Tag Archives: 13th Congressional District

How about taking the test yourself … doc?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson keeps making a name for himself as a rookie member of Congress. It’s not the kind of “name” that should do him, or the folks he represents, proud.

Jackson, who represents the Texas Panhandle’s 13th Congressional District, wants President Biden to take a cognitive test. Jackson, who once treated President Obama and the fellow who served as POTUS just prior to Joe Biden taking office, declared POTUS 45 to be in excellent health. He said Joe Biden needs to prove he has the mental capacity to do the job.

Good grief! This clown — Dr. Jackson, that is — is making an ass of himself.

Instead of working on legislation pertinent to the residents of the sprawling congressional district he represents — and about which he knows next to nothing — this goofball has taken to Twitter to make pronouncements such as the ridiculous notion calling for President Biden to prove his mental fitness.

Jackson is far from free of any controversial baggage of his own. POTUS 45 nominated him to become secretary of veterans affairs, only to pull his name out when we learned that he misbehaved while serving in the Navy. He had this habit, allegedly, of prescribing medications a little too generously. He also, again allegedly, drank too much.

If it were up to me, I would suggest that Rep./Dr. Jackson take a cognitive test himself … just to make double darn sure he’s up to his job.

I worry that my many friends and former neighbors in the 13th Congressional District — where I lived for 23 years — aren’t getting the kind of representation they deserve. Then again, many of ’em well might have voted for this clown. So, maybe they’re getting precisely what they deserve.

This guy’s got to go!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I really shouldn’t be concerned about the political future of the 13th Congressional District. Except that I am.

You see, I lived in that district for 23 years. I watched its former congressman, Mac Thornberry, come of political age. Then he retired from the U.S. House of Representatives. Ronny Jackson, a retired Navy admiral and physician, succeeded Thornberry in January of this year.

Now we have a re-election effort that’s about to commence. Jackson will seek a second term. He already has a Democratic opponent waiting in the wings. She is Kathleen Brown, a Wichita Falls lawyer. She is going to declare her candidacy this coming week.

I never have met either of them. Jackson, a Republican, has managed to piss me off royally with his cliche-ridden tweets and demagoguery. Brown remains unknown to me, other than we are social media acquaintances.

That all said, I do hope someone beats Jackson. He won’t get a GOP primary challenge, or so it appears. That leaves it up to the Democrats to knock off this bum. How hard will that be? Oh, my … Democrats’ hurdle appears insurmountable. Jackson represents one of the most Republican congressional districts in the nation.

I am unaware of any meaningful legislation that has Rep. Jackson’s name on it. I am acutely aware of the endless Twitter tirades he launches accusing Democrats falsely of promoting socialism, seeking to rescind the Second Amendment, adhering to the “cancel culture,” promoting abortion, destroying the economy.

The 13th Congressional District can do better than this. Its constituents, including my many friends and a member of my family, deserve better.

If only they would vote for representation that could make them proud. Is that Kathleen Brown? Well, I believe she would present a marked improvement over Ronny Jackson.

Dr. Jackson becomes U.S. rep.-elect

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I skedaddled from the Texas Panhandle a couple of years ago, so my thoughts on a just-completed political campaign in the 13th Congressional District should be considered in that context.

I am not as close to the action in the Panhandle as I used to be, but my interest in the region remains high.

13th District voters elected Dr. Ronny Jackson as their next representative. Rep.-elect Jackson presents a strange new turn in Panhandle politics, in my humble view.

Jackson is a former White House physician. He served three presidents: George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Trump wanted to nominate Jackson to be secretary of veterans affairs. Jackson didn’t make the cut; he bowed out after questions arose about his lack of administrative experience and then about his conduct as a physician.

So, he looked for a place to run for Congress and set his sights on a district where he never lived. He wanted to succeed longtime Rep. Mac Thornberry of Clarendon, who decided he didn’t want to seek re-election to a seat he held since 1995.

Jackson doesn’t know much about the district he now will  represent. He was born in Levelland, but moved away to join the Navy  — attaining the rank of rear admiral — and never looked back. Until now.

During the campaign, he became something of a shill for Donald Trump. He said some goofy things about the soon-to-be-former president.

What he knows specifically about Pantex, about the Bell/Textron aircraft assembly mission, about water conservation, or wind energy, or farm policy remains a mystery to me. Mac Thornberry is a son of the Panhandle, coming from a longtime Donley County ranching family. Jackson is a new resident of the region, so I guess I can call him a carpetbagger.

