Parker for Congress?

Bear with me here. I think Annise Parker is going to run for Congress, in the eighteenth district, most likely in 2016. If Sheila Jackson Lee runs again in 2016, she would be 67 by the time she’d take office, and would have been in office for 22 years. Parker, on the other hand would be 59, and still with a strong zeal and spirit. I don’t know if Parker could win the African American dominated district, but I am somewhat confident she will at least try. Here’s why:

1. Parker spent her first term trying to follow the tradition of Bill White, making everyone happy. She kept White’s style of business, moderating on budget issues and steering clear of big issues. However, the sheer extremism of the Texas GOP wants to run her out on a rail simply because of sexual orientation. That whole thing about whether or not Obama’s detractors are motivated by racism is up in the air, but I am absolutely confident that Parker’s major detractors are motivated by homophobia. However, when she was re-elected, against virtual nobodies, it was not by any means by large margins. White was re-elected with 91% of the vote, Parker had about 51%. Parker has now taken to a more Lee Brown-esque style, pandering to the left. Among her left-leaning accomplishments for the second term have been being less confrontational with occupiers, appearing on the Colbert Report, speaking out against racist hpd officers, and taking standing on national issues, such as marriage equality. Doing this, made Parker hated by the right and loved by the left. Luckily for her, there are a whole lot more people on the left in Houston.

Specifically, Parker has seemed to try to appeal to the African-American community. That whole thing about Bloomberg (the HPD officer who beat up the kid) really solidified this belief for me. Parker stood with African-American pastors and declared she did not agree with the verdict and that “They will never again be Houston police officers whatever the verdict is in the criminal trial”. This is major leftward shuffling for someone like Parker who wants higher office.

2. Parker has established that she has aspirations for higher office. However, as we have discussed, Texas will probably not go blue in the Governor’s office until 2018 and not the other statewide offices until 2020 or 2022. Parker’s terms at City Hall run out on the first day of 2016. 2016 is therefore the year she would run.

So if SJL retires for 2016, there will be A LOT of candidates very interested. To name a few: Rodney Ellis, Sylvia Garcia, C.O. Bradford, Jarvis Johnson, and Sylvester Turner. Parker could have the advantage of great name recognition and connections with the business interests. Further, TX-18 is not as strongly African-American as it always ways. I believe last I checked there are more Latinos, which if they rallied behind Parker, could defeat the African American interest’s candidate.

But it’s an off day on news, and the farther you get from the present the more outlandish the claims become.


One of the things I have noticed since being up here in Mass is that the liberals here are optimistic and sunny and happy. Personally, I have little respect for the Massachusetts Democratic establishment (I mean, Scott Brown, come on), but I get that they are mostly optimistic whereas Democrats haven’t won statewide office in Texas since I was an infant. I have a really that Texas has turned me into quite the cynic. For example, I think Sadler and Petty and Hampton are all fantastic candidates, but at a certain point I accept that they will not win, nor come anywhere close to winning. However, my optimism has always been towards the future, towards this abstract idea that there will be a people’s backlash at the end of the decade, spurred on by demographic changes. A coalition of Latinos, African-Americans, Asians, Austinites, and Inner-loop professions will rise up to kick the good ol’ boys out of the capitol. So here is my timeline:

November 2012 — Romney defeats Obama in electoral college, Obama wins popular vote. Republicans pick up net gain of two seats in the Senate, Democrats gain about a dozen seats in the House. Statewide Republicans all win. Wendy Davis is re-elected barely, no change in State Senate. Democrats pick up a few seats in the State House.

November 2013 — Parker re-elected.

November 2014 — Republican elected Governor (and all statewide offices). Perry might even get it again, but I would say a primary challenger will knock him off. Democrats make gains in Congress.

November 2015 — First Hispanic mayor of Houston elected.

November 2016 — Romney defeated by Democrat, Democrats retake the House. Slight gains for Democrats in the State Legislature but Republicans hold onto statewide offices.

November 2017 — Hispanic mayor re-elected.

November 2018 — Castro/Davis elected Governor and Lieutenant Governor, respectively. Castro ushers in new era of hispanic lead Democratic rule in Texas.

Thoughts on the Senate race

In late July, Texas Democratic voters selected former State Representative Paul Sadler to run against the Republican for the US Senate. Most people expected Dew, but Ted Cruz somehow won it. Don’t even ask me how. Now, I fear that the Democrats may be squandering an unbelievably good opportunity for a statewide victory. Let me explain:

First of all, I want to say that I like Sadler. To quote a very wise man from the state convention, “All too often our Democrats [in Texas] are just soft Republicans”. Sadler is not a soft Republican, he has solutions and doesn’t run away from things like supporting gay marriage (cough, cough Mayor White). However, like any statewide Democratic candidate, Sadler is woefully underfunded. It is my understanding that he can only afford one campaign office. Given this, it truly disappointed me that he chose Austin as that one location. This austin-centrism of Tex Dems is the whole reason I started my original blog in the first place. It is ridiculous and it is not a winning strategy. Travis County will go blue, everyone knows that. So will Dallas. Harris County is a bit more of a tossup, but we have a very competent County Leader in Lane Lewis so I don’t feel to bad. The true epicenter of Sadler’s (and other’s) campaigns should be San Antonio.

