That phrase that my father shared with me has stuck with me over the past few months, as I’ve endured being a part of a campaign that I really enjoy. Today, in the midst of professional campaign high, as far as being associated with the campaign, I got to experience the reality of that statement. In all honesty, I also got to experience that, at its worse, politics is also uncivilized warfare.
It seems that as a candidate I support garnered the local major newspaper’s endorsement (the Houston Chronicle, in this example) early this morning, the “uncivilized” portion leapt and researched campaign finance documents. Oh, to be fair, it was possibly also the announcement that The Honorable Sylvia Garcia, State Representative Jessica Farrar, and HISD Trustee Juliet Stipeche all endorsed Cargas well before this was posted, too, that caused the uncivilized portion to just go overboard. However, our opponent felt it necessary to take facts and answer them with hate and lies.
So, what I’m perplexed at, is why both the candidate and her Communications Director blogger think this is going to be a winning strategy. For one, the opponent has engaged in a strategy from day one in which she makes fun of Cargas supporters, including calling his wife, Dr. Dorina Papageourgiou, an illegal immigrant, because she has an accent. When called on it, she claims it’s a myth, a lie that the other party is making up to turn people against her. She said as much to me not five minutes before she turned around and made fun of me directly to my face, nearly four weeks ago, a fact I wasn’t going to bring up unless I had to. Apparently, I had to.
After today’s blog dropped, it’s going to be much harder for her to deny that she engages in a campaign of attacks, considering said blogger (*cough* Communications Director*cough*) sent out post cards to voters on her behalf:
Theorizing that the campaign paid not only for printing of those post cards, but also the labels, and the postage, one wonders yet again, where her Campaign Finance documents are? Misdirection only works so long. (I think it’s beginning to wear off now.) Because, while the Cargas campaign legally participates in full disclosure, something the other candidate continues to say she’s in support of, she fails routinely to participate in the act herself. I guess she’s above campaign finance laws.
It should be noted that attacks are where you go when you have no coherent structure on the issues: when you want to paint the other person as horrible as possible, so voters don’t look into you or your sordid background, so they don’t notice the lack of what you’re actually saying about issues that are important to this district, so they don’t notice how little you do actually know or that the source material you get that information from can sometimes be questionable at best.
Of course I could go on and address rumours, innuendo, and hate. I could also fight hate with fact, but the truth is: there’s no point. The other side has shown exactly who and what they are, not just to me, but to this district at large, and this entire city. They’ve also shown that they don’t care to report the factual corrections that they’ve received in the past. Also, I’ve heard how horrible it is: I haven’t read it. Because, truth be told, Perry Dorrell’s opinion doesn’t matter to me. I wasn’t going to even write this up, but I had to.
More importantly, after today’s early morning events, that the blogger and his candidate went with this kind of attack…? Seriously?
From - Off the Kuff’s, "Culberson’s Univesity [sic] Line attack makes it through the House"
Since my comment is awaiting moderation, and it’s doubtful it will otherwise be posted unless I make a big deal about it:
It’s a shame you don’t check into your facts before “reporting”, as we have posted “something” about this on Facebook, back on June 21st as seen here:
Not to mention any press releases that I already alerted other people on Sunday were in the works.
But, perhaps the bloggers want to keep the “sniping” going, as it increases their page views. Yours included.
ETA: The Cargas campaign, very much, would prefer a positive campaign about the issues. To that end, we have posted positions on many of the ongoing stories that truly affect the people of Congressional District 7, both on Facebook and on the Cargas website. Our primary opponent has not. We have asked that the issues take center stage, while simultaneously being attacked by an opponent about whom not much is actually known.
The sad thing is, she is no longer confining her attacks to just the candidate or his wife, not even his staff. Those people that choose to endorse us are also being accosted at very public functions, in the most unprofessional of lights.
The Cargas campaign staff, which comprises political experience exceeding 30 years, has never seen anything like this.
ETA, Kuff’s Response: Seriously, Bethany?
I admit, I should have checked the Facebook page. My bad for that. But what I did check was the News page on the Cargas for Congress website (http://www.jamescargas.com/news), which as you can see, has nada on this. It does, however, have an attack on Lissa Squiers. You tell me which is “news”.
(For the record, I’m not a supporter of Squiers, or of Cargas. I don’t live in CD07.)
I specifically mentioned a press release. I know I never got one, and I haven’t seen one forwarded by Carl Whitmarsh. You guys know how to find me. How hard would this have been?
But thanks for proving my point about the campaign’s preference for sniping over substance. If you had simply contacted me with this information, I’d have been happy to make a correction, and credit the Cargas campaign for being on the spot. Now I don’t really care any more. Well done.
