Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pete Sessions taunts protester

Pete Sessions may cut and run from a debate, but he's awfully brave taunting a lone protester in a rally of 100 Republicans, flanked by Kay Bailey Hutchison. From Dallas Morning News:
The diminutive young man clutching a giant Rick Noriega for U.S. Senate sign had some serious pipes.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison enjoyed support from a crowd at Fretz Park Library in Far North Dallas, where she gave an impromptu speech.

"Change! Change! Change! Change!" he barked endlessly ...Another woman grabbed his sign. "Don't touch me!" the protester screamed back before dialing 911 on his BlackBerry.

Mr. Sessions, R-Dallas, then joined the melee, taunting: "Aren't you glad your mommy and daddy take care of you? You couldn't hold a job if you had to."
Hmmmm...interesting comment by Pete Sessions. The only way for a candidate to know if a single protester is out of work and supported by mom and dad is if the protester was the candidate's own son! But seriously, what an immature comment.

And, really--a "diminutive man" has the lung power to drown out Kay Bailey Hutchison in an open air rally? C'mon, people, how hard is it to set up an amp and a mic for Senator Hutchison? Are Republicans that hard up for cash that they can't spring for a portable sound system for just such an occasion?

One protester at the rally had this to say in the comment section of the story:
I attended the rally at Fretz park yesterday morning and was verbally assaulted by the Republican women. While quietly holding my signs for Noriega and Roberson, one especially loud, angry woman continually shouted at me that I had no right to be there. "Go to your own rally" she said over and over. "We don't go to your rallies." I replied that I had a free speech right to be in a public park and protest and told her that if she did attend a Democratic rally, we would not be rude to her. She continued to shout at me and called me a variety of non complimentary names ... like low class and stupid. This kind of angry aggressive behavior resulted in at least 6 police officers to show up by the end of the event.

While I was quietly discussing free speech rights with one of the officers, this same woman approached, again yelling that we had no right to be there. The officer responded that "you are the one creating a disturbance. You need to move away!"

I can only say that I have NEVER seen this type of behavior at any Democratic rally and I have been to many! Republicans must be really scared for them to resort in this type of behavior!
Wow. "Go to your own rally," huh? Any time any politicians gather, it's our rally. What part of "We, the People" do these Republican women not understand?

Friday, October 24, 2008

SessionsWatch PSA: "Bailout"

The following is our 2008 PSA called "Bailout," about how Pete Sessions didn't listen when voters called asking him not to vote for the bailout, and was one of only 65 House Republicans to vote for the original "blank check" bailout, with no provisions for oversight:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vote early in Dallas, starting this week

Just a reminder that early voting has started in Texas. In Dallas County, you may vote at any early voting location in the country from October 20-31. A list of early voting locations is available at Dallas County Elections

SessionsWatch is non-partisan and does not endorse candidates, we just think TX-32 deserves better representation than we're getting from Pete Sessions.

Democrats in TX-32 who vote a straight-party ballot will automatically cast a vote for Sessions' Democratic Party opponent, Eric Roberson.

Republicans and Independents who don't want to cast a vote for Pete Sessions may choose between the Democratic Candidate or the Libertarian candidate, Alex Bischoff, or you may choose to skip the race altogether.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pete Sessions' strip club fundraiser causes problems for Republicans in Alabama

Pete Sessions' notorious strip-club fundraiser is back in the news again, this time in Alabama, causing problems for a Republican running for Alabama's 2nd congressional district. Apparently, Jay Love received $2,500 from the Las Vegas fundraiser; his opponent, Democrat Bobby Bright, is using it against him in a campaign ad, challenging Love's Christian values:
"For some people, conserva­tive Christian values are just words," Bright said in the line he recorded. "You know what? They're more than just words to me."
Gee, that sounds a lot like what Dallas conservatives said when the story first broke. As it turned out, the fundraiser had less to do with scantily clad women than online gambling, which is also a big problem for Jay Love:
Love and the Alabama Re­publican Party oppose gambling in Alabama. The state lawmaker said he is adamantly opposed to gambling.
At this writing, The Democratic Party is trying to shame Jay Love into returning the money.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dallas Morning News endorses Pete Sessions

Pete Sessions won the endorsement of Dallas Morning News today, no big surprise. Dallas Morning News has been a big cheerleader of the bailout plan and praised Pete Sessions for supporting it right from the start, when it was nothing more than a $700 billion check to Henry Paulson with not one scrap of oversight:
Considering the distaste many conservatives had for the recent financial rescue plan passed by Congress, it's admirable that Rep. Pete Sessions grasped the seriousness of the problem, bucked pressure from many of his allies and voted for the $700 billion package.
All right, how many Sessions Watchers called his office asking him not to vote for that thing? Right-wingers asked him, left-wingers asked--just about every organization from both sides of the aisle sent out emails asking us to write Congress to oppose the bailout, but Pete Sessions was one of only 65 House Republicans to vote for it.

Dallas Morning News goes on to praise Pete Sessions for moving towards the political center by supporting both Rudy Giuliani's presidential bid and a guest-worker program, which won't win him much support from his conservative base:
Mr. Sessions has shown other signs of moving from hard-liner toward the political center. He endorsed Rudy Giuliani for the Republican presidential nomination, for example. And he now says he wants to press ahead soon with immigration reform, including a guest-worker program and legalization provisions...
Fortunately, readers can now comment directly to the editorial page online, instead of just hoping your letter to the editor gets published. Make your voice heard on the comment blog at the bottom of the editorial.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pete Sessions "cuts and runs" after debate with Eric Roberson

Probably the most difficult thing about being a SessionsWatcher is actually seeing Pete Sessions in person. It's kinda like hanging out in the rain forest with binoculars, trying to catch a glimpse of a rare bird that only shows up every two years, then flits away into the night.

After last night's debate--which only lasted half an hour--Sessions made a hasty retreat out the door of the elementary school cafetorium, instead of hanging around with constituents, enjoying cookies and coffee and listening to the other debates of the evening. Granted, it wasn't an ideal format; it was a town hall meeting, with the congressional debate followed by the county sheriff debate and a Texas house district race, but the whole thing was over in under two hours. Congress is not in session at the moment, there's no urgent business that needs attention. Would it have hurt Pete Sessions so terribly to hang out with us for a couple of hours, pose for pictures with constituents, shake hands, work the room--you know, stuff that politicians do?

Democratic challenger Eric Roberson, on the other hand, stayed through the other debates and spent time afterward answering people's questions, calming their anxieties about these tough economic times. If he'd done nothing more than that, he would have won the debate, but he also bested the 6th-term incumbent in answering questions from constituents. As an attendee posted this morning in the comment box:
Anonymous said...

I attended the debate yesterday and I must say that Eric won a decisive victory. Pete was out of touch with the audience... Go Eric Roberson!

October 9, 2008 5:04 AM
That just about says it all--our congressman is out of touch.

Last night's debate was co-sponsored by the Republican and Democratic precinct chairs of a precinct at the far north end of the district, which voted 68.7% Republican in 2006 (75.9% Republican in 2004). So it's not like we asked him to come all the way down to my "scary" neighborhood 25 miles to the south where people vote predominately Democratic. He was in friendly territory, where usually the candidate has to do nothing more than say "I'm the Republican" to get people's vote.

But times have changed since 2006.

On Wednesday, the Dow closed at 9,258; those of use who have retirement plans received our statements in the mail this week. Some of those envelopes remain unopened on our desks, because we're afraid to see how far our savings have plummeted.

The mix of people seemed to be fairly evenly divided politically, though it was difficult to tell from audience response, which favored Eric Roberson. People are scared, they want to know how our economy got into such a mess, what our representatives are going to do to fix it, and what they're going to do to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Before the debate, organizers distributed 3x5 cards to attendees in advance of the debate; we wrote our questions, which were collected and taken to the two precinct chairs moderating the debate. The candidates began with 4-minute opening statements, then proceeded to answer questions chosen by the moderators, who took equal turns posing the questions.

Pete Sessions lost the audience with his opening statement. He began with telling us his name, reminding us how long he's been in office, and said he went to D.C. to "grow the economy and provide jobs," a statement which received a rumble of groans and one "boo" from a man in the audience. He didn't even stop to thank the debate sponsors before launching into a partisan statement:
The first vote in the House of Representatives is to elect the Speaker of the House, so you're either voting for me, a Republican, or Nancy Pelosi...
More grumbles from the audience. No one wants to hear that stuff. We want to know if we're going to have any savings left for retirement, if there are going to be foreclosures in our neighborhood, if our favorite local coffee shop is going to be there in the morning when we stop by for donuts and coffee before work, if our job is going to still be there when we get to work, or if we'll find the doors chained shut.

