A tempest in a teapot erupted in the Texas blogosphere this weekend. What it did was expose what a soft underbelly we Democrats have when someone offends our sensibilities about how we should choose our candidates.
It all started at FortBendNow. Curiously, the article there elicited 7 comments at this writing, but the article is the subject of at least twice as many blog postings which spawned hundreds of comments. I interpreted from Dunn’s hints, as did just about everyone else, that the person in question was none other than my congressman, Nick Lampson. But I didn’t mention his name directly, in deference to his being in recovery from heart surgery.
That didn’t stop nearly everyone else, though.
I don’t mind that. Everyone is entitled to a say, an opinion. Things could be better-timed, though.
I guess what I really had a problem with this is that the controversy that erupted was a controversy over two of our elected Democratic officials. Greg Wythe at Greg’s Opinion also seemed to be offended and posted something close to a rant on the whole thing, a posting that a friend of his asked that he take down. He complied (except for the fact that you can still get to it from Lefty Blogs) and it is gone, but actually not, because Vince at Capitol Annex put it right back up. He did it because he wanted to comment on the posting, but couldn’t anymore because it had been taken down, yet was still clearly visible and still being read.
In his commentary, Vince wrote something that raised my curiosity: “I am aware of no instance when a blogger has attacked NIck Lampson publicly, escept for one commenter at Daily Kos. If I missed one, can you enlighten me?” (sic)
In my readings, I think I came up with more than one attack, so I went back to look more closely. By my count there is more than just one slam out there. But the slamming was not just toward Nick Lampson, but also toward Rick Noriega.
And that, in the end is what got me going. My congressman has just had heart surgery. Rick Noriega just got me a pay raise, is terribly active in the legislature just now, and is working on his wife’s campaign for Houston City Council. Neither of these guys need this just now. But there it is anyway.
This whole sordid thing opened the door for bloggers and commenters to say harsh things about both of these good men, neither of whom, I repeat, neither of whom have declared his candidacy for US Senate.
No Vince, there is more than one remark out there. Nick was called an “anti-immigrant zealot”, a “gimp”, “stillborn”, one with “the most connections”, “lame”, “unelectable” and, shall we say, someone, who for health reasons should not be running for statewide office.
Tasteless and thoughtless.
Rick, on the other hand, apparently has the wrong surname. In addition to that, he is the pawn of a Democratic-activist family who hate Nick Lampson.
People are capable of such drivel. Even Democrats.
Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself. Quoted text and links provided.
Stace Medellin at Dos Centavos:
“Lots of names are thrown around, including a certain member of Congress in the area that recently stated through a staffer that he would not support comprehensive immigration reform. Yeah, that's all we need, two anti-immigrant zealots running against each other statewide”
Markos at Daily Kos:
“Lampson barely won a race against a write-in candidate with a difficult hyphenated last name. He lost his previous House seats after the DeLay redistricting. Now he's supposed to win the state?”
Comments on the same post:
1. “People with weird names don't win. Also people whose names sound like famous criminals, mass murders and those who fought wars against the United States (and lost).
So "Noreiga" is (or should be) off your list”.
2. “His health problems would make campaigning in the state a problem. We've got quite a large one, and it's hard for a candidate to NOT actively go around to meet voters (make that Dem candidates and primary voters).”
3. “Everyone knows Lampson is doomed - he will not be re-elected to his seat in a district where the average person is to the right of Genghis Khan. He has some name recognition and a warchest, albeit small, and the Beltway Boys both in D.C. and Austin was to see him "promoted" into another race, rather than have our only promising guy become a stillborn.”
4. “Nice guy, but Senator? No mamas. Then again, a three legged dog should be able to win next time. And didn't Lampson just get out of the hospital with a triple bypass?”
5. “Let's try to do it right this time and go with the best person instead of who has the most connections...for once.”
6. “Are you sure its a good idea to run a guy with a name like Rick Noriega? It sounds like Manuel Noriega.”
7. “Just so you guys know, the SO CALLED "netroots" in Houston is combined of about 7 people, most of them the Bankston family, which has ruined politics in their area. They are behind putting up Noriega as a candidate, and I'm sure they're behind the FB NOW article, as Susan Bankston is buddies with Bob Dunn and sometimes, let's say, influences what he writes. I would be very surprised if Bob Dunn knows any "insiders" at the DCCC. And why would they comment on this anyway? Also, the Bankstons have been after Nick Lampson since they asked his campaign for $110,000 and didn't receive it. After that, they went after him like wolves hunting prey.”
8. He's a gimp of a candidate There. I said. McBlogger. Check me later tonight and I'll elaborate. He runs scared and he reeks of fear. He didn't take down DeLay. DeLay did that all by himself. Nick wasn't a strong enough candidate and I'll be damned if he's going to force people out of the race for Senate just so he can have an easy primary and then lose the general because he's lame. Nick's a good guy. But he's a TERRIBLE candidate. That's just reality and I'm sorry no one ever opened your eyes.”
McBlogger at McBlogger:
“…it's tough for someone like Nick to get elected in this day and age given the sophistication of the electorate. He comes across as lame. In person and in his ads. Maybe it's his team or maybe it's him. However, he doesn't get a pass either way for being a 'good guy'. You gotta be a 'good guy' AND electable.”
My head hurts.