Texpatriate endorses in Congressional elections

Editorial note: Separate endorsements from the Editorial Board will be written at a latter date for the elections in Congressional District 2 and Congressional District 7, respectively. We will only endorse in Harris County & Statewide elections.

The 113th Congress has been among the most unpopular in American history. Heck, it might be –without exception– the single most unpopular. Most Congresses can muster the passage of a few hundred bills, and this one will be lucky if it can accomplish even a third of that (most of the ones that did pass named post offices). From the debt ceiling to government shutdowns to basic dysfunction, there is a very compelling case to be made to clean house in Congress. “Vote them all out,” is a common recurring theme. But are all members of the House equally culpable for the epic cluster that has occurred within the lower chamber?

This board believes you would be hard pressed to not admit Republicans are significantly more at fault for the dysfunction than Democrats. Since regaining control of the House in 2011, Republicans have immediately held invaluable legislation, such as the budget or the debt ceiling, hostage in exchange for ludicrous demands. They waste sporadic committee time launching witch hunts against the President for imaginary reasons, and they spend a disgusting amount of time on vacation instead of working to solve just one of the plethora of problems the United States faces.

The three Democratic incumbents in Harris County –Al Green (TX-9), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) and Gene Green (TX-29)– are not perfect, but we sincerely believe that they are immeasurably superior to their opponents. We endorse all three, all Democrats.

Congressman Al Green was first elected in 2004, after mid-decade redistricting created a new opportunity district for African-Americans. In the decade since, he has been a strong and capable representative for his community. We have been particularly impressed by the strong stand that he has taken in support of gun control. Furthermore, as the Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Green has helped to lead the charge on holding those who wrecked the economy responsible.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, first elected in 1994, follows in the footsteps of some incomparable predecessors in the 18th District. Barbara Jordan, Mickey Leland and Craig Washington all honed fame countrywide for being national leaders on important issues. We believe that Jackson Lee has effectively continued this legacy. She is possibly more active than any other member of Congress from Texas in the amount of bills that she introduces to sessions, and is essentially omnipresent in her desire to have her voice heard on important issues.

Jackson Lee, unlike the other two Congressmen, actually has a major opponent in November. Sean Seibert is running for the post as a Republican, though he is heavily disfavored. Our hesitations with Seibert hinge not only on his lack of any political experience whatsoever, but on political positions that are far out the mainstream. His “issues” page on his Facebook reference broad platitudes, with a couple of especially bad ideas such as requiring a balanced budget amendment and eliminating the estate tax.

Jackson Lee, on the other hand, has taken some bold stands, specifically on civil liberty topics. She continues to fight against unnecessary government intrusion into our lives, such as the abhorrent NSA spying program or the malevolent Patriot Act. While she certainly has a penchant for putting her foot in her mouth all too often, this board sincerely believes that Jackson Lee –overall– is a strong advocate for the people in her district.

Lastly, we have Congressman Gene Green. A 22 year incumbent, Green represents a a heavily-Hispanic district, though he himself is Caucasian. Green is a very active in constituent services, but when it comes to taking a bold stand on issues, he is still holding up the rear of the Democratic Party. Green is a very vehement opponent of even the slightest amount of gun control, namely a ban on assault weapons. Last time he went on the record about it, Green was even an opponent of same-sex marriage. Most importantly, we believe Green is remiss in not pushing more stringently for action on immigration control. He needs to actually listen to his constituents.

Still, Green is overall a good Congressman, and he is on a whole different level than his opponent, a Libertarian. Voters would still be wise to support him.

Accordingly, this board endorses Al Green in US House District 9, Sheila Jackson Lee in US House District 18 and Gene Green in US House District 29.

The Texpatriate Editorial Board is comprised of Noah M. Horwitz & Olivia Arena in Austin, George Bailey in Boston, Luis Fayad in College Station and Andrew Scott Romo in New Orleans. Editorials represent a majority opinion of the voting board.

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A new use for Ellington Field?

The Houston Chronicle reports that a number of US Congressmen (yep, they’re all men) from the Houston area have begun lobbying the Pentagon to move the United States’ Africa Command (AFRICOM) from Germany to Houston. One may think it is strange to have a military headquarters so far away from the actual place of operations, but it is definitely not unprecedented. The Command over Latin America is in Miami and, even more to the point, the Command of the Middle East is in Tampa.

