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BOSQUE COUNTY, Texas – Voters can likely look forward to a spirited primary season in the perennially volatile Congressional District 17.
The word among Republican operatives is that Rep. Bill Fores, R-CD 17 “appears to be more loyal to the Washington insider machine, and it’s starting to show.”
The Bryan-College Station second-termer breezed to victory over an incumbent from the old school conservative ranks of the Democratic Party in 2010.
Chet Edwards was going for a term that would have topped his service out at more than 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives before the Tea Party and the balanced budget faction of the Texas GOP thrust Flores into the spotlight over a crowded field of primary opponents.
How did he do it?
In the opinion of Janet Jackson, Bosque County Republican Chairwoman and a member of the State Republican Executive Committee from District 22, “it was only about the money.”
“By saying this, I’ll alienate him,” she declared, and later made a more firm commitment to the dump Flores bandwagon, saying “Obama is at a 40 percent rating, the lowest it’s ever been and these guys won’t go in for the kill.”
“These guys” are the members of the Budget Committee like Bill Flores whom Tea Party and conservative Republicans propelled into leadership positions in the now-famous bloodletting that followed the passage of Obamacare in March 2010.
Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and a key sidekick, Pete Sessions of Dallas, are foursquare for the “Path to Prosperity” budget approach, which calls for balancing the federal budget in a ten-year period without raising taxes.
How? Cutting spending. Democrats, on the other hand, are all for raising taxes a trillion dollars over a four-year period to cover deficit spending they show no inclination to curb.
Some members of the GOP’s team aren’t pulling their weight, according to Jackson.
“He (Flores) campaigned on that.” She recalled how a hard-working retired Col. Dave McIntyre of the Texas A&M anti-terrorism program lost his grip in that seminal primary year when Flores came on the scene.
Here’s how that worked.
“He was brought in here by Pete Sessions, and it was all about how much you could finance, whether you could self-finance a million dollars…”
A retired domestic petroleum operator, Flores could easily dig up that kind of cash after 30 years in the business working as a Chief Financial Officer and Chief Executive Officer of petroleum production companies.
McIntyre, on the other hand, facing certain defeat, ruefully remarked several times on the campaign trail that he had bought a brand new Ford pickup truck to travel the extensive territory of the heavily gerrymandered House District 17, which stretched from the southern suburbs of Cowtown to Aggieland.
Asked if McIntyre has been approached about another bid against Flores, Jackson said, “Yeah, we’ve talked to him, but he just says, ‘Well, have you got a million dollars, cause that’s what it’s going to take.’ – It’s sad.”
Among the colonel’s qualifications are his earning a Ph.D. in the tactics of anti-terrorism, both foreign and domestic. He headed a doctoral program in that subject at Texas A&M. It’s all about the politics of world petroleum production, on the one hand, he preached. On the other, he reminded his listeners, the reality of the world’s illicit drug cartels is standing in the shadows, influencing every aspect of economic life in every town in the U.S.
Flores’ qualifications seemed to have been that, recently retired, he was president of the Texas A&M Alumni Association, a position which assured everyone that “no one can out-Aggie Bill Flores,” as former McLennan County Republican Chairman Joe B. Hinton remarked. He is a retired executive vice president of Mobil/Exxon who led that mega-corporation’s operations in Europe.
Flores had no problem raising the kind of cash it took to run a saturation media campaign, which put him in the ranks of the “Young Guns” selected by Sessions and then Minority Leader John Boehner.
Approached on a revisitation of the Oil Depletion Tax Allowance for domestic petroleum production, Flores only said, “I’m not speaking to that issue.”
He once adjourned a 2010 campaign appearance at Hill College in Hillsboro when questioned about the subject of the Oil Depletion Tax Allowance, whether the precipitous mid-60s cut in the tax loophole for oil well owners in the nominal OPEC states of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico hadn’t been a sort of job killer as severe as Obamacare is predicted to be? Hadn’t an emphasis on foreign petroleum production in the troubled regions of North Africa and the Mideast caused a huge rise in federal spending for purposes of security? Wars? Terrorism?
He choked. Then he threatened to call the police if the questioner didn’t leave immediately. When the reporter did not yield, saying “No comment is a comment, sir,” he adjourned the meeting and took his supporters to a private location where they would not be bothered by the public.
Softball, pre-screened questions are the only ones entertained in a Flores town hall meeting.
Asked about the prospect that our congressional representatives will eventually get a handle on the budget, Jackson’s fellow District 22 Republican Executive Committee member Jimmie Kerr responded by saying, “They only take pre-screened questions.”
It was a flat-footed, bald indictment of the Flores style of communications. You hear it as much from GOP functionaries as those from the other side of the aisle.
His implication – how would you know what they have in mind – is clear. It’s a common complaint from people all over the lot, no matter their politics.
“We’ve got to do something,” said Jackson. “I’m ready to go on the record.”
As to both her colleagues and the members of the loyal opposition, she summed up her feelings by saying, “I just know they’re very disappointed. They’re scared.”
Photo: Bill Flores and wife Gina.
Tags: Chet Edwards, elections, government, Janet Jackson SREC, Jimmie Kerr SREC, Rep. Bill Flores, taxpayer, Texas
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