Texas may not be turning blue this year, but Houston seems to be getting bluer by the day. As most of you probably know, the Houston Chronicle endorsed Barack Obama for President. This was the Chronicle's first endorsement of a Democrat for President since LBJ in 1964. But in any event, the Chronicle (although getting more moderate) has definitely trended more conservative than not in the down-ticket races.
Imagine my surprise and delight when I opened my newspaper this morning and was greeted with the Editorial page headline - "Houstonian Rick Noreiga is an old-fashioned Texas Democrat with the right voice for these new times."
Some of the notable quotes from the endorsement:
Come January, the halls of Congress will likely be populated by strengthened Democratic majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Texas will need able representation in all arenas in that shifting legislative environment.
It will be especially important for Texans to have a strong, respected voice inside the expected Democratic majority in the Senate. Rick Noriega offers such a voice, with a distinctive Lone Star tone and perspective. The Chronicle endorses Noriega for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican John Cornyn.
When I first moved to Texas in 1962, there was no such thing as a Republican party in Texas. The Chronicle seems to remember those days.
Noriega, a Houstonian, describes himself as a Texas Democrat. That term, once common currency in the state's political conversation, seems to have fallen out of favor over the past several Republican-dominated years. But it resonates once more in this season of voter discontent with partisanship uber alles. Some old-fashioned moderate bipartisanship, Texas style, should be much welcomed in the Washington debate, particularly on overheated topics such as energy and immigration. Rick Noriega can provide it.
The Chronicle goes on to say how Noreiga should represent Texas well in these two areas (energy and immigration), but particularly the hot-button topic of immigration.
On immigration, Noriega is in step with traditional Texas views of tolerance and a warm embrace of cultural differences, rooted in respect for the law. He will bring calm and reason to the national debate.
Ah, but what about his opponent? Didn't you guys endorse him 6 years ago? My emphasis in bold. I can personally attest to the last statement about constituent services.
Our decision to support Noriega was not made without due consideration of Cornyn's strengths. The one-term incumbent has been a strong and reliable supporter of freedom of information and open government laws. And he worked to speed up the citizenship process for immigrants serving in the military. But John Cornyn also has been a too-loyal foot soldier for the Bush administration, willing to make a right turn off the cliff in support of fatally flawed policies on Iraq and torture, as well as casting improvident votes on a host of social issues. Unlike Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, he is not known for his attention to constituent services.
They go on to discuss his distinguished history, saying that "he richly deserves a promotion to Washington." Then they wrap it up thusly.
Noriega is showing himself to be the model of an effective Democrat — a centrist, moderate Texas Democrat — in a time when most voters are sick of political extremes. As such, he may one day set the standard for what a strong Texas senator can be.
Rick Noriega reflects the new face of Texas while speaking in the welcome tones of moderation that are a tradition worth reviving. The Chronicle urges a vote for Noriega for U.S. Senate.
The full endorsement can be found here: