By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Buzz is referring to the Texas Senate Democrats' sudden skedaddling to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to deny GOP efforts to redraw congressional district maps more to Republicans' liking--or more to the liking of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom "Mr. Megalomania" DeLay. Eleven Democrats bolted for the door this week, denying the Senate the quorum it needs to hold a--what is it now, 13th, 14th?--special session on redistricting.
It's not the fact they left that Buzz finds so ill-mannered--we're fans of civil disobedience and anything else that keeps the Texas Legislature from meeting. No, our heart goes out to little Ardmore, Oklahoma. That's where Texas House Democrats hid out this spring during the regular session to foil a similar GOP redistricting effort, so one might have thought the senators would be gracious enough to follow suit. What, Ardmore wasn't good enough for the hoity-toity senators, who actually flew private aircraft to Albuquerque? (Some of the House members, God bless their plebeian hearts, took buses to Oklahoma.)
Poor Ardmore. It must be feeling like a girl who doesn't get asked out on a second date. Why snub a town that was such a genial host? There was only one likely reason, to Buzz's mind anyway, so we put the question to the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce: Is Ardmore dry?
"That's a good question to ask," said Ardmore Chamber Vice President Stephanie Andrews, who apparently knows a thing or two about legislators. "No, we aren't. We don't have 6-point beer. I don't know what Albuquerque has."
So, liquor by the drink, but no full-strength beer. Well, you expect senators to drink scotch, but these are Democrats, and Ardmore doesn't have real beer...hmmm. Could be a problem.
Buzz probed deeper: How's the strip club situation in Ardmore?
"No, no, don't have any of those," Andrews said.
No beer. No breasts. A picture is forming here. What did the House Democrats do when they lit out for Ardmore?
"They visited our restaurants, did a little bit of shopping," Andrews said. "I think the majority of the time they hung out at the Holiday Inn."
Nightmare images of family vacations. Does it at least have a Holidome?
No, Andrews said, just an outdoor pool.
OK, so we can see the appeal of Albuquerque, though from Buzz's experiences, the New Mexico city is not, as Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst suggested to The Dallas Morning News, a "vacation spot." It's more like a mountainous Amarillo, though it is close to Taos. (Ardmore has a large lake and is a favored weekend spot for North Texans, but they're probably mostly Republicans.)
Regardless, Andrews said, "I can promise you they won't get the hospitality they would have in Oklahoma."
Which will be something Dems can keep in mind if Governor Rick Perry follows through on threats to hold more special sessions. Shoot, maybe the entire Legislature can do us all a favor and just settle in Ardmore. Buzz will send the beer.