Thursday, December 14, 2006

Express-News temper tantrum

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.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Texas just got a lot bluer

I’m still in shock this morning over Ciro’s landslide victory over the odious Henry Bonilla. I thought I was being overly optimistic to dare hope that Ciro might squeak out a narrow victory. I certainly did not expect that he would win in a 55-45 landslide. My gosh! This was a continuation of the “thumpin’” that Republicans got on Nov. 7. Bonilla did not just lose, he got his ass kicked!
The only polls in the district showed Bonilla winning with about 51 percent and that had put a big damper on my initial enthusiasm. But now it seems that the polls were flat wrong this time. Ciro’s victory means that Democrats had a 30-seat gain from the mid-term elections which is exactly what I had predicted. I could have won the office pool if there had been one.
I’m so happy that the voters in the 23rd District disregarded the San Antonio Express-News’ lame and moronic endorsement of Bonilla. We should all be happy that the “decent” guy won and the guy who ran the “abhorrent” campaign lost.
This was such a huge victory for Ciro that it pretty much cements him in place. A close victory would have meant that Republicans would have been back in force in 2008 to try and reclaim the seat. Now I would expect that effort will only be half-hearted at best. This election showed that Republican efforts to win over the Hispanic vote have gone nowhere lately and they have most likely lost ground.
I still can’t believe I’m actually going to be represented by someone in Congress who shares my values. Since I’ve been old enough to vote, with the exception of the three years that I lived in Connecticut, I’ve never had a Democrat representing me in Congress. In College Station in the late-’80s I was stuck with Republican Joe Barton. For a short time in Connecticut it was Democrat Rosa DeLauro, but then we moved back to Texas and I ended up with Lamar Smith who was representing the Kerrville area in the mid-’90s. In Lubbock I had Republican Larry Combest and when we moved to San Antonio in 2000 it was Bonilla.
And Ciro isn’t just your run-of-the-mill Democrat, he’s an unabashed liberal with a capital L. And while the court-ordered redistricting definitely made this race competitive, it was the Iraq war that made it a runaway landslide for the Democrats. So keep it up, Republicans! Keep our troops mired over in Iraq all the way into 2008 and you’ll think the “thumpin’” you got in 2006 was just a love tap.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

An unsavory and distasteful editorial

The Express-News editorial endorsing Bonilla this morning is even worse than I imagined.
They continue to acknowledge that Bonilla has placed partisan politics over the interests of his district. Furthermore, they say he has run an ugly campaign, adding that his attempt to link Rodriguez to a terrorist was "abhorrent."
And yet they still insist that he is the better choice, even though that choice is described as "unsavory" and "distasteful."
Because Bonilla sits on the House Appropriations Committee and would be in a position to help push more federal dollars into the area, or so they say. Now let's examine the logic behind this for just a moment, shall we? The Democrats are now in charge of the purse strings, and the E-N editorial board thinks the way to get them to send more money to San Antonio is to send another Republican back to Congress? Uh huh.
But what exactly is their knock against Ciro? They say that he is a "decent man." Gee, thanks, guys! But then they add that he was "a lightweight" in Congress and "far from the most effective member of the San Antonio delegation." Do you suppose maybe that could have been because he was stuck in the minority all that time where every one of his initiatives tends to get shot down by the Republican majority? In other words, the same thing that will happen to Bonilla if he goes back to Washington.
And they also knock Ciro for his pro-labor voting record.
But they completely avoid mentioning the one issue most important in this election - the fact that Ciro was exactly right about Iraq and that Henry Bonilla was dead wrong.
That's because the E-N editorial board has been wrong about Iraq from day one. They supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They bought into all the nonsense about WMDs. They endorsed Bush - the worst president of all time - for re-election in 2004. They endorse Republicans for election at every opportunity with very few exceptions. And they continued to advocate a "stay the course" position throughout the entire bloody debacle over there. The E-N has zero credibility on this issue, and their abhorrent and unsavory support of Henry Bonilla should be seen in the same light as the poor judgement they have shown all along in regards to the war in Iraq.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Election blitz

Peter Bryant at B and B did a bang-up job this weekend blogging the appearance of President Bill Clinton at a Ciro Rodriguez rally. I have to say I am getting my hopes up in this race and columns like this in the E-N aren’t helping me keep a lid on my enthusiasm. has become clear down the stretch of the Congressional District 23 race that one candidate — Ciro Rodriguez — has some mojo...

Whether he has the mojo or not, Ciro (and the Democratic Party) has run a good race and it would be a bitter shame of Bonilla wins, especially after revealing his total lack of honor by running that atrocious and blatantly false ad accusing Ciro of supporting terrorism.

I’m hoping that the Express-News editorial writers, who should be duly embarrassed, will skip rehashing their lame and moronic endorsement of Bonilla in tomorrow’s paper, but I probably won’t be that lucky.

I tried to early vote over the weekend but the line was too long and we needed to get the kids home for naptime. So I’ll have to vote on Tuesday. I’ve been blanketed with campaign mailings from both sides and blitzed with phone calls to the point that my wife is threatening not to vote in protest. I keep telling her that all the calls are from Bonilla, but the truth is that it’s about 50-50. And since most are recorded messages there is no one to complain to and ask to be taken off the list.
So while I am happy that the Democrats are putting up a good fight this time, I would just ask or plead that they not call me three and four times a day. You’re singing to the choir, folks! Give me a break!

Win some, lose some

The re-election victory of William Jefferson in Louisiana over the weekend was a big disappointment to Democrats. No doubt Jefferson will quickly become the Republicans’ favorite Democrat, displacing even Joe Lieberman in that capacity.
Not only is Jefferson an embarrassment to the party because of his pending indictment in a bribery scandal, but he practically ran as a Republican during the election - attacking his primary opponent Karen Carter, a fellow Democrat, for being in favor of abortion rights, gay marriage and stem cell research.
Combine those stances with Jefferson’s financial corruption and he would fit in very nicely with the Tom DeLay brand of Republicans in Congress.
It’s a shame the voters in that district didn’t act more sensibly and/or responsibly. Now we are stuck with Jefferson at least until he gets his ass thrown in jail. That may not be too far off, however, so I hope that Karen Carter is keeping her campaign idling and ready to go again when the time comes.