Tag Archives: US Senate

Beto over The Cruz Missile? Here’s why

OK, so what if I haven’t come up with a pejorative nickname for the guy I want Texans to send to the U.S. Senate. Maybe he’ll earn it if he gets the chance to represent Texas beginning in 2019.

I do know this: I want Beto O’Rourke to defeat Ted Cruz in the race for the Senate. Some recent polling suggests a tight race. Texas Lyceum has it at 2 percent for Cruz, which makes the contest a statistical dead heat.

Yes, I often refer to the Republican incumbent as The Cruz Missile. I do so because I do not think he places Texas’s interests over his own ambition. He was elected in 2012 and immediately could be seen on TV screens, blathering about this or that. The media glommed onto him, much as they have done with other senatorial newcomers, such as Democrats Kamala Harris and Corey Booker.

A senator who doesn’t earn his or her place on the front row of the political chorus automatically makes me suspicious as to his or her motivation.

Thus, Cruz has become The Missile.

I am going to turn my attention to Beto O’Rourke.

The young man’s issues pronouncements do not seem overly radical, which many on the right are likely to characterize them.

He speaks with compassion about immigration, wanting to preserve the Differed Action on Childhood Arrivals provision, giving so-called “Dreamers” a chance to achieve U.S. citizenship rather than rounding them up and deporting them. He wants to fix the Affordable Care Act, not trash it merely because it was authored by President Obama. O’Rourke wants to be true to our veterans; and this veteran thanks him for that. He believes Earth’s climate is changing and wants to invest more — not less — in alternative energy production to protect the atmosphere against carbon-induced warming.

I am acutely aware of the steep hill that towers in front of O’Rourke. He is campaigning as a Democrat in a state that tends to elect Republicans just because they, well, are Republicans. We live in a conservative state populated by conservatives. O’Rourke will need to tell us what he intends to do for Texans if he gets elected to represent us — and our interests.

As I have watched Sen. Cruz for the past six years, I do not yet know whether he understands yet that he works for us and that he must keep his personal ambition under wraps.

My head tells me a lot of things have to go right for O’Rourke for him to win. My heart wishes they do … and believes they will.

***

Take a look at O’Rourke’s platform. You’ll find it here.

‘Lyin Ted’ wants ‘Amoral’ Donald to stump for him? Wow!

Oh, man, I want the president of the United States to accept U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s request to campaign for him in Texas.

You see, this is a potential “opposition research” gold mine for Democrats seeking to shoot down the Cruz Missile’s attempt at re-election to a second term in the Senate. Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke — who’s in a neck-and-neck race with Cruz — ought to welcome it, too.

You’ve got Donald Trump’s infamous nickname for Cruz, who he labeled as “Lyin’ Ted” while competing against him for the 2016 Republican Party presidential primary campaign.

Then he posted that hideous picture of Heidi Cruz, the senator’s wife, on Twitter and sought to compare her unflatteringly with Melania Trump, the future president’s model-wife.

Let us not forget how the GOP nominee then sought to suggest that Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael, might have been somehow complicit in President Kennedy’s assassination because he supposedly was seen sharing a meal with Lee Harvey Oswald.

All of this enraged Sen. Cruz. As it should have.

He launched into a scathing attack on Trump, calling him out for the way he treated his family; he called Trump “amoral” and a “pathological liar.” He said Trump has no moral grounding.

Has any of that changed in Sen. Cruz’s mind? He says it has. The public domain, however, is still loaded with those angry words of two years ago, which in reality he cannot take back.

And does Trump think differently now of the man he once called “Lyin’ Ted”? Hmm. I am betting … no!

By all means, Mr. President, come to Texas. Campaign for Cruz. If you come anywhere near where I live in the D/FW Metroplex, I’ll be there with bells on to listen to your off-the-rails campaign-rally speech.

I’ll be sure to have my notebook and pen in hand.

O’Rourke might reshape the Texas landscape

Abby Livingston of the Texas Tribune has written a quite insightful story that starts with one of the better ledes I have read in some time.

