Well, this did not take long. Since achieving blowout victories in a plethora of state legislative races during November’s midterm elections, it seems as if the TEA Partiers, hardline partisan ideologues, and all-around kooks deep down in the heart of Texas have decided to shoot themselves in not only one, but both feet. Just what, exactly, have they done?
The incumbent Republican House Speaker, San Antonio area Representative Joe Straus, apparently managed to earn their ire by being something very dangerous in the current American political climate: a moderate. Not on fiscal issues, though, which, in my view, is a good thing, but instead on social ones. Elected roughly two years ago to preside over a chamber closely divided between Democrats and the GOP, he has toed a centrist line on matters such as same sex adoptions and women’s reproductive rights. While, for a while, it appeared his opponents were targeting him only for his political beliefs, far more grim motivations were revealed early last week when a string of emails were uncovered by an Austin newspaper, the contents of which proved beyond a doubt that the impetus for many opposing Straus is his Judaism.
“WE elected a house with Christian, conservative values. We now want a true Christian, conservative running it,” Texas Republican Executive Committee member John Cook wrote. “Straus’ record is not conservative. Period!!” Cook’s views gel perfectly with those of Kaufman County TEA Party Chairman Ray Myers, who recently opined on the importance of finding a “Christian Conservative” leader who has “decided not to be pushed around by the Joe Straus thugs.” When confronted by Fox News on his statements, the former was quick to say that he harbors “no racial bigotry” and, by golly, even has “friends who are Jewish.”
What a swell guy. Not only does Cook go out of his way to state that he is not a racist, despite racial prejudice not being an issue here, but also that he actually knows a few Jews, meaning that he cannot possibly be anti-Semitic. Wow! Talk about Christian values put into action.
All of this effectively ices the proverbial cake with regards to my much written about hunch that the TEA Party and the fundamentalist Christian-dominated religious right have molded into one over the past several months. As a person of Sephardi Jewish ancestry, I take special offense at the notion of Cook, Mayers, and their fellow travelers masquerading their hatred for “non-Christians,” which, in their warped minds, more than likely includes both Catholics and Mormons to boot, behind their personal religious beliefs and the overwhelmingly negative public sentiment regarding governmental fiscal policy. Indeed, these two represent everything which is wrong with several elements of our country’s so-called conservative base. As I have said many times before, the leadership of the Republican Party needs effectively to tell persons who allow their own prejudices to trump civil participation in the political process to take a hike. This is the only way in which the foundation for an enduring national electoral coalition which can consistently take down the leftists may be built.