Horns Up: Commissioners' commitment.
In interviews with the Texas Tribune, candidates for the Texas Railroad Commission have taken the incredibly selfless step of committing to a full six-year term if elected to doing the job they’ve all signed up for. Precedent doesn’t bode well: The current chairman, Barry Smitherman, has only been in the job since 2011, having taken over from Michael Williams when he was appointed education commissioner by Gov. Rick Perry after four years on the commission. In any other job, keeping your word would be seen as a bare minimum, but in a position known primarily as a stepping stone to higher office, we suppose it’s progress. Good for state Rep. Stefani Carter, R-Dallas; Malachi Boyuls; and Ryan Sitton for agreeing to bring some stability of leadership to the office and give this editorial board a steady target for six years.
Horns Down: Sticking up for hate groups.
According to an email he sent to protest his daughter’s schools’ curriculum on civil rights last year, Texas Railroad Commission chairman and Attorney General candidate Barry Smitherman apparently believes that the Southern Poverty Law Center, a major civil rights non-profit organization, has a “radical” definition of racism, hate and intolerance. In the email, Smitherman protested the SPLC’s classification of Crusaders for Yahweh, Border Guardians, and the Jewish Defense League as “hate groups.” Crusaders for Yahweh is a self-described white supremacist organization founded by a neo-Nazi and devoted to “the advancement and survival of our Racial People’s the true children of Israel [sic].” The leader of Border Guardians has openly advocated for violent campaigns against undocumented immigrants. And the Jewish Defense League is classified as a “right-wing terrorist group” by the FBI, and has been linked to numerous acts of violence, including an assassination attempt on Republican Congressman Darrell Issa. We think the SPLC’s definition of “hate” is pretty reasonable. On another note, we’d like to thank the tea party group Voices Empower for posting the email on their Facebook page on Monday and showing us what kind of groups Smitherman endorses.