It's election season again, and you may have seen that TCR's last issue on Congressional District 22 generated widespread response. Bobby Eberle of GOPUSA.com added his own insights on the CD 22 fiasco by pointing out a simple concept that the Republican Party of Texas needs to understand: leadership matters. TCR fully agrees.
You may have also seen another response that was not quite so approving. Defenders of the state party leadership that got us into this mess went to an unusual place to make their response: Paul Burka, the left wing political columnist for Texas Monthly. Burka composed a venomous response attacking both Eberle and TCR. But before we get to that, credit is due for the RPT in at least one area.
Late last week the RPT united behind Shelley Sekula-Gibbs as their write-in choice for CD 22. Any write-in campaign still faces nearly insurmountable odds, (syndicated columnist Robert Novak concurs it's a likely Democratic takeover, one of only four in America), but the party deserves credit for rallying the other candidates behind a single name - the first positive development after months of strategic blunders.
Turning to Paul Burka, a couple observations can be made. First, Burka accused TCR of "self-serving, second-guessing hooey." Not true. TCR has consistently critiqued the bad legal strategy of RPT since day one. Last spring we predicted that DeLay's seat was now needlessly at risk.
We also pointed out RPT's initial mistake of falling into the Democrat's lawsuit trap.
Next, Burka claims that "all that mattered under the U.S. Constitution, was where [DeLay's] residence would be on Election Day." Burka is simply wrong about this. The federal residency issue came up when RPT unwisely moved the case to federal court. Before that the case was about Texas election law procedures for declaring a candidate ineligible. Burka also must not have read Judge Sam Sparks' ruling. Sparks slammed the ineligibility letter, the simple truth is that RPT failed to prove its main factual assertion in the case.
Burka also defends the RPT's decision to move the case to federal court and assumes that it would have ended up there anyway. Evidently, Burka is unaware that this move changed the case to a federal law in addition to state legal issues. He assumes it was always about federal residency criteria and nothing more. It was not. Democrat Chairman Boyd Richie based his original suit on the Texas Election Code's standards for ineligibility. Richie told the Dallas Morning News on June 9th that they sued because "Mr. DeLay has withdrawn rather than make himself ineligible," a distinction in the state's election law. RPT changed that question to the federal issue when they moved the case, and in doing so they gave themselves a weaker basis to argue from.
Of course, the real question of this story is in the strange alliance it has produced. Why is a left wing apologist like Burka going to such lengths to defend the RPT's failed and defeated court strategy? And why have many defenders of the RPT's failed court strategy embraced the word of a liberal gossip columnist as their main defense for such a poor showing in court? And now a new wrinkle, a special election on November 7th to fill DeLay's unexpired term. This puts the GOP candidate on the ballot and this will help. The big question is how much the voter will have to type in to know their intent for the write-in.
By Brian S. Ettinger
We live in an age where people are going around wearing masks to conceal their identity, carrying guns, and other weaponry such as rocket launchers and are rewarded for this behavior. These individuals are nothing but cowards, thugs, criminals, and terrorists.
For the United Nations and the U.S. Supreme Court to extend international laws and Geneva protections to this group of individuals and their terrorist organizations is ludicrous. They represent no official government, no official army, wear no official uniforms, engage in uncivilized warfare, but yet are extended these protections. This group of terrorists uses civilians as human shields, plants battles to be fought where civilians will be placed in jeopardy and has no value or respect for human life.
It is very interesting in researching this issue that the class of these individuals is that they are all Islamic fascist extremists whose behavior is common to suicide bombing, acts of terrorism and the killing of innocent human life. To afford them upon capture the Geneva Convention protections is absurd. They kidnap, terrorize, and, behead individuals, whether civilian or members of a country's military and yet they demand that upon their capture we treat them with respect and afford them international protections under their rules of war.
Just this past spring, the U.S. Supreme Court under Justice Stevens' opinion came down with a decision affording the detainees in Guantanamo Prison in Cuba the rights to be detained and questioned under the Geneva Convention Protection and rights to be tried under a military tribunal as set up by the U.S. Congress. The Supreme Court decision places President Bush in a position where he needs to go to Congress and seek the legislative guidelines to be established over these detainees and their right to trial on these charges. This decision of Justice Stevens came close to causing a constitutional crisis in our country. This happened over 200 years ago when President Jefferson was in power under the Matbury v. Madison decision. If President Bush decided to go forward with Military tribunals and hold these detainees indefinitely thereby ignoring the Supreme Court decision, this could have had grave impacts on the three branches of government and the checks and balances established under our system. The U.S. Supreme Court should not have viewed this issue under the rules of war and rights given to a combative force because we live in a time where these cowards and terrorists and their ruthless behavior are not entitled to these protections. They have a total disregard for western civilization and rule of law and only respect brute force.
To base their protections because we live under the rule of law doesn't recognize the times we live in where terrorist behavior and the killing of innocent people should not be entitled to any protections given to a recognized country's military. They should be treated the same way traitors and spies were treated not having rights given to recognized military members.
These Islamic extremists need to understand that unless they modify their behavior they should be fair game to preemptive strikes by civilized countries who will go after them, hunting them down and killing them. They should not be entitled to the protections of the rule of law. There is a historical basis for this which goes back thousands of years or recently with the hunting down of Nazi officials, the warlords in former Czechoslovakia, the leaders of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the terrorists of the Munich Olympic attack. To wear masks and hide your identity shows the cowardly attitudes of these individuals. If they were proud of their cause, they would display their faces freely rather than cover them up.
In summary, unless we wake up and address this problem head on, it will become worse with each year and result in even more terrorist attacks on innocent civilians.
Brian Ettinger is a practicing attorney, strong conservative and a concerned citizen about America's future.
World Trade Center:
A TCR Movie Review
TCR goes to the movies on occasion and will in the future recommend films for right thinking Americans.
World Trade Center by Oliver Stone was a well done film from an unexpected source. Typically hostile to America or worried about alleged conspiracies, he has put together on the backdrop of 9/11, a human interest story involving first responders and real heroes.
The film also reminds us that the number one state sponsor of Islamic terror, Iran, is on the brink of obtaining nuclear weapons and we better deal with it now before we face future nuclear 9/11's. (See National Review online columnist Stanley Kurtz in his August 28, 2006 article Our Fallout Shelter Future at www.nationalreview.com.)
Governor Perry's Tax Appraisal Commission:
Will It Lead To Lower Property Taxes?
Putting aside conservative disappointment during last year's regular and special session on the issue of significantly lowering the caps on property tax increases, TCR finds potentially good news. The Governor has appointed a commission to study the issue. TCR will keep an eye on the new commission led by Tom Pauken.
The best news we find is that Tom's leading the panel and he gets it. "I have used the term "stealth tax" to describe the hidden tax paid for by property owners as a result of skyrocketing property valuations." For the rest of the commission, only time will tell.
TCR will be watching and hoping this commission can help lead the way to ending unvoted for property tax increases in Texas once and for all.
COMING - (Friday, September 29, 2006 at 8 pm) to Channel 8 PBS in Houston, Texas - the connection - Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who recently completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his ninth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last four years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant and can be reached at (713) 621-6335.