February 14, 2006
On the trail of hackdom

Your best belly laugh of the day comes courtesy of John Fund, who had the following to say about the primary battle between Ciro Rodriguez and Henry Cuellar:

Should he lose, despite an effective first term, it will send a signal that Democrats aren't really interested in having a truly diverse party ideologically--and that dissidents who go their own way do so at the peril of being defeated in primaries. Ask Marty Martinez, a Democrat who represented East Los Angeles in Congress for 18 years until the unions ganged up on him and defeated him with their own candidate in 2000. "I wouldn't toe the line 100% on their issues, " Mr. Martinez told me at the time. "Democrats say they are tolerant, but when it comes to dissent, they have a different tune."

Next month Mr. Cuellar will see if he has any better luck getting his party to understand that it can regain majority status only if it makes room for moderates.

Oh those wacky Democrats and their ideological purges! What kind of chuckleheads would do such a thing in Texas?

John Fund, meet James Leininger and Bill Crocker:

A political action committee gave nearly $700,000 last month to the Republican primary opponents of five state House members who fought school voucher proposals during last year's legislative session.

James Leininger, a prominent supporter of school vouchers, was the only contributor during the latest reporting period to the Texas Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, according to reports to the Texas Ethics Commission.


Leininger, a San Antonio businessman, gave the political action committee $500,000 and pledged $250,000 more, The Dallas Morning News reported in its Wednesday editions. Leininger also made direct donations to some of the challengers.

The political action committee made in-kind contributions of advertising and mailings to primary opponents of Reps. Carter Casteel, R-New Braunfels; Tommy Merritt, R-Longview; Roy Blake Jr., R-Nacogdoches; Delwin Jones, R-Lubbock; and Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth.


Bill Crocker of Austin, one of the state's two members of the Republican National Committee, said he founded the Texas Republican Legislative Campaign Committee in October to go after "liberal Republicans" in the Legislature.

The committee has endorsed opponents of the five targeted Republican incumbents, who Crocker said have been "betraying the very Republicans who put them in office."

Do tell me more about "having a truly diverse party ideologically" and "dissidents who go their own way", John. I promise to hang on your every word.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 14, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

It's not clear to me where you were trying to head with this.

Was your point that Fund was wrong about the particular Dem race he cited?

Was your point that he wasn't wrong about the particular Dem race he cited, but that both parties engage in the sort of behavior Fund describes?

Or something else?

Posted by: kevin whited on February 14, 2006 7:54 AM

C'mon, Kevin. I'm saying that if Fund wants to give condescending lectures to Democrats about purging dissidents, he ought to at least check to see if maybe the Republicans are doing it, too, and on a bigger and more organized scale, too. Of course, if he did, he wouldn't have had a point to make in his piece. That's my point.

My problem is not that he wrote about this race, or that he took a side. My problem is that he extrapolated a trend from this, and that he was too lazy to check and see if there was more too it than that. And I think that's pretty clear.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on February 14, 2006 8:19 AM

I think if you look at the large number of conservative Democrats in the State House (Ritter, McReynolds, Homer, Rose), you'll see no primary races against them. Why? Because there's a difference between being a conservative D that represents a Republican-leaning community and a Craddic/Bush D that just votes for the far-right.

Fund knows that -- I'd imagine he's not an idiot. He's just ignoring it. Kuff does a good job calling him on his BS.

Posted by: Phillip Martin on February 14, 2006 9:48 AM

An intolerance for dissent is not the exclusive domain of either party. A failure to recognize it in one's own (and a tendency to laugh at the mere suggestion) is what leads both parties into trouble.

Posted by: NW on February 14, 2006 10:33 AM

Gene Green is a moderate. Chet Edwards is a moderate. Henry Cuellar is no moderate. Cuellar is an opportunist who helped DeLay and Craddick re-draw the congressional lines to keep Bonilla safe and to create a seat he could run in.