ETA my final response to Kuff: Seriously?
If you had contacted the Cargas campaign on this issue, prior to posting an inflammatory statement on your blog, we would have been more than happy to issue you a statement on this issue, an issue we have discussed in the campaign for several weeks now.
Instead, you took the cheap way out and accused us of focusing on our opponent, an opponent of whom has attacked not only Cargas, but his wife, members of his staff, and nationally recognized political figures from the Houston area who have endorsed him.
We have maybe one press release on Squiers, actually answering her attack on us. Are we supposed to not respond to someone questioning our candidate’s Democratic credibility during the Democratic PRIMARY? The last THREE items on the “News” section are all about issues, are they not? The DREAM Act, the SCOTUS Arizona Decision, and the SCOTUS ACA decision.
You just accused us of not having enough substance on our web site or topics, after you started the sniping. It would have taken you all of thirty seconds to compose a polite email, and ask, “I don’t see a response to this issue, do you have a statement on it?” Instead, you commented on the superfluous and dragged it back into the debate. Why? I have to wonder what your gain is.
I feel it necessary to issue you an apology (both publicly and privately) for the attribution to you, made completely in my own error in the blog titled: "The Best Thing I Saw All Day Yesterday". I probably should have corrected the blog when I found out the following day that they were not your words, but considering the timing and everything, I thought it best just to let the proverbial sleeping dogs lie. It was, after all, a blog, and I don’t consider my writings to carry that much weight. Apparently, I was very much mistaken on that.
I will strive to be more vigilant in attributions to you (or anyone else) in the future, because I do understand the value of what you do and how hard it is to maintain your invaluable wealth of information that you forward on daily. I also strive, even though this is a “blog” to release accurate information that is clearly reputably sourced.
For most of us embroiled in the CD7 Congressional Race, we completely understand that this run-off is not something you are following (at least other than to repost reputable and newsworthy items you are asked to), for reasons you have stated at a minimum of two times publicly on your list. We have even requested that we keep the tit-for-tat away from your list, for that very reason.
We do appreciate and hope that you keep the issues based news releases and items on your list, because there are people on your list that do need to be informed between the distinctions between the two candidates. I hope you believe me when I say I never wanted my blogs about the current CD7 race to appear on your list, especially with what has perpetrated their release. They were meant merely to be an answer to the ongoing onslaught of misinformation being perpetrated elsewhere and I felt that we were accomplishing that through other methods. Speaking in retrospect, apparently we were.
Your list is so vital to the Democratic Community and not appreciated as often as it should be, sir. Again, I apologize for whatever grief my misquotation provided to you at 1:30 a.m. on a very early Sunday morning. (For anyone in the Houston / Harris County area that is a Democrat, you should be following and appreciating this man’s list and you may do so by contacting him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
With much respect -
There’s a difference between asking an obvious question or stating observable fact, such as “we never see “x” candidate’s children on the campaign” than there is in deliberately stating that someone would not make a good Congressman because he and his wife have not had children.
As a woman, you should be familiar with a wide range of health and employment issues affecting the inability to have children. You should also know how heartbreaking some of those choices can be, regardless of whatever the story may be. As a woman, you should have a heart and not comment on these issues and how they affect your opponent publicly, to potential voters, especially when you don’t know the story or have the facts. You should not corner people in an elevator and spread absurd gossip about another woman and her husband. There are potential medical issues involved, which involve privacy rights, and in public life, this is the only still sacrosanct rule: medical issues are still not commented on, unless they are made public by those they affect. Period. End of discussion.
As a woman, you should just plain know better. Especially, if you are running as the “woman” candidate who can best speak on women’s issues because she’s a woman.
Seems to me, that, if you can’t have a heart and ask the common sense questions prior to making assumptions and spreading false rumours, or avoid these kinds of topics because of basic common decency, you do not have the professionalism required or the knowledge necessary to govern women on their health issues.
Of all the things I have seen this month and a half, these rumours have been the nastiest. Indeed, in all my time in the political sphere, I have never seen something like this. There are things you do not mess with - very basic issues that can be heartbreaking at best that you just don’t touch. Asking where physical children are, in the real world, when they’re not seen campaigning on behalf of their mother who prides herself on being a single mother and talks about it, and makes it a campaign issue is one thing. Asking where nonexistent children are or using that as a litmus test on how someone could possibly govern is another thing entirely.
Shame on you.
As I’ve written previously, I’m pro-Cargas for Congress, and yes, I’m working on behalf of the campaign in a professional aspect. I thought we could differentiate between this being my opinion of what I saw transpiring in the campaign versus the actual news releases, but a flying monkey still persists in implying that his blog is an actual credible source of news, in which he has subjected himself to the same rigorous examination of his “sources” as the mainstream news with none of those pesky regulatory monitors and that mine is, well… not.
