While there is something heartening about watching Democratic legislators abandon their ideologically bankrupt and foundering party like rats fleeing a sinking ship, unfortunately the comparison to rats is disturbingly appropriate on too many levels. It raises the question of whether it is to the benefit of the Republican Party on a state or national level to welcome into its fold people whose main motivation for switching parties is a desire to hold onto political power rather than any kind of ideological conversion experience. Is there any reason to expect former Democrats who have long histories of voting against the interests of the people to suddenly change their ways just because they have changed the letter after their name?
A case in point is this week’s sudden awakening of Texas State Representatives Aaron Pena and Alan Ritter to the fact that they were really Republicans all along and were only in the other party by some sort of strange mistake. At a press conference with overjoyed Republican leaders, the fatuous Pena commented, “What I learned as a child, what I learned from my parents and grandparents—is reflected in the values and principles of the Republican Party of Texas.” If that is true, then shouldn’t he be held accountable in some way for the years he spent betraying those principles as a Democrat in the state legislature? Why would anyone believe that he is telling the truth now when he spent so many years lying to his former party and his constituents?
You can be assured that despite the rather exaggerated excitement of Texas Republican leaders like Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus on attaining a paper supermajority in the Texas House, Pena and Ritter are lying through their teeth about their loyalty to Republican principles. A survey of their voting records as assessed very accurately by the Young Conservatives of Texas shows them rating below virtually every Republican in the Texas House on key issues. The more detailed ratings from the Libertarian Party of Texas also rate them very poorly on both economic and personal liberty, lower than every Republican in the House and also lower than many other Democrats, including some of that party’s most corrupt and partisan legislators.
I though the Republican party was supposed to be defined by its principles. The past voting records of these house members in no way squares with those principles. Perhaps the party has no choice other than to let them join, but to celebrate the fact seems farcically premature. Yesterday’s press conference was a self-congratulatory orgy, celebrating these two cuckoo foundlings as if they were beautiful eagles. You can pick up a turd and call it a diamond, but it’s still a turd when you take it home.
This kind of behavior by party leaders is a direct attack on whatever limited confidence grassroots Republicans still have in them. We need a party which holds true to principles and ideals and speaks for the people, not one which values the lust for power above all else. It sickens me to now be in the same party as these two self-serving hypocrites and more so to be in a party which would welcome their opportunistic change of allegiance with open arms. This is yet another reminder of why the Tea Party and groups like the Republican Liberty Caucus exist. They understand that it’s time to take a stand against politics as usual and that deeds and commitment to principles are what matter, not the self-serving words of people who don’t deserve to be in office in either party.