.  Lyin’ Ted has a name that would not fit in well with his conservative base – so attack your opponent for using a nickname that was given to him and that he has carried since birth it would seem.  The only problem for Lyin’ Ted is that such a strategy may work for a once-in-a-lifetime political anomaly like Trump – it probably doesn’t work if you are already an unlikable, stick-up-your-ass narcissist like Lyin’ Ted.



Texas’ Hottest Primary Contests

The Texas Tribune’s Ross Ramsey has categorized some of the 215 contested primary elections for statewide office, U.S. Congress and the Statehouse according to his calculation of the heat of the race  See Ramsey’s temperature scale of hottest, hotter and hot contests here.

The one GOP race that has Red excited is the contest to unseat Do-Nothing Land Commissioner and only holding office by virtue of his family name George P. Bush.  The Bush family scion had done nothing to deserve election to statewide office and by all accounts doesn’t really do much on the job other than collect a paycheck on the taxpayer dime.  Red is firmly backing former LC Jerry Patterson who actually wants to do a good job for Texas and protect Texas public lands.  Patterson fought hard for our historically open beaches when the Texas Supreme Court attempted to cut back access with bizarre rulings based on arcane concepts.   Patterson is a little extreme for Red’s taste on the weapons front –  but other than allowing hunting on some public lands (which is sorely lacking in Texas compared to our western neighbors), his views on concealed and open carry laws will not have much impact on the Land Commissioner’s office.

George P.’s endorsement of Donald Trump after Trump totally trashed his father JEB!!!!$$$$? tells you just about everything you need to know about the current LC.  Some might say only a spineless weasel of an ambitious politician would endorse a man who called his dear old Dad “dumb as a rock” – which was actually among his kinder things Trump said about JEB!!!!$$$$?.  Red won’t go that far, but you can.

Texas’ Most Endangered Species – Thoughtful Republicans

The Republicans who represent a good chunk of the Texas Panhandle in the Texas House and Senate are facing ultra-right wing challengers in the upcoming GOP primary.  Merely being a somewhat thoughtful conservative or even considering a Democratic proposal is a dangerous game to play in the Tea Party dominated Texas GOP.  If you are unwilling to lick the boots of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, you might just find yourself back home wondering how you aren’t quite conservative enough.  Senator Kel Selinger and Representatives Ken King (Lubbock) and Four Price (Amarillo) may be unseated in March.  The Texas Observer has more on the far right movement to take down any such “Establishment Republicans.”

The challengers are generally following a playbook developed by Empower Texans, a right-wing enforcement group that targets what it considers establishment Republicans: claim that you are unequivocally conservative and that the other guy is basically a Democrat, all the while vilifying bipartisanship and accusing your opponent of being a big-government patsy who’s soft on abortion.

Far-right groups, including Texans for Vaccine Choice, Texas Right to Life and Grassroots America — We The People are working to knock off the incumbents. And while the Panhandle is one of the reddest parts of the whole country (Trump took 90 percent of the vote in some of the counties here), the area continues to elect Republicans with a pragmatic streak. For instance, King has sought to secure funding for struggling rural schools; Price has been a champion for mental health care; and Seliger refused to divert money from public schools for private school vouchers. Wielding accusations of perceived liberalism, challengers have made the region a battleground in the civil war raging within the Texas GOP.


Beto O’Rourke for Senate

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) is the Democratic frontrunner to take on “Lying” Ted Cruz (TP-Texas) in 2018.  The Texas Observer has an long article on O’Rourke unorthodox campaign and background.  O’Rourke stands in stark contrast to the narcissistic, unlikeable and prickly Cruz who seems afraid to be in Texas right now as he has refused to hold a town hall meeting anywhere in the state for months.  O’Rourke on the other hand is rolling through Texas shaking hands and making friends.  Beto is still unlikely to unseat “Lying Ted”, but he just might make the smug and self-righteous Cruz sweat.  That would be worth the price of admission.

If you’re a Democrat and you find yourself running for statewide office in Texas, somewhere along the way you’ve made a wrong decision. A campaign is a two-year hell, and you have a very low chance of winning. If you lose badly, like Wendy Davis, your political life is probably over. Stay on the sidelines, like the Castro brothers, and your time may never come. Either way, you and your party lose. To run, and to commit to it seriously, requires either a sort of blindness to reality or a willingness to sacrifice for the greater good.O’Rourke has a bit of both. On the one hand, he has very little experience with state politics, having skipped from a seat on the El Paso City Council to Congress. He’s unfamiliar with the bitterness and cynicism that pervades party politics in the rest of the state.

But he also feels a certain urgency. Many people believe the whole system of American politics is breaking down, he says. “I know so many people who voted for Trump, and I say, ‘How could you do that? You live in El Paso. You don’t want a wall.’ They’re like, ‘No, I could give a shit about the wall. I just want somebody to blow that place up. That place is so fucked up and corrupted, and it is a swamp, and that’s the first guy who I know could care less about the system.’” In his own way, O’Rourke is trying to blow up the system, too. When he describes his reasons for doing so, it becomes clear that the campaign is a sort of personal crusade.

“I think that your successor 500 years from now is going to be writing about us the way that we write about the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages,” he tells me. “It’s just so corrupt, in the same way that they were selling bishoprics and indulgences to shorten your time in purgatory. We’re selling votes. We’re selling amendments. We’re selling democracy, and it’s absolutely disgusting. But what makes it even more fucked up is that everybody knows that it’s happening, but it’s just what has always happened for so long now that it’s all-encompassing in the system. No one seems really willing to do anything that will compromise their ability to be successful in that system by stepping out of it.”