No one cares about Nancy Pelosi.

But Pete Sessions ignored the groans in the audience and just plowed right ahead with canned Republican talking points about cutting taxes and creating jobs; he berated Democrats for "tax increase after tax increase," giving no specifics, seemingly unaware that Republicans were in control of the House and Senate--hence, the budget--until January of 2007. He concluded with a statement I couldn't quite follow, how we should cut taxes and have more money for us instead of the government. I didn't understand that, because tax money is our money and we're the government--as in "we, the people."

Eric Roberson looked relaxed and happy to be there, welcoming the chance to talk to people in the district. He began by thanking the debate co-sponsors--which Sessions failed to do--and started with his biography, how he graduated from Richardson High School before serving in the Navy and returning back to the district to start a family of his own. He spoke briefly about his military service, and how the GI bill helped him attend college. Roberson, while respectfully referring to Pete Sessions as a "great guy: with whom he has some "disagreements," launched into some obvious differences between himself and the incumbent, namely Pete Sessions' vote against the G.I. Bill. Roberson went on to explain that he was raised in a Republican household, but that "extremists" in the party have driven away moderate people like himself. Eric Roberson's just about the only speaker I've heard who can say the word "extremist" in a way that doesn't sound like a radical. With a smile on his face, he said it with an attitude of jovial camaraderie guys have when they're hanging out together, saying something like, "C'mon, Pete, you brag about being at the far right of the Republican Party and I disagree with you on that." Roberson was interrupted several times for applause, as he talked directly to constituents about how government should work on behalf of us, our kids, our parents, and how politicians should be loyal to the people in the district, not to the President or to the political party.

Following opening statements, the moderators read questions from the audience, ranging from the economy to term limits for members of Congress.

On taxes, Pete Sessions advocated "across the board" tax cuts and delivered more standard conservative fare on lowering corporate taxes.

On the economy, Pete Sessions actually blamed "community organizers" for the sub prime mortgage crisis, implying that organizations like ACORN actually write NINJA ("no income, no job, no assets") loans.

Okay, I have to take a pause here and interject something on that topic. I almost laughed out loud when he blamed ACORN and "community organizers," the latest in a long line of Republican-fabricated boogeymen, frequently employed to scare us into voting for them instead of for our own best interest. Mortgage brokers were talking people into lying about income to get loans, and I know a little about it from a friend, who's employed as a teacher. A well-respected mortgage broker tried to talk my friend into lying about her income to qualify for a bigger loan. This broker wasn't the "liberal wacko community organizer" who exists only in Pete Sessions' imagination, but a nicely dressed professional, working in posh upscale office building--probably a Republican. My friend told me about the meeting afterward, about telling the broker that she wanted what she could afford and didn't think lying about her income sounded like the right thing to do. My friend ended up walking away, deciding not to buy a house after all. But how many other people were taken in by the nice office, the expensive suit, the professional sales job; how many people bought the lie that they could do better than just a "starter home," that they could have a "nice" house with every kid in his or her own room?

One person who promoted this type of loan was Pete Sessions' favorite president, George W. Bush. Check out this video of President Bush saying that "deserving families with bad credit histories" should be able to get "just as nice a house as anybody else," then tell me he's not part of the problem!

But I digress.

Eric Roberson countered that we don't need "across the board" cuts in taxes, we need to take a smart look at everything, cutting taxes where it will do the most good in stimulating the economy and leaving other taxes as they are, instead of coming in with a "one size fits all" tax plan.

The final question from the audience concerned a constitutional amendment on term limits for members of Congress. This question was read by the Republican precinct chair, and she got a laugh from the audience as soon as she said the words "term limits." For a few seconds, it sounded like we were at a comedy club!

Pete Sessions said that he supports term limits and has voted for them (I seem to remember him talking about term limits about 10 years ago, but a google-search of "pete sessions term limits" didn't yield much of anything).

