Texas in my Rearview Mirror

Pat Ryan

You try to take a couple of days off to visit yer doddering old Da and the really fun stuff happens. Actually The Old Man ain't exactly on his last legs as it turns out. As a 76 year old prison guard of four years, who had his chest cracked open a couple of months ago, he flies the Jolly Roger 24/7 and neither asks nor gives quarter. This is only good and proper as the blasted moonscape of the Permian Basin, home of various Bushes and claimed by more, is no place for the faint-of-heart. Among the residents of this fair land, corruption is endemic (and exclusively Democratic); while Real Men are few (and exclusively Republican). It's True Grit all over again, as the badly outnumbered John Waynes stand tall against the weasly Bruce Dern types.

So anyhow, while I was doing my Stranger in a Srange Land schtick, Mr. Tom Delay (R-Sugarland) won a landslide primary victory of around sixty percent. The Spinmeisters have to be a bit nervous about the fact that Hot Tub Tom, having spent $2 million on attorneys and primaries, couldn't get forty percent of the hardcore faithful to shut down their gag reflexes. Nick Lampson, whose district was gerrymandered out of existence by DeLay's '03 redistricting effort, must still be giggling right now as he heads into the election season.

Back in DC, George and Dick are just puzzled over public reaction to the proposed Dubai Port Terminal deal. Seems like the faithful, having internalized the four year message that They hate us for our Freedom, can't get their heads around the concept that these Arabs are good Arabs. After all, these guys were early investors in The Carlyle Group, bailed young George out of a couple of tight spots, and currently host US Navy ships on a regular basis. The Reds like their messages simple and easily digestible. When Scooter's replacement and Neo-Con-of-the-moment Stephen Hadley reassures us that guys that went on hunting trips with Osama in '99, had just as much right to our trust as the Bin Laden family, the kids can be excused for their confusion.

The upshot of all of this was that while George was standing firm on his veto threat, we got to see Senator John Warner walk out of the White house and announce that Dubai was backing out of the deal about fifteen minutes before the Gummint of Dubai made the same announcement.

I'm going to go make some popcorn and watch Battlestar Galactica while I still have a Mellow on. I don't really want to think about how badly the Dems got rolled on the latest Patriot Act Vote, but I would like to thank Ron Wyden and Patty Murray for being two of only ten US Senators who give a damn about the Bill of Rights.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    Bush and his cronies must think the American electorate suffers from Alzheimer's Disease. He's been busily stomping mudholes in our civil liberties to the chant of "terriss, terriss" after running an election based on his being our saviour from the "evildoers" (I can't remember which label) and now these are the good guys? I realize that the truth is pretty dispensible with this bunch, but gads zooks, at some point the crows come home to roost (isn't that a Texism?)

    I'm real glad the Da is good, and thanks for the Actblue. I'll earn it.

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    Pat -- Thanks for the cogent analysis. It hadn't quite crystallized for me that the crux of the Dubai Debacle was the incessant message from the White House that all Ay-rabs are terrrrists - but that the disaster this time was that the Ay-rabs are nice suit-wearin' golf-playin' oil and boardroom men.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    On of the things I like about Pat is we seem to run into the same ideas at pretty close to the same time. I'd just finished posting about this over on ... that campaign site when I bopped over here to see what was up. Mine's for shorter attention spans...

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    Well, if one of us had to go to Texas, I'm glad it was you.

    As for DeLay's seat, there are interesting logistics. Right now the DeLay gerrymander is headed for the Supremes, who, according to Jeffrey Toobin, may be poised to overturn it. That's good news, except that if they do, it will reinstate the old districts--and Lampson will no longer be in DeLay's. So we either lose the Supreme Court case, which might reverse the disease of data-perfect (to the house) gerrymanders and permanent incumbancy, or we lose Lampson. The Bugman keeps the old districts or his seat, and with any luck, both.

    Texas politics...I ain't gonna mess with 'em.

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    That was the wrong link to Toobin. Try this one.

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    It seems that Rove and the Neocons, who are pretty devoted to serial deception and secrecy, failed to recognize a situation where honesty and education might have won the day.

    Sometimes you just naturally use the tools that you're familiar with rather than the best tools in the box.

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    Well, if one of us had to go to Texas, I'm glad it was you.

    What Alworth said.

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    It's a very sticky situation, and the courts will have to rule on what to do with it.

    Do they throw everything out, and set a new filing deadline for a new primary? That allows people to have time to file in the new districts, folks like Lampson to move back to their old district, etc.

    Do they allow the new districts to stand for this election, but the new ones for the 2008 election?

    It's all a matter of how the courts rule that the situation should be handled.

    I do know the people of Texas will be very glad to have their old districts back. Those lines followed historical, cultural, and physical boundaries. For the most part they made sense. These new districts are an absolute mess.

    And I can assure you the vast majority of the people in Lampson's old district (where I lived for 20 years and my family still lives) will be very happy to dump their two current reps and have Lampson back.

    At least Lampson gave a damn about NASA and about the area when hurricanes threatened the area. DeLay didn't care when his constituents were under a very messy, disorganized mandatory evacuation where there wasn't enough gas to even get people out of the area. Where more people died from the evacuation than the affects of the hurricane.

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    You lived there, so I can't intelligently argue that 100 years of D domination resulted in fair boundariesThose lines followed historical, cultural, and physical boundaries. For the most part they made sense. but I'm real clear that the new ones do not.

    While Jeff points out a couple of possible negative results, Glass-half-full guys can rejoice that if Delay wins in court and Lampson wins on the ground, we win DeLay's seat. If DeLay loses in court and still wins his seat, Texas will still have to go back and fix the mess..........

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    Several times their redistricting process ended up in the courts (including the redistricting after the 2000 Census), so they ended up with fairly good districts. There were few complaints, other than the R's feeling that they deserved more seats since they ran the state government.

    There were some weird ones around the state, which is why I said that they made sense for the most part.

    They typically put together communities that were very similar and had been tied together for generations.

    There were some oddities that the Republicans were able to sneak in-- such as adding some R dominated areas to the 9th District after the primary the first year Lampson ran. This meant that the general was now open to anyone who wanted to run, regardless of whether or not they'd won the primary.

    They then paid for two Democrats to run-- one who'd lost the primary and one whose last name was Brooks. The significance of that last name is that it is the same as the Democratic Congressman who'd represented the district for more than 40 years before losing to a Republican. That Republican (Steve Stockman) was finishing up his first term and was running for re-election for the first time.

    He ran as "Jack Brooks," which was challenged in court. The courts ruled he had to use his real name. And since Jack was not a name he went by, he could not use that.

    The Republicans thought they could keep the seat through tricks, and it didn't work.

    Lampson and team "took back the 9th" and he went on to serve until the redistricting.

    <h2>Thus far the massacre with the maps is the only way they've been able to hold heavily Democratic areas of the state.</h2>

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