Burnt Orange Report

News, Politics, and Fun From Deep in the Heart of Texas

Support the TDP!

February 15, 2005

Chris Bell Comes To Town

By Vince Leibowitz

Potential candidate for governor Chris Bell came to Canton tonight for the monthly meeting of the Democratic Party of Van Zandt County.

I had invited Chris to the Free State of Van Zandt last month, before his exploratory committee for governor went live, because of the notoriety he'd gained in Congress relating to his ethics complaint against U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Sugar Land). The visit was far more timely and important, however, because Chris' exploratory committee has garnered some recent press and, of course, a lot of interest in the BlogSphere.

I was trying to take some photos during the speech, so I don't have any verbatim quotes to give BOR readers (plus, Chris said he was going to be talking to Byron L. soon, so I don't want to steal any of his thunder), but I can tell you he was well received.

In particular, I felt that Chris had a good grasp on the issues facing Texas at the "state" level. A lot of times, I've found that Congressmen and ex-congressmen spend so much time dealing with federal problems that they aren't as well versed as they should be when they talk about state issues. Specifically, I was glad he addressed the school finance issue, and pointed out the hypocrisy of the Perry's flip-flopping on the issue of using gambling to fund public school education, and of course, the fact that gaming has helped fill Perry and other official's campaign coffers.

He also mentioned the "revolving door" on Perry's office by which top-level staffers sign on with the office of the governor and then leave to pursue lucrative lobbying contracts, often hitting up their ex-bosses for support.

I was particularly impressed that Chris said that Democrats don't need to shy away from the "morals" debate against Republicans. Using the popular phrase, "What Would Jesus Do," (WWJD) to illustrate some of the GOP's hypocritical stances, he noted, and I'm paraphrasing here, that it's far more likely that the WWJD thing to do wouldn't be to deprive 150,000 Texas children of healthcare. He provided a couple of other examples, but this is the first one that comes to mind.

He's got a point. Republicans consistently preach "morals, morals, morals," with regard to a number of issues, but somehow think it's justified to balance the state budget on the backs of those who need government's protection and assistance the most--the poor, children, and the elderly. It's nice for Republicans to be able to say they "put prayer back in Texas public schools," but it's a sad day when those kids are praying for a hot meal, a decent place to live and healthcare.

During the Q&A, Chris fielded several interesting questions. I asked Chris two things at once (like the typical ex-reporter I am, though I didn't intend to ask a double-question) and he was up to the sometimes challenging task of both remembering what both questions were and responding equally to both. I asked how he felt that many were calling him the "reform," candidate and what he thought the final outcome would be with regard to the redistricting lawsuits the U.S. Supreme Court sent back to the Fifth Circuit.

Chris said that he's not bothered by the "reform candidate," moniker, but that people are already beginning to see that his candidacy is about more, because he is familiar with and has ideas to tackle some of the various problems facing the state. He also noted that, though all politicians make mistakes, he's always been about more accountability and ethics in government, dating back to his tenure on the Houston City Council when he worked on a measure to prevent high-ranking city employees from leaving employment and then cashing in on their city contacts in the private sector.

With regard to redistricting, Chris said, as most do, that the outcome remains uncertain. And, that by the time it's finally decided once and for all and the appeals process is totally exhausted, it could be time for another round (this time because of new census figures).

One of our visitors from Rockwall County asked an interesting question and raised an interesting point, too. He noted that Chris' approach to things was a little different than many politicians. In fact, the guy used the phrase "doom and gloom," noting that Chris had outlined a lot of problems facing the state absent some of the more boisterous rhetoric commonly used by candidates.

Chris responded by noting that the current situation facing the state is somewhat gloomy, and that it's important to present the facts about the various situations in as accurate a manner as possible, which sometimes isn't too rosy.

Other questions included some about the makeup of the race on the GOP side. Chris said what I've been saying for almost two years, which is that, even if she enters the primary, Kay Bailey Hutchison will face an uphill battle because so many GOP Primary voters are on the far-right of their party and the political spectrum. He also predicted that Carole Keeton Strayhorn would stay out of the race if Hutchison gets in.

