Monday, January 20, 2014

Texas Politics Getting More Interesting

For some of us, politics has become a contact spectator sport with all the draw of football, hockey, MMA matches and NASCAR. Some may not get the NASCAR reference, but there are plenty of people who watch the races for the sole purpose of seeing the carnage of a collision.

The 2014 election cycle in Texas is proving to be worth the price of admission and a large popcorn.

The most interesting race will undoubtedly be the Lt. Governor's office. Incumbent David Dewhurst is attempting to pick up the pieces from his loss to Tea Party grassroots dark horse Ted Cruz. Senator Cruz has proven himself true to his word, so far.

The loss in the 2012 Senate race may have hurt Dewhurst more than he thought. His incumbent defense of his office is in jeopardy. He faces Dan Patrick who promoted legislation to rein in the controversial CSCOPE curricula and to ban  Common Core from Texas schools. However, that legislation has hit some key bumps in the road. Many of the CSCOPE material and curricula in question remain in use until they can be reviewed in 2015. In addition, the blockage of Common Core has not stopped the Texas SBOE from purchasing I-Station, a computerized reading program designed to assess students' reading capability using automation designed with Common Core standards at the foundation.

Both Dewhurst and Patrick have rung their bells claiming they support the Second Amendment and support reforming Texas legislation to restore Second Amendment protections to citizens. However, neither of them managed to get key legislation passed in the 83rd session in 2013. Campus Carry is still illegal. There is no open carry of pistols in Texas either with or without necessitating a permit. Citizens who are legally open carrying rifles in accordance with state laws are still being arrested for unconstitutional peripheral charges such as "inciting alarm". Municipalities such as San Antonio have openly ordered their police to look for any and every excuse to charge citizens brazen enough to exercise their constitutional rights.

That brings us to Todd Staples. Staples spent time in the state legislature before becoming the state Agriculture Commissioner. He has published studies and plans for immigration reform and border security, another key issue for Texans. For Staples, border security is a matter of national security as well as individual self-defense. It should not be surprising that Staples favors open carry legislation. The concept is simple. If enough citizens go armed, be it concealed or open, Texas becomes a hard target for illegal border-jumpers, especially those who seek to supplant ranchers from their lands in order to use those properties for illicit purposes. In other words, more armed law-abiding citizens means fewer criminals. Staples was among those at the Jan. 19th Open Carry Texas rally in Austin.

Where was Leticia Van De Putte? For those unfamiliar, Van De Putte is Wendy Davis's unofficial running mate. Davis seeks the governors' mansion. Van De Putte seeks the Lt. Governor office. Van de Putte is the state level senator from San Antonio. She is closely tied to Davis, Julian Castro, Chief of Police McManus, and several others.

San Anotnio is tied up in a law suit against one of the city's former employees. John Foddrill, Sr. has attempted time and again to have Texas Open Meeting Act violations investigated. San Antonio has allegedly held closed-door city council sessions that included decisions kept from public eyes. If so, that is against Texas administrative laws. But it is a misdemeanor. As such, it requires a local official to request an investigation from the state level. So far, no official is willing to make such a request. When inquiring people such as Mr. Foddrill look deeper, allegations of complicit or complacent associations emerge.

So, how much does Van de Putte know about this "land swap deal" between San Antonio and the GSA? She is, after all, the state senator for the district involved.

The Texas Race For Governor

The major battle is between Wendy Davis and Gregg Abbott. Davis is the state senator known for grandstanding her failed filibuster of a bill designed  to make abortions safer. She is running against the State's Attorney General, Gregg Abbott.

First, Davis attempted to smear Abbott for not disclosing all of his income. The issue here is Davis hoped nobody would recognize the difference between income and capital gains. In addition, she hoped nobody would recognize the difference between income and restitution payments ordered by the courts. Abbott was paralyzed in an accident many years ago. He still receives restitution payments from those found negligent and at fault. However, Abbott also donates quite a bit to charity and does not always claim the tax deduction for doing so.

Next, somebody allegedly affiliated with Battleground Texas started slinging mud at Abbott because he is paralyzed. For a group that supposedly backs a political party that claims it fights for "human rights", especially those of minorities and the disabled, this sends a huge mixed message. One wonders if they sling mud at the memory of FDR for being bound to a wheelchair due to polio.

Davis holds that the mudslinging over the disability has nothing to do with her campaign. However, she turns around and brags about raising over $12 million in campaign funding. She cites donations to Battleground Texas, who initiated the disability-discriminating  attacks against Abbott, as part of her campaign financing. So Wendy is caught tap-dancing between lauding and denying her affiliation with Battleground Texas. Battleground Texas was also exposed by Project Veritas recently. They were connected to possible fraud on behalf of many so-called "Obamacare Navigators".

To mire Davis deeper in her own mud, other recent facts come to light. She has ridden on the wave of being a self-made single mother,a teen mother at that. It turns out she was married when her first child was born. She was no longer a teen when she divorced. Not long after, she met the man who would become her second husband. He helped pay off her student loans and pay for her bachelor's degree. The then paid her Harvard Law School tuition. He took care of her kids while she was in law school. Then he got custody of them after their divorce.

So she didn't do it alone. She didn't do it with the help of government handouts. She did it by being a gold-digger. That very much contrasts the image of "independent, self-made woman" she portrays. In fact, the true story of Wendy Davis appears more to support one of a woman being dependent upon a man, the government, or both. Her story also appears to advocate using and abusing people to get what you want. That is not the type of morality Texans will soon get behind.

Anybody who knows any Texas women will tell you that a real Texas woman is self-reliant, head-strong, can shoot, can rope, can ride, can act like a lady, but won't stand for crap. Heck, a good Texas woman is known for picking her man up by his bootstraps then digging a spur into his backside to get him back on the straight and narrow.

Race For The US Senator Seat

John Cornyn, the incumbent, was once ranked the second most conservative senator in the US Senate. If that were still the case, there must be a bunch of others tied for first. That list would include Senators such as Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio.

Cornyn's level of conservatism or libertarianism seems to vary depending upon the taste of his morning coffee. He opposes open carry bills claiming he sees no point behind openly carrying any form of arms. He must have missed those history lessons surrounding the Second Amendment's inclusion in the US Constitution. The wording does not say "for those with a permit to do so". It says "shall not be infringed". However, Cornyn has sponsored an act designed to enable concealed carry permit reciprocity in the US. It is a rewrite of an amendment he presented to legislation in 2013. That bill amendment was shot down by the Senate. His 2014 proposal faces the same fate.

His opponent, US Rep. Stockman, ideologically supports constitutional carry. However, he is a US Congressman. As things stand now, concealed carry, open carry, and constitutional carry legislation is a state-level issue. Stockman also supports reining in federal spending, decreasing the deficit and federal debt, and balancing the federal budget. However, to stand for those things, he needs to be present for floor votes and cast his votes accordingly. He claimed he was going to vote against the latest federal spending bill. He didn't vote one way or the other. Can Texans really get behind somebody that claims they will fight for them but is a no-show when the bell rings at the start of the bout? 

A "big-government Republican" who shows up and even puts on the gloves every so often just may end up being a better choice than a trash-talker who won't even show up ringside, much less enter it.