pageok
pageok
pageok
Texas Primary Results and the Right to Arms:

Yesterday's Texas primarary resulted in a major win for Second Amendment supporters at the Congressional level, with mixed results in state legislative races. U.S. Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar faced a stiff challenge for Ciro Rodriguez, whom Cuellar had defeated in the previous election by only 50 votes. Cuellar has an A rating from the National Rifle Association, whereas Rodriguez received a C-.

The race in this heavily Hispanic and Democratic district was closely watched nationally as an indication of whether Hispanic politics were trended towards the center (Cuellar is slightly more conservative than Bill Clinton was when he was governor of Arkansas) or towards the hard left, with Rodriguez receiving substantial funds from DailyKos donors.

Last night, Cuellar won by nearly 5,000 votes, and received 58% of the votes cast. The results bode well for the national Democratic party, as the southern and western wings of the party continue to develop moderate candidates who can appeal to America's tens of millions of gun-owning voters.

The only other U.S. House primary in which the NRA was involved was in Tom Delay's district, where the A+ rated Delay easily defeated three challengers who did not answer the NRA's questionaire.

Cuellar's victory contrasted with the defeat of A rated incumbent Democratic State Senator Frank Madla by F rated Carlos Uresti in the 19th district. In other state legislative Democratic primaries, NRA-endorsed candidates had mixed success. The NRA-backed candidates won almost all of the Republican primaries.

Tyrone Slothrop (mail) (www):
Calling Rodriguez "hard left" because he gets money from Kos readers is like calling me pro-banking because I get money from Citibank. Both may be true, but not on that basis.


[DK: Citibank just gives you back your own money, which you gave to Citibank for safe-keeping and convenience. If Citibank made substantial contributions to your campaign, you would probably be a pro-banking candidate.]
3.8.2006 1:01pm
Bruce Wilder (www):
There are two interpretations available for Cuellar's victory. One is that Rodriguez failed miserably to get out his vote. The other interpretation is very favorable to the right to bear arms, indeed.


[DK: Cuellar's greater success in GOTV could also relate to guns, since the NRA and other pro-gun organizations are well-known for success in motivating their members to get to the polls.]
3.8.2006 1:14pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
towards the hard left, with Rodriguez receiving substantial funds from DailyKos donors.

Oooooh, the Bogeyman. I'm sooo scared. George Bush gets lots of money from people who don't believe blacks and whites should date -- much worse.

3.8.2006 1:34pm
Justin (mail):
The guy who endorsed Bush won a DEMOCRATIC primary, and you think this is good for DEMOCRATS?

I'm always, always amused when Republicans offer my party political advice.


[DK: I'm a life-long registered D, and the son of a 22-year Democratic state representative, so it's my party too. I think it's better for the Democrats, and the country, if the party nominates more people like Cuellar and Lieberman, and fewer people from the far left. Democrats who believe that Presidents like Truman and Kennedy had the right idea on foreign policy, and who reject the Henry Wallace/George McGovern/Jimmy Carter approach to foreign policy, should consider supporting the Truman National Security Project, http://www.trumanproject.org ].
3.8.2006 1:56pm
gab:
"The only other U.S. House primary in which the NRA was involved was in Tom Delay's district, where the A+ rated Delay easily defeated three challengers who did not answer the NRA's questionaire."

The NRA should be so proud.
3.8.2006 2:01pm
Justin (mail):
DK: Are you a registered Democrat in the same way much of the South is - i.e., they consistently vote for the GOP but just can't make the switch for identity reasons? Serious question - I'm not pretending to know the answer.



On a more combative note, DailyKos and its community encouraged and supports the recently announced candidacy of James Webb for Senate. Is Webb, who was Secretary of the Navy under Reagan, a lefty too?