In these times, I guess it’s OK for carpetbaggers to represent the interest of folks who formerly used to demand that their political representatives be proficient in the issues important to them.

Jackson won handily.

As for his shilling for Donald Trump, I am wondering how long he’ll want to stay in office with his main man no longer in office.

Speaking of eras’ ending …

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I must be in the mood to commemorate the end of eras.

A profoundly unhappy era might end Nov. 3 with the defeat of Donald Trump in the presidential election. Up yonder in the Texas Panhandle, another sort of era is sure to end with the retirement of 25-year U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, a Clarendon Republican.

Thornberry, I reckon, had all the fun he could stand in Washington, D.C. He called it quits early this year, declaring he won’t seek re-election to Congress.

Up stepped a peculiar Republican, Ronny Jackson, to succeed Thornberry. Jackson is a former Navy admiral and is former physician to three presidents: George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

I used to live in the 13th Congressional District. I now live in the 3rd District. My congressman, GOP member Van Taylor, already has earned my scorn because of his silence over the bounty paid to Taliban terrorists by Russian government goons; what enrages me so is that Taylor is a former Marine who saw combat in Afghanistan, fighting the very Taliban fighters who might have gotten paid by Russia if they managed to kill Taylor on the battlefield.

Now we have Admiral Jackson moving into a congressional district about which he knows not a damn thing. He is likely to defeat Democratic opponent Gus Trujillo. Why? Because Republicans are just too damn strong in the 13th Congressional District!

Ronny Jackson is a Trumpkin. He adheres to what passes as ideology coming from Donald Trump. I guess you could say the same thing about Thornberry. It’s just that Thornberry isn’t the loudmouth that Jackson has become.

I admit to have conflicted feelings about Thornberry. I like him personally. I dislike his policy positions. I’ve never told him so to his face, although I think he understands that I do have a degree of personal regard for him. Given that, I wish him well in his retirement from public policy and politics.

I don’t know Admiral Jackson from Cap’n Crunch. I only know what I’ve read about him and some of the utterances that have flown out of his yapper.

I hope the fellow studies up on the region he is going to represent in Congress. I also hope Jackson exercises some discretion when someone sticks a microphone in his face. I don’t have much hope he will do that.

Get ready for a blowhard

Based on what I have witnessed from afar and from my extensive knowledge of the man who has represented the 13th Congressional District of Texas since 1995, voters in that part of the world are about to get a whole new brand of congressman.

Dr. Ronny Jackson is the odds-on favorite to succeed Mac Thornberry as the Republican representative for the sprawling West Texas congressional district.

My knowledge of Jackson is limited. I acknowledge the obvious, given that I no longer live in the district. I know that he was born in Levelland, went into the Navy, achieved the rank of rear admiral, became a physician and has served as White House doctor for three presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

He moved into the13th District when Thornberry announced he wouldn’t seek another term.

What is the difference that will occur? It will arrive in the vocal, more media-hungry style of the new guy. He is going to become a right-wing blowhard, the type of individual who generally annoys the daylights out of me. 

He has popped off, for instance, about mask wearing in light of the global pandemic. He has been dismissive of masks as protection against the killer virus. It’s the kind of baloney we hear from right-wing talking heads and various politicians such as, oh, Rep. Louie Gohmert, the East Texas loon who tested positive for the virus after making a public show of his refusal to wear a mask; Louie is singing a different tune these days.

Thornberry has served the13th District for 25 years. He won election in 1994 as part of the GOP Contract With America Brigade led by fire-breathing Rep. New Gingrich. Thornberry, though, became a quiet back bencher for much of his time in the House. He voted according to the Gingrich world view. He didn’t say much about anything publicly.

Rep. Thornberry was able to parlay his loyal service into the chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee, where he served for a couple of terms before Democrats took control of the House in the 2018 election; he now serves — again, quietly — as the panel’s ranking member.

And so, Thornberry will leave at the end of the year. Jackson figures to win election over the Democrats’ sacrificial lamb. I will lay down a bet that Jackson will preen and pose for as long as he can, although some of that might be dictated by whether Donald Trump is still president after Election Day.

Whatever. A new day in congressional representation awaits my friends and former neighbors up yonder in the Texas Panhandle.

Why let an interloper represent the Texas Panhandle in Congress?

I hate what I fear is going to happen to the Texas Panhandle’s 13th Congressional District.

