Majority Leader race

None of these old dudes hold a candle to Jackie Sharp!

As I wrote about a few days ago, US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost his primary to a disgruntled member of the Tea Party. Ostensibly, he would continue in that post until January of next year, but Cantor made headlines shortly thereafter by announcing his tentative resignation from the leadership post, effective upon the election of his successor, likely in the next six weeks. Immediately, a leadership scramble ensued between the “next in line,” Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and a slew of opponents, both more conservative and (possibly) more pragmatic.

First, the National Journal reported that Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Rep. Pete Session (R-TX), both Texas Republicans, had tossed their hats into the ring for Cantor’s post. Both are prominent members of the Tea Party and have not pulled many punches against the establishment. Accordingly, it did not make much sense the next day when both Texans promptly pulled out of the leadership race, leaving McCarthy as the only candidate. As the Majority Whip of the House, McCarthy holds the same position as Frank Underwood on the first season of House of Cards. However, unlike Underwood, who was (Spoiler Alert!!!) notoriously ruthless and even murderous to achieve his goals, McCarthy likes to compare himself to a camp counselor more than some sort of nefarious, Machiavellian villain.

But McCarthy WILL NOT be unopposed. Click here to see who is running against him!

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Cantor loses

The Washington Post reports that Rep. Eric Cantor, the US House Majority Leader, has lost the Republican primary for his seat, thus being denied re-election. Cantor, a Virginia Republican, widely presumed to be a future Speaker of the House, fell short to David Brat, a Tea Party backed right-winger. Arguably, Cantor ran to the right of Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on many issues, though I had always seen him as more moderate, as I’m sure the Tea Party also thought.

Cantor had supported a limited version of the DREAM Act, and this ended up being an Achilles’ heel of sorts for him. Among other flash points in his primary fight were support for ending the government shutdown, votes to raise the debt ceiling and support for what was left of the Voting Rights Act. While he had stooped low in right-wing campaign tactics in previous weeks, most had not expected Cantor to lose out in tonight’s primary. In fact, the loss came as a devastating surprise for Democrats and Republicans alike. Most Democrats were excited that the renowned arch-conservative would be out of a job, though many of the more pragmatic liberals realize that this spells nothing but trouble, as it virtually guarantees that the Republican leadership will shift to the right.

Click here to read more!

VRA could get fixed (in Texas)

The Dallas Morning News reports that a new bipartisan bill introduced in Congress to resurrect the floundering Voting Rights Act would include strong new protections against racial meddling in Texas. As the sagacious may recall, back in June the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to gut Section 5 of the Voting Right Act, which required the States of Jim Crow to get any election updates precleared by the Federal Government. The Court declared that the world had changed since the advent of this act in the 1960s, and that racism had been vanquished, thus exclaiming that such an antiquated formula was unconstitutional. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the dean of the Court’s liberal minority and the author of a scathing dissent in this case, compared it “throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

The Court’s blow to the Voting Rights Act was all the more harmful because it expected Congress to simply pick up the slack and fix the law by provided a new coverage formula for the aforementioned preclearence based on modern statistics. However, getting Congress to do anything is easier said than done. Accordingly, it was a very good sign yesterday when Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced a bill that would revive the coverage formula based on those States with recent VRA violations (i.e., Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi & Texas).

Click here to read more!

More attack ads in District D

I received this lovely message in my inbox at 11:53 this morning, from an organization labeled “Say No To Dwight Boykins“, complete with the email address of “SayNoToDwightBoykins@politician.com” The email contained another poorly created advertisement and went as follows:

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“Say No To Dwight Boykins

Fellow Democrats:

District D will be destroyed if Dwight Boykins is elected. Dwight Boykins and his City Hall Insider friends are only in it for themselves. Ask anyone who has talked with Republican Dwight and they will tell you that he is implying that once elected he will GIVE THEM CONTRACTS.  That sounds like a page out of the Book of Rick Perry and Tom Delay! J.R. “Bob” Jones donated THOUSANDS of Dollars to his fellow Republican. You remember Bob Jones don’t you?

