Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Does Courage lack courage?

The first candidate at which this blog will look in regard to these questions will be John Courage. Mr. Courage was the Democratic candidate for TX-21 before the redistricting, and if I recall correctly (the information is no longer on his webpage) he easily received enough signatures to requalify for the ballot without paying the filing fee. The Democratic party establishment has rallied around Mr. Courage (which is no surprise, given that the only other Democrat in the race is perennial also-ran Gene Kelly).

I assumed that Mr. Courage was all for openness and dialogue; this was based on this post from his blog slamming incumbent Lamar Smith for closing a public meeting when Mr. Courage and his supporters arrived. So, I thought Mr. Courage would be happy to articulate his positions, especially given his personal passion for education. Unfortunately, Mr. Courage waited a week and then finally declined to answer the questions. So much for openness. His communications director directed me to his blog and his webpage. Quite frankly, if I had found all the answers I wanted, I wouldn't have needed to send the questions.

With that being said, a study of Mr. Courage's website yielded the following information:

Fiscally: Mr. Courage wants to keep Social Security and Medicare solvent. He wants a prescription drug program "that actually works for our seniors". (That means a much larger one than the boondoggle President Bush signed.) He's big on veterans' benefits and the environment, and he "is committed to develop a real plan for American energy self sufficiency". (That means he doesn't have one now.)

Foreign policy/Iraq/War on Terror/National Security: Says "the United States cannot be the policeman for the world." He also says protecting our borders should be the primary aim. Couldn't tell what that is saying about immigration, since from what I can tell, he never once mentions it on his site. Maybe if we ignore it, it'll go away...

Differences from Other Candidates: He concentrates solely on Mr. Smith, assuming, most likely correctly, that the two of them will be the top vote getters. He's attacked Mr. Smith for not supporting a direct vote on the annual Congressional COLA, and also for his sitting on the ethics committee when it appeared Tom DeLay might be brought before it. His website mentions Lamar Smith's name possibly more than his own.

Education: Fix No Child Left Behind, have smaller class sizes, and pay teachers more. Those are all nice enough, but he doesn't really offer any way to pay for all this. And really, what exactly does fixing NCLB involve, anyway? Somehow I'm thinking it involves more federal government control.

I do want to thank Meredith of "Team Courage" for taking the time to talk with me, even though her boss wouldn't. More on TX-21 in later entries.