Archive for the ‘Republican Party of Texas’ Category

Haters Gotta Hate

March 30, 2011

How did we miss this?

In an open letter to his fellow Republicans last December, Texas GOP king-maker — and anti-gay, religious right zealot — Steve Hotze lays out an argument for why his party should refrain from demonizing Latinos — basically because “Hispanic culture in America is Christian, pro-family, pro-life” and (by the way) Republicans need their votes to win future elections.

Ok. Even if his motives aren’t entirely altruistic, we can at least respect Hotze’s effort to promote tolerance and multiculturalism, right? Not so fast.

“Gentlemen, it seems that the real problem we face is the Muslim immigration invasion of America. The Hispanics are our natural allies against the Democrats and Muslims.”

Wow. If you absolutely have to direct your hatred and xenophobia at someone, for God’s sake, make it the Muslims. They don’t vote in nearly the number as Latinos do.

The underlying bigotry always comes through, doesn’t it?

TX, GOP Groups Ask: Should Texas Secede?

January 6, 2011

Texas Eagle Forum and the Denton County Republican Party are promoting a conference this month that will ask attendees whether Texas should secede from the United States. The Blackstone Blitz Workshop on the Constitution is set for Jan. 15 at a Baptist church in Lewisville just outside Dallas. Among the topics:

* How can we employ the worldview approach to understanding and reviving the Constitution?

* Who is the Constitution’s worst enemy?

* How can we effectively fight this enemy?

* What are the primary Judeo-Christian principles we must define and defend?

* Is there any validity to Humanists’ call for “relativism,” separation,” pluralism/diversity,” “tolerance,” etc.?

* Can Americans do anything to curb the courts – replace judicial supremacy with constitutional supremacy?

* Can Texas secede? If so, should we?

The conference is a project of the Abilene (Texas)-based Blackstone Institute, an openly militant promoter of the “culture wars” whose mission “is to declare and defend the Judeo-Christian worldview of the Constitution, law, philosophy, and theology with programs that inform and inspire.” “America is engulfed in the all-consuming flames of a Culture War from which no one and no area of American life can escape,” the website declares. It goes on to insist: “The Constitution’s principles and purposes are defined and prioritized by the Judeo-Christian value system.”

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Common Ground for the Right and Gays?

September 30, 2010

Last weekend offered two prime examples of how the political right’s treatment of gay and lesbian Americans is increasingly incoherent.

As we reported last month, Texas Senator John Cornyn agreed to speak at a September 21 national fundraising event for the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR), an organization of gay Republicans. LCR has been working to overturn the policy barring openly gay and lesbian military servicemembers, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). Cornyn, who is chairman of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee, showed up to speak at the LCR event the day after he and fellow Senate Republicans successfully blocked repeal of DADT.

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Texas GOP’s 2010 Platform: How Extreme?

June 22, 2010

Another exercise in extremism. That’s our take on the new party platform adopted by Texas Republicans at their state convention on June 12 in Dallas. See our analysis of the platform here. The full platform is here. Among the planks:

  • Separation of church and state is a myth.
  • Teach junk science in public schools.
  • Give politicians on State Board of Education — instead of teachers and scholars — even more power to decide what students should learn. (And give the SBOE authority over colleges and universities, too.)
  • Promote the “independent and sovereign authority” of Texas — and form a “Constitutional State Militia” (apparently to protect that sovereignty).
  • Undermine the national census.
  • Keep teens ignorant about protecting themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases — teach abstinence-only-until-heterosexual marriage instead of sex education.
  • Criminalize embryonic stem cell research.
  • Demonize gay and lesbian people, criminalize their relationships and bar them from having custody even of their own children.
  • Bar federal courts from hearing cases on issues involving religious freedom and gay rights.
  • Get us out of the United Nations! And the World Trade Organization!
  • Keep Islamic law out of America!
  • Down with ACORN!
  • Turn Martin Luther King Jr. into a Republican hero. (Seriously?)
  • Repeal the Endangered Species Act.
  • Abolish the Federal Reserve System.
  • Completely privatize Social Security.
  • Repeal the new health care reform law (and apparently permit insurance companies to discriminate against children and adults with pre-existing conditions).
  • Divert public school tax dollars to private and religious schools.
  • Repeal minimum wage laws and measures that make it easier for citizens to register and vote.
  • Gut the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Pander to “birthers” and nativists.