[DK: I voted for Bush in 2004, which was the first time I voted for an R for President. I endorsed Nader in 2000. http://www.davekopel.com/NRO/2000/Why-I'm-Voting-for-Nader.htm. Ideologically, I lean libertarian much of the time, so I vote all over the board. Fow U.S. Senate races, I voted for Allard twice, and for Democrats every other time.(Caveat: that includes Ben Campbell as a Democrat and voting for him again as a Republican). In U.S. House races, almost always for the Democrat (Udall or Schroeder).



Webb is a great candidate, the kind the Dems need, and kudos to the DailyKos for supporting him. I gather that most of the Kossites are taking the same realistic attitude about Webb that they appear to be taking about Cuellar -- that even though he he might not be their cup of tea in a primary, they'll support him in a general election. Kos intervention in primaries usually tends to favor candidates from the party's leftmost zones.]
3.8.2006 2:19pm
Justin (mail):
To Volokh readers generally,



Those who support the Truman Bush foreign policy, a strong second amendment, lower taxes, believe that global warming is a "dystopian fairy tail", and the repeal of the Sherman Act should consider this link as well:



www.gop.com



to DK: Please don't confuse the foreign policy of Kennedy and Truman with anything remotely near what George Bush is currently overseeing. Both men would have opposed the Iraq War from the getgo.



[DK: I think it's hard to say what a dead person would have done, but JFK did back an American invasion of Cuba, and Truman did invade North Korea, rather than just stopping after pushing the NKs back to the armistice line.


As for GOP favoring repeal of the Sherman Act, I wish. I call for repeal in my book "Antitrust After Microsoft," which argues that AT law is used by big businesses to harm consumers. But I can't think of any prominent Republican or Democrat who has endorsed repeal. Can you?]
3.8.2006 2:23pm
Sethco (mail):
"DK: Citibank just gives you back your own money, which you gave to Citibank for safe-keeping and convenience."



I had no idea that I had given Citibank all those dividends!



[DK: Dividends? Or interest? If the latter, CB just paid you a fee for using your money to make even more money for themselves. If dividends, then you're a CB stockholder. Your political opponents might plausibly call you "pro-banking."]
3.8.2006 2:24pm
Captain Holly (mail) (www):
Please don't confuse the foreign policy of Kennedy and Truman with anything remotely near what George Bush is currently overseeing. Both men would have opposed the Iraq War from the getgo.

So that's why JFK advocated "bearing any burden, paying any price" and promptly sent some 25,000 military advisors to the Republic of South Viet Nam?
3.8.2006 2:44pm
Justin (mail):
I'm not going to respond to those people who think that one has to oppose war as a general principle to oppose the Iraqi war. Kennedy's approach to the Bay of Pigs was a limited engagement involving the use of local forces to stage a mock-public coup. The North Korean war involved us taking sides (against Commmunism) in a UN sponsored war where it was pretty clear that "our side" was a concrete political entity that wanted us there, with concrete goals and a general exit strategy. Furthermore, Soviet communism is not...ummm..."terrorism", or whatever we're supposedly fighting in Iraq.



As an aside, Both Kennedy and Truman managed not to start a full scale land war against the Soviet Union on their own turf, or to occupy any country with American troops that preferred to be unoccupied, or to officially use US troops to start a war of aggression (though Kennedy erred in Vietnam, it was LBJ who led to the impossible occupation) - also, both didn't politicize their war and micromanage the CIA for political purposes, or illegally spy on all Americans. I'd like to think of those positions as ones Kennedy and Truman support.





DK: You'd be surprised to find that your assumption is completely off. The reason for Webb's support is because of his stance on Iraq and his commitment to standing up for his principles - i.e., its exactlyhe fact that they DO NOT view him as a "pragmatic" choice which causes them to support him. You could, of course, go over to Kos and see for yourself (use the tags option).



I also obviously read your NRO piece supporting Nader - though you call yourself a liberterian, it seems you're only a liberterian in a few areas which the GOP is also liberterian - antitrust, taxes, guns, the environment, worker health and safety, etc.. You're apparently not liberterian (at most athiest) on social issues, nor are you liberterian on privacy rights. Surely, the Reagan and Bush approaches to antitrust are significantly closer (that is, repeal by nonenforcement) than any Democrat will ever have. You support the war - having already signed up Kennedy and Truman as supporters you then chide me for my assertion to the contrary.



