Castro 2014

Off the Kuff is linking to an article in the San Antonio Express-News about the growing “Castro for Governor 2014” crowd. They even have a website, listed here. The Bexar County Democratic Party is the official backbone of this movement.

I find this proposition to be cynical for three reasons:

1. Wasn’t there already some buzz about drafting Cecile Richards? Please, one movement at a time.
2. Castro has already said he wants to stay as SA Mayor until 2017. Governor Perry would love the ability to paint Castro as a liar.
3. Texas will not be, to borrow an old phrase, “ready for Prime Time” in 2014. Perry will be re-elected in 2014 (oh yes, mark my words) because the state will not be all that different, demographically than today. 2018 would be the first chance for the new and improved Texas, the one where Latinos vote en masse.

Now, to be fair, my friends from the Texas Democratic Party are telling me how much progress they are making and how 2014 might be competitive. I agree with them in that the TDP is making fantastic progress, but like how President Obama has been taking a long time to clean up all that crap that Bush left him, so will Chairman Hinojosa to the shambles that the party was given to him in. Progress is always easier said than done.
Additionally, if Obama is re-elected (for the record I still don’t think so), 2014 will be a bad year for Democrats, making any big Democratic upsets unlikely.

However, my response to the common critique that Perry will not last that long, I invite people to remember just how confident people were that Perry would lose in 2010. Now that Abbott, Combs, and Staples are all going after Dewhurst, I do not think Perry will face any major primary challenges. Alas, the election is far away, but my prediction is Texas will not be ready for Castro in 2014.

Of course, I am betting most of my political capital on Obama losing next week, so if that does not happen, I might be out of the election-predicting market.

Davis on Literacy

Councilmember Jerry Davis has begun making a larger issue over the education disparity in his district, the Houston Chronicle reports. Internal statistics from the Councilmember’s office have stated that 69% of the residents of District B have no high school diploma and 45% of the children in the district live in poverty.

Davis is making a bigger push on organizing events for literacy. This is quite heartwarming, as District B did not always have a Councilmember who seemed to care about things like this.

In other news, I’m all boarded up waiting for Hurricane Sandy to pass.

What I think will happen

Keeping in touch with my self-imposed moratorium upon Presidential election coverage, I will not even mention that race (You can see what I had said previous in my post “Cynic“). However, I think this will be a good way for progressives to brace ourselves for what may come next.

Every statewide seat (except Keller’s): SAFE Republican
I think this is a no-brainier here, considering that the Democrats did not even bother to field candidates in some of these races. I really do like Michele Petty and Paul Salder, but this is not going to be a repeat of 2008, and even in 2008 we got our butts kicked.

Court of Criminal Appeals, Position 1: TOSSUP
Keith Hampton, especially in the (unlikely) event of a major Obama victory, could build enough of a coalition between Democrats, Independents, and pragmatic Republicans to victory. Keller is relying on people to simply vote straight Republican, which they probably will.

14th Court of Appeals, 1st Court of Appeals: SAFE Republican
Same logic as the statewide seats.

134th State Representative: LEAN Republican
2012 will not be as good of a year as 2006, which is the last time an incumbent in this district was unseated. Also, Davis is a much more civil campaigner than Martha Wong.

215th District Court: LIKELY Republican
Ken Shortreed is depending upon enough angry Democrats (like me) to vote for him. It will probably push him over the top.

Remaining local judicial races: LEAN Republican
Harris County will probably go red, especially in downballot races.

Sheriff: LEAN Democratic
I think Garcia can put together enough of a coalition with moderate Republicans to avoid defeat. The endorsement of the “C club” didn’t hurt either.

District Attorney: SAFE Republican
Self-explanatory.

Tax Collector: LIKELY Republican
Even in 2008, tax czar and DA went Republican. Additionally, CM Sullivan is a popular incumbent who has attracted quite a few Democrats (even endorsed by the JHV).

County Attorney: TOSSUP
Vince Ryan has some cross-party support, but again the Republican tilt on the election does not help.

City Council, E: LIKELY Martin
Martin has the establishment support from Sullivan, who is still quite popular.

 

Again, Democrats need to donate to Garcia, Ryan, and Hampton–NOT Obama. Obama has enough money, he is out-raising the Koch brothers!