It was particularly interesting, we thought, that Texas Republicans have decided to claim the heritage of the Civil Rights Movement by declaring Martin Luther King Jr. to have been a Republican. In fact, King supported Democrats John Kennedy (1960) and Lyndon Johson (1964) for president. He also called the 1964 Republican National Convention a “frenzied wedding . . . of the KKK and the radical right.” (See page 247 of The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.)

It looks like GOP convention delegates had the same politicized understanding of American history as the State Board of Education does.

The Texas GOP at Prayer

June 15, 2010

As we noted in a report in 2006, it has become increasingly difficult to see much difference between the Republican Party of Texas and the religious right. As early as 1993, in fact, the resignation letter of the president of the Alamo City Republican Women’s Club in San Antonio lamented the transformation of the state GOP into an increasingly intolerant and overtly conservative evangelical Christian party:

“The so-called Christian activists have finally gained control. The Grand Old Party is more religious cult than political organization.”

So we were fascinated by Austin American-Statesman reporter Ken Herman’s video report from the prayer rally at the Texas Republican Party’s convention on Saturday. Says Herman:

“It’s here in the convention hall at 7 a.m. on Saturday that you can see the faith that drives the politics. It’s a very specific brand of faith.”

Indeed. Listen to Cathie Adams (who was still the party’s chair at that point) at the rally:

“America and Americans, we were founded as a Judeo-Christian nation and we are proud of that.”

In fact, listening to certain Republican state officials over the last decade or so — not to mention their supporters in far-right pressure groups — makes clear that they value an exclusive brand of “Judeo-Christianity” (and one in which the “Judeo” part is clearly subordinate). Those who don’t share the same ideological perspective on a long list of issues — even fellow Republicans — don’t qualify for the club.

Check out Herman’s video report of the Texas GOP prayer rally here.

Too Extreme for Texas Republicans?

June 14, 2010

Less than a year. That’s how long Cathie Adams, former head of the far-right group Texas Eagle Forum, lasted as chair of the Texas Republican Party. At their state convention in Dallas on Saturday, Republicans replaced Adams with Houston attorney Steve Munisteri.

The State Republican Executive Committee elected Adams as party chair last October. At the time, we noted just how extreme Adams’ political positions are. She has questioned the personal faith of political opponents, such as former Texas Gov. Ann Richards and President Obama. She has suggested that the United Nations was bringing us to the biblical “end times.” She advocates positions that threaten religious freedom and mixes anti-science and peculiar anti-government paranoia on issues involving education, the environment and public health. Adams was also an unhinged anti-Clinton fanatic in the 1990s and is rabidly and venomously anti-gay.

Of course, we shouldn’t assume too much here about whether her replacement is any better. Much of Munisteri’s campaign for party chair focused on concerns such as party financial problems and other administrative issues involving Adams’ short term as chair. Adams’ divisive stands on “culture war” issues really weren’t at issue (at least not directly). Indeed, Republican convention delegates who elected Munisteri (who helped found Young Conservatives of Texas) appear to have also approved a party platform as far to the right as other state GOP manifestos in recent years. We’ll have more on that soon.

How Extreme Will the Texas GOP Get?

June 9, 2010

UPDATE: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is reporting that immigration is likely to be a key point of contention in the Texas GOP’s platform debate this weekend. Other platform proposals are expected from “birthers” who don’t believe President Obama is a natural-born U.S. citizen and people who want Republicans to support the Constitution against threats by “Sharia law adherents living in the United States of America and the rest of the world.”

Will Texas Republicans this weekend succeed in loosening the grip that the religious right and other extremist factions have over their state party? We’ll find out when the Texas GOP holds its 2010 convention Friday and Saturday (June 11-12) at the Dallas Convention Center, but our guess is traditional conservatives and moderates will be disappointed once again.

