Thursday, August 09, 2007

Republicans For Rick Noriega ?

Seriously? That’s what I saw today in the Rio Grande Guardian (hat tip to Stace at Dos Centavos). Today Houston business leader Massey Villarreal announced that he is forming a “Republicans for Rick Noriega” committee to support Rick Noriega’s campaign for US Senate from Texas. This is a guy who was the national Hispanic vice-chairman of the Bush/Cheney for President Campaign and deputy vice-chairman of the Republican National Convention in 2000. He is supporting Mitt Romney for president, and voted for Kay Bailey Hutchison for Senate.

But for US senate, Villarreal is supporting progressive Democrat Rick Noriega over his own party’s incumbent, John Cornyn.

In my perusal of the RGG’s story, I conclude that there are two reasons why Massey Villarreal is supporting Rick, and organizing a support committee from the Dark Side. It all boils down to a single issue, and Rick’s compelling story.

From the man’s own mouth:

“I have told Senator Cornyn I am disappointed because what his words are, and what his actions on the Senate floor are, are two different things,” Villarreal said.

“It’s disappointing he voted for those [immigration bill] amendments. Those amendments were mean-spirited in nature. I believe he is appealing to the base and I’m sorry, the base will have to come out strong to re-elect him because the Latino community won’t be there for him.”
Not so amazingly, just as the immigration issue has divided the Republican Party, the very same issue is uniting the Latino community across party lines. Politics make strange bedfellows, and when a politician becomes so intimately associated with politics and policies that border on (pun intended) racist, that association begets very strange alliances.

Alliances that are welcome, nonetheless.

The other very revealing thing that sheds light on this endorsement is that Villarreal mentions Rick’s “story”. Told time and time again, it still sounds great, and Massey Villarreal put an interesting spin on it in his version:

“’He’s been elected five times to the Texas Legislature. Rick has a high ranking in the National Guard. He has actually served in Afghanistan. He’s still picking sand out of his bellybutton. He has the experience of being on the ground instead of a politician on this side who cannot even find Iraq on a map,’ Villarreal said.”
Picking sand out of his belly button?

This jives very well with the Bob Perry story I mentioned some time ago on this blog. Perry also admires Rick’s inclination toward public service. Bob Perry has called Rick Noriega a “hero”.

Now I feel very certain that the Watts campaign is going to try to spin this in a very ugly way – that Rick Noriega is actually an elephant in donkey’s clothing, or that he’s going to be beholden to Republicans if he is elected. How can I feel so certain? It’s what I would do if the shoe were on the other foot.

No, Watts just needs to realize, as Massey Villarreal has, as more and more Texans are realizing every day, that Noriega is the better man.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rick's backers have always been bi-partisan; he's very much like Bill Richardson or Henry Cuellar that way.