Texas Blog Round Up (July 30, 2007)

Posted in Commentary, Around The State at 8:42 am by wcnews

It’s Monday, and that means it is time for another Texas Progressive Alliance Texas Blog Round-Up. This week’s round-up is brought to you by Capitol Annex.

Diarist Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos has had enough, and she shares the letter she wrote Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn in Tell Me That Our Elected U.S. Lawmakers Do Not Embrace a W.

Could Be True ponders the often asked question (by the Right), “Why Post Election Information in Spanish” at South Texas Chisme.

Vince at Capitol Annex reveals a letter House Speaker Tom Craddick sent to former Parliamentarian Denise Davis telling her to keep her mouth shut about her time as Parliamentarian.

Texas Education just took another hit thanks to Governor Perry, according to a post by TXSharon at Bluedaze. Rick Perry appointed Dr. Don McLeroy as the Chairman of the Texas State Board of Education. McLeroy is known for his radical fundamentalist views. This is especially bad because textbooks are up for review this year.

Hal at Half Empty ponders early endorsements in the Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate in An Endorsement Is Worth Watt Price?

Matt at Stop Cornyn lets us know that John Kerry has announced a contest to Remove Republican Roadblocks (like John Cornyn).

Karl-Thomas at Burnt Orange Report tells us about Town Lake being named after Lady Bird Johnson.

Muse at Musings has the invite to LTC Rick Noriega’s change of command ceremony at the Alamo on August 4th. Noriega will take command of the 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, which can trace its history back to the Republic of Texas. The event is open to the public.

Thought we were done with Accenture and HHSC privatization? Charles at Off the Kuff says think again.

Stace at Dos Centavos tells us about a Pew study which finds Latino political participation is not matching up to Latino
population growth
. Will demographic changes be enough to put Democrats over the top?

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News points to a peer reviewed study that shows illegal immigrants are not criminals-they go to jail at an amazing low one-fifth rate of current citizens. Perhaps we should promote immigration to reduce the crime rate in the United States?

Dembones at Eye On Williamson County posts on the similarities between the new “right-wing” talking points on Iraq and the change in rhetoric by Rep. John Carter (R-Round Rock) on bringing troops home from Iraq in John Carter Heeds Grover Norquist Talking Points.

John C. at Bay Area Houston, in Raising Campaign Cash 2007 from Bob Perry tells us that, during the first part of 2007, Bob Perry didn’t get close to his record contributions of 2006 of $4.5 Million. In 2007 he only donated $471,000 with $250,000 doing to Texans for Lawsuit Reform. HillCo PAC, another fine anti-consumer organization received $50,000 and Lt. Governor Dewhurst received $25,000.

Texas Toad at North Texas Liberal tells us that Carrollton attorney Karen Guerra is set to run as a Democrat for the 16th District Court in 2008.

Steve at Who’s Playin’? tell us about three North Texas men calling for impeachment with a freeway banner over I-35 in Lewisville during rush hour.

Mayor McSleaze at McBlogger takes on recent changes in the dress code for visitors at the White House.

And, don’t forget about these other Texas Progressive Alliance Members: Three Wise Men, In The Pink Texas, Marc’s Miscellany, Common Sense, The Agonist, People’s Republic of Seabrook, McBlogger, B and B, Brains and Eggs, Feet To The Fire, and Who’s Playin’.


This Is Just Silly

Posted in Privatization, Road Issues, Commentary, Around The State at 3:11 pm by wcnews

I’m always intriqued when economist Ray Perryman writes a column, and today is not different. He has a guest column promoting toll roads and public private partnerships, Toll roads take fastest route, in today’s WacoTrib. After promoting corporate toll schemes all through the column, Perryman tries to be conciliatory at the end by stating that, “No one factor should dominate the process, and no single approach is the answer.” That seems disingenuous, to say the least. Early on he tries to belittle anyone who’s against these corporate schemes:

How to ease the gridlock? With no appetite to increase the gasoline tax, the federal government is not likely to provide any major infusions. That leaves toll roads and public-private partnerships, which a vocal minority opposes.

I don’t know if I’d call us a minority. Of Texans that are aware of what’s going on in this state, when it comes to issues of transportation infrastructure, we are definitely a majority. Perryman goes on to correctly state that the recently passed “moratorium” isn’t a moratorium, but then he goes on to tells us all the joys the TTC will bring:

The moratorium doesn’t halt the proposed TTC, but no dirt will be moved as a part of this enterprise for two years. The time will be spent for studies and expanded preparation.