All in all, it was a great evening, with folks coming from as far as Dallas and Rockwall to hear Chris speak mingle at the pre-meeting reception.

And, for our party, it was quite a coup to have Chris. To date, we've had several of the up-and-coming heavy hitters for 2006--John Sharp last May, Barbara Radnofsky last August and now Chris Bell.

Now, I've just got to figure out who to book for our May 7th "Night of Honor and Memories," banquet where we'll give out awards for things like "Outstanding Young Democrat," etc. Regardless of whom we end up booking to keynote, I hope we can count on folks like Chris and Barbara Radnofsky to come back for this great event. After all, 220+ Democrats in one room in Van Zandt County, Texas is a pretty captive audience, hint, Hint, HINT.

Vince Leibowitz is County Chairman of the Democratic Party of Van Zandt County. He would be just thrilled if every potential statewide Democratic candidate in the state reading this would contact him to reserve their seat(s) at the dinner now. He may be reached via email here And, if you are a really, really, really big name Democrat (Martin Frost, Howard Dean, John Edwards, Ann Richards, etc.) and would like to give the keynote address, he'll throw in a Yellow Labrador Retriever puppy (a yellow dog Democrat) if and when the local Tax Assessor/Collector's lab has a new litter. And, if you can't take it back home with you (allergies, planes, spouses who don't like dogs), you can put it in the silent auction.

Posted by Vince Leibowitz at February 15, 2005 11:33 PM | TrackBack


I am so accustomed to reading political news, shaking my head and drinking a cup of coffee in resignation, knowing in my gut that it's just not going to get any better any time soon, that when I first read about Chris Bell getting back into politics in Texas, I thought that there was no way that I could be reading this story correctly, and that there had to be something negative about it that I wasn't perceiving. After reading about thirty different stories that Lexis had pulled up, my typical scowl turned into an undeniable grin.

This is the same Chris Bell who was an award winning reporter in my beloved home city of Houston, TX. This is the same Chris Bell who, as a City Councilman, brought an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability to the political structure in Texas and made sure that government officials weren't able to parlay their civil service experience into lucrative lobbying contracts. This is the same Chris Bell who demonstrated the hypocrisy of the national government, as a Congressman, in that they talked about protecting the homeland at all costs, but refused to take action to secure the ports and borders. This is the same Chris Bell who broke ranks with his party to speak his conscience on immigration, agreeing with Republicans that immigration is the lifeblood of this country and working hard to bring immigrants here. This is the same Chris Bell who devoted his career as a Congressman to helping people who were unfairly treated under The United States Patriot Act. This is the same Chris Bell who decided that right is right, wrong is wrong, and no one is immune from it, even if he is the House Majority Leader, and filed an ethics complaint against Tom DeLay. This is the Chris Bell who stood up for Texas and the rights of Texans against those who would rob our votes of their significance.

Chris Bell is the first candidate in a long time that makes me honestly feel like someone not only cares about being a moral politician, but has the vision and capability to make it happen.
Bell for Texas, 2006.


Posted by: Dheeraj Chand at February 16, 2005 10:41 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

May 2005
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

About Us
Advertising Policies


Tip Jar!

Recent Entries
BOR Edu.
University of Texas
University Democrats

BOR News
The Daily Texan
The Statesman
The Chronicle

BOR Politics
DNC Blog: Kicking Ass
DSCC Blog: From the Roots
DCCC Blog: The Stakeholder
Texas Dems
Travis County Dems