Livingston writes: It’s the most backhanded of compliments.

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke‘s campaign for U.S. Senate has caught so much fire throughout the state that the new favorite betting game in Texas politics is “How close can he get to Ted Cruz in November?”

The implication in the question’s phrasing is that O’Rourke’s loss remains a given.

Her essay is tough to read if you’re supporting O’Rourke’s bid to defeat the Cruz Missile.

Here it is.

O’Rourke is raising a lot of money, far more than Cruz. He has embarked on an unusual campaign strategy, conducting town hall meetings and meet-and-greet with voters who live in heavily Republican rural communities.

Cruz is taking this challenge seriously. Moreover, Cruz does have numbers — and history — on his side. Texas comprises many more Republicans than Democrats; and the state has gone more than two decades since the latest time it elected a Democrat to statewide office.

Yes, O’Rourke’s fight faces some potential head winds.

However, before we assign O’Rourke to the political scrap heap, let me offer this brief reminder.

In 2016, American voters managed to elect to the presidency a man who had never sought a public office. He had zero public service experience and zero inclination toward serving the public. He hurled ghastly insults that offended millions of Americans while campaigning for the presidency.

But … Donald Trump won the Electoral College on the strength of 78,000 votes in three key states and, thus, took office as president of the United States.

Against very long odds.

So, have stranger things than Beto O’Rourke winning this fall happened already?

Yes. They have.

Please, Mr. POTUS, campaign for Ted Cruz

I have just heard that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has asked Donald J. Trump to campaign for him as he seeks re-election to his Senate seat in Texas.

Do you know what that means … for me? It means that there’s a decent chance I’ll be within easy driving distance of a Trump rally if he agrees to campaign in Texas for the Cruz Missile — who once called Trump an “amoral … pathological liar.”

We live just north of Dallas these days. We’ll be on the road for most of August, but we’ll have a lot of time on our hands after we return from our trip out west.

Oh, how I want the president to come here. I would actually attend a campaign rally for Cruz if it takes place anywhere near Collin County, where we live.

Hey, we live in a gigantic metro area comprising roughly 7.5 million residents. That means that if Trump agrees, he well might come, say, to Dallas or Fort Worth to speak on behalf of Cruz.

I want to attend one of those dog-and-pony shows.

I’m a political junkie. I love campaign rallies. I’ve covered two national presidential nominating conventions — the 1988 GOP convention in New Orleans and the 1992 GOP event in Houston. I attended the 2012 Democratic convention in Charlotte; I had planned to cover it for the Amarillo Globe-News, but I quit that job suddenly just before the start of the convention. I went there with press credentials, but sat in the cheap seats as a spectator.

All of them were a serious blast and I learned so much getting to watch these events up close.

Donald Trump speaking in Texas on behalf of the state’s junior U.S. senator would be a worthwhile event, too.

Do not expect me to flip, to become a Trumpster listening to the president’s ranting and railing, his insult-hurling rhetoric.

As the Houston Chronicle has reported: Cruz is facing a tougher re-election campaign than many first expected. Polls from the last week have shown Cruz holding onto a single-digit lead over (Beto) O’Rourke, a congressman from El Paso who has set records for Democrats fundraising in Texas.

Let me be clear: I do not want Cruz to be re-elected. I am going to support the Democratic challenger, O’Rourke. But I do want the president to come here to give Texans an up-close look at what a buffoon he can be when he launches into one of those unscripted riffs in front of adoring fans.

Please, Mr. President. Come to Texas! Hey, the Metroplex ought to be a big lure.

Senate races decided by differing factors

As I watch the Beto O’Rourke-Ted Cruz race for the U.S. Senate from Texas, I am struck by what is missing in the debate over who Texans should elect.

I am not hearing much chatter on which of these men will do more for Texas.

Will it be Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic congressman from El Paso, or Ted Cruz, the Republican incumbent from Houston? Which of them will work tirelessly on behalf of Texans’ specific needs, wants and desires?

Am I missing something here?

There once was a day when U.S. senatorial clout mattered to the home folks. I want to cite an example from my home state of Oregon.

