I watched the Lieutenant Governor’s debate, which was broadcast live on television, this evening and tried to live-tweet the whole debacle, but understandably so may have gotten a little biased or overly partisan throughout the ordeal. If you want a straightforward, non-partisan and otherwise just extraordinary source for these sorts of events, I thoroughly recommend following Scott Braddock. The debate featured all four Republican candidates for Lieutenant Governor, was hosted by KERA (Dallas’ NBC affiliate) and featured a panel of moderators from Univision, the Texas Tribune and the Houston Chronicle.
To start things out, the candidates were asked their opinion on a recent ruling by a Forth Worth Judge to force a brain dead woman be removed from ventilator, despite being over twenty weeks pregnant. Unsurprisingly, all four deeply disagreed with the ruling and appeared supportive of changes in the law that would put the alleged rights of the pre-born above even a legally dead mother. However, the topic soon shifted to abortion, where all four candidates made it clear that they opposed abortions even in cases of rape and incest.
On other hot-button issues, all four candidates opposed both the legalization and the decriminalization of cannabis, even after Governor Perry recently lent his personal support to the latter. Similarly, all four candidates darted to the right in declaring their support for teaching creationism in schools. Some, particularly Dan Patrick, went even further in unequivocally stating their belief that the United States is a Christian nation that should be subject to the whims and caprices of the Christian majority. The general consensus was that there is no separation of church & state in the United States, specifically in Texas.
This issue is precisely where I put my foot down. Anyone who has ever bothered to even take a remedial course in American history knows that such sentiments are utter poppycock, pure malarkey. The United States, in breaking with the England of the time, built a high wall between religion and governance. Indeed, the Constitution makes no reference of God or religion. As a non-Christian, when I hear individuals such as Sen. Patrick spew such ignorant and prejudiced comments, it truly frightens me.
The best performance of the debate, at least in the old rule about measuring facial cues and body language, was most definitely Todd Staples. He also was very good about staying on message, and consistently pivoting to other, stronger points when he broached a controversial topic. The candidate I probably personally admired the most was Jerry Patterson. As I have noted previously, Patterson has a knack for holding fast to his positions even when they could be unpopular, earning him a reputation for moderation and pragmatism, at least in comparison to the other candidates.
Patterson was the only one who showed any semblance of a conscious on the immigration issue. Additionally, he voiced (albeit tepid) support for medical marijuana consideration. Finally, when the rest of the candidates had bandwagoned into support of term limits (how the twelve-year incumbent running for re-election does this, I do not know), Patterson stood fast to principles and defended the politicians the people support.
Dewhurst and Patrick were fighting with one another to see who should come in last place. The Lieutenant Governor simply appeared to be old and tired, and did little to advance his cause besides personally attacking Dan Patrick time and time again. Patrick did nothing to advance his cause, just retorting (sometimes out of order) and continuing his petty bickering against Dewhurst. The pair looked about ready to “take it outside” at moments.
Towards the close of the debate, it became abundantly clear to me that there was no winner, and just one loser. And that sole loser is the people of Texas.