The TTC will improve efficiency, reduce transportation time and costs, help expand intrastate trade and strengthen the position of Texas as a site of corporate operations and expansions. Delaying it will cost the state’s economy millions of dollars per year.

All for the low price of 50 cents per mile. And the claim about transportation time and cost all depends on who is asked the question. He provides the usual pro-toll mantra that there’s no will, in this case “appetite”, to increase the gas tax so corporate toll schemes are our only option. Make no mistake, tolls are taxes, and they will be huge tax increases at that. But to spout the whole time about corporate toll sdhemes, and then have to nerve to say we should look at all options borders on ludicrous.

So Texas must be flexibile. In solving traffic congestion in Texas, careful consideration should go to the social, legal, environmental, economic and political costs and benefits. No one factor should dominate the process, and no single approach is the answer.

Of course “on factor” shouldn’t dominate the discussion, maybe someone should write a column about that.


TX-Sen: Democratic Primary, Experience And Money Needed To Win

Posted in US Senate Race, Election 2008, 2008 Primary, Uncategorized at 12:47 pm by wcnews

As reported at EOW yesterday Rick Noriega went down to the Valley earlier in the week. On that visit not only did Noriega, as is his MO, “speak truth to power”, and beat Sen. Cornyn over the head with his own record of neglect for the Valley, he also tried to gently encourage Mikal Watts to “stand aside” in the US Senate race, and let the more experienced candidate go forward against Texas’ failed US Senator.

In reaction to Noriega’s visit Mikal Watts went down to the Valley too and again trotted out his “endorsers” in the Valley to show his support down there. While there will be endorsements for both candidates from this area and, eventually, who will be declared the “winner” someday - if there is such a thing - of Valley endorsements, we’ll just have to wait and see. But because of Watts’ millions those endorsements will be looked at with skepticism.

Whether Draft Noriega bloggers will be able to reach our September goal is not, and should not, be looked at as the only marker of whether Noriega is the people powered candidate in this race. While blogs have increased scrutiny in politics, and given voice to previously voiceless, we are not a substitute for the previous ways of fundraising and campaigning. Our campaign is only one, and we hope an important part, of a larger campaign to show and help spread the word that Rick Noriega is the people’s candidate in the race for US Senate in Texas in 2008.

What the Democratic explorers’ Valley actions show is two different types of candidates. Watts, it appears, is trying to garner endorsement and votes the only way an inexperienced, wealthy candidate can, with money. Noriega, on the other hand, is trying to garner endorsements and votes the way a non-millionaire, politician, with a record of achievement best can, by trumpeting that record and asking people to join up with him and trust in his proven record of service.

It’s been said a few times already in this early stage of the primary, that while money is important, it’s not everything. It will continue to be said as long as these two candidates are involved. It’s also been said that if money was the “only” thing it took to win an election we’d be in Gov. Sanchez’s second term right now. While, we can hopefully assume, Watts is a much better inexperienced candidate than Sanchez was, what Democrats need most is a well financed and experienced candidate to take out Sen. Cornyn. With one of these two candidates being the likeliest to get the nomination, Noriega is the only one with the needed experience. The money can be raised in time to beat Cornyn, Watts cannot make up for his inexperience in time. The only way to get an experienced, well-funded candidate is for Watts to step aside and for Democrats in Texas to fund the experienced candidate, Rick Noriega, with all our might.

I also came across this from KERA in Dallas, Commentary: Texas Democrats. It’s about the Democrats chances in 2008 and Democratic resurgence in Texas, which has thus far been mainly in the urban areas. But there was this little blurb in it about Rick Noriega.

The key, of course, is Hispanic voters. It is their strength in South Texas that has prompted Dan Weiser to predict a strong run for Houston legislator and veteran of the war in Afghanistan Rick Noriega in the Democratic race to take on Republican Senator John Cornyn next year. Noriega may not win in the fall. Incumbents are hard to beat. But if he gets past the primary, he may well make the way for other Democrats in other years. “One day,” said [Dan Weiser, a long-time expert in the politics of the Democratic party], “we’ll wake up and the Hispanic giant will have voted.” That will be the day the Democrats rise from the cities to take on suburban, Republican Texas.

I’m not to familiar with Dan Weiser but he seems to think Noriega provides Democrats the best chance against Cornyn.

