December 22, 2004
Soechting on Heflin
Texas Democratic Party Chair Charles Soechting has a message for Talmadge Heflin and especially his attorney Andy Taylor. While I think he's touched on all the important issues in this unprecedented power grab, I disagree with his choice of rhetoric. The problem with invoking a term like "McCarthyite" is that it's an immediate invitation for nominally disinterested parties to dismiss you as a partisan crank and for your opponents to distract from your points by seizing on your invective.
The case against Heflin and Taylor is simple and direct:
1. Talmadge Heflin refuses to accept the will of the voters in HD149.
2. Talmadge Heflin and Andy Taylor are seeking to have their buddies in the Legislature subvert the will of the voters in HD149.
3. By recklessly throwing around baseless accusations of voter fraud without a single shred of evidence to back it up, Talmadge Heflin and Andy Taylor are insulting the integrity of the voters in HD149.
Piece of cake. Do not give in to the temptation to call them names. Let their actions speak for you. We're right and they're wrong, and that's all anyone needs to know.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 22, 2004 to Election 2004
I applaud Soechting for calling on Andy Taylor to "put up or shut up," and I disagree that what he said constitutes name calling.
Soechting was right to harken back to the McCarthy Era, a time in this nation's history when unfounded accusations were enough to ruin careers... and lives.
This is an apt analogy for where Andy Taylor and his clients Tom DeLay, Tom Craddick, John Cornyn and Rick Perry want to take this state.
The problem with invoking a term like "McCarthyite" is that it's an immediate invitation for nominally disinterested parties to dismiss you as a partisan crank and for your opponents to distract from your points by seizing on your invective.
Charles, you're expanding Godwin's Law here, a Law I never accepted to begin with.
The trouble with Godwin's Law (any comparison to Hitler or the Nazis is inherently self-defeating) is it leaves us defenseless against a return to Nazism. If everyone buys it, no one will ever claim "that's what Hitler did," which means someone can do the things Hitler did without ever worrying about being called on it.
Now you propose to expand the Law to McCarthy? No thanks! McCarthyism may not be Nazism, but I'd still rather not surrender my rhetorical defenses against it.
Charles, I have been out of town for a few days but saw your post when I got back. First, as I read history and how it affected America in the 50's, guys like McCarthy got a free pass because people didn't call their hand when they made false, baseless accusations. In the meantime in addition to the hundreds of lives that were destroyed by this kind of Tom DeLay sponsored hate, our country suffered until courageous men and women stood up and fought back. I had the honor of meeting and coming to know John Henry Faulk extremely well in the late 60's and into the 70's. He was one who stood strong and fought back. I know that were he alive today he would be telling me " You get 'em Charlie and you keep telling the world what a bunch of crooks they are." Charles, Andy Taylor's actions do remind me of Joe McCarthy and all of the evil that went with him. Rather than tone my views down, I will do a better job making sure that everyone knows where the Texas Democratic Party and it's Chair stand on the important issues affecting this state and country.