If you didn’t believe me before when I told you that the Harris County Republican Party was in sad shape, the email that Chairman Jared Woodfill sent out blasting State Rep. Sarah Davis should clue you in.
First off, let’s get this out of the way: Sarah is a pro-choice Republican. She hasn’t shied away from her view as many other pro-choice Republicans have. Jared is anti-abortion, as are most Republicans.
So from the start we have an issue on which two people disagree. But as I keep getting reminded every time I mention abortion or even “social issues”, abortion is not an issue on which people can disagree respectfully inside the Republican Party. Thus sets the playing field.
On July 20th, an op-ed written by Sarah appeared in the Houston Chronicle. I presume that the purpose of the op-ed was to inform people of why she voted the way she did. However, the substance and tone of the op-ed was closer to an attack on all Republicans than it was a defense of her position. And that is a problem. Here is one reader’s description of the op-ed:
Well, she should be able to be herself without needing to sanctimoniously affect a superior stance to all others who vote differently. She attacked the entire R delegation of the entire Legislature saying only she votes truly. Silly, pompous , self-important, and rash.
That particular reader happens to be very close to a member of the legislature. So I called a couple of state reps and one state senator to get their views and they took the same position, that being that Sarah was grandstanding for her district at the expense of all other Republicans in the Legislature.
I suspect this view is the reason that Jared Woodfill sent out his email blast denouncing Sarah. Another view is that he was playing to his base because he is going to face a significant challenge of his own next year. Or that one of the powerful consultants in the party has a candidate that is going to challenge Sarah in the primary next year and that Jared was getting the ball rolling against her. Yet another view is that Jared is going to run against Sarah in the primary.
The only legitimate reason for Jared to send such an email would be pressure from other elected officials. And that would be a proper role for the chair of the party. If he had stuck to the issue at hand and not attacked Sarah, that is. Two wrongs don’t make a right and instead they simply amplify the problems that Jared has in running the county party.
Although I disagree with Sarah on the issue of abortion, what Jared said about her is false and slanderous. It is a sad day when people cannot have a sane discussion on any issue without resorting to name calling. Sarah is not “anti-life”. To call her “anti-life” dismisses her volunteer work at “The Rose”, her volunteer work at “The Pink Ribbons Project”, her volunteer work for the American Cancer Society, and her pro-bono work for poor and indigent women and children.
If you get past the attacks and sanctimonious, self-important tone of her op-ed, you’ll find well a well reasoned defense of her position. My guess is that most readers saw the title ascribed to the op-ed by Chronicle editors and were blinded to her substantive arguments. I expect that if Sarah had to do it all over again, she would let a few people on the opposite side of her view read it first – that would probably have removed most of the perceived attacks and perhaps the sanctimonious tone. And further, I’ll bet that the next time she submits an op-ed to the Chronicle or anywhere else, she makes certain that she gets to write the title.
As for Jared, well, like I said, it was perfectly legitimate for him to defend other legislators and the party platform. I hope that was the reason behind his email. I’m sure his base liked it as well. But the rest of us in Harris County have to be concerned with the level and tone of his attack on Sarah. Rather than use his missive to pull the party together, he widened the fissure and alienated a large group of potential Republican voters. 2014 is going to be a rough year for Harris County Republicans if we continue down this path and don’t turn this ship around.
Get more stuff like this
Subscribe to our mailing list and keep up with Harris County and Texas politics.
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.