By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Forgive and forget: Man, them Dallas County Republicans are coldhearted. Four local Democratic officeholders have atoned for their transgressions, got right with their higher powers, made searching and fearless moral inventories, humbly asked God to remove their shortcomings and followed the hallowed 12 steps into recovery. Any decent person would say it's time to forget their pasts and let them get on with their lives.
But not the local GOP. The party has tossed up a website that dredges up their sinful histories for all the World Wide Web to see. At long last, Republicans, have you left no sense of decency?
We hate to do it, but it behooves Buzz to tell you exactly what we're talking about. It's this: https://dallasgop.uscontributions.com/dcrpcc#a—a solicitation for filthy lucre that reminds viewers that state Representative Kirk England and Judges Sally Montgomery, Mark Greenberg and Elizabeth Crowder were once...once...oh, we hate to say it. They were once Republicans.
"Stop these Crist defectors in Dallas County," blares the site's headline, referring to Charlie Crist, the tanned Florida governor who abandoned the GOP to run for Senate as an independent. Positioned beneath the headline are photos of the four locals stamped in red with the word "defected."
Buzz called local GOP chair Jonathan Neerman to ask how he could be so mean. "Because it was fun," he told us. Besides, "I get to use cool pictures."
OK, Buzz can respect that. We wonder if Neerman is a distant relative.
A host of local pols have party switched since 2006, when Democrats swept the courthouse, but Neerman said he picked on these four because they face Republican opponents in November. "My philosophy has always been that we should not have partisan elections for judges," Neerman says, but as long as we do, he's going to be plenty partisan when it comes to those who switch sides. GOP loyalists who stayed put through two bad election cycles deserve as much, he says.
Or maybe they need to be winnowed out for being slow on the uptake.
Texas has a long history of party jumping. Former Texas Senator Phil Gramm was once a Democrat, and we reminded Neerman that Governor Rick Perry was a proud, Al Gore-supporting Dem. "That was 30 years ago," he replied. "We've got short-term memory here in the county."
Very short, we bet. "If we win in November, we may have some people who come back," he says. No doubt if that happens, the GOP will roast a fatted calf to welcome their return. Maybe Neerman could put the double-switchers' photos on the Web, stamped "prodigal."