Who knew?.....Many of us went to the
Republican Lincoln-Reagan Dinner this past Saturday and were
shocked by the fact that several Republicans on the program
were oratorically challenged. Many of us were there simply
because we were afraid we might miss something. If you are a
reader of this column, you know that the Republicans have
been fighting so much that their feud had even spilled over
to the courtroom.
And because of the court suit, two groups
were in charge of the festivities--the elected county
chairman of the Republican party Gary Gillen and a
disgruntled coalition of Christian conservatives, Eric Thode
(former chairman) haters, David Wallace hater Dean Hrbacek,
and Linda Howell, who lost her bid to become the county
chair. The court suit meant that Gillen and the coalition’s
representative Tom Campbell were co-hosts and shared program
Although many of us thought the court
suit meant that the two groups would share the proceeds, it
soon became clear that the coalition wanted to be center
stage as far as emceeing the event.
Someone recruited Bob Perry to donate
$20,000 to outbid Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace’s $15,000
and get to introduce the speaker. Since Bob’s son Will is
suing Wallace after Wallace left the partnership, it was
pretty obvious who had recruited Perry.
And since neither of the Perrys nor
Wallace showed up at the event, the evening degenerated into
However, Teresa Raia was the dowager of
the Perry tables and invited all her non-paying Republican
friends to sit at her table.
Therefore the group, which never gives
money to the local party, was able to retain their
unblemished reputation for not donating one red cent.
Who knew that Tom Campbell, who
introduced local office holders, couldn’t pronounce several
of their names.
I knew that Sheriff Milton Wright
couldn’t read. I’ve been telling you for years that he was
stupid; now we find that he can’t read as he was trying to
read the description of the live auction items.
And speaker Fred Barnes? Have you ever
seen 800 people snore? It is not a pretty sight. However, it
did mean there was not a crush to leave all at once as
diners were bailing out throughout his speech.
Barnes is not a dynamic speaker, but in
30 second sound bites on Fox News, this was not so evident
until Saturday night.
But poor Republicans! Barnes is just
about the only Bush apologist left. Most other pundits are
too embarrassed to go out into the hither lands and defend
the actions of the Bush administration, so the pool of
dinner speakers for Republican events gets smaller every
So the program had a mumbler (Campbell),
an illiterate (Wright) and a bore (Barnes).
The program had a few bright spots: the
local elected officials who spoke, Senator Kyle Janek, State
Representatives John Zerwas and Charlie Howard, gave brief,
I’ve heard that attendance was down to
about 800, but the live auction yielded a little over
$50,000, which is about the average of other Dinners. The
event was not a financial disaster, but proceeds will
probably be less as both groups did a large mail-out.
What a contrast.....I did attend the
Democratic event the night before at Quail Valley Country
Club. Billed as “A Tribute to an American Family,” the event
was a heart-warming tribute to Rick and Melissa Noriega.
Rick is a state legislator whose wife, Melissa, took his
place in the legislature during his 14-month stint in
Afghanistan. Melissa is running for Houston City Council in
Shelley Sekula Gibbs vacated seat. As she said at the
dinner, “Public service is what we do.”
Melissa’s father made a 30 minute
introduction to the couple which did drag on a little too
long, but the couple showed photos from Afghanistan and
talked of their commitment to public service and raising a
family in faith. They are an example of a couple who not
only talk the talk, but walk the walk as well.
The contrast between the two events was
huge. The cost of the events was $95 for the Republicans and
$35 for the Democrats. The Republicans had a Fox commentator
for their guest speaker. The Democrats had a local family as
their guest speakers. The Republicans had an expensive live
auction including a $12,000 trip to Hawaii; the Democrats
had a small silent auction with inexpensive items.
I guess it’s really true that Republicans
are for the rich.
A strange phone call......At 9 a.m.
the Saturday morning after Governor Perry signed an
executive order about the HPV vaccine, Linda Howell
telephoned me. She was trying to get me riled up about
Perry’s actions. It didn’t work. That is the one thing that
Perry has done that I have applauded. When I asked Howell
why she called me, she said it was because I had influence
and I could write about it.
Now Linda belongs to a group that even
has web sites devoted to the premise that I have no
influence and my words are inconsequential.
Wonder what that phone call was all
about? Maybe she was just trying to wake me up on Saturday
On the other hand.....I’m so mad at
Gov. Perry that I hope the religious conservatives excoriate
him properly. I’m not mad about the vaccine, but about his
appointment for a new district judge in Fort Bend. Perry has
had about a year to think about who he was going to appoint,
yet it took action by the Fort Bend board of judges in
naming a visiting judge to get Perry to take action. Then he
appointed another Anglo male to fill the spot.
I have nothing against his appointment,
Jim Shoemake. He is a competent jurist as far as I know. I’m
mad because this was an opportunity for the governor to name
a minority or a female to the bench in Fort Bend County.
There are 10 judges in Fort Bend and only one is female.
It’s not like the county doesn’t already
have minorities and females who have fulfilled judicial
duties before. Vicki Pinak and Nina Schaefer have both had
judicial experience as have Pedro Ruiz and Harold Kennedy.
The next time there is a move to elect
judges in “single member” districts, thereby insuring more
minority participation, we have only appointments like this
Who’s running for mayor of Sugar