The district’s strong Republican ties are likely to hand the district over to an interloping carpetbagger who doesn’t know the first, second or third thing about the district. But he’s an R and that’s good enough for them.

He is Ronny Jackson, a retired Navy admiral, a physician (and former doc to two presidents, Barack Obama and Donald Trump). He doesn’t know Pantex from Spic ‘n Span, but he’s going to represent the district for at least the next two years after they count the votes in the November election.

I’ll get to the glimmer of good news in just a bit.

I maintain an interest in the 13th District, even though I no longer live there, because my wife and lived there longer than we have anywhere else during our 48 years of married life. The congressman who is leaving Congress, Mac Thornberry, took office the same week I reported for duty at the Amarillo Globe-News in January 1995. So I have told Thornberry that he and I “grew up together” in the Panhandle.

Thornberry, though, has deep roots there, growing up on a ranch in Donley County. So he knows the district he has represented for 25 years … unlike Dr. Jackson — a native of Levelland — who took up residence there only to run for the office he thinks is ripe for the picking. And he’s right.

But … here comes the glimmer of good news.

He won the endorsement of Donald Trump in his primary race. Indeed, Jackson — from all I’ve heard — has spoken only about his close he is to Trump, that he is wedded to the president’s agenda … whatever the hell that is.

The good news? Trump is on course at this moment of losing his bid for re-election. Bigly! He has bungled the presidency at every turn. He has clearly mismanaged the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has sought to divide the nation. Trump spews racist-sounding thoughts.

It is my fondest hope that Joe Biden defeats Trump. If that comes to pass, then what becomes of Dr. Jackson’s main selling point he is using to land a seat in Congress? He likely will be hard-pressed to get the time of day from a Biden administration.

Would that mean it’s one term and then out for the doc?

I just know that my friends in the Texas Panhandle deserve a whole lot better from their congressman than they’re about to receive. At the very least they deserve to be represented by someone who knows the issues relevant to the region.

One more point about The Carpetbagger

I received an email from a longtime friend and former colleague who wanted to add a thought about Ronny Jackson, the Republican congressional nominee who wants to succeed Mac Thornberry in the 13th Congressional District.

My friend, who shall remain anonymous, made a point that I didn’t make in a blog item I posted earlier today. He writes:

Where Jackson permanently lost me was on a tweet a few months ago. The Obama admin hired him as one of his physicians. They gave him a chance. They said some very nice things about him and it was probably instrumental in that he was kept on by Trump.  Despite all of that, he had a tweet that ripped Obama for the absurd spy scandal, and said he was part of the “Deep State.” That didn’t speak well of his character, and just showed me, like Trump, who he worships, he will say anything.

The point my friend made essentially is that Jackson is a member of the Trumpkin Corps. He slobbers all over Donald Trump’s shoes. He trots out the Deep State canard that plays so well within the Trump base of lemmings, er, followers.

What is so terribly troubling to me is that many of my friends who live in the Texas Panhandle — people with whom I have developed wonderful friendships — are going to buy into the claptrap bullsh** that Trump tries to peddle. One of the dire consequences of that blind loyalty is that their interests in Congress will be looked after by a guy — Ronny Jackson — who doesn’t have a clue about the district he likely will be elected to represent.

Get ready for another Texas nut job in Congress

Get ready for another Texas nut job in Congress

Oh, I hate to say this but it’s got to be said: The Texas Panhandle is likely to send a nut job to Congress to represent them and, ostensibly, their interests.

Thirteenth Congressional District Republicans this week nominated Dr. Ronny Jackson to run for the seat being vacated by longtime GOP U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry. What makes this upcoming contest so fascinating to me — a former 13th District resident — is that Jackson knows next to nothing about the district he likely will be elected to represent. I mean, he’s never lived there … until just in time to run for the House.

Jackson was born in Levelland. He joined the Navy, became a doctor, rose to thank of rear admiral, tended to two U.S. presidents — Barack Obama and Donald Trump — and then retired from the Navy after Trump sought to have him become the secretary of veterans affairs. The nomination didn’t go well. It turns out Jackson has no administrative experience and he also allegedly got caught prescribing drugs in a rather cavalier fashion.

He pulled out of the running for the VA job.  He sought a safe Republican seat and found one in the Texas Panhandle. Thornberry announced he wouldn’t seek a new term and in jumped Admiral/Dr.  Jackson.

He’ll run against the Democrats’ latest sacrificial lamb, Gus Trujillo, who beat a friend of mine, Greg Sagan, in this week’s Democratic runoff.

