Tag Archives: Joaquin Castro

Castro clears the decks for Beto O’Rourke

I swear I thought I could hear the faint chants way off in the distance.

“BE-TO, BE-TO, BE-TO … “

And on it goes.

They could be coming from breathless Texas Democrats who have worked themselves into a tizzy over news that U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro has decided to forgo a challenge to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in next year’s mid-term election.

Thus, the way is cleared among Democratic Party loyalists to rally behind the candidacy of U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who’s been barnstorming our massive state of late, acquainting himself with Democrats who want little better than to oust Cruz, the fiery Republican senator who I’ve dubbed — in not-so-friendly terms — the Cruz Missile.

O’Rourke, who hails from El Paso, stopped in Amarillo over the weekend for a meet-and-greet at a local restaurant. From what I have heard, the crowd to meet him was enormous, meaning that O’Rourke’s advance team — with a lot of social media help from a group called Indivisible Amarillo — did a good job of filling the room.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and let’s heed a dose of sobering reality — if you’re a loyal Democrat we used to refer to in this state as “Yellow Dogs,” meaning they’d rather vote for a yellow dog than vote for a Republican.

Texas flips from D to R.

Texas is a seriously Republican state. It has flipped just in the span of a few years from being reliably Democratic. The Cruz Missile represents the colossal strength of the state GOP. He is one of a complete slate of statewide elected officials who wear the Republican label.

Cruz will be difficult to beat, so let’s not believe that just because there might be an attractive and articulate challenger from the other party that it guarantees a neck-and-neck race. Do you remember another Democrat who was thought to be a serious challenger to the GOP vise grip in Texas? Her name is Wendy Davis, the former state senator from Fort Worth. She was supposed to present a serious challenge to then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott in the 2014 race for governor; she lost by 20 points.

I am not crazy about one-party control at any level. I prefer a competitive two-party system. A healthy minority party puts the majority party on notice to defend its positions; a competitive environment makes incumbents accountable for the statements and the decisions they make on our behalf.

Maybe we can restore some level of competitiveness to the Texas political battleground. For the sake of those anxious Democrats around the state — and in the Texas Panhandle — I hope it’s O’Rourke who can make Cruz answer for his grandstanding and his transparent self-centeredness.

Rep. Castro gets Dems’ hearts to flutter


That pitter-patter you might be hearing belongs to the hearts of Texas Democrats who might seem to be excited at the prospect of an actual serious challenger to run against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

The cause of the racing heartbeat is U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, who has let it be known that he might run in 2018 against the man I’ve enjoyed referring to as the Cruz Missile.

Cruz is a Republican lawmaker who was the last man standing in the fight to deny Donald J. Trump the GOP presidential nomination. He made a heck of splash at last week’s Republican national convention by declining to endorse the man who beat him to the finish line.

He got booed off the Cleveland stage.

Will this damage him in Texas? My gut tells me he might face a stronger challenge from within his own party than he might face from a Democrat, even one as attractive, articulate and polished as Joaquin Castro.


I remain fervent in my belief that Texas is better served with a vibrant two-party system. We do not have a Democratic Party that is yet able to challenge Republicans at the statewide level. Republicans win big — every time. They’ve held every statewide office in Texas since 1998. I don’t see any sign of weakness in the GOP vise grip.

Will it present itself in 2018 when Ted Cruz runs for re-election to the U.S. Senate. Rep. Castro seems to think it might.

I hope he’s correct. Cruz simply is not my kind of senator.

However, I’m not yet ready to presume that the Cruz Missile will fizzle out.

Militarize the Texas border?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is deploying 1,000 or so National Guard troops to the state’s southern border.

I am moved to ask: For what purpose? To round up those children? Arrest them? Detain them? Send them back to their home country?

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro said Perry is “militarizing” the border in the absence of a legitimate national security threat. The kids aren’t going to undermine our defense … are they?


“We should be sending the Red Cross to the border not the National Guard to deal with this humanitarian crisis,” the congressman said in an email. “The children fleeing violence in Central America are seeking out Border Patrol agents. They are not trying to evade them. Why send soldiers to confront these kids?”

Hey, this is Rick Perry we’re talking about, Mr. Castro.

I have to agree with Castro’s assessment. Sending troops to do the job that the Border Patrol already is doing is little more than political symbolism, which is how the White House has described it.

Let us remind the governor of something. The Texas border with Mexico is being tightened already. Those children are being captured, detained and are being housed by U.S. authorities as they seek a way to humanely repatriate them to their home countries. As Castro noted, the kids are “fleeing violence in Central America.”

Do we just send them back to the misery they seek to escape? I think not.