Friday, November 30, 2012
Playing to the Tea Party | Casey's Last Word
Last Spring during the Republican primary, Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett ran a 30-second TV ad that features a picture of him reading the Bible to a small girl I assume is his daughter.
If you’re a disciple of Dr. James Dobson – whose endorsement leads off the spot – you will be comforted.
If not, you may be alarmed that Willett is touting the praise of a man who not only opposes gay marriage, but also wives working outside the home.
A man who believes both evolution and global warming are hoaxes.
A man whose handle on reality is such that on the eve of the 2008 election, he issued a “letter from a Christian” speculating that if Obama were elected, by 2012 we’d see the end of the Boy Scouts, Christian schools, adoption agencies, home schooling and – I’m not making this up – talk radio.
Dobson also wrote that an Obama presidency might well lead to Iran’s nuclear bombing of Tel Aviv by 2010, the conquering of Eastern Europe by Russia and the end of health care for Americans older than 80 – all during Obama’s first term.
Then Willett presents Attorney General Greg Abbott suggesting that Willett should be elected “as a judicial remedy to Obamacare.”
I’m not sure what role the Texas Supreme Court might play in applying the law as approved by the U.S. Supreme Court, but the ad makes it appear that Justice Willett is a soldier in this battle, one who has made up his judicial mind without the benefit of hearing from the potential litigants.
This is the sort of far-right conservative rhetoric we’ve come to expect in the Republican primary – even from judges.
But what makes it worth noting is Willett’s charming response to the Express-News’ Peggy Fikac when she asked him about criticism of it in a national journal.
“Hate the game, don't hate the player,” Willett told her in an email.
“Our imperfect system requires judicial candidates to put on their game face, get over their delicate sensibilities, and run unabashedly the way Texas law defines them: as politicians.”
Willett faced a formidable opponent in the primary – one whom he barely defeated four years ago – and he needed to campaign accordingly.
That meant that his campaign “was 100% about appealing to conservatives. And knowing that the GOP primary electorate would have a robust Tea Party flavor, my singular goal was to appeal to hardcore Republican voters and activists.”
After the primary, bring out the Etch-a-Sketch.
As a judge, Willett assures us, he is solely about applying the law soberly to the facts.
My concern is that Willett also says that he wants to still be on the court when that little girl in his lap presents him with grandchildren.
To make that come true, won’t he (and the other justices, for that matter) have the next primary’s “robust Tea Party flavor” in his mouth as he writes his judicial opinions?