Magicians are trained in the art of misdirection: focus over here while I do something over there. Dan Patrick is a magician and he has perfected the art of deception.
If you have heard Patrick speak on the campaign trail, you will notice that, when the questions get tough, he begins talking about his Christianity for two reasons. First, he uses Christianity as a distraction technique – don’t focus on the fact that I never repaid a large outstanding debt, focus on how great I am because I love Jesus. Second, he uses his faith to question the faith of others, which he uses as an argument. I call that a fallacy. I am certainly not questioning any man’s faith because I believe that is a job for God, not man.
The Coen Brothers are story tellers with a string of popular movies: No County for Old Men, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Blood Simple, and the remake of True Grit with Jeff Bridges. They also made a movie called O Brother Where Art Thou?, which follows three escaped convicts on their search for hidden treasure. In the movie, the sitting governor, Pappy O’Daniel, endorses the Soggy Bottom Boys, which also happens to be the escaped convicts. Pappy, was based on the real Pappy O’Daniel, also known as Wilbert Lee “Pass the Biscuits, Pappy” O’Daniel, the former Texas Governor who had a colorful radio career that led to his populous rise to become governor of Texas. Sound familiar?
Pappy had a radio show where he played western swing music (think Bob Wills) with his band, the Light Crust Doughboys. The show came on at 12:30pm every day and the entire state of Texas stopped to listen. Old Pappy started his own flour company, the Hillbilly Flour Company. Whenever O’Daniel’s band would play, they would pass biscuits through the crowds in order to promote the flour company.
Pappy is one example of a demagogue, a political leader who appeals to popular desires, emotions, fears, and prejudices rather than using rational argument. At the request of his radio fans, he ran for governor in 1938. Pappy’s goal was to win elections by appealing to the passions of the populace.
In 1938, Pappy campaigned for governor of Texas promoting tax cuts and pensions – all while passing out his biscuits. Once elected, Pappy proposed a new sales tax. After an unsuccessful term as a United States Senator, Pappy later ran again for governor and claimed that Brown v. Board of Education was a communist conspiracy. Pappy was the consummate demagogue politician portrayed in O Brother.
Dan Patrick is our own Pappy O’Daniel. Instead of biscuits, a passes his religious appeal to the populace. Patrick takes every opportunity to put his faith before an audience. Patrick makes a direct appeal to the Evangelical community, an important voting block in the Republican primary.
Pappy O’Patrick has been in the Texas Senate since 2007. Instead of speaking about his own accomplishments, his campaign has been filled hatemongering and silly websites featuring his opponents. For example, HB2. Dan blames David Dewhurst for allowing the filibuster to occur and creating the hysteria around Wendy Davis. What did Dan Patrick do to help HB2 pass? Nothing. When Glenn Hegar brought the bill for a vote during the second special session, Patrick implied that anyone opposed to this bill lacked faith in God. This was in direct contrast to the professional manner in which he conducted himself during this debate. Patrick needs to attend the Ted Cruz school of debate because his argument left the door wide open for John Whitmire to rebuke him for questioning the faith of opponents to the bill. I believe that Patrick sat back and let the bill fail during the first session because he wanted Dewhurst so he could get his job.
We all know that, in 2012, Dan Patrick endorsed David Dewhurst for Senator. This wasn’t just a passive endorsement. On his radio show, Patrick argued with Ted Cruz for thirty minutes. This was emphatic support. Why would Patrick give his all out support for Dewhurst in 2012 and then run against him the following year? Maybe he wanted Dewhurst to move on so he could take his job. Thankfully, the people of Texas, I believe, are smart enough to see through that act. Now, O’Patrick is trying to make up for his misdeeds by endorsing Cruz for President. Dan, it is too late. You are found out!
O’Patrick’s elitism is apparent when talking about guns and special privileges for elected officials. In 2011, Patrick offered a bill allowing elected officials to carry their guns in places that are off limits to regular citizens. The current exception is for judges and prosecutors and I think that most people can understand why that would be necessary. Patrick’s 2011 bill failed; so, he tried it again in 2013. This time, O’Patrick allowed Senator Corona to add the language to an existing bill, which was soundly defeated in the house, 103-38.
Pappy O’Patrick thinks his kids and their friends are special, too. Over the last few years, he has assisted the dark forces at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center. His son, with barely enough experience to statutorily qualify for a felony judicial position, was appointed by Rick Perry and subsequently elected. His son was sworn in by Susan Brown, the matriarch of the 185th Grand Jury. It is ironic to look back at interview responses given by Susan Brown in 2010. She said that, over the last several years, she had “seen what happens when judges refuse to follow the law or who follow their own agendas.” I guess that she is proud of her runaway grand jury. The point is that, after Brown’s runaway grand jury affected Harris County politics, Patrick’s son, Ryan, decided that Brown should swear him in following his new judicial appointment.
Dan Patrick is dedicated to one thing: his personal glory. He offers smoke and mirrors and evokes God’s glory to cover his selfishness. There is no place in Texas leadership for selfishness and demagogues.