A Few Items On The Governor

Posted in Bad Government Republicans, 80th Legislature, Had Enough Yet?, Commentary, Around The State at 9:24 am by wcnews

Dave McNeely on what the governor’s plans may be, Perry won’t rule out another race. It’s frightening to think that if Perry was to run and win in 2010 he’s not even half done with, what would be, a 14 year run a governor.

If he is re-elected in 2010 and serves all of another four-year term, he will have been governor a little more than 14 years. Which means the six and a half years he’s occupied the governor’s mansion would be less than half his total tenure.

There are some who think Perry’s simply brandishing the re-election possibility to hold off being disregarded in the 2009 legislative session as a lame duck. The presumption is politicians in leadership positions who reveal too early they’re planning to leave may find their power over events and people is diminished.

One seasoned onlooker reasoned there’s about a 10 percent chance Perry will seek another term, a 10 percent chance he’ll quit before this term is over, and an 80 percent chance Perry will serve out this term and leave.

On retiring early, one observer said with the looming prospect of a significant budget deficit in 2009, Perry may want to exit before he has to eat a significant tax increase, or again make draconian cuts in programs like children’s health insurance, as he did in the last budget shortfall in 2003.

Or, he might figure it would make more sense to go out hot — perhaps to a position like chancellor of Texas A&M University, his alma mater, where he has appointed every member of the governing board.

It’s also possible Perry is just using the possibility of another campaign as a means to keep political money coming in, since he also uses that for expenses that can’t be charged to the state.

The lame duck trying not to seem too lame, still raising money to covert trips to Turkey and Dubai, is the theory that seems most plausible.

If he is going to run again he’s going to have to make up for what everyone agrees is a horrible veto. In today’s WacoTrib they have this editorial, Undoing Perry’s brutal veto. There’s much more from Kuff and Burka on this.


Craddick to Davis: Keep quiet or else

Posted in 80th Legislature, Corruption, Had Enough Yet?, Commentary, Around The State, The Lege at 10:47 pm by dembones

In the moments before former Texas House Parliamentarian Denise Davis resigned, was she advising Speaker Tom Craddick to recognize those who moved to vacate the chair? If she heeds her former boss’ advice, the people of Texas will never know.

Capitol Annex has obtained the letter Craddick sent Davis afterwards in which he makes clear he expects her to keep quiet.

Craddick appears to be trying to use attorney-client privilege to paint, with a very broad brush, everything Denise Davis did as parliamentarian as legal advice to him personally rather than what it was: serving out the duties of the appointed office of Parliamentarian.

It’s an incendiary letter and a fantastic scoop by one of Texas’ best bloggers. Must read.

AusChron On The State Of Tolling In Texas

Posted in HD-52, 80th Legislature, Road Issues, Around The State, Williamson County at 1:50 pm by wcnews

Content-wise there’s not too much new in this article, Hold Those Tolls!, about what transpired with tolls last session. Despite bringing up the issues of rural opposition, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston wanting local control, and objection to foreign corporations, the article doesn’t mention the neglect our state leadership has shown to this issue over the last 16 years and hardly mentions the gas tax.

It does seem very favorable to Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin). In this part where Sen. Watson is talking about “being honest” about our problem there sure seems to be a nudge toward the inevitability of corporate tolls as the only option and there’s little honesty about how the gas tax would help fix this situation:

Even Watson, skeptical as he is that a private company can handle transportation any better than the state, admits that a moratorium on deals with private companies could make it harder to do anything significant about area congestion for the next couple of years. “We’re going to need to be honest about limitations of financing tools,” he says. “In the state appropriations bill, there was an effective decrease in transportation money, when you consider inflation. There has been more moving of funds from transportation. Many people say they want an increase in gas tax; the House approved a gas tax holiday that would have taken away gas tax money for three months out of the year [that measure died in the Senate]. The money offered to states from federal government is being decreased; we just got notice that federal money rescinded $72 million more. We’re going to have to start being honest about the limitations we have on being able to meet the need to fix the problem.”

Comparing the gas tax holiday with increasing the gas tax is apples and oranges. And that decrease in transportation money makes it look like we’re being forced into corporate tolling as the only option.