Presidential Election

From this point on, I am no longer going to comment on the Presidential Election. The Republican Party has decided to wage a war of horse***t, which they are winning, because the ambivalent eunuchs in the media and the Democratic Party decline to make a big deal out of baldfaced lies. I will start my thorough discussion of the 2013 Houston municipal elections and 2014 Texas elections soon.

In re Romney

My op-ed on the (hashem forbid) possible Presidency of Mitt Romney. From The Justice.

It’s January 20, 2013 at noon. Mitt Romney has just been sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts as the 45th president of the United States of America. Yes, this is the nightmare many of us have been having since the first debate, and I would like to share how I think this would play out.

Romney was elected in a very close election, winning Ohio by a few thousand votes to capture a majority of the Electoral College. President Obama won the popular vote. The Republican Party’s momentum allowed for Republican candidates to win in Senate elections in Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Virginia, along with Senator Scott Brown’s reelection here in Massachusetts.

This caused the Senate to be comprised of 50 Democratic members and 50 Republican members, meaning that the Republican party would hold control of the chamber through Vice President Paul Ryan’s tiebreaking vote.

Meanwhile, Republicans maintained their control of the House of Representatives, effectively in control of all three segments of the elected government.

A Democratic filibuster in the Senate might prevent President Romney from actually repealing Obamacare on “Day one,” but he would only need a simple majority in the Senate to defund the act through a process called “reconciliation,” that is, amending a previous law with just over half of the possible votes. This would allow for a Romney administration to effectively make the law moot. Through reconciliation, Republicans would also be able to enact massive tax cuts, mainly for the wealthiest individuals and largest corporations.

However, without 60 Republican votes in the Senate, a Romney administration would not be able to embark on some of the other more ambitious aspirations of the Republican Party.

These include drastically increasing off-shore drilling, enacting a national Arizona-style immigration law and turning Medicare into a voucher system.

A Romney presidency would also be disastrous for foreign affairs. The last time a Republican was president, under George W. Bush, the United States was heavily criticized by our allies, such as France and Germany during the Iraq War, for abiding by unilateral, destructive policies.

The Obama administration has taken many steps to not only improve our image overseas but to make the world a safer place. The Obama administration touts the signing of the New START treaty with Russia, which allows for United States oversight of Russian nuclear programs, an invaluably important provision supported by presidents and presidential candidates since Reagan—until now, that is.

A President Romney would withdraw from the New START treaty. This would put America at egregious risk purely for the appeasement of Romney’s political party. A President Romney would also further exacerbate tensions with Iran, and would be more likely to go to war. As we have seen in the recent vice-presidential debate, a Romney administration would be dubious of economic or diplomatic sanctions against Iran. The result would surely be military action.

A Romney administration would repeal Obamacare, make permanent the Bush tax cuts, and return to the same style of diplomacy as President Bush. These are not trivial accomplishments by any means. However, they are surely not the Armageddon that many on the left are predicting from a Romney presidency. That is, unless one key event occurs.

The Supreme Court is currently comprised of four liberals, four extreme conservatives and one moderate conservative. One of the liberals, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is currently 79 years old. She has had multiple battles with cancer in the past, but is currently in remission. If Justice Ginsburg would have to retire or otherwise be replaced during a Romney presidency, it might very well be the end of the world that many are predicting. Romney has a history of being called “not conservative enough,” so he would have an added impetus to appoint an ultra-conservative to the court. Otherwise, he would risk drawing a primary challenger from the ultra-Conservative wing of the Republican Party for his possible re-election bid in 2016.

This new Supreme Court justice would alter many of the most important cases to come before the court. Once he or she took office, the new justice would be the deciding vote in a number of key cases including: a case overturning Roe v. Wade, a case overturning N.F.I.B. v. Sebilius (striking Obamacare) and a case that would prevent a national recognition of marriage equality for a generation. Further, I feel there is a very low chance that Romney’s nominee for the court would ever side with liberal justices. If someone claims that a Romney administration will not be able to accomplish anything significant because they could not block a Democratic filibuster in the Senate, they would be simply wrong. With the smallest of majorities in Congress, the theoretical President Romney could, for all intent and purposes, repeal Obamacare and make the Bush tax cuts permanent.

