Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Debra Medina: Ready to Mess with Texas

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Debra MedinaWhen it comes to successfully challenging the hegemony of the Republican establishment, this ain’t Debra Medina’s first rodeo. In fact, the up-and-coming Texas gubernatorial candidate who was once dismissed by the media as a particularly dark horse is an old hand at facing down the monied blue bloods that control many state Republican Party branches.

Before the commencement of the 2008 Republican Party of Texas state convention, Medina sued the Texas GOP to certify that the meeting would be held in accordance with the Texas Election Code. The suit was dismissed due to a question of appropriate jurisdiction, but the party wasn’t happy with a technical victory and demanded that the judge award them $14,000 for attorney fees. Medina appealed the granting of attorneys fees to the First Court of Appeals, and in January 2010, the lower court's ruling was overturned and the appellate bench ruled that the award of attorneys fees was improper and the case was dismissed. You can’t say Debra Medina is afraid of a good fight.
 
Thanks to a recent appearance on the Glenn Beck Radio Show, Medina is embroiled in another brouhaha. During an interview on February 11, 2010, Beck, a self-proclaimed conservative, sweet-talked Medina and then mused whether she was a “9/11 truther” (one who believes that the U.S. government was complicit in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001). In her admirable straightforward manner, Medina replied that “some very good questions have been raised in that regard” and that she has “not seen all of the evidence there." (To hear exactly what she said, we have included below a YouTube recording of her remarks.)



Predictably, Medina’s Establishment opponents in the upcoming March 2 GOP gubernatorial primary wasted no time in attacking her understanding, and by implication, her qualifications. Incumbent Governor (and country-club conservative) Rick Perry said, “Today’s comments were an insult to the thousands of Americans who lost loved ones on Sept. 11 and the military men and women who are overseas protecting our country.” Not wanting to miss the chance to pile on, the similarly opportunistic and paragon of elitism, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, wailed, “I know exactly who was responsible for the horrific attacks on Sept. 11 — Al Qaeda terrorists who declared war on America. To suggest otherwise is an affront to the men and women who are sacrificing their lives to root out the terrorists in Afghanistan and around the globe.”

There’s little wonder that these two Establishment darlings have turned their sights on Debra Medina and tried landing some good kicks when they thought she was down. They attacked because they know that Debra Medina is not down in one place where it really counts — the polls. As reported in The New American, Debra Medina’s campaign for the restoration of constitutional principles and her support of the Tenth Amendment is gaining momentum and her once-distant hopes for an upset are growing larger and larger in the rearview mirrors in Perry and Hutchison’s limousines.

Immediately after the Glenn Beck interview, the recording of the show went viral on YouTube and Medina’s campaign released a press statement disavowing any 9/11-conspiracy beliefs.  Never one to cower and run away with her tail between her legs, however, later that same day Medina told a local Victoria, Texas TV station that she felt questioning the 9/11 Commission's final report was as legitimate as questioning whether President Obama was actually born in the United States.
 
It might be a matter of Medina’s own birth that informs much of her political viewpoint and her broad appeal among Lone Star conservatives. Debra Medina was born in 1962 on a farm in Beeville, Texas, near the source of the Arkansas River. Her rural upbringing seems to have instilled within Medina a forthrightness and self-confident drive that have served her well in her personal endeavors, both as a registered nurse and a small business owner. On the family ranch where she was raised, Medina’s responsibilities to her family precluded her from many of the extracurricular activities typically enjoyed by other teenagers. Her parents did permit her to participate in two after-school activities, but not before the butter was churned, the cows and goats were fed, and the daily requirements of a working farm were met. Medina learned firsthand on her family’s farm how to prioritize and how, at the end of the day, hard work was its own reward.
 
Debra Medina, although a breath of fresh air in the often-staid atmosphere of Republican politics, is not a political neophyte. She began her political activism in the 1990s, first by serving as the chairman of Wharton County Republican Party and later as the Interim State Coordinator for the Campaign for Liberty, the organization founded by Texas Representative Ron Paul to disseminate the congressman’s dedication to principles of sound constitutional government and individual liberty. Medina’s association with and personal espousal of Congressman Paul’s brand of conservative constitutionalism is a faithful indication of her genuine devotion to the “preservation of our constitutional republic” (Medina’s own words in answer to one of Glenn Beck’s queries as to her motives).
 
Republicans in Texas have a rare and treasured opportunity to cast a vote for someone whose record and rhetoric unmistakably buttress her claims to true constitutionalist bona fides. Polls responses are not ballots, however, and Debra Medina is still considered a long shot to become governor of Texas. But as Texans know very well, where there is a will there’s a way, and undoubtedly many constitutionalists across the country will be watching and praying that despite the famous slogan, Debra Medina does indeed “mess with Texas” (at least with the Republican Establishment) and pulls off a victory for republican (with a small "r") government and wins the primary election on March 2.

Photo of Debra Medina: AP Images

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