The article did have this excellent beginning tale of the Rep. Mike Krusee’s fall from transportation guru to pariah:

It was Dec. 16, 2004, and Rep. Mike Krusee, R-Round Rock, was sitting pretty. He was virtually a guest of honor at a meeting of the Texas Transportation Commission, across the street from his Capitol office. A little more than a year before, as chairman of the House Trans­port­ation Committee, Krusee had successfully carried the behemoth House Bill 3588. Among its many and complex provisions, the bill helped smooth the way for Gov. Rick Perry to get the Texas Transportation Commission to approve early plans for the Trans-Texas Corridor. Stretching from Mexico to Oklahoma, the corridor would be a mammoth transportation project running parallel to I-35. As conceived, it would include free and tolled highway lanes, as well as rail and utility lines, and would be built and maintained by the privately held Spanish company Cintra (an international operator of toll roads and car parks) and the San Antonio-based Zachry Construction Corp.

At the Texas Transportation Commission meeting, attended by the governor himself, Krusee didn’t say much. Actions spoke louder than words — and on this day, the commission was acting on a project he had fought long and hard to convince legislators to support. By way of acknowledgment, commission Chairman Ric Williamson duly praised Krusee for his work at the Capitol. Krusee had a flight to catch, but first he took the floor for a brief stroll down memory lane.

“I started thinking about the first time that I met Ric Williamson,” Krusee recalled, according to a meeting transcript. It was 1992, and Krusee had just been elected to the House; then-Rep. Williamson invited the 32-year-old Krusee to his apartment. “So I went over there, and Ric had one of his good friends over there, and that was the night I met Rick Perry, who was the ag commissioner, and we talked long into the night about accomplishing great things for Texas, about how to be a great leader for Texas. And we weren’t thinking about how to be on Texas Monthly’s 10 best [list] — but you know, Ric, I think we were talking about days like this.

“And you know, governor,” Krusee continued, “A little over two years ago when you made that presentation [about the Trans-Texas Corridor] in the auditorium at the Capitol, and I was in the audience, and like everybody else out there, I didn’t really fully grasp what the hell you were talking about.” The audience laughed.

“You do now, don’t you?” asked Perry.

“I do now,” Krusee replied. “And I want to congratulate you on your vision and your leadership, and the commission and your staff on your hard work, because you have made this, I think sincerely, the most historic day in transportation, not just for Texas, but for the United States since Eisenhower.” With that, Krusee left the meeting.

Flash forward nearly 21/2 years — to May 2, 2007. Chairman Krusee stood on the House floor, without a single transportation ally. Every House member present, except Krusee alone, voted in favor of HB 1892, which included a two-year moratorium on many of the public-private partnerships such as the one the Texas Department of Transportation had developed with Cintra-Zachry to build the Trans-Texas Corridor. “Who knew that trying to reduce congestion could be such a lonely fight?” wondered Coby Chase, who monitors the Legislature for TxDOT.

It also brought up many transportation issues that weren’t addressed in the moratorium passed by the 80th legislature.

If the Lege managed to placate the anti-toll crowd, at least for the time being, it didn’t do much to make it any easier to travel on Central Texas highways, nor to address long-term projections that show regional traffic only getting worse. More broadly, the moratorium doesn’t begin to address larger questions raised by traditional highway approaches to transportation: land use, mass transit options, pollution and global warming issues, or even integrated urban planning that might make transportation issues less intractable and expensive.

There were two add on articles as well: Tire Tracks: What the Lege did and What’s Doing on Austin’s Roadways

AusChron On WCRAS

Posted in Animal Shelter, Had Enough Yet?, Williamson County at 12:44 pm by wcnews

The AusChron has it’s latest installment in the continuing saga of Williamson County and the animal shelter. It has more information that’s been uncovered as to what happened before the “unannounced” state inspection, Damage Control at Shelter Raises More Dander.

But the celebration was short-lived. On July 20, Austin lawyer Philip Durst, acting on behalf of Abdella, filed a grievance against the county and requested a hearing in an attempt to reverse the “terrible injustice” inflicted on his client. The filing alleges the county fired Abdella in violation of the Texas Whistle­blower Act as well as her right to free speech. Addi­tion­ally, former Travis Co. Judge Bill Aleshire, representing a group of animal-rights advocates, is raising doubts about whether the state’s inspection was actually “unannounced,” as county officials claimed. “The [WilCo] sheriff’s detective told [state inspector Beverlee Nix] the date and time to conduct the inspection,” Aleshire said. “This leaves open the possibility that someone from the sheriff’s office leaked notice of the inspection in time for the cleanup project to get finished before Dr. Nix arrived,” he said.

