Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Texas Primary Day!

Warning: Today's post is not particularly unbiased.

Today Texas is having its long-delayed GOP primary. Oh, and the Democratic primary, too. But this is Texas, and in Texas Democrats have NO CHANCE. Because the Lone Star State consists almost exclusively of rednecks, self-entitled suburbanites who don't give a damn about anything except their HOAs, gun-toting Tea Party wackos who draw heavily from the previous two groups, and a minority of progressive, socially-conscious people who are variously too disorganized, too few in number, and too stoned to mount a strong opposition to the prevailing Republican junta.

The most significant and prolonged movement Texas liberals
have ever managed.
So the two big races on today's Texas ballot are the GOP Presidential primary and the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Kay Bailey Hutchison.

SPOILER ALERT: Mitt Romney will win.

Likely answers include "I don't remember,"
"Mormons are so too Christians," and "I like money."
So let's move on to the Senate race. There are 312 names on the ballot. Actually, there are nine, but it seems like more because it's funnier that way. One of them is Craig James, who is the only candidate to have played for the New England Patriots and whose real name is Jesse James. Seriously. He is the cutest of the candidates. He also has the best blog devoted to his careeer and candidacy: "Craig James Killed 5 Hookers."

Then there's David Dewhurst, the current lieutenant governor of Texas. For those outside the state, despite my many jabs at Governor Dick Perry, the position he holds is little more than window dressing. It's the lieutenant governor who actually drives policy and wields influence over the state legislature. Why exactly Mr. Dewhurst would want to give up his seat of power to become a junior Senator and languish on minor committees like the Joint Committee on Printing (a real thing) is unclear. What's important is that the lieutenant governor brags openly on his website that he totally supported recent Texas legislation that stripped women of privacy, choice, and access to health care; that he withheld funds from the state education system; that he crippled the right of millions of citizens to seek legal recourse for others' wrongdoing via lawsuits; and that he thinks protecting the environment is for pussies.

Running a strong - and ridiculously expensive - campaign against Lt. Gov. Dewhurst is former Dallas major Tom Leppert. I don't live in Dallas, so I was never directly affected by his decisions as mayor. I'm told by his ads that he "ran Dallas like a business," which explains why, like so many other businesses, it's failing miserably. Mr. Leppert's campaign is distinguished by some of the most mean-spirited negative TV and radio ads I've seen in a long time, as well as by the support of several former Dallas Cowboys including Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, who are now pretty much dead to me. On the issues, Mr. Leppert is pretty much indistinguishable from his opponents: he opposes choice, marriage equality, environmental protection, "Obamacare," taxes, the middle class, and bunnies (one assumes).

Running under the Tea Party banner is Ted Cruz. Although I have nothing good to say about the Tea Party, I have to say Mr. Cruz scores points with me because his high-school yearbook picture was accompanied by a Douglas Adams quote. Also, his website includes unusually detailed and articulate summaries of his economic positions. I mean, there are statistics and references to specific laws and everything. Hooray for policy! On the other hand, his positions are sort of buried on his website, which devotes much more prominent space to rebutting his opponents' "lies" about him. That strikes me as kind of desperate. But hey, he's a Hispanic running as a Tea Party Republican; the attacks against him have been predictably vicious. Oh, and he's endorsed by Rick Santorum. *falls down laughing*

I didn't bother to research the other candidates, one of whom is named "Doc Joe" Agris. And as I said, I'm not paying much attention to the Democrats, because they have no chance. I'll pick them at random when I vote today.

And I will vote today. Despite the futility of keeping the Republicans out of our vacant Senate seat or any of the state and local seats for which they're competing. Because it's not about winning, it's about participating. If I want to keep this whiny, poorly-read forum for my opinions honest, I have no choice but to cast my ballot. It's the price of admission into democracy. Remember that when you're wondering why you should bother.

People die for the right to cast a "meaningless" vote. The least you can do is get off the couch.

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