The 2008 state Republican platform — as with other platforms since the religious right took control of the Texas GOP in the early 1990s — was a classic exercise in political extremism. Here’s just a taste of what the 2008 platform had to say:

  • Separation of church and state is a “myth.”
  • Public schools should emphasize instruction on Judeo-Christian principles.
  • Government should repeal laws, such as Motor Voter and the Help America Vote Act, that have made voter registration easier for citizens.
  • All minimum wage laws should be repealed.
  • Public schools should teach nothing about sex education except abstinence-only-until-heterosexual-marriage.
  • The United States should withdraw from the United Nations and other international organizations. (more…)

Embracing Extremism in the Texas GOP

May 26, 2010

UPDATE: Now we find out that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is coming to the Texas GOP convention in June. See more at the end of this post.

Don McLeroy lost his chairmanship of the State Board of Education last year because he was more interested in promoting his own narrow ideological views than facts and sound scholarship in Texas classrooms. The College Station dentist insisted that “somebody’s gotta stand up to experts” when he promoted creationist arguments in new science standards last year. He argued that science should be redefined to include the supernatural and endorsed a book that calls parents “monsters” if they teach their children about evolution. Then during the debate over social studies curriculum standards, McLeroy suggested women and minorities owe thanks to men and the “majority” for granting them their rights, argued that Joseph McCarthy has been “vindicated” and defended the appointment of absurdly unqualified political activists as social studies “experts” to help guide the revision of curriculum standards.

One might think that Republicans would be wary of embracing someone with such extreme views. But apparently not Texas Republicans.

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Getting in Touch with ‘Their Inner Children’

April 30, 2010

The political jousting between Bill White and Rick Perry over the Texas State Board of Education‘s controversial revision of social studies curriculum standards is legitimate in the electoral arena. It’s certainly preferable to dragging political agendas into our children’s classrooms, which the state board has been doing during the curriculum revision. But what the Republican Party of Texas did this week is shameful.

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They Support Religious Freedom? Really?

April 13, 2010

It looks like Texas State Board of Education members Don McLeroy, R-College Station, and Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, don’t mind speaking to Republican organizations that discourage — intentionally or not — non-Christians from becoming members. McLeroy and Dunbar will be joining other far-right speakers at an education “conference” hosted by Golden Corridor Republican Women in the Dallas area April 24.

The Golden Corridor group covers Dallas, Collin and Denton counties in North Texas. Check out the group’s logo, which includes a Christian cross positioned over an American flag and an outline of Texas:

Of course, we defend the right of all Americans and private associations to show their faith as they see fit. But we imagine Jews and other non-Christians might not feel very welcome joining a party organization that seems exclusively for Christians. For that matter, we suspect mainstream Christians might feel a bit out of place as well. In any case, Golden Corridor is yet another example of how the Republican Party of Texas is increasingly an exclusionary organization that welcomes primarily conservative Protestant fundamentalists (and others who don’t mind having their personal faith slighted or ignored).

The conference’s audience will also hear from representatives of a variety of far-right state groups. According to the Golden Corridor Republican Women website, the audience will “learn practical and effective ways to improve your school district.” Among the topics: “protecting free speech & religious freedom.”

Yeah. Sure.

Voting on Religious Freedom in the GOP

February 14, 2010

Primary Day on March 2 will provide a good indication of just how much Texas Republicans really respect religious freedom in America.

Republican primary voters will be able to register their opinions on five resolutions — a proposed voter identification law, a measure limiting government growth, a call for cuts in federal income taxes, a requirement forcing women seeking an abortion first to undergo and view a sonogram, and this one:

Ballot Proposition #4: Public Acknowledgement of God

The use of the word “God”, prayers, and the Ten Commandments should be allowed at public gatherings and public educational institutions, as well as be permitted on government buildings and property.

YES or NO

We wonder if, while they’re at it, Republicans will also let us know their opinions about other freedoms protected by the First Amendment: speech, press, the right of peaceful assembly and the right to petition the government.