September 22, 2002
I can dream, can't I?

The Chron has endorsed Tim Riley, Tom DeLay's opponent for Congress in the 22nd Congressional District. The Chron, which has generally endorsed DeLay in years past, has finally had enough:

[...] DeLay has given voters of both parties abundant reasons to reject his bid for re-election.

Thanks to DeLay, Houston is the only U.S. city forbidden to receive federal funds for rail transit. What would have been Houston's share went to Dallas and other cities, forcing Houston-area taxpayers to pay their own way.

While DeLay's opposition once stemmed from a loyalty to highway contractors who gave generously to his campaign, DeLay now seems to block rail for the sheer pleasure of punishing Houstonians.

The Chronicle's opposition to DeLay goes far beyond rail transit. DeLay also opposed President Bush's efforts to give every American child a decent education and leave no child behind. He has spoken disparagingly of distinguished research universities in Texas because they teach science that confounds his unyielding theology.

DeLay says that he wishes the U.S. government to embrace and promote a single religion above all others, and that government policy should reflect the beliefs of a single sect. The congressman finds irksome secular democracy of the type envisioned by the Founders.

While DeLay says he wants Houstonians to breathe clean air, he has relentlessly worked to excuse industries from any requirement that they limit the poison they put in the air. In public he pretends to support clean-air efforts, but works the back channels of the Capitol to thwart them.

DeLay says one thing to the general public and something else to religious groups who share his views. He rages if anyone points out the contradiction and hypocrisy.

Tom DeLay, who will become House majority leader and puppetmaster if Republicans retain control of the House, is obsessed with winning partisan advantage and husbanding personal power. His machinations make him incapable of working with opponents for the common good and subjugate the interests of Houston-area residents to his unbridled ambition.

Of course, since the Chron urges people to "send a message" to DeLay by voting for Riley, they know fully well that Riley has the same chance of winning that Al Gore had of carrying Texas in 2000. The sad fact is that a lot of people in the 22nd CD will look at the list of grievances against DeLay and see them as points in his favor. I expect there to be more than one angry letter to the editor over this, inlcuding one from DeLay himself.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the demographics in Fort Bend are changing along with the rest of American suburbia to a more centrist belief. Maybe people in Sugar Land and Missouri City will believe that Tom DeLay has lost touch with them. Maybe there will be enough of a get-out-the-vote effort among Democrats to lift the tide on Tim Riley's boat. I don't really think this will happen, but I can dream, can't I?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 22, 2002 to Election 2002

The Chronicle has been ranting against Tom Delay for some time, so this move comes as little surprise. What is annoying about their editorial, however, is that they assume that if one opposes light rail in Houston, one must either hate Houstonians or be in the pockets of highway contractors. This is known as the logical fallacy of the "false choice."

I oppose light rail, and agree with his actions in this regard, but that doesn't mean I want to punish my fellow Houstonians, or that I've been bribed. The Chron was way off-base there, and it made their entire argument seem petty and irrational. They could have opposed Delay and endorsed Riley without resorting to this mindless dreck.

Posted by: Owen Courrèges on September 22, 2002 4:31 PM