It’s about the bum’s rush Texas Republicans are giving to departing
Republican Senator Phil Gramm (“Texas
Republicans want Gramm out, Hispanic In.“) As David Plotz makes clear
in this article,
Gramm is pretty far down the list of people who deserve sympathy for
anything. But this comes pretty close.
The story goes like this … Gramm’s departure creates several
opportunities and potential pitfalls for Republicans. The most obvious
opportunity is to hold the seat with an Hispanic Republican – thus
validating and augmenting the president’s efforts to create a more
Hispanic-friendly GOP. On the downside, Republicans could a) lose yet
another Senate seat and b) thoroughly embarrass the president by having an
Hispanic Democrat elected in 2002 from Bush’s home state.
So Texas Republicans want Gramm to resign and allow Gov. Rick Perry (an
unelected Governor, mind you) to appoint Rep. Henry Bonilla to replace
him, thus giving Bonilla a running start in his effort to win a full term
The Dallas Morning News correctly
notes that this would avoid “a potentially brutal and costly
Republican primary.” But it would be more accurate, though admittedly
impolitic, to say that such a primary could be brutal, costly and
thoroughly discredit the notion that the Texas Republican party is built
upon a happy marriage of Hispanics and post-segregationist freaks. But,
you know, if they want to use the shorthand, that’s cool by me.
Anyway, what’s really striking about this situation is just how
publicly a handful of relative upstarts within the Texas GOP (Bush, Perry,
Bonilla) is telling
Gramm to get the hell of out of town. President Bush met with Perry at the
White House on Wednesday to discuss ways to get Gramm to resign and at
least one Texas Republican media consultant with close ties to Bush has
publicly told Gramm to pack it in.
Coming from a sitting president of Gramm’s own party the message Bush
is sending to the too-slowly departing senior Senator comes through pretty
clearly as: GET THE *#$& OUT! Go! Be Gone! LEAVE!
Enough with you! Go Away forever! NEVER COME BACK!!!
Meanwhile the shoving from Perry has become almost obscene, leading to
exchanges such as this one in today’s
Gov. Rick Perry said Friday that U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm,Ouch!!!
despite repeated denials from the senator’s office, is still considering
resigning so that Perry could appoint a successor and avoid a Republican
brawl over the plum political seat.
“Senator Gramm is still going through a thought process of whether or
not he would resign early. So I don’t think there’s been any change,”
Perry told reporters.
There certainly wasn’t any change in Gramm spokesman Larry Neal’s
“Senator Gramm is not going through a thought process about
resignation. He has no intention of resigning,” Neal said.
Compassionate Conservatism was always, rightly, taken as a finger in
the eye of gloomy, nasty Republicans like Phil Gramm. But you’ve gotta
figure Gramm would like a little more compassion right about now.