Tag Archives: Mac Thornberry

Speak up, Mac!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There is no way on God’s good Earth that this will happen, but I am going to ask it anyway of a man I know fairly well.

Mac Thornberry no longer serves in Congress; he retired at the end of 2020 after serving for 25 years as a congressman representing the 13th District in the House of Representatives. He hails from Clarendon and represented the Texas Panhandle.

He was succeeded — certainly not replaced — by a blowhard right-winger, Ronny Jackson, who now says that President Biden should resign because he doesn’t have the mental acuity to do the job.

My request of Mac Thornberry is this: Will you issue a statement condemning the antics of the moron who succeeded you?

I have no direct contact these days with Thornberry. I don’t even know where he lives. Some of his key former congressional aides and allies do read this blog. Perhaps they will forward this request to him. I got to know Thornberry well, working for 18 years as editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News. Mac and I started our new gigs during the same week in January 1995: he as a congressman and me at the AGN.

I am simply astonished and appalled at Jackson’s conduct since taking office. He has become a Twitter troll who models his public pronouncements after the 45th POTUS, a fellow he served for a time as White House physician. The ex-POTUS wanted Jackson to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, but then pulled his nomination when it was alleged that the retired Navy admiral drank on the job and issued prescriptions to individuals whom, um, didn’t need them. He earned the nickname “Candy Man,” if you get my drift.

Now he’s in Congress and has become a favorite of right-wing media talk-show hosts because of his incessant criticism of President Biden. He has launched a senseless, mindless, brainless, thoughtless campaign against the COVID vaccine campaign, declaring as recently as this past week that the “pandemic is over.” Well, it ain’t over … doc!

As for Thornberry, he is enjoying retired life somewhere these days. I just wish he could expend some of the political capital he acquired by condemning the blather that keeps pouring forth from the guy who took his seat in Congress.

CPAC loons stand out

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

If only this message could get to a former Texas congressman who retired at the beginning of the year and has been succeeded by a certifiable nut case.

I will post this rebuke anyway in the hope that Mac Thornberry sees what one of his former constituents thinks of the lunatic who took his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ronny Jackson, a Republican (of course), attended the Conservative Political Action Conference festivities this weekend in Dallas. He then promptly made a case — from my vantage point — for why he should be stripped of his medical license.

The doc decided to offer a “diagnosis” of President Biden that, shall we say, was unflattering in the extreme. He asserted — without ever examining the president — that Joe Biden suffers from cognitive decline; that he has dementia; that he is unfit for office.

Jackson is now the 13th Congressional District representative in Congress. He tweets what he calls his brains out daily. Then he shows up at these right-wing feeding frenzies and says patently untrue things about the commander in chief.

Why mention Mac Thornberry? Well, I know Thornberry pretty well. I covered him while I worked as editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News from 1995 until 2012. He took office the same week I reported for duty in the Panhandle. Not one time did I ever see or hear Thornberry use the kind of incendiary language that pours forth from Ronny Jackson’s pie hole. Did I agree with Thornberry? No. I didn’t. My point is that Thornberry conducted himself with a certain quiet dignity that clearly is missing in the loon who succeeded him.

Ronny Jackson, the former Navy rear admiral, is appealing to the same rabid fanatical base that supports the disgraced 45th POTUS. What’s more, he is offering medical diagnoses without any basis for them. For that reason alone this nut job needs to surrender his medical license.

Mac … are you out there? Speak to us! Tell us that your successor — not the current president — is unfit for his job!

Having trouble letting go

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

When you spend nearly 18 years of your professional life commenting on and reporting on the affairs of a congressional district, it could be difficult letting go of that interest even after you move away from that area.

That’s what I am finding out about myself as I watch the goings-on in the 13th Congressional District of West Texas. The politics of that district was a big part of my life while I worked for the Amarillo Globe-News from 1995 until 2012. The congressman I covered, Republican Mac Thornberry, has retired. His successor is a clown/goofball/Twitter troll named Ronny Jackson.

Jackson, to be put it plainly, just pisses me off. Thus, I am likely to take an interest in the political campaign in 2022, when Jackson runs for re-election to a second term in Congress.

I hope he gets a serious butt-whuppin’, although I am acutely aware of how tough that will be, given the 13th’s strong Republican tradition.

Thus, a candidate named Kathleen Brown, a Wichita Falls lawyer, has declared her desire to win the Democratic Party primary next spring. She wants to run against Jackson. I will use this blog to extol her candidacy.

First things first. I need to learn more about this individual.

I used to think it was important for the 13th to be represented by someone from the Panhandle, given that the Panhandle lies at the heart of the sprawling district. Jackson, though, isn’t really “from” that region. He moved there just prior to the 2020 campaign to seek the seat that Thornberry was vacating. Indeed, Jackson — a retired physician, Navy admiral and suck-up to the 45th POTUS — had never lived there until he moved in.

