"For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them;"
Outgoing Texas state Sen. Bob Deuell says he’s not angry or bitter. No, but hurt and dismay still register pretty strongly across his face.Read the whole thing here.
In one of the biggest surprises of the political season, the staunchly conservative and widely respected senator was defeated by a virtual newcomer to Texas and politics.
And of all things, Bob Hall did it by branding Deuell a liberal.
“To call me a liberal? It’s just ridiculous,” the Greenville Republican said over lunch in these waning days of his 12 years in office.
The disengagement of mainstream conservatives and citizens in general is one of Deuell’s biggest concerns. “I have people talking to me all the time about the next legislative session. I say, ‘But I lost.’ And they say ‘Really? When was the election?’”
Deuell, a 64-year-old family physician, tries to be philosophical about this unplanned change in life. “I have more time to practice medicine, so my income has gone up significantly,” he said.
He is troubled, however. “I’m concerned for my district. I’m concerned for my state.”
Knee-jerk, sound-bite conservatism is driving out thoughtful, common-sense conservatism, he said.
A perfect example is needle exchanges for drug addicts. Texas is the only state that won’t pay for them. Deuell repeatedly bucked members of his own party in trying to bring Texas in line with well-proven, life-saving, money-saving public policy.
He expects a long, difficult legislative session next year as the new crop of tea party officeholders are caught between their campaign rhetoric and economic reality.
“I think there’s just this angry movement out there,” he said. “The genesis was directed at Washington, which does have a spending problem. But then they turned that anger toward state government. In medicine, we call that displaced anger.”
A few thoughts:
- We first became aware of Bob Deuell during the debate over the budget last year when we watched Wendy Davis sing his praises; keep in mind, this was a month or so before the filibuster that made her politically radioactive.
- Deuell filed legislation to expand Obamacare in Texas; credit where it's due (or Dew), Dewhurst killed it.
- This is the biggest sense of entitlement we've seen from an outgoing legislator since former U.S. Senator Bob Bennett failed to capture re-nomination in Utah.