Thursday, April 07, 2005

Texans

What is it about Texans in Washington? Since Lyndon was a Senator and Sam Rayburn was Speaker, Texans have been larger than life in Washington. Both of these men, Johnson and Rayburn epitomized the problem with Texas politicians. If they had been Republicans, it would have been at least twice as bad.

The problem with Texans is that culturally Texas is a backward state compared with California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Pennysylvania, Maryland, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, northern Virginia, the research triangle section of North Carolina, and occasionally Missouri. That's about fifteen states or roughly a third, since Alaska, Hawai'i, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Wyoming don't have the populations or the diversity to compete.

Texas is culturally backward despite its thriving metropolitan areas like Houston (4th in the nation), Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin, (although Austin is an weird anomaly in the state). It is culturally backward partly because of its size and its neighbors. Texans have only themselves to look to for models. You would not want Texans to be like Okies or Cajuns or Arkansas travelers, would you? In the west New Mexico, one of the poorest states in the Union, cannot possibly provide context or example. No, Texans are isolated and, to add insult to isolation, Texas is a cotton state, a part of the old Confederacy, and all that implies.

Still, it is not the brash Protestant religiosity of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Waco, nor is it the Roman Catholic areas of the German settlements in south-central Texas or the Texas barrios that produce the backwardness. It's not the steamy, humid, racist misery of east Texas. It is something left over from the 'fifties: Old Testament Paternalism. Paternalism is the base creed of Texas politicians, and combined with Republican self-righteous, fear-based narrow-mindedness it is a terrible thing to behold.

Former Senator John Tower epitomized the paternalistic, self-righteous Texas paternalism and brought it to Washington for twenty-three years in the Senate. His politics was ultra-conservative and wrapped up in that sort of Texas religiosity that looks down on sinners, understands (and fears) wild prairie weather and, nevertheless, makes a shambles of his own personal life. Tower was an obstinate and obnoxious rightwing scourge.

Following Tower, though, we have an escalation in Texas backwardness and paternalism. In Representative Tom DeLay of the Houston suburbs, we have a John Tower with the smell of DDT and the goodwill of a blackwidow spider. Tom DeLay is a vicious hypocrite, a man of public prayer and private avarice. He understands the incredible power of money in a corrupt society and he plays that game as if it were the only game in town. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Tom is so sure of himself that he broke the law recently denouncing the judges, who rightfully refused to be party to the gruesome and immoral gardening of Terri Schiavo.

Tom DeLay threatened all the judiciary and brought upon himself, with his own mouth, the reason he must be expelled from the Congress. He has proven himself unfit for office, ignorant of the law of the land and the doctrine of separation of governmental powers. He is revealed to the whole world as the slimey, hypocritical, demagogue and liar that he is. As the press told us yesterday, he is also an avaricious cheat.

With DeLay sinking to the nadir of American politics, one wonders how a dude like Senator John Cornyn could happen along. John Cornyn fancies himself the replacement for former Senator Phil Gramm, a tower of immodest conservative doctrine, if ever there was one. John Cornyn like John Tower is ultra-conservative and even sat on the Texas supreme court for seven years. John Cornyn is not, however, what you would call a genius.

How does a man of his culturally confined intellect manage to put both feet in his mouth in the same sentence and commit a felony on the floor of the Senate all in one breath? Well, self-righteousness does it. Hubris and paternalism are the key. John Cornyn opened the door for every person who does not like their verdict to go after their judge and commit mayhem. Cornyn is not fit for office either.

Cornyn is stupider than Tom DeLay because he is nothing but a piler on, a repeater, not an inciter, just the kind of guy who gangs up on issues, rather than defining them and providing light to his generation. John Cornyn is a sad epigone of the John Tower type in Texas. But he is dangerous because of his mouth and its tenuous connection to his intellect.

Yesterday I called Cornyn's office and told his staff member that Mr. Cornyn should resign. You can do that too, if you like, by calling his Washington office at: 202-224-2934 or his Austin, TX office at 512-469-6034. John Cornyn is an embarrassment to our federal government. He is worthless now that he has revealed himself so stupidly and publicly.

Oh, and you can call Tom DeLay's Washington office at: 202-225-5951 and wish him the same. It's time for some spring cleaning in Texas!

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