So the residency requirement is now off the table for me. Kathleen Brown’s hometown is as much a part of the 13th as Amarillo.

I’m just going to keep my eyes peeled and my ears dialed in as the debate ramps up going into the midterm election.

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.

This House seat has been hijacked

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Admittedly, my view of my former haunts up yonder on the West Texas Caprock is a bit jaded.

I arrived in Amarillo in January 1995 to begin a stint as editorial page editor of the Globe-News. The congressman for the region was taking his oath of office that same week. Mac Thornberry rode the Republican wave in the Contract With America election in 1994. He settled in quickly and became a quiet back-bench member of the new congressional majority comprising Republicans.

Thornberry is out of office now. He called it quits at the end of 2020 after a quarter century in Congress. His successor, Ronny Jackson, has assumed quite a different posture than the man he succeeded; I won’t say “replaced” because Jackson’s behavior so far doesn’t warrant that kind of accolade.

What I think we are witnessing in the 13th Congressional District of Texas is a boiled-down version of what has happened to the Republican Party. It has become the Party of Donald Trump. Jackson’s behavior, which includes multiple Twitter sniper shots daily, is indicative of that change.

Whereas the former congressman, Thornberry, would exercise some discretion, would be circumspect, wouldn’t seek to bloody the water, Jackson is an entirely different swamp creature.

It’s kinda like the way Trump acted during the time he served as president. You know?

Jackson has been ranting and railing against the border crisis, which he blames on President Biden’s alleged “open border” policy. He also has been bloviating and blustering about the Second Amendment to the Constitution, blaming Democrats of trying to “take your guns away” while they seek a legislative remedy to the spasm of gun violence that Biden has called — correctly! — an “international embarrassment.”

I sought out one of Thornberry’s closest aides this week, asking this staffer what Thornberry thinks of Jackson’s behavior. This aide responded, “Honestly, he doesn’t betray how he feels,” adding in a personal aside to me that “you know him” Well, I was not surprised to get the answer to that question. Still, I thought it was worth asking.

I am troubled by the representation my former neighbors in the Panhandle are getting from their member of Congress. I wonder if Rep. Jackson is going to settle down long enough to actually craft legislation that deals specifically with issues important to the constituents he now represents.

Oh, let me add that Rep. Jackson only moved into the district in time to run for the seat that Thornberry vacated. The congressman needs to bone up on the issues that matter.

He ought to take a break from his bluster to give thought to how he intends to represent the sprawling Texas congressional district.

Rep./Dr. Jackson tweets his thoughts … who knew?

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

My friends and former neighbors in the Texas Panhandle are getting a totally expected treat from their new congressman: a Twitter storm of statements, proclamations and, dare I say it, demagogic grenades.

Check out a tweet that came from Rep. Ronny Jackson, the newly elected congressman from the 13th Congressional District:

We must say NO to any mandated “vaccine passport.” This isn’t about “stopping the spread,” it’s about CONTROL and restricting our RIGHTS. Vaccine passports = TYRANNY!

You know, I just love the all-caps approach to driving home a point to the faithful. Actually … I don’t. Why not? It’s so, um, Trumpian!

I am thinking at this moment of Mac Thornberry, the actual lifetime resident of the congressional district whom Jackson succeeded when he got elected in 2020. My thought is that Twitter tirades are so not like Thornberry. He was not inclined to fire off Twitter bombs. Thornberry would do that Washington thing, you know … dictate a policy statement and then issue it through his press office. The Thornberry method was more professional and for me more likely to be taken seriously than a wild-eyed, mouth-frothing tweet!

It’s not that Rep. Jackson is a stupid man. He is, after all, a medical doctor who once served as physician to three presidents: George W. Bush, Barack H. Obama and Donald J. Trump and along the way rose to the rank of rear admiral in the Navy.

Now he’s a politician and has taken so very readily to the medium of choice for many blowhards on the left and the right.

I hope my former Texas Panhandle neighbors have a stronger stomach for the upcoming barrage of Twitter messages than I believe I would have were I still living there.

Boorishness goes bipartisan

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Well now, what are we to make of this item?

Just as the political world is all agog over the troubles descending on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who stands accused of sexual harassment by three women, we hear about a Republican member of Congress who’s been accused of the same thing … plus of drinking and taking sleeping pills on the job.

I happen to believe Andrew Cuomo ought to resign and return to private life.

What about Rep. Ronny Jackson, the newly elected House member who represents the congressional district where I once lived?

