One of the most controversial tea party Republicans, Dan Patrick, managed to get himself elected as the Republican candidate for Lt. Governor. This position happens to be one of the most powerful in the state. Until recently Dan Patrick has been going all over the state spouting his tea party rhetoric to his adoring base of tea party supporters. But lately Dan Patrick has gone MIA.
Apparently his handlers are so terrified that Dan Patrick will say something so offensive that they must have taped his mouth shut and locked him in a closet. That or Patrick and his campaign staff are terrified of his opponent Leticia Van de Putte.
An editorial in the Houston Chronicle on Friday spanked the Tea Party Republican candidate for Lt. Governor, Dan Patrick, for being MIA. Not only will he refuse to meet with the state's newspapers' editorial boards but Dan Patrick's handlers will not reveal his campaign appearances. The Houston Chronicle's editorial board accuse his handlers of hiding him b/c of Patrick's well-known reckless rhetoric.
Dan Patrick's unbridled tongue over the years has been known to alarm and irritate colleagues and cohorts, not to mention the typical Texas voter, who's unlikely to be an absolute political zealot, the Houston state senator's core constituency.
Now that Patrick is a heavy favorite in his first statewide race, for the powerful position of lieutenant governor, his handlers have hit upon a new strategy for the typically outspoken candidate: Keep the man corraled until after the election.
Dan Patrick could also be afraid of his opponent state Senator Leticia Van de Putte
who, in my view, is more than just a worthy opponent.
Patrick's strategy, as his handlers see it, is akin to the mighty Texas Aggies running out the clock against the boys from North Louisiana Barber College (go Clippers!) They refuse to acknowledge two distinct differences: Politics ain't beanbag (as the saying goes) or football, and the Democratic candidate, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio, is a worthy opponent.
Even though Texas hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994, Van de Putte has something to say, and that makes Patrick and his handlers skittish.
Senator Van de Putte has a lot to say. She is well known for her famous question
during the 2013 Legislative session when state Senator and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis filibustered the anti-abortion law.
As Republican lawmakers suspended Texas state senator Wendy Davis' marathon filibuster of a contentious abortion bill late Tuesday night, a Democratic lawmaker called out her male colleagues for silencing the legislature's female representatives.
"Did the President hear me or did the President hear me and refuse to recognize me?" state Sen. Leticia Van De Putte asked.
"At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?” she asked as the chamber erupted in cheers.
Senator Van de Putte is a very well-liked as well as a genuine and seasoned politician. With a heart. She is a wife, mother and business owner. A pharmacist Leticia Van de Putte owns her own pharmacy. If elected she would restore the cuts made to education
in 2011. A state judge, by the way, recently ruled the state's school finance system unconstitutional.
Leticia is for a federal expansion of Medicaid. She disapproves of the Republican's ruthless efforts to shut down Planned Parenthood and women's health clinics. Van de Putte is against amnesty but she believes in immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship. Yes, indeed. Ms. Van de Putte has plenty to say and Dan Patrick is afraid because many of us outside of his tea party base agree with her.
Ignoring the editorial boards or campaigning solely in front of friendly audiences is not uncommon among the Texas GOP. Candidates will draw blood during primary races in order to demonstrate who is the most conservative. The winner usually does not have to work very hard to win elections in a state dominated by the Party where voter turnout is traditionally low. That and Democratic opponents can rarely raise the same amount of money as Republicans. The pundits and talking heads will routinely muse that a front runner's hiding is normal and should be expected.
But dodging and hiding can raise the ire of editorial boards and voters alike.
Patrick's refusal to meet with editorial boards around the state isn't an insult to newspapers. It's an insult to the people of Texas. They deserve to know where both candidates stand on the issues. They deserve to see both candidates in action, in whatever forum available. That's what a campaign is all about.
Some 27 million people are proud to call themselves Texans. Patrick and every person who pays a filing fee owes them the dignity of talking about their capacity to lead - in campaign appearances before general audiences, in editorial boards, debates, town-hall meetings.
This isn't a new concept, by the way. Senatorial candidates Lincoln and Douglas long ago engaged in a series of hours-long debates before rapt audiences. In Texas in the early 1900s, as LBJ biographer Robert Caro tells the story, young Sam Rayburn and his opponent would drive from town to town in the same buggy, stopping in all the little North Texas towns and speechifying on town squares about who was the best man to serve in the Texas Legislature.
Now, as in years past, Texans deserve to know a candidate's platform. When it comes to the voluble state senator from Houston, they need to know whether he's been consistent, or whether he's changed his mind on various issues. If so, they need to know why.
Dan Patrick is one of the most polished snake oil dealers in Texas. Formerly a sports commentator for a local Houston TV station and later a right wing radio talk show host, Patrick is very much at home in front of cameras and behind microphones. He possesses a silver forked tongue and is extremely clever in his use of coded language that drives the passion and support of his tea party base. He could easily pass as a tent revival preacher who can exorcize the devil from a fallen sinner. While seeming like the nice guy who lives door.
Check him out in action while debating San Antonio mayor Julian Castro. And learn what we are doing to stop him.
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