Retail politics in a democratic republic

March 5, 2008

More than 1,000 people showed up for our precinct caucus.  That’s 200 times more people than have showed in any previous year.  I didn’t get elected convention chairman by default, nor did I even get nominated.  The parking problems anticipated by The New Republic all came to pass — and no one really cared. 

It was fantastic to watch.

Obama got 89% of the 55 delegates to our Senatorial District Convention; Clinton got 11%.

More, later I hope, when I get a few minutes to write about it.

Pat Hardy turns back creationist challenge in Texas

March 5, 2008

Attention focused on one usually-obscure race for a seat on the Texas State Board of Education helped Republican Pat Hardy turn back a malicious challenge. Hardy won her primary against secretive Barney Maddox, a urologist who spent a lot of money on specifically-targeted mailings, but who also refused to speak with reporters or anyone else asking questions.

Showing just how odd and treacherous is the situation in Texas, Hardy got assists from science bloggers across the nation, though her position on science is far from what science advocates would like. Hardy’s genial “don’t gut the textbooks” stand was preferred to Maddox’s mad-dog, teach-creationism-in-science position.

Maddox refused to comment on the election, of course.

Hardy’s district includes parts of Ft. Worth and surrounding counties. According to the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram:

State Board of Education

Social conservatives failed in their attempt to take control of the State Board of Education on Tuesday when incumbent Pat Hardy of Fort Worth retained her seat against a challenge from Cleburne’s Barney Maddox.

Hardy, a career educator, has been a moderate voice on the board. The 15-member body still shows a close ideological split, but Hardy has helped keep it on a straight path.

The board’s powers come from its ability to influence the public school curriculum and the selection of textbooks. District 11covers about three-fourths of Tarrant County, plus all of Ellis, Johnson and Parker counties. There is no Democratic nominee for this seat in the November election.

Maddox’s entry in the race had set the stage for debate over the scientific theory of evolution, which he has described as “fairy tales.” Hardy took a better course: Teach kids about all theories, she said, from creation to evolution, and give them enough information to make up their own minds about what to believe.

Spoken like a teacher — and a person who should hold a seat on the State Board of Education

Tip of the old scrub brush to reader Ediacaran. Thanks, Bret.

Update:  News specific to this race from the Fort Worth paper.

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