San Antonio and Bexar County are both over 60% Latino, but Bexar county is still red in many ways. Solidifying the county would be HUGE momentum for the state Democrats. Further, San Antonio is the gateway to the valley, and once everything south of San Antonio can become blue, the state can become blue. This is what makes Julian Castro so appealing for a statewide run. Surely, if he runs, his base would be in San Antonio. 

In re Lampson

In re Lampson

What can I say about Nick Lampson, that hasn’t already been distorted and twisted by his opponents: Ted Poe, Tom DeLay, Pete Olson, and Randy Weber. Well, I can repeat some truths, but this isn’t about yesterday it is about tomorrow.

Lampson, a Beaumont native, is now running again to represent Beaumont, along with Galveston and Brazoria County. A recent poll shows Lampson leading 47% to 45% against his opponent, Randy Weber. Now, while this is indeed the 14th district, the same district Ron Paul currently represents, it is a very different district now. Paul’s hometown of Lake Jackson is still in the District, but the vast majority of the District, the coastal region stretching from Brazoria to Rockport, is gone. District 14 now stretches to the east.

This is a great district for Lampson, perhaps the best opportunity he has. Lampson is not a Houstonian politician, nor will he ever be, his chances for success lay outside the city limits. So if you said, “Noah, design a district in East Texas for Democrats without using any of Houston”, this is pretty much exactly what I would come up with. Jefferson County, with its heavy African-American population, is still strong for Democrats and is Lampson’s hometown. Galveston, despite heavy losses in 2010, will still be a reliable post for Democrats in a presidential year. Brazoria is a pretty strong Republican stronghold, but the want is for Lampson to cancel out the influence by strong showings in the east.

The 14th District will not vote for Obama, but depending on how well Obama does in the district could make or break Lampson, who despite doing better than the President will still be inevitably connected to his performance. Minorities and the Poor, those disproportionately affected by the Voter ID Law (which has struck today), will need to show up in droves in both Beaumont and Galveston for success. For our sake, I hope they do.

In re Paul

Ron Paul, I don’t even know what to say, except I completely sympathize with his struggle to get his freaking elected delegates seated at the convention. That old doc has chutzpah the size of grapefruits if he is serious about endorsing the Libertarian, but that is a different issue. I want to talk about my attempted recruitment into the new-Libertarian movement of Paul and Johnson.

First of all, I want to say that I almost completely agree with Ron Paul on about a third of the issues, specifically civil liberties. I think, with the exception of Abortion, Paul is more liberal than Obama on social issues. I felt betrayed when Obama renewed the Patriot Act and refused to write an executive order closing Guantanamo Bay. Paul’s pro-life record mucks up some things, but it would be easier to associate with the other member of the movement, the Libertarian nominee, former Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico. Johnson is pro-choice and was for gay marriage before Obama was. In all these ways, with the addition of some foreign policy initiatives relating to peace, Paul seems like a feasible choice. However, I cannot get past the economic reactionaryism that he advocates, and his want to drastically shrink the size of the Government. Although, I do have to give him props for being the only “shrink the Gov” Republican who ACTUALLY HAS A PLAN.

I see a lot of my friends become Paul disciples, and some of them (shout out to you Jean-Luc) actually are full believers in the manifesto, but some are just disgruntled Democrats who want to support someone opposed to the Patriot Act. I think the Democratic Party would stand to gain them if they took a step to the left on civil liberties.

Houston City Council moves to amend rules of expulsion

The City Council took the unilateral step to re-engineer the steps for reprimanding and expelling members, taking the Mayor out of the equation and replacing it with some convoluted panel or what not. The move was passed by all those present, those not present only including the esteemed Councilmember Helena Brown. Brown has seen her fair share of issues in the nine months she has served so far, including allegedly tampering with her staff’s timecards (which I think is a felony), and wasting city money on an extraneous trip to Asia. Councilmember Brown let out a harshly worded press release in response to this measure, which is all but aimed towards her.

Brown condemned the measure as “dirty crony politics” and tantamount to making the Council the “judge, jury, and executioner”. Although I think she should be worried about the REAL executioner, the ballot box. With former Councilmember Brenda Stardig publicly musing and Amy Peck all in, Brown’s prospects for the future do not look great.