Aleshire asserts that a cleanup crew (made up of various muckety-mucks from around the county) converged on the shelter to conduct a scrubbing just one day before the inspection. According to attorney and WilCo consultant Charlie Crossfield, the informal cleanup crew included three Hutto city leaders — City Manager Ed Broussard, Assistant CM Joanie Clarke, and Council Member Debbie Holland; a trio of Round Rock officials — Assistant City Manager David Kautz and police Lt. Bob Drawbaugh and Assistant Chief Tim Ryle; and WilCo Commissioner Valerie Covey.

That’s too funny. I’d love to see the surveillance video of that. I doubt that any of them thought, when they ran for office, they’d be having to do a rush clean up of animal feces ahead of a state inspection, to cover their incompetent tracks. Ah the joys of public service.

More On Carter And Iraq

Posted in Election 2008, District 31, Had Enough Yet? at 10:52 am by wcnews

As Dembones pointed out yesterday, John Carter Heeds Grover Norquist Talking Points, Mr. Carter is changing his rhetoric on Iraq and it’s pretty clear he didn’t decide this on his own. The part that needs to be explored more is why. Why is Carter changing what he says about Iraq, and is this something he truly believes, or is he just saying it because there’s an election coming up and these are the new GOP talking points?

District 31 is, as many know, home to Fort Hood and a large amount of military personnel, their families, and it can be assumed veterans and their families, as well. Who, like most Americans, are becoming less accepting of this war every day. This new strategy by the GOP “..to begin emphasizing that U.S. troops will be ‘leaving Iraq’ to give Republicans cover as they head into a tough political landscape in 2008″, is designed to allow them to skirt (cover) any serious discussion of leaving Iraq until after the 2008 election.

That would also lead one to believe that they’re just saying it for political purposes and don’t really believe it. It also seems they believe, foolishly, that by then the war will have turned the corner (again) and once they’ve held the presidency and gained support in Congress they can go back to pre-2006, unchecked and unbalanced, mendacity and secrecy.

It appears all Carter, and his like-minded schemers, are doing is trying to put forth false hope for the military and their families that, when Iraq gets better, soon, this will all end. But anyone who’s watching this war knows, the violence and death is continuing unabated in Iraq. It’s pathetic for Carter and his party to use this cheap campaign tactic and play politics with our soldiers and Marines.

Noriega In The Valley

Posted in US Senate Race, Election 2008, 2008 Primary, Democratic Events, Around The State at 10:22 am by wcnews

While slamming Sen. Cornyn, State Rep. Rick Noriega is also hoping to win over Mikal Watts to his side before the filing deadline. It might be better for all Democrats in Texas if Watts started his political career as a judge. Either way the story in the Rio Grande Guardian is an excellent read, Noriega hopes Watts will step aside.

Noriega said he hoped Watts would stand aside and allow him a free run against U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in the 2008 general election. Noriega said he believed he had the stronger resume and greater potential appeal to Texas voters.

“Whether it is serving in the war, serving in the legislative body, serving on the border, serving in disaster relief efforts after Katrina, I believe I offer the strongest contrast to John Cornyn, whose fundamental philosophy is one of division,” Noriega said.

“I would love to earn Mikal’s support. With his support we have a much better chance of defeating Cornyn.”


Noriega joked that he ought to come down more often to the Valley, so that the region gets more attention from Cornyn. He said it was quite remarkable that Cornyn would announce a bill for a VA hospital in the Valley within days of confirming his decision to set up an exploratory committee.

“I need to come back more often so the Valley can, maybe, get their levees fixed, get their interstate built, get better health care,” Noriega said. “I’ll keep coming back so that the Valley can finally be paid attention, after six years of the junior Senator not knowing where the Valley was on the map. If it holds people’s feet to the fire, I am coming down here more often.”

Noriega said his intention was to “speak truth to power” over the coming months on behalf of millions of Texans who have not had proper representation in the U.S. Senate for the past six years. “This senator decided early on to represent one Texan – the President of the United States. He has carried George Bush’s brief case. He has not represented the 22 million people that live in the state of Texas,” Noriega said.

Noriega offered an example of what he believes is inadequate representation. “You have a united border leadership saying that a border wall will not work. Not to listen to that advice is not to represent the people of South Texas,” Noriega said. “The question is will Texas voters hold him (Cornyn) accountable for voting for the border wall on two occasions? No one is holding his feet to the fire.”


Noriega was just as critical of Cornyn over his help for Valley veterans. Last week, Cornyn announced he was filing legislation that would require the VA to report on the inpatient care needs of Valley veterans.

‘The veterans have been screaming for a VA hospital for years. It has taken Mr. Cornyn six years and the threat of opposition to finally speak up on the issue,” Noriega said. “A veterans’ hospital would have been my issue the first year, not the sixth year. Not when it is election time.”