For years, Oregon was represented by two moderate Republicans: Mark Hatfield and Bob Packwood. They were joined at the hip on many issues. They were linked to each other so closely that we in the media used to refer them as “Sen. Hatwood” or Sen. “Packfield.”

They both attained influential committee chairmanships beginning in 1981 when the GOP took control of the upper congressional chamber after Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory in the 1980 presidential election.

Hatfield and Packwood worked diligently to protect Oregon and Pacific Northwest interests.

Along the way, Sen. Packwood ran into ethical trouble relating to the way he treated women who worked on his staff; Packwood ended up resigning his seat. Sen. Hatfield remained the Boy Scout.

As we look at the current day, in Texas, I don’t hear the kind of chatter about Sen. Cruz or, how well he works with Sen. John Cornyn, the state’s senior U.S. senator. My sense is that the two Texans have a bit of a frosty relationship.

Cruz’s tenure in the Senate seems to have centered on his own future. He ran for president in 2016 and was among the final GOP primary candidates to hang in against the party’s nominee before bowing out.

Cruz’s theme so far appears aimed at ginning up GOP interest to counteract rage from the other side. According to the Texas Tribune: “The biggest challenge I have in this race … is complacency,” Cruz said. “People say all the time, ‘Oh, come on, it’s a Texas re-elect. How could you possibly lose?’ Well, in an ordinary cycle, that might be true. But this is not an ordinary cycle. The far left is filled with anger and rage and we underestimate that anger at our peril.”

O’Rourke has closed a once-gaping deficit to make it a race. I’ll stipulate once again that I am pulling for O’Rourke to defeat Cruz.

I’m just waiting to hear from the challenger — or from the incumbent, for that matter — what they’ll do to help Texans.

Five U.S. Senate race debates? Very good!

Well, shut my mouth and call me flabbergasted.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has pitched a patently capital idea to his Democratic Party challenger, Beto O’Rourke: Five debates on consecutive Fridays between the two candidates for Cruz’s Senate seat.

Very, very good, Sen. Cruz.

You know how I want this contest to turn out. I want O’Rourke to defeat Cruz. There. That’s out there.

However, the incumbent has put forward a thorough airing of the issues that divide the candidates. For that he deserves high praise.

Cruz’s campaign has proposed the following schedule:

  • Aug. 31 in Dallas on “Jobs/Taxes/Federal Regulations/National Economy”
  • Sept. 14 in McAllen on “Immigration/Border Security/Criminal Justice/Supreme Court”
  • Sept. 21 in San Antonio on “Foreign Policy/National Security”
  • Oct. 5 in Houston on “Energy/Trade/Texas Economy”
  • Oct. 12 in Lubbock on “Healthcare/Obamacare”

That about covers it, don’t you think?

The Texas Tribune reported on the Cruz proposal. Read the story here.

That this proposed schedule comes from the incumbent suggests that the race well might be as close as public opinion surveys have indicated over the past several weeks. I lamented just recently that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has said he has no interest in debating Democratic challenger Mike Collier, which I consider to be a shame.

I want to offer Sen. Cruz — clearly one of my least favorite Senate incumbents — a good word for proposing a series of head-to-head joint appearances with the young man I hope defeats him.

U.S. attorney general: disgusting partisan hack

I’ll just get this off my chest up front: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a sorry excuse for a high-level federal law enforcement official.

The AG stood this week before a crowd of conservative high school students who began chanting “Lock her up!”, referencing the idiotic e-mail controversy that centers on former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Rather than do the right thing, which would have been to silence the crowd and remind them of the “rule of law” and “due process,” the AG chuckled nervously and repeated the chant from the podium. He then said something about “hearing that chant” during the 2016 presidential campaign.

I once was willing to give Sessions the benefit of the doubt, given his decision to recuse himself from the “Russia thing” probe at the Justice Department. No longer.

