Tuesday, January 22, 2008

AFL-CIO Endorses Rick Noriega; Republican Party Answers With an Attack

It is no news now that following the appearance and speeches of two of the four Democratic candidates for Texas' US Senate nomination, the AFL-CIO of Texas enthusiastically endorsed the candidacy of State Rep LTC Rick Noriega. I’ll not take up space here with the text of his speech, not when you can read it yourself at his website. I think it is his best speech yet because apparently, Rick has HAD ENOUGH.

Of this endorsement, Rick had these words to say:

“I'm honored to stand with those of you who have been fighting for Texas families for decades, and together we can end this era of insurance companies running away with profits while our children and families can't afford health care. I've had enough, and I know you have, too. Together, we can bring change to Washington, restore Texas values, and put Texas families first.”
Not to let Rick bask in the glory of the moment too long, along came Tina Benkiser, she of the Republican Party of Texas, she who promises and proclaims that God is the Chairman of the Republican Party. Tina called Rick out on the carpet for making a defamatory statement against Texas teachers, calling his statement “an affront to every Texas teacher”.

“Oh, my God,” I said to myself. “What could Rick have said against me and my colleagues?” So I looked at his speech, which is linked above, and not seeing it finally found the remarks in question, remarks that were also made at the union’s convention:

“It's easy to talk from the cheap seats when you haven't been in the trenches for a long time fighting for Texas families. And that's what this campaign is going to be about. It's going to be about those who have walked the talk.”
Of this Benkiser said:

“…we certainly have admiration for Ray McMurrey and all Texas Teachers who are charged with preparing Texas children for the future. For Mr. Noriega to infer that McMurrey was in the ‘cheap seats’ is an affront to every Texas teacher. Noriega owes Mr. McMurrey and all Texas teachers an apology.”
This statement, by the way, can be used as a standard example of “bottom feeding”.

Now I read this statement last weekend, last weekend before getting Tina Benkiser’s spin on it. As a teacher, I had a completely different idea of what Noriega meant to say. I think most others would agree. By “cheap seats” Ms. Benkiser meant that, what . . . teachers don’t pay their way? Educators don’t deserve a place on the political stage? Or worse yet, teachers are so stupid that they work for slave wages? Is that what Benkiser thought Noriega was referring to?

I think not.

I think what Rick Noriega was referring to was Fred McMurrey’s (OK, his name is Ray, I keep forgetting) lack of dues paying in the area of public service. Here we have a guy, a perfectly fine teacher, teaching in a plush academy environment, just fine and dandy, but this guy all of a sudden wants to become US Senator? Frankly, there are dues to pay and experiences to be garnered. One can be an expert in “How a Bill Becomes Law” and teach it to eager young minds, but the practice is far more complicated, and requires time in the trenches . . . and experience.

I think everyone understood that was what Rick meant by the “cheap seats”. Fred . . . er . . .Ray needs to pay his dues.

But Tina Benkiser had a different take on this, and this is maybe insight into what the Chair of the Republican Party of Texas thinks about the state’s teachers. Why, I ask, is Benkiser so quick to lump all teachers into an idea of “cheap seats”? I as a teacher didn’t, and mainly because I, as a teacher, have a very high regard for my profession, and for the high quality people who work beside me every day.

But Benkiser did. It is obvious to me that Tina Benkiser has a very low regard for those who call themselves teachers.

Frankly, as a Democrat, there is nothing I can do to find a way to boot this person out of office. All I can do at this point is ask these two questions: When did Tina Benkiser acquire this hostile attitude toward the teachers in Texas, and in view of this, how much longer can the Republican Party of Texas endure her continued stewardship of their party?

Just askin’.


Anonymous said...

Go Rick!


I would like to see more on the Richard Morrison campaign for county commissioner, pct. 1. Any updates?