That same flying monkey likes to put words into people’s mouths. He and the candidate he is working on behalf of, object to anyone from the Cargas campaign referring to him as the “communications director” of the campaign, simply because he’s not being paid. So, from now on, I will be referring to him as Lissa Squiers’s (unpaid) Communication Director, because if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, common sense reaches that it must be a duck. In this instance, the quacking stems from the fact that the same language and phrases that Lissa uses often originate in his blog and vice versa. I believe Citizens United refers to that, as collaboration, but since Ms. Squiers feels reporting her donations to the FEC is above her, as well, I’m sure the word collaboration is just as foreign.
Over the last few months, that flying monkey has decided to imply that James Cargas is not a Democrat. Lissa has also followed suit. In fact, she questioned why a candidate needed to be a delegate (by replying to this blog) to the state convention and told me that I was “indicating” that to be a good candidate, one must have participated in the process before, mostly by aiding other candidates. That is, in fact, true. There is, after all, this mantra of practicing making perfect. If you haven’t been on a campaign, you don’t know what all it takes. Engaging in whisper campaigns in both one-on-one conversations and using a blog are both charming aspects of what you think a campaign is and does, but it’s obvious from comments made by the blogger that he thinks that working on campaigns as paid staff are a gateway to great wealth. With that comment, it’s almost embarrassing how obvious it is that he’s never been a paid staffer on one. (That was one of the many things we got a great kick out of yesterday.) That’s okay, I’m sure there’s a lot of integrity to be had in being a “sales” man.
However, for those of you that don’t know, the Cargas campaign (finally) answered these month long allegations in a press release, which provided unbiased proof of the two candidates’s voting records, as shown below:
Once again, Lissa proves that she feels she’s above all the regular work that goes into a campaign, but it goes even further than that. She doesn’t believe in participating in the process unless there’s something in it for her. Rather than participating in her obligatory civil duties or participating in the process of the Texas Democratic Party’s State Convention, she’d rather go to the parties and engage in rhetoric while cornering people on elevators (not to mention blindsiding them). With what’s hiding in her past, that behaviour doesn’t really shock me.
But, even better than the press release, was Carl Whitmarsh’s* own comment from his email list:
I couldn’t have said it better, Carl.
Coincidentally, this was the worst thing I saw all day yesterday. There’s nothing like a poor winner to spoil the fun. Normally I love Juanita Jean, but this has tainted her blog. She should apologize to the Van Os’s for the cheap shot. There’s winning and then, winning with honour and dignity. Considering what happened at the convention, you could afford a little humility to those that did lose. I am not a fan of what went down, as far as the elections are concerned, and I know quite a few people who aren’t, either. But to rub our noses in the process of what happened by making fun of those that decided to offer the people of Texas a choice at the Democratic State Convention, to participate in an election the way things should be run, is outrageous. If this is an indication of how the next two years are going to go, you’re going to lose a lot of people in the party, and frankly, that’s something we can’t afford.
*Edit - The attribution to Carl Whitmarsh that appears in this blog was made in complete error by yours truly. His list is still a kickass list to belong to and he still works hard at it. The error was an innocent mistake on my part.
I had a chance to see James Cargas, Lissa Squiers, and Phillip Andrews screen as apart of a committee of an organization I work with. If you’re a political type person, you can spot a “candidate” a mile away - the people that just have it. Something in that committee screening just screamed, “James Cargas”.
I think, if I had to look back on it, I’d have to say it was a combination of his resume, his answers on the questionnaire, and the way he addressed the organization. He knew and understood the subtle nuances of addressing a crowd of people. He had done his research.
I remember looking over his resume and being impressed with a number of factors, including his work at the national level on campaigns from 2000 with Gore, to Barack Obama in 2008. Anyone that has worked at the national level knows it’s not for the feint of heart. You have to have faith in the Democratic Party, especially if you’re a part of a campaign that loses.
What also impressed me about him was that he was knowledgeable about energy. The district, for those of you that do not know (most of you), holds a portion of this city called the “energy corridor”. Big oil firms (and some not so big) reside in a very prominent place in this district.
I remember my mind immediately went to that hopeful place: I knew that if we had a chance to beat Culberson in November, this was the candidate. I also knew, we likely would not see another one like him for a while.
When the organization that I was a part of dual endorsed the campaign, against my wishes and work, I decided to contact the campaign to see what I could do to help out. I did so because I believed in this particular candidate and his potential so much. A whirlwind of a month and an election later, and I am further entrenched and happily so.