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett
State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos
State Rep. Dawnna Dukes
State Rep. Elliott Naishtat
State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez
State Rep. Mark Strama
Linked to BOR!
Alexa Rating
Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem
Technoranti Link Cosmos
Blogstreet Blogback
American Research Group
Annenberg Election Survey
Polling Report
Rasmussen Reports
Survey USA
Texas Stuff
A Little Pollyana
Austin Bloggers
DFW Bogs
DMN Blog
In the Pink Texas
Inside the Texas Capitol
The Lasso
Pol State TX Archives
Quorum Report Daily Buzz
George Strong Political Analysis
Texas Law Blog
Texas Monthly
Texas Observer
TX Dem Blogs
100 Monkeys Typing
Alt 7
Appalachia Alumni Association
Barefoot and Naked
BAN News
Betamax Guillotine
Blue Texas
Border Ass News
The Daily DeLay
The Daily Texican
Dos Centavos
Drive Democracy Easter Lemming
Get Donkey
Greg's Opinion
Half the Sins of Mankind
Jim Hightower
Hugo Zoom
Latinos for Texas
Off the Kuff
Ones and Zeros
Panhandle Truth Squad
Aaron Peña's Blog
People's Republic of Seabrook
Pink Dome
The Red State
Rhetoric & Rhythm
Rio Grande Valley Politics
Save Texas Reps
Skeptical Notion
Something's Got to Break
Stout Dem Blog
The Scarlet Left
Tex Prodigy
View From the Left
Yellow Doggeral Democrat
TX GOP Blogs
Beldar Blog
Blogs of War
Boots and Sabers
Dallas Arena
Jessica's Well
Lone Star Times
Publius TX
Safety for Dummies
The Sake of Arguement
Slightly Rough
Daily Reads
ABC's The Note
BOP News
Daily Kos
Media Matters
NBC's First Read
Political State Report
Political Animal
Political Wire
Talking Points Memo
CBS Washington Wrap
Matthew Yglesias
College Blogs
CDA Blog
Get More Ass (Brown)
Dem Apples (Harvard)
KU Dems
U-Delaware Dems
UNO Dems
Stanford Dems
GLBT Blogs
American Blog
Boi From Troy
Margaret Cho
Downtown Lad
Gay Patriot
Raw Story
Stonewall Dems
Andrew Sullivan
More Reads
Living Indefinitely
Blogroll Burnt Orange!
BOR Webrings
< ? Texas Blogs # >
<< ? austinbloggers # >>
« ? MT blog # »
« ? MT # »
« ? Verbosity # »
Election Returns
CNN 1998 Returns
CNN 2000 Returns
CNN 2002 Returns
CNN 2004 Returns

state elections 1992-2005

bexar county elections
collin county elections
dallas county elections
denton county elections
el paso county elections
fort bend county elections
galveston county elections
harris county elections
jefferson county elections
tarrant county elections
travis county elections

Texas Media
abilene reporter news

alpine avalanche

amarillo globe news

austin american statesman
austin chronicle
daily texan online
keye news (cbs)
kut (npr)
kvue news (abc)
kxan news (nbc)
news 8 austin

beaumont enterprise

brownsville herald

college station
the battalion (texas a&m)

corpus christi
corpus christi caller times
kris news (fox)
kztv news (cbs)

crawford lone star iconoclast

dallas-fort worth
dallas morning news
dallas observer
dallas voice
fort worth star-telegram
kdfw news (fox)
kera (npr)
ktvt news (cbs)
nbc5 news
wfaa news (abc)

del rio
del rio news herald

el paso
el paso times
kdbc news (cbs)
kfox news (fox)
ktsm (nbc)
kvia news (abc)

galveston county daily news

valley morning star

houston chronicle
houston press
khou news (cbs)
kprc news (nbc)
ktrk news (abc)

laredo morning times

lockhart post-register

lubbock avalanche journal

lufkin daily news

marshall news messenger

the monitor

midland - odessa
midland reporter telegram
odessa american

san antonio
san antonio express-news

seguin gazette-enterprise

texarkana gazette

tyler morning telegraph

victoria advocate

kxxv news (abc)
kwtx news (cbs)
waco tribune-herald

krgv news (nbc)

texas cable news
texas triangle

World News
ABC News
All Africa News
Arab News
Atlanta Constitution-Journal
News.com Australia
BBC News
Boston Globe
CBS News
Chicago Tribune
Christian Science Monitor
Denver Post
FOX News
Google News
The Guardian
Inside China Today
International Herald Tribune
Japan Times
LA Times
Mexico Daily
Miami Herald
New Orleans Times-Picayune
New York Times
El Pais (Spanish)
San Francisco Chronicle
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Times of India
Toronto Star
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post

Powered by
Movable Type 3.15