Friday, April 22, 2005


ARN: Soechting flails GOP and predicts Dem comebacks

blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com
State party chair: Dems will become stronger

By Jerry Daniel Reed / Reporter-News Staff Writer, April 22, 2005

State Democratic Chairman Charles Soechting flayed Republicans from the White House to the statehouse Thursday while vowing that Democrats would be much tougher competitors in Texas in the future.

Soechting - pronounced Sec-ting - was in Abilene to address the Taylor County Democratic Club. He talked to the Reporter-News beforehand.

He directed some of his harshest observations at U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who's been under fire for weeks for matters such as his chastising federal judges for their rulings in the Terri Schiavo controversy; and questions about funding sources of political campaigns and of trips abroad.

''Politically, he's as guilty as sin,'' said Soechting, a San Marcos lawyer.

In a state where Republicans hold every statewide elective office, the majority party has fallen far short of its ethical and fiscal responsibilities, he said.

''If you compare the state of Texas to a corporation, you'd have to look at Enron,'' he said.

Texas Democrats' prospects in next year's governor's race would brighten if Gov. Rick Perry again is the GOP standard-bearer rather than U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Soechting said. The state's senior senator, Hutchison is widely reported to be weighing a challenge to fellow Republican Perry.

''He is the most beatable, though it will be tough,'' Soechting said.

Democrats testing the waters include former U.S. Rep. Chris Bell of Houston and former State Comptroller John Sharp, who has twice lost close races for lieutenant governor.

Soechting said Republicans have falsely defined Democrats as being on the wrong side of the divide on matters such as faith and the right to bear arms. He sees nothing wrong with courthouse displays of the Ten Commandments, while he endorses the right of everyone to ''pray to the God of their choice.''

Democrats should not soft-pedal their faith, he said.

''If you're a Christian don't be ashamed of it,'' said Soechting, an active Episcopalian.

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