Then, we get into the politics of it all. I mean, the nasty stuff that sells, despite a public saying they don’t like it. I’d say I’d grown rather shocked at the depths a person would go to secure the Democratic nomination, but I live in Texas in a crazy Tea Party region. What I wasn’t exactly prepared for was a Democrat acting like a Republican seeking to spread lies and misinformation at every turn.
Lissa Squiers is James’s opponent in the run-off race. She kind of feels it’s owed to her, because she ran as a write-in candidate in 2010. I give her props for getting any amount of signatures, but every time I’ve met her, I just get an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. From her introduction as “I’m the person that’s going to take John Culberson’s job” to her immediate attack on her opponents, she offers little to no substance. I don’t know what her background is or what current position she holds.
Lissa routinely questions James’s ability to be a Congressman from Texas, because he was born in Michigan. What she won’t tell you is that she spent six years in California. She never mentions her family, and we don’t see them at events. Even worse? She openly makes fun of and lies about James’s wife. Dr. Dorina Papageourgiou holds a Ph.D. from MD Anderson, obtained her undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins, and works at one of the finest medical schools in the country as a neuroscientist. Lissa makes fun of her Greek accent and calls her an illegal immigrant. Worse, it appears effective with certain people within the Democratic Party: the party of acceptance of immigrants.
Even worse, Lissa seeks to demonize oil and gas corporations, or, at the very least, people that work in the sector. She says that James is far too entrenched within the field to be objective, but here’s what I want to know: how are you going to win a district that not only holds the corporate offices of much of the oil and gas industry, but also its workforce? There aren’t that many people willing to cut off their hand to spite their face. As the city of Houston’s attorney in energy and environment, James can hit the ground running and represent all of the people of this district - not just the rich, not just the poor, and not just one vocal minority. He’s willing to open a conversation, a much needed conversation, in order to be successful in November.
Yet, his opponent still insists on saying that he’s not Democrat enough because of “who he associates with”, the person supposedly running his campaign. First off, Lissa has no idea who is running James Cargas’s campaign and that’s very apparent by her personal attack dogs spewing their vitriol because he does have friends that do occasionally work with or on behalf of Republicans. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news to Ms. Squiers, but when you work in an environment like energy, or in politics in the state of Texas, you sometimes have to eat. There is a common sense to the argument that “not all Republicans are bad and not all Democrats are good.” An educated person knows where a person’s loyalty lies, who they can count on, and that this district, as a whole, will never vote for a leftish fringe Democrat who hates the oil and gas industry and all Republicans and is unwilling to get to know either group because the mentality exists that everyone in said groups are “evil”.
What upsets me most is Lissa’s lies and misinformation seem to have spread far and wide. I don’t know when the Democratic Party got to this level, but this has been the worst primary election season I have seen in some years. James Cargas and his campaign have done everything they could to run a positive campaign. Maybe it’s time to take the kid gloves off and start asking the tough questions of Lissa Squiers. In the mean time, I’m going to set a few things straight:
James Cargas is a Democrat who has worked on behalf of Al Gore and President Barack Obama. He is a Democrat who worked in the Clinton White House. He is a Democrat who is currently working under the only openly lesbian Mayor in the country. I do not know what Lissa’s previous campaign experience is. I haven’t seen or heard of any. It’s easy to sit in the shadows and poke at a person and say that they aren’t a “full” Democrat, but to say that of someone that has donated time, energy and money to Democrats and their causes over the years is insulting. Put up or shut up, Lissa.
Dr. Dorina Papageourgiou’s defense is listed above. I’d like to ask what Lissa’s current position is, other than “woman running for CD7”. Where are the finance reports that are mandatory for every other candidate to file, regardless of how much is earned. If she can research how much, where from, and who James has raised funds from, shouldn’t she be held to the same accountability?
On paper, in person, and at every turn, James Cargas is the only candidate with a legitimate campaign and operation that can beat John Culberson in the election, because he is the only person running that truly understands this district. If he wasn’t, I wouldn’t be volunteering on his behalf.
If you live in Congressional District 7, in Houston, and voted in the Democratic Primary, please make sure you get out to vote in the run-off, and make your vote count, by voting for the best candidate: James Cargas. Also, start asking the hard questions of Lissa Squiers. Sometimes the most vitriol wins, but for the wrong reasons.
Edited for two corrections:
Dr. Dorina Papageourgiou received her undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia, her Masters at Johns Hopkins, and her Ph.D at MD Anderson.
The only people not eligible to vote in the Democratic Primary Run-off are those that voted in the Republican Primary. Those that wish to vote in the Primary Run-off, but are not registered, must do so by July 2nd. (source: votetexas.gov)