Common sense voting guide

One of the things I’ve learned over many years as a candidate for office and an observer of politics is that sometimes people choose how to vote for the weirdest reasons. I recall one of my colleagues in the House of Representative once telling me he was amazed at some of the reasons people gave him for their support. One, he said, voted for him because he had been her paperboy when he was 12 years old. Sounds a little weak, but I’ve found that it’s maybe a better reason than many people have given over the years.

It is my belief there are at least four critical factors to be considered when choosing to bestow your vote on a candidate for public office.The four reasons, in my opinion, are:

1. The history of the candidate or the party to whose philosophy he/she ascribes.

2. What are your major issues of concern as they affect your personal life? (Do you and the candidate share goals or other things in common?).

3. If the candidate has a history of voting or belongs to a group publicly announcing goals in an area of interest, what things appear to be most important to the candidate or the candidate’s party?

4. Are the candidate and the candidate’s public pronouncements, or those statements contained in the candidate’s promotional material, basically honest?Keeping in mind the above criteria, it boggles my mind to see everyday working folks, folks who live payday to payday, supporting Republicans at any level. People living on less than $200,000 a year should find it easy to see the Republican philosophy, political history and honesty in their campaign statements fail all four tests.

The Republican Party has little, if any history that they put forward in campaigns. On the contrary, about the only name Republicans dare to mention of their past presidents is Ronald Reagan. He is about all they have. I’ve yet to see a Republican run for office wanting to associate themselves with Herbert Hoover, author of the Great Depression; Richard Nixon or his vice-president, Spiro Agnew; or even George W. Bush. Republicans even ignore Dwight Eisenhower, who warned America to be wary of the military-industrial complex.

Rick Perry gave us his take on what was important during the last legislative session. It wasn’t improving education, or making higher education more accessible to young Texans; the items he listed as the most important issues of our time for Texas was voter identification, forced sonograms for women and outlawing so-called “sanctuary cities.”

According to recent reports, billionaires such as the Koch brothers (net worth, $50 billion) have provided approximately $300 million to Republican candidates. A homebuilder in Texas, the owner of a hospital chain and several oil and gas billionaires have contributed multiple millions to support candidates of their choice — almost always Republicans — even down to the level of school board and state representative elections. Ask yourself how much you have in common with Harold Simmons of Dallas, who has spent more than $10 million to elect candidates of his choice. He is a billionaire at least 10 times over and makes a large part of his money by importing radioactive waste into Texas for storage.

The final factor is whether or not the promises or statements contained in election material are fair and honest. Particularly at the national level, the Republican strategy and campaign rhetoric is replete with pure hypocrisy, if not out-and-out lies. Republicans nationally accused our president of job killing strategies. These come primarily from the national effort to protect our environment for future generations. Republicans point to the slow growth of the number of jobs since our president took office in the United States. The fact of the matter is we lost jobs the last year of George W. Bush’s administration at the rate of 7,000 per month. Every month Obama has been president, we have gained jobs, although not as many as George Bush was losing each month. Republicans insist on accusing Democrats of being “job killers.” Nobody seems to dwell on the fact that in Texas alone, the policies of the Republican Legislature in shortchanging our children $4 billion in public education has caused the layoff of more than 100,000 people just in the field of education. To me, that states very clearly who are the real job killers are in today’s economy.

Today Republicans wring their hands over spiraling national debt, but uttered not a word when George W. plunged us into two needless wars. They issued no protest when the Iraq War was done off the books, on credit, and millions wasted on Vice President Dick Cheney’s company. Where was the Republican outcry? In short, Republican administrations have a history of phoniness and hypocrisy.

Consider the important factors of voting selection and vote your own interests, not based on the million-dollar TV ads produced by professional hucksters.

Carl Parker has practiced law in Port Arthur since 1958. He is a 1958 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law. Elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1962 and the Senate in 1976, Parker continued to practice law while writing and sponsoring hundreds of bills that became laws relating to every aspect of life in Texas, including many regarding consumer safety. His e-mail is cap1934 [at] aol [dot] com.