Bill McCann | Guest columnist
I recently received a note from a reader who disliked my column criticizing Texas Republican politicians. The reader suggested something I’ve often seen on social media when an antagonist runs out of arguments. He/she told me to go back to where I came from. That would be Pennsylvania, where I was born.
I don’t plan a move after 39 years in Texas, although Pennsylvanians certainly know how to handle freezing weather better than Texans do. And, thankfully, Pennsylvania played an important role in getting a competent president, Joe Biden, back into the White House.
However, the suggestion did prompt me to consider whom I would choose if I had the power to send one Texas politician back to where he/she came from. Immediately I thought of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, born Dannie Goeb in Baltimore. Patrick has said and done more dumb things than I have space to mention. In 2018, for example, after a mass killing at Santa Fe (Texas) High School, he suggested the problem was not guns but that schools had too many entrances and exits. Last year he shamelessly suggested that old folks should sacrifice themselves to COVID-19 to help the economy. He also was a leading supporter of a failed transphobic “bathroom” bill, which would have created a problem that didn’t exist, and more recently has pushed voter suppression legislation in Texas.
After college, Patrick worked in broadcasting back East before becoming a TV sports broadcaster in Houston. He later co-owned sports bars that failed. Subsequently he became a conservative talk radio host, regularly railing against “illegal” immigrants. Although Patrick is an excellent choice for banishment, I decided I couldn’t foist him on the good people of Maryland.
My next candidate for banishment was Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who was born in Minot, N.D., where his father served in the Air Force. Paxton has been under indictment in Texas since 2015 for alleged securities fraud and also is in a legal battle with former senior aides who have accused him of bribery, abuse of office, and other crimes.
As attorney general, Paxton regularly sued the Obama administration, including lawsuits opposing clean-air rules, transgender students and benefits for same-sex couples. While Paxton often alleged federal overreach, he had no problem with overreach by the administration of President Donald Trump and regularly supported Trump in court. Paxton drew widespread derision with his failed legal effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Trump’s favor. He also has promoted the big lie that the election was tainted.
While it would be tempting to banish Paxton to the north country, I’d save my get-out-of-town ticket for another Texas political phony, U.S. Sen. Rafael “Ted” Cruz. Born in Calgary, Canada, to an American mother and Cuban father, Cruz has been the epitome of self-aggrandizement, self-promotion, and hypocrisy in the Senate.
Don’t take my word for it. In 2016, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said: “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you.” And former GOP House Speaker John Boehner said about Cruz in his new memoir: “There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless a-hole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else.”
Cruz, initially one of Trump’s strongest critics, became one of his biggest defenders. He was complicit in Trump’s lies about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election and should share blame for the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection. I wish Canada would take Cruz back, but I’m sure they are smarter than that. Plus, I’m convinced the only way Mexico would consider paying for that border wall is if Cruz said he wanted to move there.
McCann is a contributing columnist for the Advertiser. He can be reached at [email protected].