Texas Tea, A Bitter Cup of Defeat

Though one can't discount the fact the Deborah Medina, the Texas businesswoman turned Tea Party candidate for Governor, received over 272,000 votes, good enough for a 19 percent share, in yesterday's election, there were other races in which the Tea Partiers fielded candidates. The "Take Back America" crowd got left behind at the polls. None fared especially well.

Over in the Texas 12th Congressional District that encompasses Fort Worth, Congresswoman Kay Granger, a seven-term incumbent, had drawn two primary challengers both claiming to have Tea Party support. When all was said and done, Congresswoman Granger defeated anti-abortion candidate Mike Brasovan and north Fort Worth wholesale grocer Matthew Kelly by winning 70 percent of the vote.

Bud Kennedy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram sheds light on a Tea Party candidate who imploded in a race for the Texas legislature.

The Tea Parties' best chance for a victory was in Burleson, where candidate Darren Yancy was supposed to walk into the Texas Senate after incumbent state Sen. Kip Averitt came down sick and couldn't campaign. Yet Yancy self-destructed.

Voters learned he was suspended as an "untrustworthy" real estate agent by the Texas Real Estate Commission.

He had to explain suing Burleson and a local youth league for $500,000 over a baseball scrap.

He told radio listeners that ACORN wanted to defeat him and that he expects to get "national attention."

He called for shooting illegal immigrants at the border but said he's pro-life.

Oh, and he consistently misspelled Waco's McLennan County as McClennan. Voters were choosing Averitt in early returns.

Looks like the Tea Parties got iced.

It was bitter cup of Texas Tea served yesterday. No incumbent GOP House member in the Texas delegation was seriously imperiled by any of their grassroots über-conservative Tea Party challengers. Their best effort came in the Texas Fourth Congressional District in the northeastern part of the state against the former Blue Dog Democrat turned Republican Ralph Hall where Congressman Hall eked out a 33 point margin win. From the Dallas Morning News

The North Texas congressional delegation held off challenges in Republican primaries, many beating back Tea Party opponents.

And 86-year-old U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Rockwall, beat five contenders in his bid for a 16th term representing Rockwall County, part of Collin County and northeast Texas.

Hall’s closest challenger was Steve Clark of Heath, who spent more than $300,000 of his own money through mid-February. This was one of the closest primaries in recent years for Hall, who switched parties before the 2004 primary.

“The difference was, I’ve been on the floor of the House till midnight every night working against that health care bill,” Hall said. “I’ve had to be up there doing my job. I was afraid this time.”

Clark tried to appeal to Tea Party voters, as did another challenger, Jerry Ray Hall, who filed to run as “Jerry Ray (Tea) Hall.” Clark said he and Ralph Hall aligned on most issues. But he said it is time for Hall, the oldest member of the House, to step aside.

Rep. Pete Sessions, who leads Republicans’ congressional election efforts, trounced a Tea Party-identified candidate, financial analyst David Smith.

Smith billed himself as “the constitutional conservative candidate” and hammered Sessions on votes for the 2008 bank bailout and Sessions’ support of a moderate candidate in a New York special congressional election last year.

Dallas Tea Party leader Ken Emanuelson now tells us that it wasn't about winning elections. “Our job is to educate people and to get people to the polls,” he said. “We tell everybody to look at the candidates. If the incumbent is the right person, then vote for him.”

Tea Party Convention Off to a Raucous Start

The officially unofficial Tea Party National Convention kicked off last night in Nasville's Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center with former five-term Colorado GOP Congressman Tommy "the Tamale" Tancredo delivering the opening salvos. Not surprisingly, Tancredo bemoaned that the country voted to ""put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House ... Barack Hussein Obama." He added that the reason Obama was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country." I'm somewhat shocked he didn't advocate for a poll tax or property requirement.

More surprisingly, Tancredo was thankful that John McCain had lost the 2008 Presidential election. "Thank God John McCain lost the election," he said before going on to rip McCain suggesting that “we would have had a replay of Bush One and Bush Two.” Tancredo suggested that McCain would have presided over big budget deficits and lacked a tough stand against immigration.

If McCain had won “there wouldn’t have been a big fight,” he offered by way of an explanation. “There would have been no Tea Party, no 912ers, no rally for America on the National Mall, and we would not be here. The race for America is on. The president and his left-wing allies in Congress are going to look for every opportunity to destroy the Constitution before we have a chance to save it.” In short, Tancredo feels that the 2008 election has galvanized the right awakening it from a stupor. 

He deplored a "cult of multiculturalism" and suggested the American culture was superior to all others. “How many of you have ever known, read about, heard of, been acquainted with anybody who had to flee from America for a better life? When you raise the gates all over the world, people run one way, and it isn’t because the cultures are all the same. No, they’re not. Some are better. Ours is best."

He concluded by exhorting to the less than capacity audience that "this is our country, let's take it back."

If this is the appetizer, I can hardly wait for the main course. It should be an interesting weekend.

There's more on this story at ABC News while Qatar's Al Jazeera files the report below.


Judson Phillips: This Means War!

After calls to unseat MN Dem Keith Ellison at least partly for being Muslim and advancing the swell idea the Constitution be amended to restrict the vote  only to property owners, Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips has declared war on the Methodist Church.

He claims the Methodist Church is Marxist and “little more than the ‘religious’ arm of socialism” for preaching its support of the DREAM act, health care, joining “the Socialists, Communists and Marxists for the ‘One Nation’ March”, and a host of other unpatriotic sins. Because of these radical ideas he says he, “left the Methodist church over 35 years ago [and has] never looked back.”

His screed is nothing new. He goes off on such things regularly. However, buried deep in his blog post (which, in a display of  his commitment to his own brave words, is open to the public only via subscription) he throws out a challenge that I’m more than happy to accept – “Say, where are the liberal complaints on the separation of church and state? I guess their outrage is selective.”

For the record, I’m an atheist, which in Phillips’ eyes probably makes me Joseph Stalin incarnate. More than 35 years ago I not only left the Methodists, but all religion, and have never looked back. So here’s my ‘selective outrage’ about the separation of church and state:

I agree with Phillips that religion and politics in America would be vastly better off without churches taking sides in secular political matters. I believe their preaching secular issues more often muddies the water than clarifies it and it sometimes dampens criticism of church hierarchy.  However, I don’t see how that is any different from Phillips’ support of churches that espouse his opinions about matters of state.

There’s a vast difference between churches – including those Phillips agrees with – preaching political values that align with their religion and trying to co-opt official non-religious matters of state. One is the freedom to practice religion as one likes. The other moves the positions out of the pulpit and into the secular public square. This is where the tipping point where separating church and state lies.

Churches violate that separation when, for example, religious members of school boards rewrite secular history books to conform to their religious vision. The same is true of many churches’ insistence the 10 Commandments be posted on every flat surface in America. Ditto for repealing health care, preventing gay marriage, and a host of other church-promoted secular issues.

As long as churches preach and don’t co-opt secular responsibilities there is separation.  To me this isn’t a separation issue, it’s the difference between a theocracy and a democracy.

Judson, I both support your freedom to belong to a religion or not belong to a religion or to agree or disagree with a church’s position. All I expect are the same liberties for those who disagree with you. All I expect from churches is to refrain from officially forcing their beliefs onto others.

My outrage isn’t selective, it’s quite consistent.

Which is more than I can say for yours.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!




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