Thursday, November 30, 2006

DCCC Is In The House

Daily Kos posted on YouTube the great commercial that DCCC is running in TX-23 where Republican Rep. Henry Bonilla is in a run-off against former Democratic Rep. Ciro Rodriguez.

If you recall, this is the district the Supreme Court demanded be redrawn after ruling that Texas had disenfranchised Mexican-Americans with the disgraced gerrymandering scheme of Tom DeLay.

Rodriguez has been a favorite of national bloggers since he ran against Blue Dog Democrat Henry Cuellar in the March primary and lost in a close race.

The Stakeholder reported a day ago that Election Day had been strategically designed to keep Mexican-American voters home by Republican Gov. Rick 'Hairspray' Perry.
If Republicans seem to be working to keep the Latino vote low in Texas' 23rd Congressional District — by rushing the election, setting it on a Catholic feast day and keeping the early voting period short — it isn't the first time.

In 2001, Republicans in the Texas Legislature blocked congressional redistricting, effectively handing that job to federal judges.

They tweaked the existing map, which favored Democrats. And while more districts the GOP could win were created, they were not enough to give Republicans the majority of the state's congressional delegation.

So, then-U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay set out to give the GOP control of the Texas House, a feat that would allow them to redraw the congressional map yet again.

Communiqués between DeLay and remapping engineer Jim Ellis indicate that while they wanted more GOP House seats, they had two other key objectives.

They wanted badly to oust former U.S. Rep. Martin Frost, the de facto leader of the Texas Democratic Party, and they wanted to solve the "Bonilla problem."

The only Mexican American Republican ever elected to U.S. House, Henry Bonilla was an important symbol for the GOP, which, until his election in 1992, enjoyed little support from Texas'fastest-growing population group.

Now seeking his eighth term in a runoff against former Congressman Ciro Rodríguez, Bonilla's first victory came by ousting scandal-plagued Albert Bustamante. Later, he was quick to hop on Newt Gingrich's bandwagon, becoming an avid supporter of 12-year term limits for House and Senate members.

Bonilla also became a trusted and loyal soldier for DeLay, and in 1999 was made head of American Dream PAC, whose mission, he said, was "to give significant, direct financial assistance to first-rate minority GOP candidates."

But with each re-election, Bonilla's Mexican American support slipped, and in 2002, only 8 percent of those voters cast ballots for him.

To keep Bonilla in office, DeLay's 2003 redistricting plan shifted 100,000 voters from heavily Mexican American areas out of his district,and in 2004, the more heavily Anglo district re-elected Bonilla by a margin of more than 2 to 1.

But solving the Bonilla problem became a part of DeLay's undoing.DeLay's use of corporate money to win a Texas House majority triggered several probes.

And when it became apparent that DeLay would probably be indicted in Texas, Bonilla came to his benefactor's defense. He proposed that the GOP's U.S. House rule requiring leaders to resign leadership posts if indicted be amended to require them to step down only for federal indictments.

As for Bonilla's Dream PAC, it was revealed that of the $547,000 he raised for it, only $48,750 went to other minority GOP candidates.

Other GOP groups and causes — among them, the 2003 redistricting effort and Bonilla's own re-election bid — got about $100,000.

A PAC staffer was convicted of embezzling another $119,000, and the rest was spent on plane tickets, hotels, catering services — and Tom DeLay's legal defense fund.

Nevertheless, in Nov. 2004, when Bonilla introduced DeLay at a news conference, he praised him as "one of the greatest leaders that this nation has ever seen, one of the most honorable Americans that I have ever had the privilege of knowing and serving with ... (and) a person who truly cares about his colleagues."

He sure did, didn't he?
Yep, and now Cirrrrrrrrro Rrrrrrrrrrodriguez is going to even the score.

Howling Latina just loves the extra roll of the "r" in the ad when the announcer mentions Cirrrrrrrrro Rrrrrrrrrrodriguez!

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