Without congressional approval, a Republican administration in the White House could severely alter foreign relations with other nations. However, most importantly, a Romney administration could destroy the integrity of our Supreme Court for a generation to come.

Mario Gallegos, 1950-2012

State Senator Mario Gallegos, Jr. died today in Houston at the age of 62. Gallegos, in office since 1995, had been the quintessence of the Hispanic community in Houston. Prior to serving in the State Senator, Gallegos was a state representative for two terms, from 1991 to 1995.

Gallegos had been hospitalized a few days previous. Houston has most definitely lost one of our most courageous legislators. Long ago, when I made my start into politics, I started a campaign to rename HISD schools named after Confederates such as Davis and Lee. At the school board meeting, Gallegos addressed the board immediately before I did. In the aftermath, as the school board seemed set in its institutionally racist ways, it seemed Senator Gallegos was my only friend in a high place. I will always be thankful for that. RIP, Senator.
The Chronicle has more.

Keith Hampton’s growing momentum

In my last post, I talked about how Keith Hampton’s race against Sharon Keller for the Court of Criminal Appeals might be the most important of this entire cycle (except, I guess the President). At the State Convention, Hampton discussed how he had the greatest chance of victory this year of any statewide Democrat. He outlined the three reasons he could be elected: 1. it was a Presidential election year 2. it was a Judicial race 3. the incumbent Republican was despicable. He articulated quite clearly that all three of these parameters were applicable.

Now, Hampton has been endorsed by The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Houston Chronicle, and San Antonio Express-News. I find it highly likely that he will also be endorsed by the Austin American-Statesman and El Paso Times, both reliably liberal papers. This would mean a Democrat would be endorsed 6 for 6 by the major papers. I cannot remember the last time this happened.

10 most important elections (besides the Presidency)

The President of the United States is the most powerful person in the world. He sets the foreign policy, has tremendous influence over Congress, and can nominate Justices to the Supreme Court. Obviously, the race between President Obama and Governor Romney is much more important than anything else. However, the media already devotes all of its energy to cover this election, so I would like to focus on the 10 most important other elections.

10. Houston City Council, District E
Dave Martin is the widely assumed favorite, but Elizabeth Perez could very well pull an upset. What we have here is not an election between Democrat and Republican, it is an election between an old-guard Republican and the recalcitrant Tea Party. Martin will surely follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, and perhaps also be like Councilmember Pennington. However, Perez would most like imitate the habits of Councilmember Brown. It will be interesting to watch, but I’m not throwing any of my money at it.

9. Washington gay marriage referendum
There are actually four referendums, but Washington’s has the best chance of approval. Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota also have referendums, but I am less optimistic. Especially Minnesota, I think the traditional midwestern social conservative state has been given up on. Maine is a tossup, and Maryland similar. Maryland has a large African-American population which has ranged from tepid to hostile on the issue. However, Washington has a fairly good chance leading into the home stretch. Most importantly, this could finally break the curse of states approving gay marriage bans.

8. United States House of Representatives, Texas’ 14th district
Control of the House is not especially up for grabs this year, but this election will essentially make-or-break Nick Lampson’s career. A second loss in a row would be disastrous and most likely put an end to the former Congressman’s political aspirations, which could be quite valuable for Texas Democrats.

7. Texas House, 134th district
Sarah Davis seems to represent an average Tea Partier, completely inexcusable for my home district. Texas Democrats NEED a solid number over 50 in the delegations, and Ann Johnson will be the way towards that goal.

6. United States Senate, Indiana
The control of the Senate is up for grabs, and every election counts. This seat, held by longtime Senator Dick Lugar, is now open after Lugar was defeated in the GOP primary by an extremist. The Republican, State Treasurer Richard Mourdock is now trailing in polls against the Democrat, Congressman Joe Donnelly. Donnelly is a strong candidate who I may even donate some money towards.

5. United States Senate, Massachusetts
I believe this election (Scott Brown vs Elizabeth Warren) is important in more ways than one. Massachusetts, arguably one of the most liberal states in the union, is faced between a very liberal Democrat and a very moderate Republican.

