Thursday, March 06, 2008

District 23 challenger

It seems like just yesterday that I was celebrating Ciro Rodriguez’ victory over Henry Bonilla in the 23rd Congressional District.
Now, it’s time to gear up for the next challenge. Bexar County Commissioner Lyle Larson won the Republican primary the other day and will take on Ciro this fall. Larson handily defeated millionaire businessman Quico Canseco despite being outspent nearly 10-1.

I was glad to see Larson win, partly because I think he is not as noxious as Quico and partly because he does not have the personal wealth and financial resources at his disposal that Quico has.
Larson seems like a mainstream Republican who is not out on the wingnut fringe. But then, I thought the same thing about John Cornyn before he got elected to the Senate.

On his campaign website, Larson seems to downplay (or ignore) the more divisive issues on his website and promises to “bring fiscal discipline to Washington, D.C.,” secure our borders and care for our veterans. Hardly controversial ideas.
Still, Larson covers his right flank by declaring "I am pro life and I value the sanctity of every human life.” and "I believe in traditional marriage; a union between a man and a woman". But then he goes on to emphasize his support for adoptions programs which everybody supports.
But there are some worrisome areas on Larson’s “issues” page that voters should be aware of. He talks about Social Security in alarmist terms and hints that “tough decisions must be made” about the level of benefits younger generations will recieve.
And on taxes, Larson embraces the nutty “Fair Tax” scheme most recently promoted by Mike Huckabee that would eliminate the IRS and fund the entire U.S. government (inadequately) with a massive 36 percent sales tax on everything. The goofy idea was initially dreamed up by the Church of Scientology, and is now being endorsed by the rightwing fringe of the Republican Party.

One issue that Larson skirts on his web site, not surprisingly, is the Iraq War. But one can be assured that as the Republican candidate on the ballot with John McCain next fall, Larson will have no choice but to wear the Iraqi albatross around his neck.

This should be a good year for Democrats and Ciro should not have too much trouble getting re-elected after knocking off Bonilla by a 55-45 margin less than two years ago. But he needs to take the challenge from Larson very seriously with the understanding that Larson or someone like him will be back again and again trying to pry him out of this newly blue congressional district.

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