In what can best be described as a spiteful temper tantrum, the Express-News editorial board lashed out today (12/13/06) in the aftermath of the runoff election which sent their favored candidate down in flames.
First they went after Henry Bonilla — kicking him when he’s down and excorciating him for “squandering the advantages of incumbency, name recognition, access to the media and a $2 million war chest.”
Then they persist in their delusion that the election was “a referendum on Bonilla” and his “efforts to defend the indefensible ethics of Tom DeLay,” as if he would have won the election easily had he simply chosen to stab his party’s leader in the back.
That may have been a wise move in retrospect, but it would have done little to endear him to his constituents back home and would have only infuriated many of his most hard-core supporters.
Neither was Bonilla’s “repugnant ploy to link Ciro Rodriguez to Islamic terrorism” the key to the election. As the editorial writers themselves point out further on, the slanderous attack was “an act of electoral desperation” that was devised long after it was clear that the election was slipping out of his grasp.
No, the clear and overriding issue of the campaign and of the entire 2006 mid-term elections was the war in Iraq. If things had been going well in Iraq, the election outcome would have been entirely different. The costly, bloody debacle in Iraq is what motivated many Democrats to go to the polls and caused many Republicans to stay home all across the country.
Ciro was right on the war from the very beginning. Bonilla and the Express-News were wrong. That is the clearest explanation for the dramatic shift in electoral sentiment expressed last Tuesday. There were other factors in play such as the immigration issue (Bonilla’s support for a border fence killed him with many Hispanic voters on the border) and the “culture of corruption” within the GOP Congress, but these alone would not have been enough to account for the dramatic results we saw.
Next, the editorial writers turn their wrath onto Ciro. They let fly with a whole slew of baseless, unsubstantiated charges against the Congressman-elect. For instance, they claim that Rodriguez canceled debates with Bonilla to “avoid a side-by-side comparison with Bonilla.” This, they claim, is because Rodriguez “has demonstrated an inability to articulate his competence on complex issues.”
How so? The editorial writers neglect to say. But don’t you suppose the fact that Ciro won the election in a landslide is some indication of his ability to “articulate his competence” to the voters? After all, we are talking about someone with a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University and a master’s degree from Our Lady of the Lake University who has a combined 30 years of experience in public service. Someone who has been a university professor, a school board member, a state legislator and a U.S. congressman.
But of course Bonilla was so much more articulate because he was a TV news anchor. I suppose what the editorial writers really mean when they talk about being articulate is someone who is good at reading a teleprompter and parroting short, snappy soundbites.
Then they level the charge that the position Rodriguez takes on issues is detrimental to his district. “When Rodriguez flogs free trade and the elimination of barriers to commerce and finance, he's undermining a $1.2 billion investment by Toyota and the creation of 4,100 jobs in his district,” the editorial alleges.
But what exactly has Ciro ever done that would have undermined Toyota’s investment in San Antonio? That’s a pretty heavy acusation. Could we get some specifics, please? Or is this charge just as baseless as everything else?
Finally, I should just note that Ciro’s appointment by Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi to a seat on the House Appropriations Committee completely undercuts the last slender thread of logic that the E-N used in making its lame and moronic endorsement of Bonilla.