Posted by: Marie on February 14, 2006 11:32 AM

I also sense an increasing amount of intolerance from the Democratic party, especially in liberal strongholds like Austin. The CD28 race is a great example. Cuellar is a Democrat with a twenty year history of support for public education and health care, with a long record of achievments as Texas state rep. Because of a handful of votes in the last year, he has become a sellout and almost uniquely hated among Democrats. His opponent has all of a sudden become the Dems champion, despite an EXTREMELY marginal record in congress. Remember, Ciro lost to Henry in 2004 as an 8 year incumbent and while chair of the Mex Amer Congress Caucus!! And he is going to lose to Henry even worse in 2006...what does that say about Ciro?!? How he became the darling of the netroots is absolutely beyond me.

Henry got elected to a Republican controlled congress with a Republican president that he had close ties to. Henry is a good politician, and good politicians make deals and trade votes to get results for their constituents (especially in the House of Reps). While I part ways with him on some of his votes, he has been an effective congressman for CD28.

The Dems need to remember that usually people vote FOR someone, not against someone. Vilification of the other side can only get you so far. Sadly, the netroots are wasting more than $100,000 on a Dem v. Dem race when there are so many better places to spend the money. When the House of Reps goes Democratic, Henry will come back to the fold and all will be well. Like I said, he is a good politician.

Posted by: Chito on February 14, 2006 11:33 AM

In the unforunate circumstance that Cuellar does return to Congress for another term, it is my hopeful wish that someone he considers an ally will turn on him and take him out. Wouldn't that be incredible?

Posted by: Marie on February 14, 2006 3:01 PM

As far as the Marty Martinez race goes, from the American Prospect:

"In 2000, Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) successfully unseated nine-term incumbent Marty Martinez, who had supported the Clinton administration's bid for fast track in return for federal funding of a freeway extension in his heavily Latino district east of Los Angeles. (Remarkably, Martinez managed to estrange both labor and environmentalists in one and the same deal.) Solis' labor credentials were extraordinary (she had provided the seed money for the successful 1996 initiative campaign to raise California's minimum wage out of her own campaign war chest), and local unions enthusiastically supported her."

And from AlterNet:
"Perhaps the most dramatic example of organized labor's new political self-confidence occurred in 2000, when Contreras helped orchestrate the defeat of long-time incumbent Democratic Congressman Martin Martinez by Hilda Solis, a progressive Democratic state legislator who had made a name for herself as a vocal and effective feminist, environmental advocate and labor ally. Martinez, who represented a mostly Latino and Asian district in the working-class suburbs outside L.A., had angered union leaders and progressives when he offered to vote for the Clinton administration's fast-track trade-negotiating authority in return for White House support for a freeway extension in his district. He also alienated pro-choice voters by voting for a ban on late-term abortions. Solis won the support of EMILY's list and the Sierra Club but it was the all-out effort of the L.A. County Fed in the Democratic primary that had the biggest impact. Solis's 62-to-29 percent victory was one of a precious few instances in modern political history in which a progressive Democrat ousted a centrist incumbent."

But let's see if Cuellar pulls this when he loses. From the Greenpapers.com:

"Congressman Martinez was elected a Democrat. He switched his affiliation to the Republican Party on July 26, 2000."

Posted by: SADem on February 14, 2006 3:22 PM

Good points on henry accomphishments. chito, marie is a anti god hater laborer for the anti god blogs.May god have mercy on her soul for the lies told by her.

Posted by: juan carlos on February 14, 2006 10:21 PM

That's the funniest s*** anyone has ever said to me on a blog.

Posted by: Marie on February 15, 2006 9:37 AM

Juan Carlos said:
"marie is a anti god hater laborer for the anti god blogs"

WTF does this mean? C'mon, Juan Carlos, if you're going to do an ad hominem attack on someone, you ought to at least make it comprehensible! "Anti god hater laborer"??? Does that mean she labors against those who hate god??? Jeebus!

Posted by: Locutor on February 15, 2006 10:10 AM