Monday, July 16, 2007

On Rick Noriega’s Press Conference and Dead Presidents

As I mentioned yesterday, I didn’t get to attend Rick Noriega’s formal announcement in Austin. That being said, I was able to attend an edited press conference that occurred soon after the announcement. You can too. It’s here.

The press conference lays to rest some controversy over what Rick Noriega’s stance is on the Iraq war. I have it, periphrased in some cases, below:

First, Rick would implement the Baker/Hamilton Iraqi Study Group recommendations. "A lot of the problems we see today is that stubbornness is not a foreign policy.” Rick decries the fact that people in the field, people who know what is going on, who have information about and best practices and guidance aren’t being listened to. As a result “we all suffer as Texans.”

As to setting a timetable, for withdrawal, Rick pointed out that there was a timetable ans well as benchmarks in the study group report. ‘Those recommendations are very clear."

On immigration, and specifically on a border fence, Rick was asked his opinion on this giant red herring that the GOPers have raised. Again, Rick is one to go to the experts, the people on the ground. “Chief of Border Patrol has already said that a wall will not work. Now here again, why would we not listen to the professionals on the ground? . . . I think Texans will appreciate that we need folks that ‘walk the walk’”.

Asked why a Democrat can win a statewide office at this time, Rick alluded to the fact that “Texans are hungry for leadership and crying out for leadership and for service.” Texans will do the right thing. The junior senator from Texas has been the number one cheerleader for Bush’s failed policies.

Bush has failed in both foreign and domestic policies, take your choice. The attitude of the country and state is that we have lost our global moral compass and are not looked upon as a world leader. We have the duty to stand up and say so and try to take action as Texans to get us back on the right track.

On a question on whether impeachment of Bush makes any sense to him, Norieaga said that he can’t speak to it. That is their agenda. His agenda is in answering the call to duty.

“Answering a call to duty”.

It’s the theme of his campaign-to-be, I think. It evokes the same thing he did when he was called to duty in Afghanistan. His country needed him and he responded. Operation Jumpstart again called him to duty and he answered with several months spent on the border in the Laredo area. Mayor Bill White called him to duty to command and coordinate the humanitarian aid given to Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Where FEMA failed, Rick Noriega and the hundreds of Houston volunteers succeeded.

And now, we have called him to duty. By we I refer to the progressive bloggers of Texas, the 47 signatures of his state house colleagues, the many others across the state who want a thinker and a doer in the senate, not a rubber stamp Bushite.

But mostly, it was the people who called him to duty. I sat in a room that was full of these people last February when Don Bankston said these words: “I hope that there are those of us out there who will urge Rick Noriega to run for US Senate next year and defeat John Cornyn”.

The room broke out in wild applause.

OK, now if you’re still with me, there’s something that you’ve got to do. A message you have to send to Rick. Messages on paper. Paper with pictures of dead presidents printed on them. Rick isn’t going to be able to contribute much from his income as a part-time citizen-statesman ($25,500 per year when the legislature meets) or his Texas National Guard Lt. Colonel’s pay. Or even from his manager’s position at CenterPoint. Rick has got to get his message out and, guess what? The money guys are backing the rich guy.

Send a message to Rick, with dead presidents on it, so that the wealthy opponent gets served notice, a notice that is loud and clear that Texans, and their votes, can’t be bought.

Online, you can go here and contribute to Rick’s campaign. It just went up and they want to get 800 donations in the next 30 days. That’s one donation every 54 minutes.

Or if you want, there is snail mail which I hear, still works. The US Mail is the one government service that Bush hasn’t broken yet.

Mail a check to Rick Noriega at this post office box address: PO Box 231163 Houston, TX 77223-1163

Whatever you do, make sure you get this done. Rick is counting on you.

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