This idea has been supported locally be Rep. Gene Green (D-Harris County) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Montgomery County), as well as Senator John Cornyn. Normally, this would not be all that much leverage against the Washington establishment. However, just recently, the equation has drastically changed. Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) is the current Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and he recently announced his intention to retire. The Vice-Chairman of the committee is Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), meaning a Texan would likely take the helm of the committee if Republicans retain control of the House (which, you know, they will).

Click here to read more!

In re CISPA

This is a few days old–oh well. On Thursday, the US House voted 288-127 to pass the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, also known as CISPA. The bill is more or less an even worse version of SOPA/PIPA. Most of my readers are in that small niche demographic who grew up their entire lives surrounded by technology, so, us Millennials by and large opposes any effort to have the government intrude into our personal lives on the internet.

Unfortunately, we cannot say the same of the octogenarians who dominate the halls of Congress (ok, they aren’t THAT old, but I couldn’t help to take a cheap shot at LaTourette), specifically from this great State. Of the eight or so Congressmembers who arguably represent part of Houston, Jackson Lee and Stockman were the only Representatives to oppose this Orwellian measure.

I wouldn’t expect any less from Gene Green but to support this crooked legislation, but I was deeply disappointed to see Al Green support the measure. Jackson Lee has always been a good liberal bastion, sometimes being one of the only Texas Democrats to vote against both DOMA and the PATRIOT ACT. It was refreshing, however, to see some of the other TXDEMs who voted nay. First and foremost, Lloyd Doggett, who has a sad history of voting for both DOMA and the PATRIOT ACT, voted against CISPA. Good for him.

Next, I was happy to see the young voting against this bill. Both Joaquin Castro and Beto O’Rourke, youngens with obvious high officer ambitions, voted against the act.

Again, not much of a point to make here, no commentary on the bill itself (you can tell my personal feelings), just wanted to emphasis how few of our Reps are from the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

Gene Green on gay rights

I have, in the past, vented about my disdain towards some of Congressman Gene Green’s more conservative views. I like to think that I offered Congressman Green an ultimatum: drag his social issues into the 21st century or face a Bloomberg-funded primary challenger. Since I wrote that a little over a week ago, the main issue that everyone has been talking about has been gay marriage* (*-I don’t use terms like “same-sex marriage” or “marriage equality” all that often, because I have a philosophical problem with euphemisms), with the Supreme Court taking up a pair of recent cases last Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. In recent days, a plethora of Democrats have come out of the bigotry closet to endorse gay marriage. These include historically conservative Democrats that I have had some problems with in the past, including Claire McCaskill, Kay Hagan, Bob Casey, etc. I figured that this would be a good chance for Congressman Green to redeem himself, by repudiating the outdated views he has on gay marriage.

For the record, those “outdated views” include not only a personal opposition to gay marriage, but a vigorous support for the Defense of Marriage Act. The Chron stated that Green voted to uphold DOMA in 2011, but I, for the life of me, cannot actually find the roll call vote. The same Chron article goes on to say that the Congressman is not changing his position any time soon on either personal support of gay marriage or his support of the Defense of Marriage Act. For comparison, President Obama’s big bad gay rights position was believing that DOMA was unconstitutional while still personally opposing the implementation of gay marriage. That position was wrong, but Green’s is far worse.

I again plead for a good liberal to start making noise about challenging Green in the primary. Either to defeat him, or, at the very least, to move him back a little towards the left on social issues. I am not, by any means, a purist Democrat, and I usually am not an especially big advocate of primarying moderate-to-conservative Democrats. However, there are just some social values that you MUST accept to be an officeholder nowadays in the Democratic Party, and one of them is equality. It’s 2013, for Pete’s sake. Dick Cheney, Laura Bush, and Rob Portman support gay marriage. All I’m asking for is a Houston Democrat.

Gene Green and the Democratic Party

I’m surrounded by a lot of Republicans in this state, and that includes the Democrats. Gene Green is one of those such Democrats. While Congressman Green (Gene, that is, not Al) has historically been somewhat liberal on most issues, including healthcare and social policy, he is dragging up the rear of society on the issue of gun control. Michael Bloomberg has recently come up in the news for pushing a Super PAC that would seek to “primary,” i.e., defeat in primary election, moderate Democrats who are pro-guns and pro-NRA. If Mr Green does not change his regressive views about gun control, perhaps the “Bloomberg solution” would be best.

