Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Lessons on Losing Support

One of the basic tenants of politics is that one needs to understand who your core supporters are and to understand why they are supporters.

Chuck Rosenthal got elected as the the Harris District Attorney, he took over as Republican to replace Johnny Holmes. The guy has been a loser by almost anyones account and has alienated anyone who might have supported him in the past.

His most famous case involved 2 gay who were whooping it up yelling and screaming. The cops thought someone was getting killed. So the cops drag them into jail to try to sort it all out. Drop it into Chuck Rosenthals lap. Now Chuck could have just dropped it and hoped that the men involved would have learned a little something about discretion. He could have charged them with disturbing the peace. Maybe a little much but it wou;d drive home a point. But no neither of these choices were good enough for Chucky, he was going to go all the way by pressing a sodomy charge.No one seemed to remember when the last time anyone dragged a sodemy charge in Texas. They hadn't for good reason, it would never stand up to a constitutional test. Chuck so in In 2002, he argued before the Supreme Court of the United States in Lawrence v. Texas that laws against sodomy are constitutional. The Court disagreed with him, holding 6-3 that prosecutions for private sexual conduct violate the United States Constitution. He lost at great expense to the taxpayer. Because he got it tossed out he lost a tool for law enforcement officers. Even though any inteligent Police officer or prosecuter knew the law was bogus and wouldn't hold up, it was often used as a bargaining chip when dealing with rape charges and prosecution. The ACLU discovered Chuck is the enemy, law enforcement agencies got to identify Chuck as some kind of nut.

Chuck seems to have an affinity about going after the black politically connected. He has been accused of contributing to feeding the racially charged flames in Harris. As recorded in Wiki.

Rosenthal started off his term as District Attorney trying to make a name for himself going after various elected officials including Former Police Chief C.O. Bradford and Former Justice of the Peace Mark T. Fury. Most the elected officials Rosenthal investigated where African-American and in response Rosenthal went after Mark T. Fury, a caucasian Justice of the Peace. It has been suggested that Rosenthal went after Fury to ease concerns in the black community that he was a racist.
This didn't help him broaden support. Yet it gets worse.

Harris County is divided are moderate Democrats and and conservative Republicans, most Texans from either party in Harris county will quickly inform outsiders that the the right to bear arms is not only a constitutional right but a god given one. So far might be able to gather support from law and order types, the social conservatives But Chucks still not done with screwin' the Pooch.

In 2005 the Texas State legislature passed HB823, Governor Perry signed it. The law had universal support from the ACLU and gun owners. Rosenthal didn't like it. Grits for Breakfast explains:
With the passage of HB 823 (Keel/Hinojosa) into law September 1, legislators and the National Rifle Association believed they'd finally resolved a longstanding dispute that for years turned thousands of legal gun owners into law enforcement targets. Texas law lets drivers carry a weapon in their car when they're "traveling," but the definition of traveling has never been legally settled.

So the Legislature passed HB 823 creating a "presumption" that the driver is "traveling" unless one of five things is true:
(a) the weapon is in plain view, (b) the defendant is a convicted felon, (c) it's a public, not a personal vehicle, (d) the defendant committed a Class B misdemeanor or worse, or (e) the defendant is a gang-banger. (Conflict alert: I testified at the hearings in both chambers in favor of the bill on behalf of ACLU of Texas.)

The new law seemed pretty straight forward. If the gun is legal, you're not a crook, you're driving your own car, and if the gun is stowed (i.e., you're not driving around with it laying on the passenger seat like an idiot), then you can carry a gun in your car when you're driving. At least, that's what legislators thought they'd passed.

Nearly immediately, though, prosecutors and police began to say they wouldn't enforce the new law, or, rather, would continue to enforce the old one. Harris County DA Chuck Rosenthal led the charge, announcing instructions to officers to continue to make arrests for UCW (unlawfully carrying a weapon just like they always had.
This of course created a lot of confusion in Houston and Harris county. The state passes a law and the man that is elected to enforce these laws is telling his officers to go ahead and ignore the these laws. So he has taken on the ACLU again, Texas Gun owners, and anyone who believes that DAs are to enforce the law, not create them. In 2007 HB1815 was championed by the TSRA and the ACLU was passed by the lege, signed by the Governor. The new law is considered pretty bulletproof but would have been unnecessary if it were not for Chucky's belief that he is above the law.

So Chuck gets himself sued over some allegations that he ordered some one to get beat up. His email gets get made public, and lo and behold he is caught messing around with one of his staff. Whoa is his wife gonna be pissed. The Republican party wasn't to happy either and suggest to Chuck that maybe he should step down. Ole Chucky responds with something like "Hell, you guys ain't never done nothing for me anyway." He upset at least one Precinct chair.

So your argument is that we didn't do much for you in 2000 or 2004. That's funny, I did literature drops for you. I put up signs. I called voters on your behalf. Glad to know that you don't consider that to be significant, s I won't make the mistake of doing it again.

But this also clarifies something quite important. You don't belong don't he GOP primary ballot, and you don't merit the GOP nomination. After all, the leadership of the Harris County GOP has made it clear that the Party does not want you. You have made it clear that you don't need us. That sounds like the grounds for an amicable divorce, which would take the form of you withdrawing from the primary and running as an independent.

So lots take an inventory of who is going to help to help Old Chuck Rosenthal.

  • Democrats: Well they sort of don't like voting for Democrats.
  • Republicans. Whoops He alienated them pretty good by not acknowledging they ever gave a hand. Ungratefulness is not a flattering trait
  • Libertarians, Well there his tendancy to want to write laws his own way.
  • Gun Owners. Now theres a fat chance
  • Law and Order Types. There is that making his laws thing.
  • Gay and Lesbian Community. Whoops not his fanclub.
  • Conservatives. Well there is that family values thing.
  • His Wife. Has she foiund a good lawyer yet?
Truth is exept maybe for a few gullible friends Chucky doesn't have any supporters. Today Chuckie decided to give up the ghost and not run in 2008. The Republicans will anoint another candidate or two for nomination into the primary process. Its going to prove interesting over the next several months.
Update: 1/3/2008
Maybe there is more to Chucky's sudden retreat than we realized.



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