Saturday, June 16, 2018

#RPTCon18: A DEVASTATING end to an otherwise great Convention

"It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness,
For a throne is established by righteousness."
Proverbs 16:12

[Note: You can read Olivia Messer's original 2013 piece in the Texas Observer here.  You can read her 2017 reports here and here.  You can read the Texas Tribune's reporting on the subject here.  You can read the Austin Chronicle's reporting on the subject here.]

We still can't believe that it happened.

Assuming it survived the vote by the delegates, we expect plank 187 of the 2018 Republican party of Texas platform to read:
Sexual Harassment: RPT supports a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment.
The good news: This is the first time in history the RPT platform has addressed it.

The bad news: It's a weak, toothless, unenforceable position.  It doesn't mention why the plank is in there in the first place.  It's the Texas Alliance for "Life" of sexual misconduct planks.

We moved to amend the plank to instead read:
Sexual Misconduct:  RPT supports a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of sexual misconduct in the Texas Legislature.  We furthermore call upon the Legislature to create a credible system of due process to adjudicate complaints within two weeks.  In the event complaints are found to be valid, we call upon the legislature to create tangible penalties including, but not limited to, loss of committee chairmanship and dismissal.
Our amendment was designed to give teeth to the existing language.

Unfortunately, and inexplicably, the delegates voted it down.  It wasn't close.  Two thirds/one third.

[Note (11:48 pm): We're trying to edit this post to get it up before midnight...and we still can't believe we read that last paragraph.]
We don't get it.

The Texas Legislature is a disgusting cesspool.  Whatever the excesses of the national "hashtagMeToo" movement, the Texas Legislature is a legit caseThe Texas Legislature is Harvey Weinstein, not Aziz Ansari.

And, to be honest, some of the behavior we saw the past few days confirmed our worst fears.

We saw a Texas house Committee Chairman get into an elevator at one in the morning with a woman who wasn't his wife.  We saw another member of the Texas house at the hotel bar gettin' real grabby with any hot young thing that would move.  By themselves, neither is proof of anything...but let's just say that the circumstantial evidence is strong.

Also, this is not one of those "allegedly" cases.  We saw this with our own eyes.  We dare either of the legislators in question to sue this author.  We have witnesses.

[Note: We wanted to get video, but there was no way to film in a way that wouldn't have been obvious.]


The worst part is that the objections during floor debate didn't make sense.

One person spoke against who he made vague comments about political correctness and lack of due process in Title IX investigations.



In hindsight, our biggest mistake was not taking the time to educate the delegates (we should have literally used the phrases "adultery" and "prostitution").  There was limited time to discuss platform amendments. We were trying to be a team player.  We were trying tosave time.  We assumed that if we mentioned Olivia Messer by name, delegates would take our word for it and do their own research later.

We all know what they say about the word "assume."

Our other mistake was not forcing a discussion on this topic in the legislative priorities committee.  To be honest, the taxpayer funded lobbying/union dues stuff was going so well that we didn't want to annoy the committee by asking for more.  We assumed we could get the language we wanted in the platform, and that that would be good enough.

Once again, everybody knows what they say about the word "assume."

[Note for future legislative priorities committees: If we had had seven legislative priorities to work with, instead of five, this author wouldn't have felt that pushing this issue would be perceived as selfish.]


Note to this website's left-of-center readers: The real reason for today's result was the backlash to the national "hashtagMeToo" movement.  They went too far.  And, obviously, the results speak for themselves.

Imagine a world where the Republican Party of Texas adopts strong language condemning sexual misconduct by elected officials...and know that the only reason we're not currently living in that world is because an ambitious feminist blogger went after Aziz Ansari.

[Second note for this website's left-of-center readers: Even though RPT just face-planted on cleaning up the state legislature, given the cases of Joe Barton and Blake Farenthold, RPT still has the strongest record of ANY state level political party in the country at getting our own elected officials to leave office once the evidence becomes undeniable.]


Note for this website's right-of-center readers: You don't understand the opportunity you just missed.

The saddest part is that we just re-read our blog post from the day Joe Barton left office.


Republicans like to waste time holding pointless meetings about "millennial outreach."


And you just whiffed.


Bottom LIne: A very small improvement on the status quo...but it could have been so much more.

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