Texas Politicians Can't Resist Pandering to Extremists

by Dan Quinn

It seems that Texas is filled with politicians competing with each other for the votes of right-wing extremists. The latest example of this came on Monday at a tea party meeting in the Fort Worth suburb of Bedford.

As the Texas Observer reports, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and his re-election opponents in next year’s Republican primary attended the event. A highlight of the evening was a lecture about the Islamic threat to America by Texas Eagle Forum President (and former Texas GOP chair) Cathie Adams. From the Observer:

Adams gave a stemwinder on how Islam — the religion of the “illiterate Arab, Mohammed” — threatens the American way of life. Adams’ pitch, that crypto-Muslims guiding American political life include such notables as Republican stalwart Grover Norquist and CIA Director John Brennan (who, it should be said, has helped cause the deaths of a great many non-secret Muslims,) received an awed and hushed reception, with several audience members visibly or audibly moved by the threat facing their country.

Adams has been promoting anti-Muslim hysteria and bigotry for quite some time now. (See here, for example.) But at least one of the GOP candidates for lieutenant governor also used the event to bolster his anti-Muslim cred with the tea party. When one audience member asked “how are we going to keep the Muslims out of Austin” (as if a Muslim horde is about to overrun the Lone Star State), Todd Staples — the state’s current agriculture commissioner and one of the GOP candidates for lieutenant governor — smiled:

“Boy, I tell you. I think they’re all concentrated and camped out down there. It’s a weird place.”

But maybe the most incendiary political rhetoric came from Dewhurst, who called for the impeachment of President Obama:

“This election is about protecting you and your freedoms, which are given to you by God, but which are being trampled on by Barack Obama right now. I don’t know about you, but Barack Obama ought to be impeached. Not only for trampling on our liberties, but what he did in Benghazi is just a crime.”

Speaking to the Observer later in the evening, Dewhurst claimed that President Obama had been able to watch live video of the September 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, an attack that left four Americans dead:

“That means that there was an overhead platform, probably a drone in the area. At least that’s what it tells me. And for not mobilizing some response to protect the ambassador and those three Americans is just outrageous to me. Just outrageous.”

On Tuesday PolitiFact Texas said Dewhurst’s claim that the White House had a live video feed of the attack as it happened “has been debunked for about a year” and called the claim “incorrect and ridiculous.”

In any case, Dewhurst isn’t the only Texas politician who wants the president impeached. Congressman Steve Stockman, a Houston-area Republican, is planning to distribute copies of a book calling for impeachment to all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. One of the book’s co-authors is a writer for the right-wing conspiracy website World Net Daily. Congressman Blake Farenthold, a Corpus Christi Republican, and Congressman Bill Flores, a Bryan Republican, have both said they also would like to see President Obama impeached.

Anything to get the votes of tea party activists and other political extremists, apparently.

Check our the full Texas Observer piece here.

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