Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tirelessly advocating for the children while voting to give taxpayer dollars to Billionaires.

(Or, why those great progressive/conservative hopes aren't all they're cracked up to be.)

It seems that every legislative cycle there are new (and sometimes old) 'stars' that emerge on either side as legislative champions for those of a ideological stripe who are instantly moved to the front of the class any time a higher office is mentioned in passing.  In the current, eighty-third, Legislature the wunderkind of the Left is Texas Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth). On her legislative website, she includes such glowing quotes about herself as follows:

Wendy Davis has been called "courageous," "articulate and gutsy" and "inspiring" by the Fort Worth Star Telegram, which also described her as a legislator who "will stand up and fight."
Wendy has been taking on tough fights her entire life.
She's also been cast as a "tireless advocate" for children's issues which means, as near as I can tell, that she occasionally pens some letters (sternly worded however) and gets in verbal arguments with her political opposites over the issue. Sen. Wendy Davis is in the sweet spot of journalistic accolades, where the misuse of the word brave is right up there with the watering down of the words "hero", "tireless" and "fight".

On the opposite end of the Spectrum is Texas Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) whose website bio describes him as such:

Dan Patrick is a strong fiscal and social conservative who has led the charge on important legislation like small business tax cuts and the sonogram bill. Since arriving in the Senate in 2007 he has learned to build coalitions to pass over 100 pieces of legislation and has become a key ally to others. In his three sessions, Dan has not missed one day on the Senate floor and has only missed 6 of more than 13,000 votes.
Patrick also characterizes himself as the "Senate's leading conservative" apparently standing on the thin line between Senatorial restraint and fiscal insanity.  Unlike Davis, Sen. Dan does has not traditionally received Hosannas from Texas Lockstep Political Media. However, given his new found penchant for spending money, this tune is changing.

I was amused then that a bill overlooked by most of TLSPM, which involved the potential spending of Millions of dollars got so little attention that no one thought to question the two rising stars about their votes on it, votes that could, in theory, shuttle large amounts of Texas' taxpayer money to Jerry Jones in return for a football game.

The Texas House on Thursday tentatively approved a bill that would advance Cowboys Stadium’s bid to host college football’s first playoff title game after the 2014 season.
The measure, passed on a voice vote, already has passed the Senate unanimously.
Now, in case you've forgotten, the monies from this will draw from the State's major events fund.  This is the same fund that State Comptroller Susan Combs raided to pay for Bernie Eccelstone's F1 event in Austin.  It's also the fund that many conservatives believe is not necessary.  Given that Sen. Davis is a leading advocate of auditing the Texas Enterprise Fund (administered by Republican Rick Perry) you'd think she might have some reservations about sending money that could be dedicated "to the children" to a Billionaire why she's in opposition to doing the same thing to bring businesses to the State.  Sen. Dan is, on his radio station anyway, supposedly a impregnable firewall against runaway government spending.  Yet, here, without much fanfare or debate, two of Texas' top firebrands, tireless advocates dripping with political bravery and courage, went along to get along on expenditures that will neither benefit the State economy all that much, nor will they create meaningful, long-term jobs.

Think about this vote, this under publicized vote, the next time you hear about how wonderful each of these legislative points of light are in the tireless fight to protect your money. Especially, think about it come election time. Because you're going to be inundated with campaign ads from politicians telling you how great they are and that, without them, you might as well be prepared for Texas to slouch toward third world status.  This is the same kind of thinking that keeps Susan Combs in politics, despite the fact that she seemingly has difficulty with the basic functions of her job.  Even sadder, the Comptroller is now chastising Obama for his budget and she is going to run as a conservative despite the fact that she was ready to give away the taxpayer farm to F1 and was directly responsible for the Amazon sales tax in Texas.

I'm unsure what's led to the dumbing down of our political leadership in America, but when you pay attention you notice that it is a very real and disturbing thing.

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