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October 18th, 2005:

Pretty much every newspaper against Prop 2

The LGRL has a roundup of anti-Prop 2 editorials, while BOR has some more they missed – see here and here for the editorials, and here for an impressive array of Travis County officeholders who spoke out against it. I’ll echo what Karl-T said in the first link – as far as I know, no paper has advised a vote for Prop 2. I’m not deluded enough to think that these endorsements will make a big difference in the final vote, but it’s always good to see people do the right thing.

Which brings me to this Statesman article (via DC9) about a potential for backlash against the Democratic State Reps who helped put Prop 2 on the ballot.

As gay-rights activists launch an all-out attack on a constitutional measure banning same-sex marriage in Texas, they face an uncomfortable fact: A few lawmakers who received their support in the past helped push the proposed amendment through the Legislature.

Some amendment foes view the vote as a betrayal, but with few good alternatives, they appear uncertain about whether to dish out punishment in next year’s election.

Legislators such as Reps. Patrick Rose, D-Dripping Springs, and Richard Raymond, D-Laredo, who had received support from gays or endorsements from gay-rights organizations, were among 18 Democrats who cast votes in April that moved the amendment out of the House with barely the two-thirds margin it required.

[…]

“Richard Raymond and Patrick, in my mind, sent it over to the Senate,” said Mary Ross Taylor, who is gay and is an active volunteer for the Democrats in Hays County, which Rose represents. “The word we heard a lot of was ‘disappointment.’ ”

Rose and Raymond had also joined nine other Democratic representatives a week earlier in voting to ban gays or bisexuals from serving as foster parents. The proposal eventually died in a conference committee.

[…]

But the prospect for Democrats of withdrawing votes or money from someone like Rose is tricky; his opponents in the past two elections in his tightly contested district south and west of Austin have been Republicans who oppose gay rights.

“Who else will those disillusioned Dems vote for?” Taylor asked. “That is the problem for progressive voters in Patrick’s district. The alternative is likely to be worse.”

Glen Maxey, a former Democratic House member from Travis County who runs No Nonsense in November, a campaign to defeat the marriage amendment, agreed.

“There’s not a single Republican on this planet who’s preferable to Patrick Rose,” said Maxey, who is gay. “I think Patrick cast a political vote, and we hope to show in the November election that Patrick’s vote was incorrect.”

[…]

Raymond, who hails from a bluer district, said he simply “voted his district” as he prepares to run for a U.S. congressional seat. The district stretches north from the border to Hays County.

“Laredo is not New York,” Raymond said.

“I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman,” he said. “I think the constituents I represent support the position I took on those two votes.

“Anybody that looks at my record through my career can see that I’m a true Democrat who has stood and fought for everybody and stands by the ideals that define our party.”

[…]

“This is a dilemma that always crops up with interest groups that too narrowly define themselves on one issue or another,” Kelly Fero, a Democratic strategist, said. “Do they hold politicians to a standard of purity that ends up hurting them, the interest group? Do you let perfect be the enemy of the good? That is the dilemma they face.”

I’m sympathetic to the activists, because it sure as hell hurts when someone you see as a strong ally refuses to support you on a core issue like this. But I’m also a firm believer in the half-a-loaf, and for sure a minority party has to be awfully careful about purging people.

That said, there are opportunities to extract a little payback without necessarily giving a seat away. Richard Raymond is running in a contested primary against Henry Cuellar in CD28. Ciro Rodriguez, who had a pretty darned progressive record while he was in the House, is also in that race. I’m sensitive to arguments that Raymond is in the stronger position to take out Cuellar, based on financial and geographic considerations. I may well wind up burying the hatchet and supporting Raymond myself. But I’ll certainly understand anyone who chooses to support Ciro Rodriguez instead, even if that reduces the chances of removing Cuellar. If you can’t stand on principle in a primary, there’s pretty much no other place to do it.

