XP's Endorsement for Governor
Ever since the defeat of Ann Richards in 1994 and the overwhelming dominance of the Republican Party in TX politics over the last several years, everything has gone down hill. The truth is, Texas government really does need a change. This is not say that the Democratic dominance was not corrupt. There is a big difference between the post-Reconstruction Democratic Party and the post-Civil Rights Democratic Party, which is something present day Republicans tend to leave out as they try to appeal to minority voters. Democratic hegemony in Texas began at the end of Reconstruction. The party was dominated by white interests dedicated to maintaining segregation, using racial appeals, patronage, and the suppression of black voters to maintain their hold on elections and government. In fact, the current Republican Party is very similar to the post-Reconstruction Democratic Party, which was dominated by the party's conservative wing. It was in the 1960's when things changed within the Texas Democratic Party.
Beginning in the 1960s that ratio became inverted – increasingly more people voted in the general election than in the Democratic primary, a sign that intraparty tensions were eroding the Democrats' electoral lock on Texas government. As decades of dominance by the party's conservative faction gave way to pitched battle between old-line conservatives and newly-mobilized liberals, many longtime Democratic conservatives found a new home among the growing ranks of Republican Texans.The current Texas GOP is filled with far right wing conservatives that have gone out of its way to steamrolled every extreme measure they want through the legislature. The corruption that occurred with the pre-1960 Democratic Party is the same corruption that is occurring with the current Republican Party, same type of people, just different party name. Texas is in a dire situation that needs to be fixed right away. Molly Ivins is correct when she eloquently called Texas the National Laboratory for Bad Government.
Now for my endorsements.
There has been a major focus on the governor's race and the candidates are Rick Perry, Democrat Chris Bell, independent candidates Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman, and Libertarian James Werner.
The governor of Texas does not have much power, but the office does provide the governor a bully pulpit to speak on whatever measure the gov would like the legislators to tackle, the power to veto legislation and the power to make appointments.
My endorsement goes to Chris Bell. Not because he is a Democrat, but I genuinely believe he can initiate change to this state. Bell has served five years on the Houston City Council, which I, as a constituent, thought he was very effect. As city councilman, he served as chairman of both the Council Committee on Customer Service and Initiatives and the Ethics Committee. He also was very effective in passing laws that limited the use of soft money in city elections. He also made government more accessible to the public. Believe me, before he came along it really was a mess.
Before re-districting, he also was my Congressman, representing Texas District 25 in Houston and had he won his re-election would have continued to represent my district. Bell's District 25 was redrawn and resulted in District 9, a district intended for minority representation. As Congressman, Bell was the one who filed the ethics complaint against Tom DeLay, which the House Ethics Committee unanimously admonished DeLay.
I agree on every one of Bell's issues except for one. Bell has said he plans to provide health insurance for all TX children, increase minimum wage, and bring back true diversity to government appointments.
On Texas education, Bell has said he is dedicated to increase spending for the Texas public education system, raise teachers' salaries, and end high-stakes testing. He also wants to help schools acquire and retain quality teachers and stop textbook censorship. And on Texas higher education, he plans to end Rick Perry's tuition deregulation, which caused a 23% average increase in tuition at Texas state schools.
The one issue I disagree is Bell's stance on immigration. Bell supports the use of National Guard troops along the US-Mexico border, "as long as we are very careful not to turn the border into a militated zone."
"One tough Grandma" Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn is running as "Republican-lite." Even she alleges to be an independent and that is something sorely disingenuous. She is a three-decade Austin insider who had two sons in the Bush administration, Scott McClellan, former Press Secretary to Dubya and Dr. Mark McClellan, former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. If she expects to pass herself as being an Austin outsider, it did not work.
As to why I will not waste my vote on Kinky Friedman (sorry jobsanger). My problem with Kinky is not that he comes out as a maverick or entertaining, such as calling in the Polish army for his martial law stance on the border. Nor is that I think he lacks experience, I personally believe people can rise to the level of expectations. I am pretty sure he could a good job, learn the ins and outs if he surrounded himself with good people. My problem with Kinky is that voted for a mass-murdering fabricator. I suppose I could be labeled as a purist because I do consider voting for someone who voted for Bush in 2004 to be unconscionable. Some many think voting for Kinky is a vote against the status quo, in this case, in my honest opinion I do not think so.
The fact is, after seeing that Iraq was a lie and a deathtrap for our soldiers, and after the world realized Bush was a fanatic, God-talking nutcase, Kinky proclaimed that Bush's foreign policy is a success because he is friends with Bush.
SM: So does this idea of the honorable cowboy have anything to do with why you threw your support behind President Bush in this last election? You did, didn’t you?According to Kerr County voting records, Friedman voted in the 2004 presidential general election but not in any other contest since 1994.
Friedman: Yes. I did in this last election, but I didn’t vote for him the first time.
SM: Who did you vote for in 2000?
Friedman: I voted for Gore then. I was conflicted. . .but I was not for Bush that time. Since then, though, we've become friends. And that's what's changed things.
SM: So it's your friendship with him that's changed your mind about having him as president more than his specific political positions?
Friedman: Well, actually, I agree with most of his political positions overseas, his foreign policy. On domestic issues, I’m more in line with the Democrats. I basically think he played a poor hand well after September 11. What he’s been doing in the Near East and in the Middle East, he’s handling that well, I think.
More importantly, if Friedman can't see how poor a choice Bush was in 2004 after his horrendous first term, what the hell does it take? Why give him the keys to the Governor's mansion? More importantly, what would he have to do for you to hold him to account for his obviously clueless discernment?
I commend Kinky for his work with animals and promising biodiesel transportation, but that is not enough to win my support.
This is just my personal thoughts about this election. Tomorrow, I will break down the Lt. Gov race.