Bob Jones’ disrespectful email to Council member Adams when she refused to support Double Taxing our community.

Now Republican Dwight is taking money from the same man who disrespected our Council member and Boykins was SILENT when this woman was attacked.TYPICAL REPUBLICAN!
 

District D can’t afford to elect a REPUBLICAN Insider. Dwight Boykins is BAD FOR OUR COMMUNITY BAD FOR OUR NEIGHBORHOODS Say No To Dwight Boykins!”

Notice the link about “Bob Jones’ disrespectful email” goes to a note by Jolanda Jones. It is about something the megadonor sent to Councilmember Wanda Adams in the aftermath of the Prop 1 kerfuffle. The astute will remember the previous attack ad against Dwight Boykins, which I wrote about at that time. Unlike this ad, the previous one was created on Facebook by an individual named “Dennis Glenn” and shared by another candidate, Larry McKinzie. This ad has not been connected with any individual, nonetheless any candidate, although they are remarkably similar in format and message.

Previously, Glenn had gone after Boykins for donating to the GOP and voting in a single Republican primary. These attacks were much less substance-based, although the previous advertisement contained mostly half-truths as far as substance goes.

I immediately noticed the difference in the token Republicans juxtaposed alongside Boykins in the advertisement, and how they differed from two weeks ago.  Originally, the photo included serious posed photos of Ronald Reagan, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, George W. Bush and Mitch McConnell, alongside a silly photo of Boykins that could easily have been photoshopped. This photo, however, includes a more serious photo of Boykins that I have seen before, along with sillier photos of the Republicans. This time it is Ronald Reagan, John Boehner, Rick Perry, Eric Cantor, Mitt Romney and Clarence Thomas. The presence of an African-American Republican in this ad immediately caught my eye.

The photo on the bottom, of course, in that infamous image from Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. An interesting jab against Republicans since the State of Alabama was run by the other party at that time. Yes, yes, I know they were Conservative Democrats and shortly thereafter they fled en masse to the GOP, but it would not have been my first suggestion for an image of why Republican politicians are bad.

No idea who is behind these, I will be conducting an investigation shortly if anyone has filed a d/b/a for “Say No to Dwight Boykins.” My hunch is that it is someone from the junior varsity squad (i.e., the fringe candidates).

Straus and the 83rd

Or is it the 84th? I don’t even remember anymore.

Anyways, David Simpson’s campaign to elect a “Christian Conservative” whimpered without a bang. In fact, he dropped it, so Joe Straus was re-elected by acclamation. Cheer up, it could be worse.

Now, everyone is talking about how Governor Perry has the unmitigated temerity to suggest we actually cut taxes and cut spending once again. Also on his priority list would be drug testing people on welfare and attempting to invalidate Roe v. Wade in the lone star state. Additionally, the Governor has strongly come out in favor of arming teachers.

Meanwhile, the Texas Tribune says that the State Senate will be maintaining the 2/3 rule, great news for the obstructing Democratic minority.

But the Straus news is what truly brings me to my key point: the paper tiger of the extreme Conservative. First, the far-right threatened to depose Straus in 2011, but no one even ran a feasible campaign against him. More recently, the Fiscal Cliff deal, in which a minority of House Republicans voted for Boehner’s deal, set off all the alarms on the Capitol Hill gossip rags about how Boehner’s speakership was doomed. In the end, only 12 Republicans defected, and none of them even voted for a legitimate candidate.

This brings us to what occurred yesterday in Austin. Joe Straus had been predicted by the ubiquitous prophets of doom to see some real challenging impediment to his speakership. First there was Bryan Hughes, then there was David Simpson. Both had something in common (besides the crazed Tea Party, theocratic ideologies): their campaigns self-aborted. This is similar to the Eric Cantor for Speaker campaigns (except that one never actually existed), just a bunch of hype by the media and pundits, myself included (for the record, I’m not comparing myself to the legitimate press).