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Woodfill’s whining

I keep trying to blog about this story, in which Harris County GOP Chair Jared Woodfill cries about Republicans on City Council voting on issues like SafeClear as they see fit rather than by party fiat, but I keep laughing every time I start. Suffice it to say that my morning cereal was more enjoyable than usual today with this as my reading material. See Greg for more.

All right, there is one serious thing I can say. Woodfill may be shaking his fist at these particular poltroons, but for the most part, he has no real leverage over any of them. Only first-termers Pam Holm, who won in 2003 by 29 votes over the more hard-edged Kevin Elfant, and MJ Khan, who’s rumored to be a candidate for At Large 1 or 2, are in any real position to be hurt by a party-led revolt. This is clearly aimed at future Council members, in particular the eventual replacements for Mark Ellis and Michael Berry since they could then be more aggressive than their predecessors in opposing Mayor White. Of course, Woodfill might want to keep in mind that the city of Houston (not Harris County, at least not yet, just the city) is majority Democratic. Put that together with a popular Mayor White, and Woodfill may not have anyone in those positions to threaten retribution against. Not that this would be a terrible thing, mind you.

What about the post-Council political future of these folks? I’m sure Woodfill had that in mind as well, but honestly, what’s available for them? Back when re-redistricting was still a theoretical possibility, there was talk of making Gene Green’s CD29 and/or Chris Bell’s CD25 more amenable to GOP challengers. That didn’t happen, and unless Tom DeLay gets unseated by Richard Morrison this time around none of the four GOP-held seats that touch Harris County are likely to be vacated by their current occupants any time soon. There’ll be a couple of State Rep slots, I guess – Hubert Vo will certainly draw an opponent (though I’d bet the field gets cleared for Heflin if he really does want a rematch), and Joe Nixon’s seat may be open. The most fertile ground, at least for as long as Harris County is majority Republican, is probably the bench. I can’t see Doctor Shelly running for a judgeship, but maybe some of the others might. All I’m saying is that I don’t see a whole lot of golden opportunities around here.

Well, there is still one to consider. We all know Michael Berry has his eye on bigger things. What’s the one bigger thing we know for a fact he’s wanted? That would be Mayor. Do you think his chances will be better as a good Republican soldier (like, oh, I don’t know, Orlando Sanchez), or as a middle-ground consensus-builder? I’ll bet he’s given that question some thought. If so, it doesn’t look like Jared Woodfill cares for his answer. Alas.

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3 Comments

  1. Dennis says:

    Excuse me, Jared, but I thought we put elected officials into positions of public service in order to govern, not just to obstruct the other guy. Woodfill’s comment ranks up there as just about the silliest comment I’ve heard made by a party official. But, after all, this is Texas and these people are Republicans – par for the course.

  2. Charles M says:

    I did read the whole thing. The reporter’s impression that this was done more to damage White than from any sense of R philosophy was interesting.

    I came away with the impression they want to rule more than they want to govern.

  3. Patrick says:

    Woodfill’s comment ranks up there as just about the silliest comment I’ve heard made by a party official. But, after all, this is Texas and these people are Republicans – par for the course.

    Yeah, Dennis, and so is Michael Berry who as the story noted …played a leading role in drafting the Safe Clear ordinance, praised White for building a “broad coalition.”

    “I would think any Republican or conservative would be delighted about having a mayor taking up positions consistent with their philosophies rather than being threatened by it,” Berry said. “I think it’s to the mayor’s credit that, unlike the previous administration, he’s really solicited conservative input.”

    And so is Councilman Mark Ellis – “Why does (Woodfill) think Safe Clear is a Republican issue?” asked Councilman Mark Ellis, a Republican who voted for Safe Clear but against spending the $100,000 on legal defense for Proposition 1. “It is what it is. We’re trying to better serve the public and constituents. Is street repair a Democratic or Republican issue?”

    Yep, 6 of the 8 Republican Houston city council members back White’s revision of Safe Clear but the it is silliness that we should come to expect from Republicans.

    Would it pain you so much to acknowledge that not every Republican is silly; not every Republican office holder is unwilling to seek consensus; not every Republican fits neatly into a box?

    It’s far too easy to look at an affilation, lump everyone together, pick up a cudgel and wale away. People from both parties are guilty and it’s a sign of laziness.

    When we have folks that are working to find common ground I think it far more constructive to praise those who are working to govern not just rule even if snarky sniping is more fun.