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Symbolic solution in search of an actual problem
Support of 9 Southern Republicans for Respect for Marriage Act shows why Supreme Court isn’t about to ban same-sex marriage
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
Also in this report:
- Texas U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls gets his knickers in a twist over Biden’s bicycle tumble
- Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul fuss like an old married couple
Twice-divorced South Carolina Republican U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace had a pithy reply to explain why she voted in favor of the Democrat-sponsored Respect for Marriage Act:
“If gay couples want to be as happily or miserably married as straight couples, more power to them. Trust me, I’ve tried it more than once.”
Mace was one of nine Southern House Republicans, and 47 Republicans overall, who voted in favor of what was a symbolic maneuver to provide federal protection for both same-sex and interracial marriages – neither of which anyone is threatening.
The bill is being pushed by supporters of legal abortion to advance a fear-mongering argument that the Dobbs decision overturning Roe vs. Wade means that the Supreme Court is also about to torpedo marriage rights.
The vote in the House shows just how specious this argument is.
The Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority can’t, willy nilly, just decide to come after gay or interracial marriages. The justices must be presented with a case that allows them to do so. And that means that a majority of legislators in a state, along with its governor, would have to approve a measure banning same-sex or interracial marriage that could then be challenged in court to give justices the opportunity to make mischief.
The notion that in the 21st century a state would ban interracial marriage is, of course, preposterous. And the fact that 47 Republicans broke ranks to support this symbolic bill is evidence of the weakness of the political appetite to ban same-sex marriage either.
Would state legislators and a governor in a Southern red state really deliberately wade into a boycott-filled political firestorm to pass a bill in hopes that the Supreme Court might bless it, given that a majority of even Republicans now support same-sex marriage?
Fat. Chance. This particular sky is not falling, no matter how much supporters of legal abortion might try to claim that it is.
By the way, the other Southern Republicans who supported the measure besides Mace include the three Cuban-American members from South Florida – Carlos Gimenez, Maria Elvira Salazar and Mario Diaz-Balart – along with three other Florida members — Kat Cammack from Gainesville, Brian Mast from the Treasure Coast, and Michael Waltz from St. Augustine.
Tony Gonzalez from West Texas and Tom Rice from South Carolina also voted yes; Rice lost his re-election primary after supporting Donald Trump’s impeachment.
♦Texas Republican U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls turned a routine transportation hearing into a public spectacle when he questioned Biden transport chief Pete Buttigieg about whether the Cabinet has discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Joe Biden from office.
Biden, said Nehls, “shakes hands with ghosts and imaginary people, and he falls off bicycles,” a reference to the president’s recent tumble from a bike while chatting with a crowd near his vacation home.
This is all part of an ongoing effort by Republicans to insinuate that Biden is an incompetent doddering old fool – a highly curious argument coming from fans of a septuagenarian with a tenuous grip on reality named Donald Trump.
Buttigieg called Nehls comment “insulting” before saying Biden “is as vigorous a colleague or boss as I have ever had the pleasure of working with.”
Which raises interesting questions about Buttigieg’s previous workplaces.
♦Kentucky’s two Republican U.S. senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul — who hold each other in what can best be described as minimum high regard — fussed like an old married couple this week over a failed federal court nomination.
McConnell had, somehow, persuaded the Biden administration to nominate conservative, pro-life candidate Chad Meredith to a U.S. District Court seat in Eastern Kentucky. But Paul put a hold on the nomination – not because he didn’t support the nominee but because, he said, he had been shut out of what he termed a “secret deal” McConnell had cooked up with the White House.
The Biden administration then pulled the nomination, which had also run into a buzzsaw of opposition from Senate liberals; McConnell and the White House blamed Paul.
Asked about his relationship with McConnell after the dust-up, Paul replied “I think I’ve said enough.”
Translation: “Bless his heart.”
MJ Hegar wins Texas Democratic U.S. Senate runoff, will take on John Cornyn
Donald Trump’s former White House doctor Ronny Jackson wins U.S. House runoff in Panhandle; Pete Sessions makes a comeback
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
AUSTIN (CFP) — Former Air Force combat pilot MJ Hegar has won the Democratic nomination to take on incumbent Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn for a seat that Democrats have hopes of flipping in November.
Hegar, who had the backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, defeated State Senator Royce West of Dallas by a margin of 52% to 48% in Tuesday’s runoff and now faces the task of pulling off something no Democrat has done in 32 years — win a Senate race in the Lone Star State.
In a victory statement, Hegar vowed to run “a Texas-sized winning campaign that will take down Sen. Cornyn and deliver real results on health care, racial justice, economic opportunity, climate change, immigration and gun violence.”
The Cornyn campaign responded with a statement calling her “Hollywood Hegar,” because of her out-of-state support, and noting that she barely beat West even though she and her allies outspent him on advertising by a margin of 100 to 1.
“Senator Cornyn is prepared to face whatever comes his way,” his campaign said.
In other Texas runoff races, Ronny Jackson — the former White House doctor whom President Trump tried and failed to install as Veterans’ Affairs secretary in 2018 — won a Republican runoff for a U.S. House seat in the Panhandle, making him the favorite to win in November in the Republican leaning 13th District.
Jackson now faces the winner of the Democratic runoff, Gus Trujillo, who works for a Latino business group in Amarillo.
In the Waco-based 17th District, Pete Sessions, a former House Republican leader who lost his Dallas-area seat in 2018, made a comeback by winning a runoff in a new district. He will face Rick Kennedy, a software developer from Round Rock, in November; the Republican lean of this district will also make Sessions the favorite.
In other Texas U.S. House runoffs Tuesday:
In the 10th District (East Texas between Austin and Houston), Mike Siegel won the Democratic runoff for the right to face incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul in a race that Democrats have targeted as a pickup opportunity.
In the 22nd District (Southern Houston suburbs), Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls won the Republican runoff and will face Democrat Sri Preston Kulkarni in a race that Democrats have also targeted. The winner will replace retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Olson.
In the 23rd District (West Texas between San Antonio and El Paso), the Republican runoff may be headed into overtime after Tony Gonzales ended election night with a scant seven vote lead over Raul Reyes in a race fill the seat of retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Will Hurd.
The runoff pitted U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, who endorsed Reyes, against Trump, who endorsed Gonzales. In the closing days of the race, Trump’s campaign sent Reyes a cease-and-desist order over a mailer that implied he had the president’s endorsement.
The winner will face Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones, who nearly defeated Hurd in 2018 in the state’s most competitive House district.
In the 24th District (Metro Dallas-Ft. Worth), Candace Valenzuela, a school board member in Carrollton-Farmers Branch, won the Democratic nomination and will face the Republican nominee, former Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne, in the race to succeed incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant, which Democrats are also targeting.
In the 31st District (Northern Austin suburbs), Donna Imam, an Austin computer engineer, won the Democratic runoff to face incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. John Carter, who is also on the Democrats’ target list.