I'm not sure why you've voted for Udell (whose a moderate), but even if the GOP isn't perfect, it's clearly the more preferable to the two. Now I can see people who are naturally in the GOP voting Democrat in 2006 and 2008 because of the incompetence and corruption of the GOP, but that doesn't make them Democrats, just frustrated Republicans.





PS: To other readers - please read the reasons DK voted for Nader. It must beread not as a support for Nader's policies at all, but as a protest vote against Bush for being too pro-environment, pro-Sherman Act, and pro-social welfare spending...in other words, too libera



l.

[DK: The Cato Institute is generally regarded a think tank based on libertarian principles, and I've been an Associate Policy Analyst there for 1988. The assertion that the only libertarian ideas I promote are right-wing ones and that I don't defend privacy rights is ignorant. My criminal justice writings, http://www.davekopel.com/CJ.htm, have argued that the federal partial-birth abortion ban is unconstitutional, defended a wide variety of privacy rights (including freedom from electronic surveillance, and from conventional searches and seizures), and criticized numerous abuses of the drug war, including police violence and militarization. My First Amendment writings have opposed a wide variety of infringements of free speech and the press, http://www.davekopel.com/MediaAnalysis.htm. I have also criticized numerous proposals to infringe civil liberty as part of the counter-terrorism -- not only the Patriot Act, but numerous proposals dating back to the Clinton and Bush III administrations. http://www.davekopel.com/terrorism.htm. And BTW, since you said you read my endorsement of Nader, you should recall that one reason I endorsed him was his opposition to the Drug War.]
3.8.2006 3:15pm
Houston Lawyer:
Until a few years ago, Texas was governed by conservative Democrats. There are still quite a few of them around. My father-in-law still votes for the Democrats, although he is socially much more conservative than me, a conservative Republican. Some habits are hard to break.

The national Democratic party has pretty much destroyed the election opportunities for conservative Democrats across the South. If Lloyd Bentsen hadn't resigned his Senate seat to join the Clinton Administration, he'd still be a Senator here.
3.8.2006 3:22pm
Justin (mail):
At one time, Nelson Rockefeller was a conservative Republican. Lincoln Chaffee is more conservative than his father war. Nixon and Reagan were considered extremists in their own party.

During that time, the GOP was able to get elected, consistently, on the coasts - that's much more difficult now. Tell me why the Democrats should try and use a strategy that worked so poorly for the Republicans?
3.8.2006 3:28pm
Mark F. (mail):
Justin: the Republicans control the Presidency, the Congress and the Judiciary. That's failure?
3.8.2006 4:25pm
Justin (mail):
The pseudo-liberal Republican party of the 1950s and 1960s was pretty pathetic. They abandoned the aforementioned strategy to some degree in 1964 with the "Southern Strategy". By 1980, conservatives, Southerners, Christians, and ex-segregationalists dominated the GOP, and by today Barry Goldwater himself would be considered a "RINO".
3.8.2006 4:47pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Oooooh, the Bogeyman. I'm sooo scared. George Bush gets lots of money from people who don't believe blacks and whites should date -- much worse.
Huh? I know that there are such people out there (maybe a few hundred thousand in the whole country), but I find it hard to believe that such people give Bush "lots of money." I find it hard to believe that most of them have any spare change at all.

