Sep 2, 2008

Coming to Play (Philip's New Client)

Philip R. Klein's latest article on the Southeast Texas Political Review contains so many errors and so much confusion that I hardly know where to begin.  I suppose this is to be expected from someone who claimed Fred Thompson would be the next president of the United States.

After reading Philip's latest train wreck, I was reminded of big headlines proclaiming, "27,000 Cases Refilled!" Apparently, Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton is the latest client of Klein Political Relations and Bait Shop.

For whatever - Hunter is coming to play with the big dogs. Let's see if he can kill a giant.

Philip R. Klein is only person I can think of who would actually call Mike Hamilton "a giant." Tuffy is running for reelection to his State Representative District 19 seat. His past terms were undistinguished.

He's challenged by Larry Hunter, a former Vidor mayor and attorney.  Most readers will realize that Hamilton's apparently in big trouble if Philip is pitching in - I hope Tuffy checked Philip's references with Bugs Coe before writing that check.

Anyway, let's start here:

Hunter is a left wing [sic] democrat [sic] trying to throw money at the unions and pick a irritant [sic'] part of a road project and shove it down Hamilton's throat.

As I've pointed out on numerous occasions, even Ronald Reagan was a "left wing [sic] democrat [sic]" from Philip R. Klein's perspective on the far right of lunacy. Actually, Hunter is not the "left wing [sic] democrat [sic]" that Klein makes him out to be, as shown by Hunter's tenure as Mayor of the City of Vidor.  He actually reduced the size of the city's government and cut the city's expenditures significantly. Unfortunately, Philip didn't do his homework. 

As another example, Larry Hunter is one of the few attorneys in Southeast Texas that has argued a case before the Supreme Court, in favor of restoring 2nd Amendment Rights to Tommy Bean. If you're unfamiliar with the case, you should read up on it - Hunter argued from a position that most people wouldn't expect from a true "left wing [sic] democrat [sic]," as Klein claims.

As another example of Philip's confusion, he misses the boat entirely with his argument on the Trans-Texas Corridor. After pirating Hunter's position from his campaign website here withoug properly citing his source, Philip goes off the tracks and ties this to drilling for oil for some unknown reason:

The Democrats - to which Mr. Hunter is one - says do not drill now. Go to alternative fuels. Gas prices are through the roof because of the issues of imports and consumption. The American people lower their consumption of fuel. Actual hard gallons decrease in purchase. And that little thing called the "gas tax" (50 cents per gallon), well....that fund is based upon how many gallons are used by you and me the taxpayer. When we stop buying........(finish the sentence). Now the projects that were on the books have to be cut back. Meaning Orange County?

I've previously debunked Philip's ignorance of the economic forces that shape the price of gas here, but so far he's afraid to go head-to-head on the issue because he's misinformed. As an example, consider that Philip doesn't even know how much taxes on gas per gallon are - it's not "50 cents a gallon" as Klein claims; it's 38.4 cents per gallon: a federal tax of 18.4 cents and a state gas tax of 20 cents per gallon. What an idiot.

None of this has anything to do whatsoever with the Trans-Texas Corridor. Rather, it's the largest land grab through eminent domain in U.S. history. This is one of the very things to which Phillip objects in the Downtown Beaumont restoration project. I'd love to hear Philip explain why confiscating a few acres in downtown Beaumont is wrong, but confiscating thousands of square miles of productive farm land and moving them from the tax rolls to the public sector is just fine.

I loved this statement from Klein's article:

One of the oldest tricks in the political book is the end around. Meaning - sound like something you are not. A misdirection play of sorts.

Philip's obviously trying to misdirect us into believing this gibberish makes sense.

This brings us to Philip's first point:

Do what? Under funded schools? Bad old Mike took tax money away from those good old school districts? That is an issue?

Here is the underlying message to the teachers union. We are going to pay you more. Give me money for my campaign and I will vote to give you more money no matter if you are a good teacher or a bad teacher.

Bottom line - throw money at a "perceived" problem. When there is no problem. A typical left wing liberal democratic stance.

Hunter is correct, the State of Texas provides only a third of school funding, but residents complain because their property taxes are too high.  Philip has repeatedly argued that spending money for education is "throwing money" at a perceived problem, yet the Texas has been wrestling with this issue of funding education for at least 15 years - I'm sure most readers, other than Philip R. Klein, are aware of the many legal issues in recent years.

Here are a few facts about education in Texas that happened under Hamilton's watch over the past six years or so, taken from the State Comptroller's website:

  • Texas is #49 in verbal SAT scores in the nation and #46 in average math SAT scores.
  • Texas is #36 in the nation in high school graduation rates.
  • Texas is #6 in the nation in student growth.

Is there a problem?  Philip doesn't think so, but I do. 

Spending money to fix a problem isn't inherently wrong if we're getting an ample return on our investment.   Unfortunately, this isn't happening right now. Philip blames the teachers and unsuccessfully attempts to connect this to Larry Hunter:

Here is the underlying message to the teachers union. We are going to pay you more. Give me money for my campaign and I will vote to give you more money no matter if you are a good teacher or a bad teacher.

However, a quick look at the real figures tell us all we need to know about there the real problem lies:

  • Texas is #6 in the nation in student growth. The general student population in Texas public schools grew by 11.1% between school years 1999 and 2005, with the largest percent of growth seen among low income and minority children.
  • Between school years 1999 and 2005, the number of central administrators employed by Texas public schools grew by 32.5%, overall staffing in public schools grew by 15.6%, while the number of teachers grew only 13.3%.

Readers can draw their own conclusions, but I think Hamilton and the rest our Texas Legislature has done very little to fix these real problems.  I'd love to debate this issue with Philip, but he's too ignorant of the real issues to defend his own wingnut opinions intelligently.  

Free Advice to Mike Hamilton: Get a receipt.

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