Category Archives: political news

Governor had no business demanding resignation

Dave Kemp is a friend of mine who happens to be a lawyer who works in the public sector.

He knows Texas law better than most folks, including me. He put something on Facebook today about Gov. Rick Perry’s indictment that is worth sharing here.

Kemp writes: “There is a lot of spin going on involving the Governor’s felony indictments. Here are my observations: 1. Whether or not the Travis County DA should have resigned is not the question. The question is did the governor violate the Texas Penal Code by trying to force her to resign. Therefore, Perry should stop trashing Ms. Lehmberg, who has paid the price for her own criminal conduct – she pled guilty and served jail time. And a removal suit against her was unsuccessful. So focus on your own conduct, Governor. 2. What business it is of the governor if the DA doesn’t resign? That’s what elections and removal suits are for. The governor had no responsibility for the DA’s conduct. We must conclude that at best he was using bullying tactics that he would condemn if a Washington politician tried using. 3. What collateral damage did the governor do by cutting the funding for the Public Integrity Unit? It certainly didn’t harm the DA. But it could have harmed other criminal investigations. The veto was an irresponsible act.”

The most interesting element in this post is contained smack in the middle of it.

“What business is it of the governor if the DA doesn’t resign? That’s what elections and removal suits are for.”

A grand jury indicted Perry on two felony counts of abuse of power and coercion. He demanded that Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg resign after her drunk-driving conviction. If she didn’t do as he demanded, he then threatened to veto money for the public integrity unit her office operates. She didn’t quit; he vetoed the money.

Kemp’s point is a valid one.

Gov. Perry became entangled in what essentially is a local political matter. I agree that Lehmberg behaved badly; she broke the law and should have resigned. I said so, too, at the time. She didn’t listen to me, either.

However, for the governor to then carry this fight further speaks to political bullying.

It’s been reported that other DAs have been accused of drunk driving, but we heard nary a peep out of the governor’s office. This one is different. Lehmberg is a Democrat, Perry is a Republican, and Lehmberg’s office was looking into some allegations against key GOP allies of the governor.

It’s been speculated that Perry’s interest in Lehmberg’s drunk-driving case had everything to do with how he could remove a partisan nemesis.

Yes, politics can be a nasty affair. I’m betting Gov. Perry is going to learn that lesson the hard way.




Rand Paul has become a peacenik

Wow! What in the world has Sen. Rand Paul been putting in his Wheaties?

The Kentucky Republican is now accusing former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton of being a “war hawk” and is staking out some interesting turf as he prepares to launch a possible 2016 presidential campaign.

The young man is sounding downright dovish in his approach to foreign policy.

Go figure.

Paul long has been considered a darling of the tea party movement within the Republican Party. As I have watched the tea party wing of the GOP, I’ve been struck by how hawkish many of its members have sounded regarding the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. What’s more, the tea party folks have pulled many of the so-called “establishment wing” GOP members over to their side.

Have you heard the griping from veteran U.S. Senate and House Republicans calling for more “robust” responses in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan to the terrorists who are creating so much havoc?

Meanwhile, Rand Paul is saying quite the opposite, He said on Meet the Press this past weekend: “Were I to run, there’s going to be a lot of independents, and even some Democrats, who say you know what? We are tired of war. We’re worried that Hillary Clinton will get us involved in another Middle Eastern war, because she’s so gung-ho.”

Yes, then-Sen. Clinton voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq ordered by President Bush. She’s since walked back from that vote, declaring she believes now that was a mistake.

Is she “gung-ho” these days? I don’t sense what Sen. Paul is sensing in a possible — if not probable — Hillary Clinton presidential candidacy.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised. Paul, after all, did declare his desire to see “all aid” to Israel suspended. He’s tried to take that statement back. However, as my late friend and colleague Claude Duncan once told me about politicians who try to retract regrettable statements: You can’t unhonk the horn.