December 29, 2007
Rosenthal's apology in the news

Here's the Chron story about Chuck Rosenthal's apology statement. I'll focus on what's new here, some of which I had seen previously in the NYT and on Miya's blog.

Jared Woodfill, Harris County Republican Party Chairman, said he is meeting with party leaders to discuss Rosenthal's political future. But he declined to say whether the party would draft a primary election opponent for Rosenthal, who is running for re-election, call on him to resign, or support him despite the concern about his conduct.

"He's done a good job as district attorney, but this is a serious mistake that we are dealing with right now," he said. "We're taking it very seriously."

Rosenthal didn't return calls and e-mails Friday.

The political problem, if any, posed by the e-mails was still unclear.

That's a curious sentence. The political problem is that the emails, and the information about the county car being used by Rosenthal's ex-girlfriend administrative assistant, make Rosenthal look like a fool who gives preferential treatment to certain people, and that's on top of the allegations made in the lawsuit that he turned a blind eye to malfeasance by Sheriff Tommy Thomas. This may or may not translate into an electoral problem - as we all know, November is a long way off - but the nature of it as a political problem is, I think, pretty clear. It's the scope of that problem that no one can be sure about.

The personal e-mails, along with attorney-client privilege e-mails, were originally sealed from public view in a motion by Rosenthal to withhold them as privileged communication. Last week, they were unsealed by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt.

In an emergency hearing Thursday, Hoyt said he intended only to unseal the motion, not the e-mails, which were attached as exhibits. He then resealed the exhibits, withdrawing them from public view on the U.S District Clerk's Web site -- but not before several media outlets downloaded the information.

Earlier in the week, Rosenthal said the release of the e-mails is political and pointed out that Kelley was a law partner of former HPD Chief C.O. Bradford. Bradford is Rosenthal's Democratic opponent in his bid next year for re-election. Kelley, who ran unsuccessfully against Rosenthal in 2000, has said he and Bradford are still friends.

Bradford denied that he had anything to do with the disclosure.

That at least answers the question about why bother resealing them. It also firmly rebuts the charge that this was politically motivated, unless you think Judge Hoyt had something to do with it. This was basically an accident, one that obviously causes some real hardship for Rosenthal. Because of the unintentional nature of the emails' release, I can feel a small bit of sympathy towards him. But not much - it's still the case that he himself wrote those emails, using his county-owned email account. It's still his actions that are the cause of his embarrassment.

In my last entry, I noted that I had not found any commentary on this, even a link to a story, by any of the Republican blogs in town. That got Kevin Whited all upset in my comments:

Are you REALLY wanting to establish the standard that someone who votes a certain way is obligated to blog about about everyone who affiliated with a party they have voted for at some point?

That's an interesting conclusion to draw from my simple statement of fact (one that I note is still true today), but no, I'm not looking to establish any Department of Blogging Obligations. This is a huge story (front page, above the fold, two days out of the last three) that may have a big impact on one of the main local elections next year. If you really can't think of any reasons why I might be interested in the opinions of my political counterparts on this, let me suggest a few possibilities:

- I'm genuinely curious as to what Republican voters think of this. Do you feel indifferent? Betrayed? Angry? If so, at whom? Do others feel the same as you? Personal reactions to current events is one of the big reasons why people read blogs, after all. It's obvious (and well-blogged) how we Democrats feel about this. I'd like to know what the Republicans are thinking.

- Do you want to see someone challenge Rosenthal in the GOP primary, or do you stand with him? If you want to see him replaced, whom do you support? Do you have a candidate in mind, or do you trust Jared Woodfill and the local GOP leadership to come up with someone?

- Do you think this was a political hit job? If so, whom do you blame?

- Do you have anything to add to this story? My blogging compatriots and I frequently hear insider information from, well, insiders. Some of what we hear we can even write about. I presume the local Republican blogs are on the receiving end of this sort of thing as well, though I could certainly be wrong about that. Have you heard anything that hasn't made it into a mainstream news account yet?

I would have thought this would be self-evident to anyone interested in Houston politics, but whatever. If none of Kevin or his colleagues care to talk about this, then I'll have to guess as to what they might think. Given a choice, I'd rather hear it from them. But that's the way it goes, I guess. On a lighter note, John Coby has more.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 29, 2007 to Local politics

Welcome Rosenthal to the Harris County Turkey Shoot.

Posted by: Charles Hixon on December 29, 2007 3:59 PM

"I'd like to know what the Republicans are thinking."

I doubt you or anyone else will ever know. They believe firmly in the 11th Commandment. So they will hold their noses while they fall into line and begin an attack on the Democrats and begin a barrage of defenses of their precious district attorney simply because they do not know what else to do.