Can you back up your claim with evidence? Or is this more liberal fantasies about who backs Bush?
3.8.2006 5:40pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

So that's why JFK advocated "bearing any burden, paying any price" and promptly sent some 25,000 military advisors to the Republic of South Viet Nam?
Much more successful was JFK's deployment of small numbers of Green Berets to South America to assist nations under attack by Che Guevara's guerilla operations.
3.8.2006 5:43pm
grettabouy:
It should be noted that Delay's opponent in the general election -- Former Congressman Nick Lampson (D-TX)-- enjoyed an "A" rating from the NRA during his tenure as a member of Congress. Even after the Texas Redistricting, the NRA stuck by Lampson in his campaign against Ted Poe, who ultimately bested Lampson in the new district.
3.8.2006 5:45pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Justin writes:


Furthermore, Soviet communism is not...ummm..."terrorism", or whatever we're supposedly fighting in Iraq.
Let's see: the al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq are setting off bombs in markets, grabbing Iraqi civilians off the street and killing them. But to a liberal, that's not clearly enough terrorism to call it that without the scare quotes.
3.8.2006 5:45pm
Broncos:
Re: "major win for Second Amendment supporters at the Congressional level" and "...moderate candidates who can appeal to America's tens of millions of gun-owning voters."

Can't one be pro-2nd amendment by believing that (a) people should be able to carry a rifle through the woods; but (b) people shouldn't be able to carry a pistol through the mall?


[DK: A person with those political beliefs could sincerely consider himself pro-2A, but it's doubtful that any voter for whom gun issues are important enough to influence the vote would agree. If you think that guns are OK for sports, but not for personal protection (including in public places), then you're not pro-Second Amendment in the modern political context. Just as if you think it's OK for people to read Shakespeare, but you want to ban Noam Chomsky, you're not pro-1st Amendment in the modern American context. Merely being pro-sports or pro-Shakespeare might make you a vigilant rights defender in some other contexts (e.g., modern England for sports, modern Saudi Arabia for Shakespeare).]




Or that one should be allowed to own weapons designed to penetrate (a) leather, but not (b) armor?


[DK: The latter is a hoax invented by the gun prohibition lobbies. See, e.g., http://www.nationalreview.com/kopel/kopel200403010926.asp and http://www.nationalreview.com/convention/guest_comment/guest_comment073100a.shtml . So yes, the NRA will still give you an A+ if you against "weapons designed to penetrate...armor" (it's the ammunition, not the gun, BTW, that is the key variable), if you are for the federal law that's been on the books since the mid-1980s, and if you oppose efforts to re-open the issue as a pretext to give BATFE unilateral authority to ban conventional hunting ammunition.]




I'm pretty sure that gun-owners don't consider themselves "anti-2nd amendment," but I don't know how well they'd do on the NRA SAT.


[DK: The gun owners who vote, at least in part, on the gun issue tend to be the types who score fairly high on the NRA SAT. Take out the gun issue and you would have a Democratic Congress after the 1994 elections (according to Bill Clinton), and GWB IV would have lost in 2000 and 2004. I think it makes a lot of sense for Democrats who have aspirations beyond winning elections in ultra-blue cities to move towards the Cuellar position on firearms.]
3.8.2006 7:30pm
Dustin R. Ridgeway (mail):
I know this thread has already been horribly derailed by Justin, but I think your interpretation of this race has little to do with what happened on the ground. In fact, I don't think the candidates positions on gun issues factored into the race in the slightest. Neither did Cuellar campaign touting his favorable NRA scores, nor the Kos crowd (who are pretty libertine on gun issues) go after Cuellar because of his stance on Gun issues.

Henry Cuellar challenged Ciro Rodriguez in 2004 after the TX-28th was redistricted to include large swathes of Cuellar's homtown Laredo(where he is much the fortunate son). He won by 50 votes in the newly drawn district. This time around, the biggest factor in his primary win seems largely to be good old fashioned incumbency. He was the home boy this time, so to speak.

People who think alot about politics, already think about politics in a fundamentally different way than most Americans, even primary voters. Unless an issue has gotten lots of media attention, the biggest factor in some of these elections is sometimes little more than who has the most hispanic name.

Local politics note: Barbara Ann Radnofsky, the perrenial favorite for the Dem nomination to run against Kay Bailey Hutchison, was forced into a runoff by "Gene Kelly" a nobody who filed at the last minute, has done zero campaigning, taken no issue stands of any kind and who'm nobody knows, but who managed to land 38% of the vote. How did he do it? because primary voters (more politically involved than General election voters) looked at the names on the ballot, were completely clueless when it came to the Senate, and simply picked the candidate with the name that sounded most congenial to them.

