August 16, 2008
Cornyn takes a stand

Gardner Selby asks an impolite question:

I may have exasperated an aide to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas the other day by asking if Cornyn did more than speak against senators taking a break.

Cornyn's office had ballyhooed his stand against the Senate taking its traditional August recess without voting on expanded U.S. oil drilling.

You may have heard: Gas prices surged this summer.

And Cornyn, a Republican seeking re-election in November against Democrat Rick Noriega and Libertarian Yvonne Schick, evidently stood in the Senate chamber and told Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, that senators shouldn't leave without acting on legislation lifting a moratorium on drilling offshore and ending a ban on drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.


Wondering what Cornyn otherwise did to deter the Senate from scooting, I asked if he'd circulated a letter to be signed by senators -- or anything other than speechifying.

Apparently not.

Cornyn's campaign spokesman later balked at my speculation that Cornyn and other senators opposing the recess were grandstanding.

Well, in all fairness, the Republicans as a whole are doing more than just grandstanding. They're also Twittering. In fact, it's fair to say that the Republicans are building a grassroots Twitter fighting (and fundraising) force of extraordinary magnitude. So there is that.

Oh, and he's also whining about how totally unfair the Chronicle has been to him. Click on to read the note poor pitiful Cornyn sent to his supporters. Now you know what else he's been doing, Gardner.


Since you are among our closest supporters, I want to make you aware of some problems Senator Cornyn is experiencing with the Houston Chronicle, and particularly its editorial board.

On Tuesday of this week, Senator Cornyn spoke to a Pachyderm Club meeting in Houston that was covered by the Houston Chronicle. The subsequent article focused on health care and led off with the sub-headline "Senator says state is a model for nation, despite having so many without insurance." Needless to say, the headline did not accurately reflect Senator Cornyn's views.

In his remarks, Senator Cornyn did not talk about health insurance at all. Instead, while relating several reasons why Texas's economy is in better shape than most other U.S. states, he mentioned the 2003 law reforming medical malpractice law in Texas. Since its passage, doctors and medical school graduates have been flocking to Texas, providing health care services in underserved areas and improving patient access in others. The development has made Texas the envy of the medical community nationwide, and several states are attempting to duplicate our accomplishment.

After his remarks, Senator Cornyn was approached by the Chronicle reporter, who raised the entirely separate subject of health insurance for the first time. Senator Cornyn did not disagree that there were too many uninsured in Texas, and added there were numerous steps that need to be taken to reduce that unacceptably high number. In fact, Senator Cornyn has pushed for a variety of solutions, including funding for community health clinics, enabling small businesses to pool their resources to offer group health insurance, increased outreach efforts to boost SCHIP enrollment, and more.

On Thursday, a Chronicle columnist took the inaccurate headline and used it to launch a negative column - "Senator, Listen to Those Without Health Care" -- based solely on selective parts of the Chronicle news story. Needless to say, the column contained nothing about Senator Cornyn's extensive efforts on health care, and the author did not seek comment or clarification from Senator Cornyn. By Friday, the Chronicle's editorial page took the matter even further, running an editorial entitled "Out of Touch." It said the Senator's "depiction of Texas's health care system as a national role model departs from reality." Of course, Senator Cornyn made no such claim about Texas's overall health care system.

The Chronicle's editorial page staff was asked for the opportunity to put forward Senator Cornyn's side of all this, but they flatly refused. They want their misleading column, and their even more misleading editorial, to be the only information available to their readers.

I suppose we should expect that a liberal newspaper would take overt steps to assist the Democratic candidate from its home town. But that doesn't excuse outright distortion. It also does not mean that we should ignore it, or pretend it's not happening.

Let me be clear on one point. Senator Cornyn is extremely accessible and helpful to all news media, including the Chronicle. He and his campaign have an excellent relationship with the Chronicle reporting staff, and on balance, we believe we are treated fairly. We also believe that newspapers have a duty to tell both sides of the story to their readers. And it's obvious that the Chronicle editorial board does not agree.

This unprofessional behavior from the Chronicle editorial board will likely continue through the campaign, and we intend to do what we can to call attention to it. We encourage you and your friends to check for the facts on Senator Conryn's record.

John Cornyn

Rob Jesmer
Campaign Manager

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 16, 2008 to National news

Dude! An Illuminati reference and then a "Kentucky Fried Movie" reference in back-to-back posts? If you manage another one to Axis and Allies or "Better Off Dead", you are truly an ubermensch!

Posted by: joewhite on August 16, 2008 9:49 AM

It just makes me absurdly happy to know that someone noticed. :-)

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on August 16, 2008 1:05 PM

This makes me want to subscribe to the Chronicle, which (unlike our spineless Dallas Managed News) sounds like it really vets what comes out of the mouths of politicians.

Does the Chronicle deliver in Dallas? {wicked grin}

Posted by: Don O'Treply on August 16, 2008 7:41 PM

How short our memory. The Houston Chronicle endorsed George W. Bush - twice. Second time around, the editorial board said he had done a miserable job in his first four years, but that in his second term he might not be so beholden to the radical right. I fully expect the Chron to endorse John Cornyn, in recognition of their advertiser base and the majority of their readership.

Posted by: Dennis on August 17, 2008 6:38 AM

** Well, in all fairness, the Republicans as a whole are doing more than just grandstanding. **

What they really need is a blogger pac to raise petty cash. Republicans need paper clips too, after all, and who's to say that paper clips won't play a part in shaping The Future? :D

Posted by: Kevin Whited on August 18, 2008 9:30 AM

I'm confused, Kevin: Is drawing a parallel between what I do and what a US Senator does supposed to be a putdown of me? As usual, I find it difficult to follow your logic.

And by the way, if raising $25K (and counting) is a triviality, I invite you to try it as well. Not that you would ever care enough about politics to bother, of course.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on August 18, 2008 4:14 PM
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