Saturday, December 18, 2010

Political Mirror Images

The other day I wrote a blog post in defense of Texas State Rep. Aaron Peña, who also just so happens to employ me part-time. I explained why I thought he would do such a thing.

I've talked with him briefly; but haven't had a chance to really delve into his reasoning. After all, we have work that needs doing even with all the craziness going on.

I've had time to think that he and I would be mirror images. I've been conservative for years. I identify with the Republican party because they are more conservative than the Democrats; but they have some kooky ideas that annoy me.

I think Aaron has been the same way. He identified with Democrats more; but had reservations about a few their kooky ideas. I think he was happy to carry the Democrat banner and could have lived a long, fulfilling life if he had stayed a Democrat.

I was a Republican working with Democrats because Ds pretty much run things here in the Rio Grande Valley. So, if I want to have any real effect, I have to help the Democrat of my choice get elected.

Aaron Peña was a Democrat who had to work with Republicans in the Texas House, who ran things. So, if he wanted to accomplish anything, he had to help the right Republicans achieve their goals.

So, we both have been maneuvering to achieve our aims through opposite parties. Mirror images. I came to realize the irony just the other day.

The similarity ends there. I can bend so far as to support candidates I've come to know personally and think would be good in office, even if they are not Republican.

Whereas Rep. Peña has a responsibility to his constituents, my only responsibility has been to my own conscience. Since I don't answer to anybody, I can stay Republican. However, since Aaron Peña is responsible for representing the people who elected him, he has to bite the bullet and switch parties.

I've given it some thought. I think Aaron would have stayed a Democrat if the party had not screwed up by losing seats in the Texas House, making it next to impossible for him to achieve anything. Especially now that redistricting will affect elections for years to come. The Dems have gone too far left, emboldened by Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. They overreached and marginalized people like Aaron Peña.

There have been calls for the Rep. to have run as a Republican if he wanted to switch parties. That's just silly; just like all the Democrats, he thought the Democrats would maintain or win some House seats back. If the Democrats had announced that they were going to lose twenty some House seats, maybe he would have switched at the primary. But, they didn't announce their losing strategy.

And then, calls that he should resign and run as a Republican in a special election; that's stupid. The whole purpose of him switching parties was so that he could maintain or improve his place in his committees. So, the Democrats think the District is better off with a freshman Democrat with no useful committees than a Republican with membership in choice committees? I just don't see the logic.

Actually, I do. It's just politics. And that's the problem. What Aaron calls the "professional left" are people whose living it is to run campaigns for the party. As they say, to a hammer everything looks like a nail. To a campaigner, everything looks like a campaign. They want to spin EVERYTHING rather than be forthright.

This is what really messes with the Democrats brains. They just can't seem to wrap their minds around it. Aaron switched parties knowing how monumental a challenge reelection would be. They keep threatening it as if he didn't already know. Their whole focus is on the campaign. They keep looking for the angle when the truth is right in front of them.

Even the astroturf "protests" were anticipated to some extent. To these people, protests are just another campaign to organize, right out of the playbook. Obviously, Aaron can't just bend over and take their abuse. It would undermine his status in his new party. He has to fight back a little. In the end it actually helps him in that it allows the Republicans to rally to his defense.

One thing I haven't mentioned to the Rep. is the the Press is not his ally as a Republican. I figure I'll let him learn the hard way so it sinks in. Fox News 7 in Austin has a report that twisted facts. Expect Aaron to be burned a few times before he realizes the bias he was spared as a Democrat. I know I'll get some laughs out of it. :-D

On the other hand, it helps that he's a blogger. The right has excelled in social media because they don't get a fair shake otherwise. In that sense, the lefty bloggers should know better than to try to BS him on the web. Not only is Aaron pretty savvy on web stuff; he's got me to take care of the serious web stuff. So far, I haven't had to step in.

It's going to be interesting. He has taught me much about politics. I suppose it's only fair to teach him about being a Hispanic Republican. Obviously, we'll have some issues where we will have to put a stop to the far right's crazy train. Just like the Democrats have their fringe..., well, that's all that's left; the Republicans have their fringe who have to be restrained from going too far.

If the far right infringes on my Mexican-American lifestyle, I'm going to have to help them find other lines of work. I'm happy to be a Republican up to a point; once they cross they cross the line, I'll turn conservative on them. There are some places government should not go; that includes asking me for papers.
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