Gene Green has an “A” rating with the National Rifle Association, the same rating as Ted Cruz and John Cornyn. Further, he recently stated some pretty disturbing rhetoric in an interview about gun control, stating his unequivocal opposition to the assault weapons ban, saying “Instead of saying we need to outlaw certain types weapons, we need to find better ways to enforce current law, the kneejerk approach of those who want to control firearms may not be the solution.’’ Excuse me?

The Democratic Party has seen their ambitious social and economic policies killed, or severely maimed, because of their own party’s dysfunction. To quote a very wise man from the Texas Democratic Convention last year, we have too many “soft Republicans” who are running around masquerading as Democrats. For example, I support strong bans/regulations on most deadly weapons, gay marriage and the abolition of the death penalty. Are these the radical policies of some socialist? Try Stephen Harper and David Cameron.

Gene Green opposes most gun control measure with any hint of a spine in them. Similarly, he STILL opposes gay marriage, and believes the state has a right to execute someone. Accordingly, I offer Mr Green an ultimatum. Either drag your political beliefs into the 21st century, or answer to the voters.

The 29th District is heavily Democratic. Even in the horrible 2010 election cycle, Green was re-elected with 65% of the vote against Roy Morales, a candidate who had just run for Mayor (had a great name-recognition). A more liberal Democratic nominee would not put the district in jeopardy of a Republican being elected. Additionally, at 66% Hispanic, it is getting a little bit ridiculous that a white guy who isn’t even very liberal is the Congressman. I have no idea who would possibly challenge him next year in the primary, but I would hope that the individual would have the heavy backing of Bloomberg’s SuperPAC.

Endorsements: Yellow Dog

Endorsements: Yellow Dog

This is Tilly, my yellow dog. She isn’t very bright but I would vote for her over quite a few candidates for political office this year. Some of these candidates have formidable Democratic opponents, but the common denominator is that I would vote for the Democrats in these elections even if it were a yellow dog.

**President**
I endorse the incumbent, Barack H. Obama, for re-election. Yes, I support the President on most issues, but with Romney on the other end, it was a pretty easy choice.

**US Senate**
I endorse former State Representative Paul Sadler. As opposed to a few of the sorry fellas that the TXDEMs have put up over the years, I actually do really like Sadler. It does help, however, that he is running against the guy that makes Dewhurst look sane.

**US Representative 2**
I endorse the Democrat, Jim Dougherty. Congressman Poe, as much as he had previously garnered a good deal of respect from me, lost it all last term as he made fictitious statements about voter fraud, skirted on the edge of birtherism, and played the “Obama-is-an-anti-Israel-anti-semite” card, which I take very personally.

**US Representative 7**
I endorse the Democrat, James Cargas. In 2010, I had to pick Tilly because there were no opponents to Culberson. Culberson is my congressman, and such, we have had a very special relationship ever since his office blocked my email address when I was in the 9th grade. From making garbage up to try and destroy the METRORail, to more extremism, to only proposing one bill over the last few years, I hold a particularly disdain from the honorable Congressman from Texas, and such I am happy he has drawn good enough of an opponent in Cargas.

**US Representative 9**
I endorse the incumbent, Al Green.

**US Representative 10**
I endorse the Democrat, Tawana Cadien. Congressman McCaul, as the richest member of Congress, has done nothing to refute the presumption that he is out of touch, in fact he has exacerbated it.

**US Representative 14**
I endorse the honorable former Congressman, Nick Lampson, for reasons stated in previous posts.

**US Representative 17**
I endorse Tilly. The district formerly held by Chet Edwards, a Democrat, as late as 2010, is now held by Republican Bill Flores. Flores did not draw a Democratic opponent.

**US Representative 18**
I endorse the incumbent, Sheila Jackson Lee.

**US Representative 22**
I endorse Tilly, again. Congressman Olson is just as far right as Tom DeLay, and his Democratic opponent belongs to the LaRouche cult (I didn’t even know that still existed).

**US Representative 29**
I endorse the incumbent, Gene Green.

**US Representative 36**
I endorse the Democrat, Max Martin. He was the only Democrat to sign up for the primary that twelve Republicans duked it out for. That takes chutzpah.

For further reference, I endorse all the Democrats in the Houston area running for the State Legislature. However, I try to endorse a few Republicans when it comes to county jobs. Stay tuned.