Endorsement watch: Districts B, C, and F

It must be endorsement week at the Chron, as they check in today with three more recommendations, for City Council Districts B, C, and F. No surprise in F, where incumbent MJ Khan is running against token opposition. Can’t really comment on B, where they tout Robin German-Curtis, since as I said before I don’t know very much about the octet in that race. I’m pleased and a little surprised to see Mark Lee get the nod in C – I’d have probably wagered on them picking George Hittner if I’d been forced to guess. Mark’s a good guy, and having had the chance to meet several of his opponents awhile back, I’ve got to agree with the Chron when they say Lee is “a distinguished candidate in a pool of impressive competitors”. Getting the endorsement in that race is quite an accomplishment. Kudos to you, Mark.

One question: why did the Chron skip the District A race? At first, I thought they were going alphabetically (District D’s Ada Edwards and District E’s Addie Wiseman are unopposed), but incumebent Toni Lawrence has a challenger. Maybe it’s just random. I guess we’ll see tomorrow.

August and September traffic reports

I managed to skip doing a traffic report last month amidst all the excitement. August and September were both pretty busy around here, with 56,000 hits in August and over 79,000 in September, which is a new alltime high around here. The traffic increase seems to have coincided with the hurricanes. I guess a lot of people were looking everywhere they could for information about Katrina and Rita.

Unfortunately, these past few months have also seen a spike in spam referrals. It’s getting so bad that a lot of bloggers are complaining about it. My webhost blogged about it recently, and Dwight wrote about a huge growth in spamblogs, which seems to be the driver of this annoying trend. He’s got more info here; all I can say is that I hope the folks at Google are smart enough to keep up with these guys.

Anyway, the usual list of referrers and search terms is below the fold. Sadly, the referrers lists are shorter than usual due to all the crap sites crowding the real ones out. Sorry about that. Thanks as always for visiting!

(more…)

Who knew he was such a delicate flower?

What do you call it when a prosecutor offers to let someone who’s facing felony charges plead to a misdemeanor? If you’re Tom DeLay, you call it coercion.

The plea offer was mentioned in a letter to [ Travis County District Attorney Ronnie] Earle from attorney Dick DeGuerin of Houston that accompanied motions to dismiss the indictments against DeLay. DeGuerin also asked that DeLay be severed from two co-defendants so he could be tried as quickly as possible.

DeLay, R-Sugar Land, was forced to step down as House majority leader after a grand jury under Earle’s direction returned the first of two felony indictments against DeLay last month.

DeGuerin said Earle made the plea offer in the context of DeLay keeping his House leadership post.

“You tried to coerce a guilty plea from Tom DeLay for a misdemeanor, stating the alternative was indictment for a felony which would require his stepping down as majority leader,” DeGuerin wrote.

“He turned you down, so you had him indicted, in spite of the advice from others in your office that Tom DeLay had committed no crime.”

Gosh, you’d think that since everything DeLay and his House minions have done has been about preserving his power as Majority Leader, such an offer would have been logically consistent. Apparently, you’d be wrong. Who knew DeLay had such a sensitive temperament? Go easy on him, Ronnie, you might hurt his feelings.

As for DeLay’s motion to separate his trial, it’s about his desire to wrap this up quickly. Ellis and Colyandro want to go all the way through the appeals process because they say the law is too “vague” – what they really mean is that since they made their payoffs with checks and not bags of cash, they technically didn’t do anything wrong. DeLay doesn’t want to draw this out; among other things, he’s got the whole Abramoff thing to be worried about. He needs a quick resolution. I’m guessing he’ll get his wish to be severed, but if he doesn’t it could be unpleasant for him. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Grits says DeLay is getting a taste of business as usual in Travis County.

Berra’s wisdom

In case you were wondering, it’s games like last night’s that Yogi Berra had in mind when he said that thing about it not being over until it’s over. Reversals of fortune don’t get much more whiplash-inducing than that.

What can you say? Time for Oswalt to do it again. And to think I thought I’d be able to watch “Lost” with a clear conscience on Wednesday. It’s never that easy, I suppose.