Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Stickland channels Cruz
Hurst, TX -- In front of a packed house of 400 people, tonight's HD-92 debate between conservative incumbent Jonathan Stickland and educational bureaucrat Andy Cargile was a one-sided affair similar to the 2012 U.S. Senate race.
Stickland delivered a crisp and energetic performance worthy of Ted Cruz. Speaking without notes or prepared remarks, Stickland explained how he went to Austin to fight the liberal agenda and "I did exactly what I said I'd do." It was obvious why the business as usual crowd in Austin hates his guts.
Playing Dewhurst to Stickland's Ted Cruz was the befuddled, ill-prepared, and poorly-informed Andy Cargile. Cargile opened the debate by drawing a bizarre comparison between Stickland and Barack Obama: "when you get a lot of words and no action, you get Barack Obama." Cargile's statement ignores the fact that from Obamacare to an illegal and unconstitutional War in Libya to countless other examples, Obama has delivered plenty of action (none of it good).
Cargile's strangest moment in the debate was his assertion, during the discussion of immigration, that there are no sanctuary cities in Texas. Stickland politely reminded Cargile that both Austin and Lewisville are sanctuary cities (he didn't mention Houston). That Cargile didn't know such a basic fact speaks volumes.
The most telling contrast was each's description of his view of his role as a legislator. Cargile called a seat in the Texas House "the next step" in his career. Speaking second, Stickland pounced: "I don't define myself by my position" as a member of the legislature.
Another illuminating moment was the discussion about a more rational policy towards low-level marijuana offenses. Cargile embraced prohibition with a Joe Biden-esque level of zeal. Cargile attacked Stickland for voting against a bill last session that would ban so-called "synthetic" Marijuana. In his well-informed response, Stickland rejected the premise of the legislation and simultaneously explained that the legislation in question would have criminalized a plant that grows naturally on the grounds of the Texas capitol.
Tonight's debate wasn't close. Stickland delivered a sharp performance similar to Ted Cruz. Cargile was fumbling at best. By the end, a quarter of Cargile's supporters were quietly applauding Stickland. If this was a Little League game, they would have invoked the mercy rule after ten minutes.