Three cheers for politics.


[DK: Thanks for the insights. I agree that the Kossites aren't part of the gun control coalition, and a good number of them believe that owning guns is an important part of protection from tyranny. The Texas result does seem to have hinged on Cuellar being better at GOTV than Ciro, and I wouldn't discount the NRA's contribution in turning out its own members. On the other hand, even if the NRA had nothing to do with the election, the fact that a pro-gun moderate Hispanic won the Democratic primary could make it easier for other pro-gun moderate Hispanics to move forward in Democratic politics.


As for the Gene Kelly problem, I think that a LaRouchite named "John Adams" actually won the 1986 Democratic Lt. Gov. primary in Illinois. Although in that case, many voters were simply voting against the mainstream machine candidate who they disliked.]
3.8.2006 7:43pm
therut:
Are you saying Bush got maoney from BLACK and white people who think the two should not marry? You do KNOW ther are BLACK people who think Blacks should not marry whites. Oh that is what you meant I AM SURE. Your skirt of racism is showing.
3.8.2006 8:45pm
Tyrone Slothrop (mail) (www):
[DK: Citibank just gives you back your own money, which you gave to Citibank for safe-keeping and convenience. If Citibank made substantial contributions to your campaign, you would probably be a pro-banking candidate.]

On your first sentence, of course. I thought it was obvious that my tongue was in my cheek. But on the larger point, not so. Citi might give me money simply because I'm less anti-banking than the other guy. My sample size may not be very large, but whenever I saw Kos or firedoglake posting about that race, they seemed more motivated by animus toward Cuellar than by anything particular about Rodriguez.
3.8.2006 9:03pm
Justin (mail):
Clayton Cramer, I'm very skeptical of whether "terrorism" can surrender, or whether it has legal status to sign a peace treaty. Also, I'm concerned even after beating "terrorism", there's no way to stop "terrorism" from violating its treaty obligations. Can you sue an adjective in front of the ICJ? Tough call. But nice try.
3.8.2006 9:26pm
Harriet Miers' Law Partner:
I thought I had posted earlier pointing out several facts about the Cueller-Rodriguez race, including the fact that Cuellar's home county was the last to report...did that post get deleted somehow?
3.8.2006 9:40pm
juris imprudent (mail):
Justin,

At one time, Nelson Rockefeller was a conservative Republican. Lincoln Chaffee is more conservative than his father war. Nixon and Reagan were considered extremists in their own party.

Rocky was never considered a conservative, least of all BY conservatives. He was a classic country-club Republican, though he was one of the original Drug Warriors.

Nixon was an extremist? When? According to who? He was the "establishment" rebuff to the Goldwaterites who wanted Reagan. Indeed, Reagan was viewed as extremist, by the moderate Repubs (who favored Nixon) of the 60s and 70s.

A very large reason for the movement of Southern conservatives to the Republican party was that the post-68 Democratic party wasn't such a big tent after all. The 70s and 80s would see the parties actually align more along ideology (or at least something approaching ideology) then tradition. These days, a center-right Democrat is as rare and lonely as a center-left Republican.
3.8.2006 10:44pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton Cramer, I'm very skeptical of whether "terrorism" can surrender, or whether it has legal status to sign a peace treaty. Also, I'm concerned even after beating "terrorism", there's no way to stop "terrorism" from violating its treaty obligations. Can you sue an adjective in front of the ICJ? Tough call. But nice try.
None of these objections justify scare quotes around "terrorism." That is what we are fighting.
3.9.2006 11:31am
Colin (mail):
"None of these objections justify scare quotes around 'terrorism.' That is what we are fighting."

Surely, and despite the fashionable political rhetoric, we are fighting terrorists, not terrorism.
3.9.2006 6:26pm