The thought of an African-American district attorney frightens them. And that of course gets back to what they like most about Chuck Rosenthal. He is a "good old boy" who keeps the minorities in their place. No matter that his methods are contrary to the Constitution. But then the majority of Republicans no longer believe in the Constitution.

He is, again, the most corrupt district attorney in the country. And he will be protected by the most corrupt US Attorney's Office in the country. Reality is there have been repeated complaints taken to the US Attorney's Office and the US Attorney's Office has done nothing. And will continue to do nothing.

Keep in mind that DeGabrielle was chosen by a committee formed by Kay Bailey Hutchison who refused to disclose to the Houston Chronicle who was on the committee. He is another good old boy chosen by the other good old boys. And a good old girl married to one of the good old boys.

The only hope for this country is at the ballot box. I dealt with Bradford when he was police chief. I have nothing but respect for him as a result. But reality is reality. The Republicans will turn out en masse not to elect Rosenthal again so much as to defeat Bradford. But then they will do so regardless of who the Democratic candidate. Just in less numbers if it is someone other than Bradford.

That said, I do know that Lee Brown was thought to be a lost cause for his third term. The Harris County Democratic Party seemed intent on sabotaging him. So the grassroots stepped in. And the grassroots managed to win the election for him. Maybe if enough people really got behind Bradford the way they did Brown, including our elected officials, and got the people to the polls Bradford could win. Despite the odds.

I wouldn't count on Rosenthal resigning. There really isn't anyone else for the Republican Party to run. They were broadsided by this. Even those who know how corrupt he is were completely taken by surprise. But they only have five days in which to find someone. It just isn't going to happen. So Rosenthal will stay. And will run.

What is interesting about this is that according to rumor, Rosenthal blocked Ted Poe from challenging him for district attorney in 2000 by threatening to make public his extramarital affair while carrying on his own. He is the ultimate hypocrite.

It will be interesting to see what the spinmeisters come up with by Monday. It might be very interesting to be at Second Baptist tomorrow and see if there is some sort of public apology to the flock followed by some sort of public pronouncement by Ed Young who is probably the most evil minister in this country which probably explains why the most corrupt district attorney in the country attends his church.

It does represent a problem for all of them. This is not a single incident. He committed adultery with a woman for over 20 years through two separate marriages. Kind of hard, I would imagine, for even Ed Young to find an easy excuse for. But then hypocrites are hypocrites. So it will be interesing to see what happens tomorrow. And what happens on Monday.

Posted by: Baby Snooks on December 29, 2007 4:06 PM

The problem with your comment Harris County Republicans are afraid of an African American DA is there are far far far more African American district judges county wide in Harris County, regionally wide on the appeals courts and state wide on the Texas Supreme Court including the chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court -all Republican-than there ever was ever during the 150 Democrats controlled everything in Harris County, in the region and statewide in Texas.

Like any political party I am sure the Republican Party itself does not want a non Republican DA like Democrats may not want a Republican DA no matter who it is. To put race in that would be wrong.

Posted by: Burt Levine on December 29, 2007 9:43 PM

"The problem with your comment Harris County Republicans are afraid of an African American DA is there are far far far more African American district judges county wide in Harris County, regionally wide on the appeals courts and state wide on the Texas Supreme Court including the chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court -all Republican-than there ever was ever during the 150 Democrats controlled everything in Harris County, in the region and statewide in Texas."

And how many were appointed first and then elected by Republicans who felt the judges had "proven" themselves as loyal to the agenda rather than the law as well as by the Republican majority which traditionally votes a "straight ticket" and, more importantly, how many were then elected, or elected to begin with, as a result of fellow African-Americans who only cared that they were voting for another African-American? A lot of variables are involved when trying to analyze political dynamics. Particularly when dealing with minority voting dynamics.

For the most part, you imply somehow that Republicans are not racist. Nothing could be further from the truth. They simply like their "boys," and their "girls," and that sums up quite a few of the Republican African-American on our benches.

One of those "girls" is Melinda Harmon. A George HW Bush appointee. Who is probably one of the worst judges on our federal benches. But she sticks to the agenda. Rather than the law. And that is all that matters to Republicans. They would accept a homosexual pedophile if he or she stuck to the agenda. They are that blinded by their maniacal vision of a singular America for only a few. Served by the many. Including the minorities who at the end of the day, even on our benches, are still excluded. Somehow less than.

Politically correct is polite. But not always reflective of reality.

Posted by: Baby Snooks on December 30, 2007 3:01 PM

lets see if the repubs can find a primary opponent who doesnt already have a wife and a girlfriend

Posted by: Charles Hixon on December 30, 2007 8:58 PM

"lets see if the repubs can find a primary opponent who doesnt already have a wife and a girlfriend."

Or a wife and boyfriend...

Posted by: Baby Snooks on December 31, 2007 12:26 PM