Democrats Floundering in Trump Era

democrats are now 0-3 in Trump Era special elections.  Democratic candidate John Ossof wasn’t really close to winning Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.  He was handily defeated by Karen Handel after the most expensive congressional race in U.S. history – a contest marred by vicious ads attacking Ossof.  Shadowy right wing PAC money painted Ossof as a stooge of the “mouthpiece of  terrorists” and attempted to tie him up in the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise.

Ossof could not even match the showing of little-known Archie Parnell in the almost completely under the radar South Carolina special election also held on Tuesday.  Ossof lost by 6 points, Parnell only lost by 4 in a much more heavily Republican district.

All this shows that the GOP is holding serve where it needs to and that the Dems are lost in the woods right now.   Running basic unknowns against established politicians isn’t going to cut it no matter how much money is thrown at a race.  The message of “At least we’re not crazy” doesn’t seem to be resonating in the heartland.   Sitting around waiting for the Republicans to shoot themselves in the foot (something they are wont to do) is not working.  There is no coherent message as an alternative to a party that has been the party of War and Recession for nearly 40 years.  If you can’t beat these guys, maybe just maybe you should think about folding up shop.  Red has some ideas for a new party – but that is for another time.

Right now 2018 is looking better and better for Trump.  Red thinks Trump has a real shot at securing an even larger working majority in the House and Senate while the GOP retains control at the statehouse level across the country.  The U.S. is not headed towards strict one-party rule (like Texas), but it is approaching de facto status in that regard.

Message to Greg Abbott: If you don’t like Austin, why don’t you get the f#(k out

Our Poor Idiot Governor Greg Abbott has made Red long for the days of our previous PIG Rick Perry who seems to have disappeared in DC.  Abbott was recently spotted unleashing a tirade against the city where he has been sucking on the state teat for the last 20 some years while continuing to collect money from the massive personal injury settlement that he has spent the rest of his life ensuring that no one else would ever get.   Speaking to a Tea Party crowd in Bell County, Abbott disparaged the Capital City.

“As I was coming up here from Austin, Texas, tonight, I got to tell you, it’s great to be out of the People’s Republic of Austin. As you leave Austin and start heading north, you start feeling different Once you cross the Travis County line, it starts smelling different. And you know what that fragrance is? Freedom. It’s the smell of freedom that does not exist in Austin, Texas. That said, with your senators and legislators, I can tell you that today, Austin is more free than it was before the legislative session began because the state of Texas passed laws that overrode the liberal agenda of Austin, Texas, that is trying to send Texas down the pathway of California.”

First of all, OPIG Abbott is all about local control until it doesn’t fit within his grand scheme.  After all, this is the guy who wants to blow up the union as it has stood for more than 200 years, so that individual states have more control.  But if a city in his state doesn’t tow OPIG Abbott’s hard Tea Party line – well that’s just undemocratic and must be squashed.  What a complete and total hypocrite.

OPIG Abbott needs to clean up his own house before complaining about Austin.  The state he supposedly leads has the second highest percentage of uninsured children,  ranks number 4 for women living in poverty, number 44 for high school graduation rates, is dead last in percentage of people with at least a high school diploma (that explains a lot right there), dead last in spending on mental health (again explaining a lot), and near the bottom in people with retirement plans and financial net worth of households.  And that’s just a few things.  Texas ranks near the bottom in almost every category involving education, the environment, social welfare and standard of living.

So what can OPIG Abbott brag about?  Where does Texas rank No. 1 among the states? Here’s where.

Highest number of uninsured people

No. 1 emitter of carbon dioxide

No. 1 generator of hazardous waste

No. 1 in executions

No. 1 in percentage of voting age population that doesn’t vote (why bother in Tea Party Republic of Texas)

But you know what, OPIG Abbott is right –  the air is different when you leave Austin.  It’s often filled with the smell of ignorance, bigotry, poverty, pollution, intolerance and untimely death.  Not everywhere – but in way too many places.  So OPIG Abbott, how about this? Why don’t you work on  cleaning up the mess that you and your party have made of Texas over the last 25 years before you start talking trash about one of the most successful, prosperous, vibrant, fun and attractive communities in the entire country.  Red knows you would tackle those issues if you weren’t so busy worrying about who gets to pee where and attempting to upset the constitutional order that has served our country fairly well for about 225 years. So once you have legally cemented LGBT bigotry and have torn apart the basic contract of the union, you might consider getting to work on making things better for the people you supposedly represent.

And one last thing, if you don’t like breathing the air in Austin, please resign and go get a real job.  You won’t be missed.

Doesn’t Mike McCaul have enough to do – what with being a Congressman and all?

Politico reports that Texas Republican Congressman Mike McCaul (more or less of Austin – although with his heavily gerrymandered district it’s hard to pinpoint an epicenter) has reported approximately 7,300 stock transactions in an array of industries over a two-year period.   McCaul is reportedly the first or second wealthiest member of Congress with an estimated net worth of almost $300,000,000.  Yet, that aint enough apparently.  McCaul and his family are voracious stock traders bent on acquiring even more money and creating a potential ethical quagmire as McCaul surely must be voting on matters that affect his personal wealth.  Red foolishly thinks that a Congressman should actually pay attention to the business of the nation more than his own pocketbook.

Now don’t get Red wrong here. Red admires McCaul as someone who got rich the old-fashioned way.  He married well.  Most of McCaul’s wealth is held by his wife, Linda McCaul, the daughter of Clear Channel Communications CEO and founder Lowry Mays.  His skyrocketing overall net worth appears to be the product of generational wealth transfer.  If only Red had been so smart he too could have been busy carrying water for his corporate masters in D.C. in his spare time after he finished his day-trading.