Eric Roberson said that he does favor term limits, but would want members of Congress to have enough time in office so the people have experienced members representing them, saying that if there was constant turnover in the House, the people back home wouldn't be very well served.

After both candidates had made their closing statements, as the audience applauded and the moderators thanked them for being there, Pete Sessions slipped out the back. "He's leaving!" said a man across the aisle from me. "He's going out the back door...come out this way," he said, indicating a door behind the seating area. Actually, to be fair, the main entrance to the cafetorium was the one off the parking lot, where we all came in, and where Pete Sessions headed out after the debate. But the visual effect was the same; it looked like he was "sneaking out the back" to avoid talking to us. The applause hadn't even stopped before Pete Sessions was out of sight.

"Was it something we said?" another debate attendee joked, to no one in particular. Another laugh from others in the audience.

Well, I can't blame Pete Sessions from leaving--we didn't have the kind of venue he likes. No strippers, no high stakes poker game in the back room, just coffee, cookies and a lot of questions about what he's been doing for us for the past 12 years. Where's the fun in that?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pete Sessions to debate Eric Roberson tomorrow

My apologies to SessionsWatchers for the late notice, but I just got the email myself, courtesy of Park Cities Democrats. This will be a town hall format, so if you have questions about the bailout, now's your chance to ask Pete Sessions about that vote:

Eric Roberson and Pete Sessions will be appearing together Wednesday evening

Congressional candidates to conduct a joint town hall

DATE: October 8, 2008
TIME: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
LOCATION: Spring Creek Elementary School
7667 Roundrock 75248
(near Meandering Way and Arapaho)


This is a golden and rare opportunity to hear and see the differences between Eric Roberson and his opponent. We also need to be there to give physical evidence to Eric and the media of his support in the district.

Get your grumbling conservative friends and neighbors to come decide for themselves which candidate they trust to deal with our economic situation and to make ethical decisions. The candidates will take questions from the audience!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pete Sessions casts "yes" vote for revised bailout

Despite phone calls and emails from constituents asking him to vote against the bailout, Pete Sessions voted yes to the revised bailout plan (see H.R. 1424, Roll No. 681). If anyone has an explanation of why he voted for this bill--other than to support President Bush--please post it in the comments box. Meanwhile, let's see what Ron Paul (TX-14) has to say about it:
Madame Speaker, only in Washington could a bill demonstrably worse than its predecessor be brought back for another vote and actually expect to gain votes. That this bailout was initially defeated was a welcome surprise, but the power-brokers in Washington and on Wall Street could not allow that defeat to be permanent. It was most unfortunate that this monstrosity of a bill, loaded up with even more pork, was able to pass...

...The money for this bailout does not just materialize out of thin air. The entire burden will be borne by the taxpayers, not now, because that is politically unacceptable, but in the future...

...As usual, Congress has show itself to be reactive rather than proactive. For years, many people have been warning about the housing bubble and the inevitable bust. Congress ignored the impending storm, and responded to this crisis with a poorly thought-out piece of legislation that will only further harm the economy. We ought to be ashamed.
For the entire statement, visit Ron Paul's website.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pete Sessions explains bailout to Republican constituents only

I was surfing the 'net, trying to figure out why Pete Sessions voted for the for the bailout plan (See Roll No. 674) and ran across this blog post:
I live in the 32nd Congressional District of Texas. I am represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Pete Sessions, a Republican (for better or for worse). Recently, Congressman Sessions sent an email to me and other constituents in the 32nd District giving us greater detail on the Republican counter-proposal to the current Bush-Paulson-Bernanke proposal asking Congress for unlimited authority over $700 billion to buy bad debts from Wall Street firms at U.S. taxpayer expense. At the end of his email, Congressman Sessions invited me to share my comments on the counter-proposal with his office in Washington, D.C...
Hmmmm...that's funny. I didn't get an email from Pete Sessions asking for my opinion on the plan, did you? He certainly has my email address, since I did express my opinion to his office on this bill--as well as many other bills. But apparently, Pete Sessions only serves half the constituency, leaving out Democrats, Green Party, Libertarian and non-ID'd voters. If he really wanted to communicate with constituents on an important vote, wouldn't he do a robo-call to the whole district? Wouldn't he collect email address from everybody who's ever sent him an email?