Now, I think it is time to go on one of my famous rants. I really do not like Helena Brown, and she does not belong in government. I’ve never understood why ultra-conservatives would ever run for government positions if they hate the government so much. “I need to get inside the beast to kill it”…yeah that sounds like what the one nerd friend who gets tapped to join a final club says to the other one. Ayn Rand would never in a million years have run for elected office, so why do all those self-described disciples of hers do? But this isn’t even about Rand or objectivism, it is about Brown.

2009 was my first year at City Hall, and I was assigned to work with people from District A, which at that time was still Toni Lawrence’s. Like any good liberal, I supported Lane Lewis all the way through the runoff and was somewhat disappointed at Stardig’s election. But I am a professional so I gave an open mind to the new Councilmember/my new boss and was pleasantly surprised. Stardig is what a Republican SHOULD be: conservative but not afraid of moderation or compromise. Alas, the idiots have taken over the asylum and Stardig lost re-election in her uber-conservative district to Brown. Brown ran on a take-no-prisoners, scorched earth approach to politics. Luckily, I don’t think it is going to last.

Those in glass houses

Andrew Burks, Jr., everyone’s favorite perennial candidate-turned-Councilmember is back in the news. Burks has advocated that the city stop such drastic cuts and instead beef up collecting taxes from those withholding. It seems like a good idea, except that Burks owes back taxes. Further, he called upon City Controller Ronald Green to beef up collection, while he himself owes over $100,000 to the IRS. Pardon the cliche, but it seems that those in glass houses should not be throwing the stones.

Burks claims that he became delinquent on his taxes while recovering from an accident. That is understandable, but what is not is that he does not understand that others could possibly be in the same situation. It just reminds me of that scene from Casablanca

Poor Dave

Poor Dave, poor Dave, he has all the money and none of the power.

Worth an estimated $200 million, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst drastically outspent his opponent, Ted Cruz, in the GOP primary for US Senator. He still lost, though, and by large margins.

While this is certainly one of the few exceptions to the golden rule (He with the gold makes the rules), it causes one to wonder about the integrity of any campaign in the future by Dewhurst. A lot people pontificated that Dewhurst would eventually challenge Perry in the primary, but most have moved away from that view.

Just after the July 31st defeat, mum was the word on Dewhurst’s political future. However, it is now being widely reported that David Dewhurst will run for re-election in 2014. This seems all good, but for one small problem. Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples told the Texas Tribune that he is in “no matter who’s running”. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is already all in, website and all. Further, some are speculating Comptroller Susan Combs will run for the number two post. Dewhurst losing re-election would be simply humiliating, but perhaps humiliation on the other side is what the Democrats need.

I promise the only post about Oklahoma

I know I should be writing about Texas, but this is so gosh darn interesting. A few months ago, I went to the very bottom of Oklahoma with my family to go fishing at Lake Texoma. We stayed at a little hotel on the border with Texas that had local news from the sooner state. Just as I was about to doze off, getting ready for an early rise, I witnessed a commercial that possibly renewed my faith in the electorate.

It was a federal prosecutor named Rob Wallace. He was running in the Democratic Primary for congress, Dan Boren’s seat to be specific. Boren is about as blue dog as blue dogs get: he voted for, among other things: Cut, Cap, and Kill Medicare, and the “Forcible Rape” bill. His district, OK-2, has a rating of R+14. Now, Boren was able to avoid the fate of the similarly situated Chet Edwards when it came to 2010, Boren was re-elected with 56% of the vote. However, he seemed to not have a big appetite for another challenge, so he announced his retirement, and it seemed that the only Democratic district in Oklahoma was lost.

But then a ray of hope came on the television at the La Quinta: Rob Wallace. This southern looking, southern sounding gentleman explained clearly to the camera that we favored main street over wall street and that corporations were not people. A genteel, less smelly of the message of Occupy Wall Street, and the people ran with it. For the record, I think Wallace is pro-life, anti-gay marriage, and open about religion and politics, but he is the type of populist that the Democrats need to win. I immediately followed his facebook page when I got home.

Tonight, Rob Wallace defeated his opponent with 57% of the vote to win the Democratic nomination for Boren’s seat. What’s more, over 43,000 people voted in the Democratic runoff, while only 21,000 voted in the Republican runoff. Even moreso, the race is now listed as a tossup. I am thinking about donating a few bucks to this guy, and I am definitely going to keep on watching.

Donald Lee, 1934-2012

Donald Lee, a relatively obscure former State Representative from the valley who had gone missing from a nursing home a few days ago, was found dead in a nearby field Sunday. Lee, who had served in the Texas House from 1981 to 1987 representing parts of Brownsville and McAllen, had been a champion of the interests of people in the valley.

Evidently, Lee had only moved to the facility on August 20, and somehow disappeared without explanation three days later. The police said there were no signs of foul play, but irrespective this is a tragic, sad event. Texas has lost another good man, we don’t have many left.

The Statesman has more.