Saturday, June 4, 2011

Conservative stumps for Austin liberal's seat

Belton - It's a brand new ball game and the home town crowd wants blood. First, there was the traditional barbecue and iced tea, ranch style beans and cole slaw.

Then there was an old-fashioned and rousing stump speech, the kind American candidates who want to be elected to Congress have given throughout the history of the United States of America.

The main idea is this. It's almost too late to salvage a beautiful system of government. Not quite, just almost too late. That's what the Colonel said. When the end of the Cold War came, it was high time to return to a strict construction of the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps the moment has passed; but, then, perhaps the moment has not passed us by. It's not really too late, just almost too late, said Wes Riddle.

When the time for questions came, a man in the crowd asked if President Obama should be impeached for his unilateral decision to join NATO in the bombardment of Libya, the imposition of a no-fly zone on Muammar Gaddafi's desert dictatorship, and the interruption of oil exports to Italy and other southern European nations.

Col. Wes Riddle, founding director of the Central Texas Tea Party, a 2004 candidate for Congress in the old District 11 - which changed boundaries several times before the courts found an ethnic balance just weeks before the election - stopped and sweated and thought well before he answered in the 100-degree heat of his annual barbecue, held this time at the Lake Belton Overlook Pavilion.

"You could say that of George W. Bush," he began, referring to Dubyah's invasion of Afghanistan in pursuit of Al Qaeda, his adventures in Iraq, and elsewhere.

"Say it!" the crowd of faithful followers cried out, erupting in an emotional reaction to their diminished expectations, the scarcity of an easy dollar and the devalued condition of what bucks they can get into their bank accounts after taxes.

It was a good catch, but Col. Riddle was just getting warmed up.

He reminded the group that executive privilege and the ham-handed use of the War Powers Act is what drove the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson to the ground, the liberal southern Democrat Johnsonian legacy bleeding and dying over the extended two decades of runaway inflation brought on by that 15-year war.

When he got back to Dubyah, he said, "There is also a linkage between unlimited war abroad and financial difficulty at home." There was applause and the kind of hooting that denotes approval at a political rally.

"The executive does not have the authority to declare war on an extended basis," he said...We're doing things under the rubric of the United Nations and in support of a host of foreign nations...There is no law that can replace the Constitution of the United States of America.

The man wasn't satisfied. He demanded a more direct answer to the question of whether Barack Hussein Obama should be impeached for his unilateral move to make war on Libya, and he got it.

No president, according to Wes Riddle, will ever be satisfied by being curbed by the dictates of the War Powers Act - or the Constitution itself.

They gave him their grudging agreement. There is an undertone, a current, a groundswell building. The nation is in economic peril, and there is a reason for that. The reason is war - war on more than one front - and people are dissatisfied by that. They're looking for someone to blame.

They will even blame former President George W. Bush, if push comes to shove, and it sure looks like that shoving match is underway in the heat of early summer, 2011.

District 25, which is made up of parts of District 31, Linkold District 11, and extends from Corsicana's deep east Texas oil fields to Johnson County's blackland prairie and gas play, down the Santa Fe skirting Waco, Temple and Belton, and ends up in Austin, is the home of one of the last old line liberals - Representative Lloyd Doggett.

He has voted with President Obama and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi. and the new mix of conservatives from the new territories to the north take a dim view of that. At one time, his district extended in a long, snaking line to McAllen, but those days are gone.

"He makes Chet Edwards look like a conservative," said Col. Riddle, pointing out that Mr. Doggett is anti-gun, anti-military and pro-abortion - three things the 10-term Congressman from Waco, who at one time represented the Ft. Hood area, was definitely not.

In the 2010 elections, people voted 60% over 40% against Mr. Obama and Rep. Pelosi, and neither one was on the ballot in Central Texas districts and their precincts. Chet Edwards paid the price; even though he voted against such despised programs as Obamacare and never voted for federal support of abortions, he lost his District 17 seat in Congress to a newcomer, Republican Bill Flores, a retired oil executive who lives now in Bryan.

The Tea Parties, Belton's among them, supported Mr. Flores and adamantly opposed Mr. Edwards, even though the candidates were not running in their District 31 bailiwick.Link

How sure are the new district lines in what is called New District 25?

"They're as sure as can be," Wes Riddle said. When the legislature publishes Plan 125C again next week, he looks for the new lines of District 25 to be changed only slightly.

"The federal courts will determine the end result," he concluded.

Texas is one of the half dozen old Confederate States of America that gets special scrutiny from federal courts. "By doing that, they brought on the gerrymandering of Lloyd Doggett," Col. Riddle decalred.

"We ought not to be electing ethnicity."

Are there other Republican Primary candidates who have announced? Two. One is from Cowtown, the other is from a city outside the District. "If they don't call me names, I won't call them carpet baggers." More laughter.

"I don't have to move," said Col. Riddle. His part of Bell County is included in the New District 25.

His platform.

"When you contact a media person, they always want to know what your platform is."

Col. Riddle stopped and had a good laugh over that one. He's been writing books, articles, opinion pieces and position papers now for his entire adult life. He's a West Point graduate, taught there, at two other universities, and earned a doctoral degree in history at Oxford University.

"I'm all over the internet."

Nevertheless, reporters and editors still ask the question.

"I worked with Northrop-Grumman in the planning of two new infantry brigades. Now, that is complicated. It makes your hair hurt," he quipped.

Then he reached in his breast pocket and got out his miniature copy of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident..." he began to read.

Then he turned to the Preamble of the Constitution, "We the people..."

In order to form a more perfect union, to provide for common security, to ensure domestic tranquility, etc., he read.

Then Col. Wes Riddle faced the crowd and said, "That's the only reason government Linkexists."

Then he paused for effect, wiped the sweat out of his eyes, and said, "I did swear as a soldier and as an officer to protect and defend tha Constitution of the United States and as far as I know, it has no expiration on it."

One thing he advocates is the advent of a Fair Tax on newly manufactured goods and services and the elimination of the Personal and Corporate Income Tax - an end to keeping all receipts for the past 7 years and having to be ready for an audit, sometimes punitive.

What does present government do with its power, the powers bestowed upon Congress, the Executive branch and the federal judiciary?

People have no incentive to produce, to hustle, to make themselves useful. Education is on a downhill slope and has been for decades, he said. Industrial development is something of the past. They export it to other countries, along with American jobs.

"They use taxation as a social engineering mechanism for behavior modification."

The applause was extended, uproarious and enthusiastic.

When and where did the perceptible decline of American life begin?

"I think it all started when they took prayer out of the schools...We need to get Jesus Christ back into American life."

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