Now, though, it gets even more interesting. Dr. Jackson says face mask wearing should be an individual choice and has downplayed the importance of face masks in the wake of the COVID crisis that is killing Texans every single day.

I am quite certain that Ronny Jackson’s lunacy quotient doesn’t measure up to that of the guy who nominated him to be VA secretary … but statements like the one he issued about face masks make me wonder.

Texas has elected too many wackos to Congress over the years. The nuttiest of them all is Louie Gohmert, the East Texas birther conspiracist; a close second might be John Ratcliffe, the former Northeast Texas House member who happens to be the current director of national intelligence.

Step aside, gentlemen. You’re about to be joined by a medical doctor/carpetbagger who well could put your wackiness to shame.

Carpetbagging is in style

We made a quick return this past weekend to the Texas Panhandle to see our son and to, oh, just get away from the house for a bit.

Along the drive both ways along U.S. Highway 287 I noticed campaign signs for a single congressional candidate, a guy named Ronny Jackson, who’s running for the Republican nomination for the 13th Congressional District.

It occurred to me on our drive to Amarillo and then back to the house in Princeton: How did this guy Jackson manage to persuade voters that he knows anything about their needs, their desires, their concerns?

Then it dawned on me: Carpetbagging is in vogue these days.

Jackson has never lived in the 13th CD. He was born in Levelland, which isn’t in the district. He moved away, though, to attend college. He obtained a medical degree. He rose the rank of Navy vice admiral. He served as physician to two presidents: Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Then he got nominated to become Department of Veterans Affairs secretary. Oops! He got into trouble. He had to back out when it became known that Dr. Jackson drank on the job, over-prescribed certain drugs and didn’t have a lick of administrative experience that qualified him to run a monstrous agency such as the Department of Veterans Affairs.

What does he do then? He runs for Congress in a district being vacated by a longtime Republican House member, Mac Thornberry of Clarendon, who isn’t running for re-election this year.

Jackson is a carpetbagger. He is running against an Amarillo resident, Josh Winegarner of Amarillo, who is not a carpetbagger.

Look, being a stranger to a congressional district or a state while running for public office isn’t new. Robert Kennedy sought a U.S. Senate seat in New York in 1964, with only a passing knowledge of the state; so did Hillary Clinton in 2000; this year we have numerous candidates running for Texas congressional seats who have never lived in those districts.

I don’t have a dog in that fight any longer, as I no longer can vote in the 13th Congressional District. My memory is pretty good, though, and I have trouble understanding how this guy, Ronny Jackson, has positioned himself to possibly be elected this year representing a congressional district about which he knows nothing.

Is this how we define “representative government” these days?

How is the doctor going to campaign for this congressional seat?

Our return over the past few days to the 13th Congressional District exposed us to some TV ads touting the candidacies of those who are running to succeed Rep. Mac Thornberry, who’s leaving office at the end of the year after serving for 25 years representing the Texas Panhandle.

I didn’t hear a TV spot from one guy who’s caught my interest, although I did see some yard signs as we blasted through Claude and Clarendon on our way to Amarillo and then back home to Princeton.

Dr. Ronny Jackson is among the huge number of Republicans seeking the GOP nomination. He intrigues me to the max? Why is that?

He’s kind of a national figure. Donald John Trump, the nation’s current president, nominated him to be the nation’s veterans affairs secretary. It turned out, though, to be a bad call on POTUS’s part; Jackson has zero administrative experience and he also allegedly prescribed drugs wrongly. Jackson pulled his name out of consideration as VA secretary.

Now he wants to run for the U.S. House — in a district where he’s never lived. Indeed, the only West Texas connection he has is his place of birth … in Levelland, which sits in a congressional district that is near the 13th.

What does this guy know about Pantex, the nuclear weapons storage complex known colloquially as the “Bomb Factory”? Or how does he comment intelligently about the nitty gritty of the V-22 Osprey aircraft assembly plant in Amarillo? How about federal farm policy, which is vital to cattle ranchers, cotton producers, corn growers throughout the Texas Panhandle?

I am hoping that my GOP friends in the Panhandle will know better than to cast their vote for an individual whose only notable achievement was to be nominated as veterans secretary and to serve as physician to two presidents: Donald Trump and Barack Obama.

Hey, I honor Dr. Jackson’s military service, given that he’s a now-retired rear admiral in the U.S. Navy. That’s it and that is far from sufficient for anyone to be nominated by a major political party to serve in a congressional district with which he has zero familiarity.