This election season has been very boring in Harris County. So much so that I was concerned that Republican turnout would be lower than it should be. But thanks to Houston Mayor Annise Parker, conservative Republicans are fired up and it just so happens that early voting starts next week! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
By now you know the problem. Parker and her right hand man, City Attorney Dave Feldman, stepped deep in it when they decided to subpoena the sermons and notes of five pastors. The subpoenas are supposedly related to the lawsuit filed by former Harris County Republican Party Chair Jared Woodfill and others in an attempt to repeal the Houston UNequal Rights Ordinance (HURO). Parker tried backpedaling when even her own supporters were outraged but Kevin Whited over at blogHOUSTON shows us that she isn’t telling the whole story about her knowledge and support of the subpoenas.
Public servants should tell the truth
The vigor with which Mayor Parker AND City Attorney Feldman were defending the city’s legal action just hours before makes it difficult to take their later statements seriously. It requires one to believe Mayor Parker was incompetent enough to defend a policy she clearly didn’t understand, only to “see the light” a few hours later (okay, when it comes to the mayor, that degree of incompetence actually IS plausible). It further requires one to believe that one of the most highly paid public officials in Texas, the city’s top legal official and one who CLEARLY relishes his power and position, somehow had an utterly incompetent moment in which he was completely absent on important Parker Administration legal policymaking. That is FAR LESS plausible.
We understand that politicians often feel the need to say anything to get past a bad media cycle, but we would really prefer they tell the truth.
If you click over and read the entire post, Whited lays out the timeline in detail. Too bad “professional” journalists refused to to the work that he did and allowed her to change the story without challenge. Terrible job by the “journalists” at the professional media outlets on this one.
Anyway, back to the “Thank you”. The pushback was so strong that even new Harris County Republican Party Chair Paul Simpson weighed in. Now that is news. Simpson has been mostly missing in action on the front lines in Harris County, focusing on building the professional organization that he promised voters. I give him many kudos for that – I have been very impressed with his new organization, from the new offices, to the youth movement in phone banking, to the weekly coordinated block walks, to the walk lists given to precinct chairs, and certainly to the fundraising. The latest HCRP state finance report continues the trend of judges funding the bulk of the party (which Simpson roundly criticized) but also has another $60,000 from Dick Weekly and a few other contributions from business interests. There can be no question that Simpson has kept his campaign promises about the organization and finances of the party.
But overall, the activities in Harris County have not been of the type that makes people want to get out and vote. Professionalism comes with a price and that is boredom. Plus “social conservatives” have felt excluded from the new party structure as most of the focus has been on limiting their message and focusing on “liberty” and “efficiency”. I mean, yeah, Harris County Works, but using that as a get out the vote measure? I don’t think so. Have you ever been to a county office and waited an hour or me to finish your business? Same thing with Republican Judges Work. Sure they do, except when they don’t. And the messaging is different between the two. Harris County Works urges you to consider voting for down ballot Republicans but the spearhead of that effort, County Judge Ed Emmett, refuses to advocate straight ticket voting. Republican Judges Work urges voters to vote straight ticket so that down ballot judges will keep their seats, regardless of their competence.
So when Annise Parker and team decided to bully a few pastors, it was a welcome relief to those of us hoping that Republicans turn out in droves and reject the majority of Democratic candidates. Believe me, this issue has fired up social conservatives enough that I think they will overlook the party’s slighting them and at least vote for top ticket Republicans like Greg Abbott. Hopefully they will either not vote straight ticket or vote straight ticket and crossover where necessary because as Judge Emmett told me, voting straight ticket without considering the individual candidates leads to incompetent people getting elected, whether it be in the Obama wave of 2008 or the tea party wave of 2010. And quite frankly, the Republicans do not have a great candidate in all races on your ballot this year. But if the price of having the majority of Republicans get elected is to have a few elected that shouldn’t be in office, I think most Texans will be willing to pay that price.
Hopefully Simpson will see the opportunity that Parker has provided for the HCRP and take full advantage of it. He can be professional and still help promote the bullying tactics of Democrats like Annise Parker, especially since his friend Sen. Ted Cruz was smart enough to see the opportunity and used it to promote his fledgling presidential campaign. My bet is that Simpson takes advantage of the opening and floods the base with emails about it, urging them to turnout and block this nonsense.
So thanks again Mayor Parker! You rock.