Noriega said his duties in the National Guard in the Valley have included “putting people on buses, either to Kingsville, to El Paso, or to Sam Houston, so some poor guy can get an appointment he made four months ago.” He said more people need to realize that Texas does not end in San Antonio.

“This is one of the most patriotic parts of the state. You look at the number of people who serve from the Valley, it is quite impressive. It’s powerful and it’s moving. The people should have a voice,” Noriega said.

Noriega concluded by saying he would be revealing a “very impressive list” of endorsements from Valley leaders “at the appropriate time.” He mentioned this in response to a question as to whether Watts had a lock on the Democratic Party bosses in South Texas, as some political pundits have said.

That’s good stuff there and what Texans and Texas Democrats have been waiting for, for some time now. If you like what he’s saying don’t forget to let him know. If Sen. Cornyn thinks he can spend five years “carr[ying] George Bush’s brief case”, and then take the year before the election to make up for it, he’s got another thing coming. As Rick Noriega points about the border wall and, add to that the recent dissing of local sheriffs by Gov. Perry, it’s likely there will be major hemorrhaging of GOP support in The Valley in ‘08. Especially if we have Rick Noriega speaking truth to power, like this, for the next 15 months.

Two upcoming Noriega events. He will become Commander of the 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, which traces it’s roots back to the Alamo.

Also he will be in Austin on Friday. Come join his for coffee. It’s tomorrow, Friday, July 27th, 9:30 am in the side room at Enoteca, 1610 S. Congress Ave. Directions here.


John Carter Heeds Grover Norquist Talking Points

Posted in District 31, Congress, Had Enough Yet? at 4:36 pm by dembones

The Killeen Daily Herald reported today that Rep. John Carter is beginning to hint at a possible future troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Congressman John Carter, R-Round Rock, said Tuesday that if the surge in Iraq continues and leaders see success between now and the first of the year, he wouldn’t be surprised to see troops start coming home.

The story follows comments made yesterday by Carter on return from a 5-day trip to Iraq. Coincidentally, it also comes in the same news cycle as a report in The Hill with the following lede:

Some conservative activist leaders, fearing voter anger with the Iraq war, want President Bush and GOP leaders to begin emphasizing that U.S. troops will be “leaving Iraq” to give Republicans cover as they head into a tough political landscape in 2008.

To assuage an angry public, the activists argue that the White House soon needs to articulate clearly that the war will end. That tactic will help Republican presidential and congressional candidates focus on the domestic issues that could energize the base and win over independents, they say.

The timing of the two stories is probably a coincidence; however, the adjustment in Republican strategy with respect to Iraq is a hot topic at Norquist’s weekly strategy sessions.

The issue has been openly debated at a regular Wednesday morning meeting hosted by Norquist’s group and attended by conservative leaders, who fear the 2008 elections may mirror the anti-GOP backlash of the 2006 midterms. - The Hill

As the number six House GOP leader, one might reasonably conclude that Carter has attended Norquist’s meetings recently. Judging from similarities in Carter’s and Norquist’s rhetoric, it appears our Representative is taking marching orders from the most extreme fringe of the conservative movement. Take a look at some of the advice provided in The Hill article:

By talking openly about the war’s conclusion, Republicans could blunt criticism about supporting an open-ended conflict in Iraq while continuing to attack Democrats for “surrendering” by supporting a specific date for withdrawing troops from Iraq, the activists contend.

Now, re-read the Killeen Daily Herald piece:

Carter said that good will come of provincial elections, which could occur in mid-fall, and the Iraqi people are anxious to participate in them.


Carter said he was impressed to see citizens reconstructing the area by hand to continue to improve the area. Much of Ramadi’s success is due to local sheiks convincing their people to help coalition forces.


Carter said that putting benchmarks on the Iraqi government wouldn’t be a solution because the government is functioning, but it is new and still “getting their feet under them.” Carter said Congress hasn’t “got a whole lot done” this year either despite the United States having 250 years of experience.

Norquist’s suggestions to GOP leaders are subtly present in Carter’s statements. Talk about leaving Iraq, focus on post-occupation Iraq and attack Democrats for “withdrawing” and “micromanaging.”

This latest development in the evolving Carter position, one that for his entire tenure in Washington has been marked by lock-step allegiance to Tom Delay and George W. Bush, is now being marked by lock-step allegiance to Grover Norquist.

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