Sessions had the chance to show some statesmanship, to demonstrate that he lives by the rule of law. Instead, when the students began chanting “Lock her up!” he gravitated back to his partisan roots. He once was a Republican U.S. senator from Alabama who, before he was elected to that body, was rejected by the Senate for a federal judgeship because of racially tinged statements he had made.

Now the nation’s chief law enforcement officer has seen fit to continue the idiocy associated with a failed — and quite lengthy — investigation into a controversy that’s been decided.

The AG has joined the president of the United States in disgracing his high office.

Shameful.

A word of caution to Beto’s supporters

Beto O’Rourke has raised more money than Ted Cruz in the race for Cruz’s U.S. Senate seat.

I am cheered by that news. I want the Democratic congressman from El Paso to defeat the Cruz Missile.

That said, I want to offer a brief word of caution. More money doesn’t necessarily translate to more votes.

Here is what the Texas Tribune is reporting:

Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Texas, raised more than $10.4 million over the past three months, he announced Wednesday, revealing a sum that takes his already massive fundraising to new heights.

And the El Paso congressman again vastly outraised the Republican incumbent, Ted Cruz, who took in less than half of his challenger’s haul — $4.6 million — in the same time, according to his campaign. O’Rourke also took a decisive lead in cash on hand over Cruz with four months to Election Day, $14 million to $10.4 million.

O’Rourke’s latest haul is easily his biggest yet — topping the $6.7 million he raked in during the first quarter, which was far more than Cruz raised for the same period. Cruz’s second-quarter fundraising also was his largest yet, though not nearly enough to keep up with O’Rourke’s torrid pace.

O’Rourke has now outraised Cruz for every period but one since O’Rourke launched his Senate bid in March 2017.

I’ll conclude simply by reminding Beto’s Brigade that longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley outspent his primary challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by 18-to-1 this past month … and he still lost the primary.

Sen. Collins: Your vote will matter more

I just heard a Republican U.S. senator from Maine make a preposterous declaration.

Susan Collins is going to be at Ground Zero in the debate over whether to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. The battle lines are being drawn.

It’s along abortion and whether Kavanaugh would uphold the Roe v. Wade decision that in 1973 made abortion legal in the United States.

Collins already has said that she cannot support a SCOTUS nominee who doesn’t believe Roe v. Wade is “settled law.”

Then today she said that her vote “doesn’t count any more than my 99 colleagues” in the Senate.

Wrong, senator! Given the stakes and the apparent lineup that’s taking shape in the Senate, your vote counts more.

It counts a lot more!

Time to praise SCOTUS selection

I am feeling so good over the rescue of the Thai boys and their soccer coach from that flooded cave in northern Thailand that I want to offer a good word for Donald John Trump’s selection to the U.S. Supreme Court.

I’ll stipulate up front that you’ll deem this to be faint praise, but it’s praise nonetheless.

Appeals Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court has angered the crackpot Trump “base.” They’re none too happy with Kavanaugh, fearing that he doesn’t appear to be as firmly opposed to Roe v. Wade as the base continues to be. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania chided the president for surrendering to what he called the “Washington elite” by selecting Kavanaugh.

To be sure, the justice nominee is a conservative. He appears to be what one could call a “mainstream conservative,” not a goofball/wack-job conservative.

He has pledged to be independent and to study the law as it is written, not as one wishes it were written.

Is this the kind of judge I would have selected? Of course not! However, Trump is the president of the United States.

By anyone’s measure, Kavanaugh is supremely qualified to serve on the high court. He’s a Yale Law School grad, meaning that the entire Supreme Court would comprise Ivy League legal eagles if Kavanaugh is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The Senate will nitpick the daylights out of Kavanaugh’s lengthy written record. Senators will need to examine Kavanaugh’s views on health care, as well as on whether sitting presidents can be indicted for criminal offenses. His record suggests he might tilt the “wrong way” on both of those issues.

I continue to believe that while Kavanaugh’s conservative credentials might solidify the court’s right-leaning bias, it doesn’t guarantee it necessarily on every single key ruling that would come before the Supreme Court.

That seeming uncertainty, I submit, is what might be driving the Trump bloc of “base” voters nuts.