From Today's Chronicle on why Patrick Should Be elected
Lt. Gov. candidates are in the wrong century
By Lisa Falkenberg
January 30, 2014 | Updated: January 30, 2014 9:37pm
For weeks, Dan Patrick has been dusting off the playbook on fear-mongering rhetoric and subliminal xenophobic messaging. It's the kind of stuff that helped the GOP squander George W. Bush's hard-won good will among Hispanics to the point that President Obama claimed well over 70 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012.
Patrick's strategy is to keep linking immigrants with violent crime until you forget there are any otherwise law-abiding dishwashers out there among the undocumented: "They threaten your family. They threaten your life. They threaten your business. They threaten our state," he has said previously.
He's smug about his claims, which he likes to back up with statistics from a 2013 Texas Department of Public Safety report assessing security threats. The report itself is prone to alarmist language and unsubstantiated claims, but Patrick piles on and neglects to mention the substantial drop in crime documented by the report.
"From 2008 to 2012, we apprehended and put in our jails in Texas 141,000 hardened criminals that we identified as being here illegally," Patrick said in the debate. "They committed or were charged with 447,000 crimes including 5,000 rapes and 2,000 murders," he said, making it sound like this all happened during the period covered by the report.
It didn't. The "charges," which aren't the same as convictions, occurred "over their criminal careers," the report states. And the tally includes misdemeanors.
At one point, when a panelist specifically asked Patrick what he'd do about the noncriminal folks, he refused to answer. The question, he said, is how to "stop the invasion."
Fear is what wins
Patterson, to his credit, did try to bring some common sense to the topic: "Would you rather have the border patrol chasing wait staff or coyotes and narco-traffickers? We need to separate those two populations."
He's right. But that doesn't strike fear in the hearts of GOP primary voters, now does it?
And fear is what wins. Fear of immigrants, fear of government, fear of religion being banned from science class. Oh, wait. The U.S. Supreme court did that a long time ago. But hey, that didn't stop all four candidates from supporting the teaching of creationism in taxpayer-funded schools.
"Not only should creationism be taught," Patrick said, "it should be triumphed, it should be heralded!"
U.S. Constitution be damned - and good sense, too.
The whole exchange was so bizarre that Texas Democrats pronounced their candidate, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, who didn't attend, the winner. Her slim chances may indeed be improved.
The evening ended in the customary way, with the good Christian agriculture commissioner doing the honors: "God bless Texas."
To which I can only respond: Yes, please.