28.5.05

Subterfuge, Chicanery and RC Cola: The Ballad Of The Cynic

Last evening we were discussing Wright and RTFA over a few cold RC Cola's outside the local Stop'n'Rob.

At some point a friend, a veteran broadcaster in these parts (you'd know his name) advanced a theory on the flurry of activity these past several days.

Allow us to begin with a warning. To say that Al (not his real name) is given to occasional cynicism would be like saying that Homer Simpson kinda likes donuts. That McDonald's has been known to sell a hamburger here and there. That Bill Gates has made a little money in software. Okay, you get the idea.

As we recall the conversation went something like this:

"Do you think this is for real," Al asked, "or do you think that all of this is just an end run by a cabal comprised of the rich and powerful?"

"How do you mean?"

"Well, in my experience these Congressional dealings are seldom what they appear to be on the surface," he said.

"There is no limit to the suberfuge these guys will employ to accomplish their goal without actually letting the voters in on the game.

"Conspiracy theories are bunk, but this is different because it wouldn't technically be a conspiracy.

"It really just what is known on The Hill as 'hiding the agenda'.

We asked, "Yeah, so what's your point?"

"I think that it is highly likely that Hensarling and Johnson are working WITH Granger, Marchant and Barton. Even Sessions is involved.

"I think the six of them got together over at Barton's well-appointed office in the Rayburn building and formulated a plan. They knew that someone was going to file a resolution and that it would be in their interest for a Texan or Texans to do it rather than someone from a far-flung state with a consituency wanting non-stop Southwest service into Dallas.

"All six drew straws for their roles in this sleight-of-hand and here's how it went. Hensarling and Johnson drew the short straws and they were assigned the task of introducint the Right to Fly Act. The other four drew the long straws and it was their job to come out against it.

"Now, Sessions was just through a bitter and contentious fight with Martin Frost so he has a political need to make nice with Frost loyals. To cozy up with them. He was assigned the job of acting as the peacemaker, the guy who would bring the fighting sides together in compromise.

"More easily said than done," we said, "Frost may have been a liberal Democrat but at least he appeared to have a clue. Sessions comes off as a frat boy who got lucky by winning office in the first place. Had Frost run his campaign a bit differently he might have joined Chet Edwards as another who beat redistricting."

"Maybe so, probably not. The point here is that Sessions has to make nice with the district, and fast. The next primary is less than a year away.

"So this group formulated their plan and the goal of that plan is to keep Wright exactly as it stands."

"Seems sorta complicated already," we said.

"Oh, it is. But no more complicated than most of the other back-room deals made up there.

"Consider that they are all Republicans and the GOP has a firm grasp on Texas politics right now. Are they going to divide the delegation over free markets? No. Would they risk a division over lower fares when their airfare, whatever it may cost, is already paid for by us? Absolutely not."

"Hold on," we said, "I know that some of these people are corrupt as can be. Especially Barton. He's only in it for the money. Granger and Marchant represent areas whose stock rises and falls in tandem with that of DFW so they would be expected to oppose anything that might endanger the big airport.

"But Hensarling is from the other side of the Metroplex. So is Johnson and we are more inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt when he talks about fighing for freedom because he is a highly decorated war hero and former Viet Nam POW," we said.

"We have trouble questioning his motives because he has given more to this nation than we will ever give. We just don't feel right questioning the motives of Sam Johnson."

"I understand and respect that point of view. But that was then, and this is now. Don't ever forget this. He is now a Player, and in the game it pays to have all of us thinking exactly what you said. We must not forget that. But you digress so back to my theory.

"All of these Reps come out with their respective positions and put on a fine show for the press and the public. Six months or a year down the line the proposal is killed by Barton. At that point Hensarling and Johnson can say, 'We're from Texas and we tried. Mr. Sessions has convinced us to work with our fellow Republicans in keeping the economic engine in north Texas a viable entity. Therefore it is not to be,' and at that point everyone is satisfied that the effort was made. Then the issue goes away.

"At least it goes away from the public eye. Meantime the deals are still being made, but deals that will NOT result in the repeal of Wright.

"No, now the real dealmaking begins in earnest toward the one goal they sought the entire time: Moving the entire Southwest operation to DFW."

"But, Al, Southwest has made it abundantly clear they are interested in no such action."

"So they say. We've heard Kelleher's statements over the past few days, but chances are he's in on it too.

"Think about it. What interest would Unca Herb have in getting Joe Barton's panties in a wad? How would that be a postitive move for Unca Herb when he knows he'll be going back to Barton in the future on other issues? It wouldn't and therefore Herb is not going to offend the criminal from Ennis. No, to get things done he has to make nice with Joe.

"And that is exactly what is happening here.

"If the lot of them can point to the unsuccessful attempt to repeal Wright, and then point to the inevitable battles down the road, they might be able to appropriate the necessary funds and use their political capital to move Southwest to DFW, in its entirety, as long as special monetary considerations are given to Southwest.

"Lower gate and landing fees, with a sunset clause on those, of course. Free construction inside gate areas. And a healthy, taxpayer-funded cash payout to Southwest for their trouble.

"Convince me that that wouldn't make Unca Herb happy."

We admitted that we could do no such thing and that parts of his theory made perfect sense.

"It ALL makes perfect sense ya dim bulb," Al said, "because people these days are only too happy to put their blind faith in the government. Its easier for them to just say (in a mocking, simpleton tone), 'Government good. Voting bad. The government knows best and we should listen,'

"The voters, or more specifically that minority of the registered that actually take the time to cast a ballot, have been beaten into submission by these power-hungry bastards on The Hill. They are ready to believe whatever they are told. And meantime these guys can pursue their plan in private and none of us are ever the wiser."

As we drained the last of our soda and took the final bites of our Moon Pie we told Al that it was nothing if not a provocative argument.

As we headed for home, we decide that we're not ready to buy into it, however. Not yet.

If we lose the hope that there are at least some MOC's that are actually acting in the interests of their consitiuents, and in the grander scheme freedom and the American way, we might lose all hope and find ourselves living in a primitive 10' x 12' one-room cabin in Montana sending questionable packages to those in places of power.

And we just cannot do that. Not without some proof to back it up.

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