It turns out that Jackson, a former Navy doctor who once served as White House physician for three presidents, has been accused of misbehaving badly while caring for commanders in chief George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Here is part of what CNN.com is reporting: The Department of Defense inspector general has issued a scathing review of Rep. Ronny Jackson during his time serving as the top White House physician, concluding that he made “sexual and denigrating” comments about a female subordinate, violated the policy for drinking alcohol while on a presidential trip and took prescription-strength sleeping medication that prompted concerns from his colleagues about his ability to provide proper care.

Well …

Rep. Ronny Jackson drank alcohol and took sleeping pills on job as top White House physician, watchdog finds – CNNPolitics

Jackson moved into the district in 2020 to run for the House seat that became vacant when GOP Rep. Mac Thornberry of Clarendon chose to retire from the House after serving for 25 years. His candidacy was fascinating from the get-go, given that he never lived in the 13th Congressional District. He was born in Levelland, Texas, but moved away to pursue a career in the Navy; he achieved the rank of rear admiral while also serving as physician to the three presidents.

None of this should surprise anyone, if you think about it. Donald Trump nominated Jackson to become secretary of veterans affairs, but then the fecal matter hit the fan when allegations surfaced of alcohol abuse on the job as well as his alleged habit of writing prescriptions for drugs that, um, weren’t necessarily for medicinal purposes.

Now the DOD inspector general is examining fresh allegations against this guy.

Nice …

Lame-duck lawmaker blasts … Trump

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Now he speaks out,

U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, who rose to the ranks of one of his party’s top lawmaking leaders, had remained virtually silent about the conduct of Donald J. Trump.

Then he announced his retirement from Congress, where he served since 1995. What do you suppose happened to the Clarendon, Texas, Republican? He found his, um, voice.

He has needled his fellow GOP colleagues for following a “mindless sort of obedience” to the lame-duck president. He says their blind fealty “undermines our institutions.” Well, yeah!

Thornberry told the Dallas Morning News that “Congress was created to be and meant to be a separate branch of government — not one in which its members take their direction from a president of either party.”

Thornberry also had some choice words for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the 126 GOP members who joined him in a loony lawsuit filed in the U.S. Supreme Court. The suit sought to nullify millions of votes that went to President-elect Biden. Paxton had no standing or right to intercede in other states’ electoral processes, the court ruled. Thornberry agreed, saying that had Paxton had succeeded there could be no end to the type of mischief that other states could do to Texas’s own electoral system.

Suffice to say that Thornberry did not his colleagues’ effort to climb aboard the Paxton clown car.

I appreciate Thornberry’s newfound candor. He was my congressman for more than two decades when I lived and worked in Amarillo. I had a fruitful professional relationship with him and I wish him well as he charts a new course in his life.

I just wish he had revealed his candor a whole lot earlier.

Congressmen stay away from Paxton lunacy

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I want to declare that the young man who represents me in the U.S. House of Representatives and the fellow who was my congressman until my wife and I moved to Collin County have reneged on joining the Ken Paxton loony bin parade.

U.S. Reps. Van Taylor of Plano and Mac Thornberry of Clarendon have declined to add their names to the seditious letter signed by 105 House Republicans in support of the lawsuit filed in the U.S. Supreme Court by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

I am heartened to report that sanity has taken hold in at least two House GOP members’ noggins.

Paxton has sued four states, seeking to overturn their voters’ results after they supported President-elect Joe Biden’s successful presidential campaign. Paxton’s lawsuit has zero chance of being approved by the SCOTUS. Indeed, some GOP senators — such as John Cornyn of Texas — have expressed serious doubt about the merits of the argument Paxton is presenting.

Taylor was just re-elected to the House from the Third Congressional District. Thornberry is stepping down after serving since 1995 in the 13th District. Indeed, Thornberry has accepted publicly and openly that Joe Biden is the next president, unlike too damn many of his GOP colleagues in Congress.

The Dallas Morning News has reported on Thornberry’s statements:

Asked what signal it sends to foreign governments that so many of his GOP colleagues refuse to accept Biden as the winner, he said that “other countries, as well as most Americans, understand and probably support President Trump making full use of all of the legal avenues … to contest mistakes or whatever he can find — flaws in the voting process. But I also am mindful that, whether it’s the attorney general or a host of others, nobody’s said they have seen any evidence of enough flaws to change the result.”

“Nearly everybody says that transition needs to move on. And we’re down to just a few days now before the Electoral College votes. We’re proceeding step by step through the normal constitutional process. And certainly, Dec. 14 when the electors vote — that’s how a president is chosen. So, things need to move ahead,” he said.

I take that to mean that Paxton’s moronic lawsuit will go nowhere. Count me as a Texas resident who is glad to know the two men who have most recently represented my interests in Congress have demonstrated that they have retained their sanity.

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.