4. United States House of Representatives, Texas’ 23rd district
Again, the House is not up for grabs, but this election is important for another reason. Congressman Canseco and Representative Gallego are competing in the heavily Latino district. A loss by Gallego would be truly embarrassing for a Texas Democratic Party attempting to court Latinos.

3. Harris County Sheriff
Sheriff Adrian Garcia is perhaps Harris County’s best chance of retaining a countywide Democrat. His opponent is a crook, and Garcia has done a fantastic job while in office. This election will answer that question he had on November 3rd, 2010 in Houston. Can it get any worse?

2. United States Senate, North Dakota
The funny thing about the Senate is that no matter how small the state, the Senators hold equal power, so this election is just as important as the one in California or Texas. Former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp, the Democrat, is running against Congressman Rick Berg, the Republican. The seat has long been held by Democrat Kent Conrad. Heitkamp CAN WIN, and she will if she can raise enough money to compete against the outside money being funneled in by Karl Rove and the Koch brothers. I will surely be donating some money to Ms. Heitkamp and I suggest y’all do the same.

1. Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Presiding Justice
Keith Hampton’s campaign against Sharon Keller is almost as important as the Presidential election. Keith Hampton’s campaign against Sharon Keller is almost as important the Presidential election–it is important enough to say twice. Sharon Keller is a travesty to justice and our state. Mr Hampton has been endorsed by quite conservative papers and individuals for a very simple reason: he will restore honour to our highest court.

Also, RIP Arlen Specter. You were a good man in a profession full of wrong-doers.

Perry on Koutze

Perry on Koutze

Governor Perry recently skyped with the Koutze County cheerleaders, where he quoted the Bible to defend their religious signs, equating their struggle to the disciples of the New Testament.

BOR makes a point of juxtaposing this with the recent memory of the Governor calling on “Christian warriors” to fight Obama and Satan attempting to limit religion in the public square.

The rallying cry has now been the sign you see above, “If u [sic] don’t like it, leave! Cause we believe.” This seems to be the first defense of the neocon when trying to support dangerous nationalism or what not.

However, that is not what this country is about. Freedom of religion means freedom FROM religion, which means the Government may not do anything to support one religion over another or religion over lack thereof. Governor Perry and his friends seem to discuss the atheists and the ACLU “imposing” their wills upon America, but this is simply not true. In a secular country, people can still pray individually and do as much public expression of religion in the private sphere.

It is the theocrats who wish to “impose” their will upon America. I’ll level with y’all, I’m not an atheist. But I get quite uncomfortable when religion is discussed in a group setting, and it always angers me if that is a Government setting.

So, my parting words, to the ladies of the Koutze High School Cheerleading Team and their advocates within Government: if you don’t like the system we have here–a separation of the church and the state–YOU can leave. You all can move to a true theocracy, like Iran!

In re Marquez

The El Paso Times reported last night that the EPCDP had taken the action to banish State Reps Marisa Marquez and Naomi Gonzalez from the county party after supporting a Republican candidate for the State House of Representatives.

The incident involved State Representative Dee Margo, a Republican fighting a tough fight this November against  Democrat Joe Moody. Margo distributed fliers about a week ago that touted kind words from the women, though the statements stopped short of an explicit endorsement.

Last night, the El Paso County Democratic Party took the unusual action to expel Marquez and Gonzalez from the organization. This will technically not affect their standing as State Democrats. Additionally, Chairman Giberto Hinojosa had some very strong words for the lawmakers. “An absolute aberration”, keeping in tune with the County’s words upon putting the integrity of the State Party in jeopardy.

For my part, I would like to defend these State Representatives. This is not Israel, this is not the United Kingdom, this is the United States of America. Our elections are about people, not parties. This is why we have Primary elections, so people, not party bosses, select the candidates. For pete’s sake, they did not even endorse the candidate, just complimented another member of their delegation!!!

This reminds me of the Republican congressman defeated in primaries by the Tea Party after not identifying President Obama with socialism or terrorism. There is something called common decency. Now, were the actions of Marquez and Gonzalez dumb? Absolutely. But should they warrant expulsion from the party? Absolutely not. That is not, nor should it ever, be what the Democratic Party should stand for.