Is Rep. Joaquin Castro More Progressive Than Congressman Lloyd Doggett?

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To be upfront, I recognize that it can be troublesome to compare apples and oranges. Unless Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Rep. Joaquin Castro are casting the same votes, how can you truly compare their voting records? This is, obviously, a problem, but the concerns raised thus far on BOR about the progressiveness of Rep. Castro and Cong. Doggett don't seem to be about any one issue. Instead, the focus appears to just be on how “progressive” each person is. The comments below, from when I first wrote about the potential race in the newly drawn CD-35, provide a good insight into what I'm talking about:

I think Castro may be too quiescent and cooperative with the radical republicans currently in place. Maybe I'm wrong and he'll be just as fierce an advocate and defender as Doggett has been. That would be great. Unfortunately, I'd rather just vote for the original. I'm advocating real leadership and persuasion rather than the current phony bipartisanship and equanimity. – Mcblogger

The wise thing for progressive Democrats to do is to leave a proven, effective US Congressman, with seniority, in office working for all Texans. – ssuits

Lloyd Doggett has been by far the best member of the Texas Congressional Delegation and I say that without hesitation. He has been there for us when quite frankly, there have been Texas Democrats who have not walked the walk. And so I'm going to be there for him. For that reason, I strongly support Lloyd Doggett. He has done the job and will continue to the job the way he has always done. – v2aggie2

That left me wondering – how progressive are the two likely candidates for the newly drawn CD-35? The result may surprise you.

How Progressive Are Congressman Doggett and Representative Castro?
Candidate Rank Percent of Elected Body
Rep. Joaquin Castro 12th “most liberal” (Source) 12 out of 150 = top 8% 
Cong. Lloyd Doggett 147th “most liberal” (Source) 147 out of 435 = top 33%

Rep. Castro's rating is based on an analysis compiled by Mark Jones of Rice University, who evaluated “nearly 1,000 votes” to come up with his numbers. Congressman Doggett's rating is based on an analysis by National Journal, which creates individual scores on economic, social, and foreign policy votes and then generates one composite score. (Update: To compare among Democrats w/in their respective chambers, Rep. Castro ranked 12th out of 49 Democrats – putting him in the top 24% among Democrats in the Texas House, while Congressman Doggett ranked 147th out of 256 Democrats – putting him in the top 57% among Democrats in the U.S. House.)

Throughout the campaign, both Congressman Doggett and Representative Castro will have to — and should — answer lots of questions about policies, past and future, and where they stand. I expect Congressman Doggett to have a much greater understanding of federal issues, given how long he's been in office. But, at least on its face, these numbers should put to rest concerns that Rep. Joaquin Castro would not be a progressive enough member of Congress for Austin.

Who knows. Maybe he'll be even better… 


About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.


  1. State House v. U.S. House
    Is it appropriate to compare the State House v. the U.S. House?  Even though the the GOP controls both they have a much larger majority in the State House so it's not surprising to see Castro rank higher

    • Among Democrats
      Rep. Castro ranked 12th out of 49 Democrats – putting him in the top 24% among Democrats.

      Congressman Doggett ranked 147th out of 256 Democrats – putting him in the top 57% among Democrats.

      • Some validity to the point though
        There is some validity to the point. Remember, the rankings are based on the votes cast in their respective legislatures. That means the Texas House could have had more conservative items to vote on than the US House, possibly skewing the results, as Mike pointed out. That's why I went to the comparison of peers approach.

        The bottom line is we really won't know how they stack up until we start getting them on record and in debate on the issues. At this point we're just in speculation mode, including those claiming Doggett is more progressive than Castro, which seemed to be the trend on that first blog entry.

    • So True
      And yes, Phillip – I know you mentioned upfront about the trouble of comparing apples and oranges. But your post doesn't discuss that caveat much.

      The Texas legislature, this year, is probably one of the most conservative governing bodies in the Western World. The US Congress, in 2010, was not.  

      • Michael
        The entire first half of the post discusses both the problem with this, but also the problem I have with others generally saying that Doggett is more progressive than Castro based on nothing. Had comments like that not been raised previously on BOR, I'm sure I would have never thought up this post.

        When scouting for the NBA draft, two shooting guards could go #1 or #2. One scored 6 points more per game than the other, but with a different conference, different schedule, different coach, and different system, that doesn't tell the whole story. The same is true with the rankings in this post; it does not tell the whole story. But it does show that each person certainly deserves equal consideration, and the blanket assertions made by many Doggett supporters that he is more progressive than Castro do not hold water.

      • Exactly
        And if Castro is more liberal than Doggett, why did Republicans go after Doggett and set him up to have a primary fight with someone from San Antonio, if the potential new rep from San Antonio that they are giving them was “just as bad” (more progressive?)

  2. Interesting comparison but you still have to look deeper
    Great post Phillip. I think several in Austin and San Antonio may view Doggett to be more progressive based on a frame of reference but comparing Doggett to Castro in terms of progressive ideology will take more investigation. It means voters, or active Democrats, will need to dig deeper before completing their assessment.

    Looking at Doggett's 147th ranking, that's compared within the US House. Within the Texas delegation he ranks 4th behind Eddie Bernice Johnson, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Al Green and just ahead of Charlie Gonzales, who's district he would be taking over (remember, the core of San Antonio, lest we forget the majority of voters in the district are from San Antonio). So it's not a stretch to say he's comparable to the voters of the district.

    Checking out Castro in the Texas House and reps who have parts of their districts in the new 35th, he's more progressive than Ruth Jones McClendon and Mike Villarreal. However, he's less progressive than Eddie Rodriguez (slightly by .02 points) and Roland Gutierrez.

    Now, the more interesting comparison is how the US House and Texas House compare. Remember, Rice made his assessment based on 1,000 votes in the Texas House and the National Journal made their's based on key votes in the US House. Rice used Stanford Univ. professor Jackman's Bayesian estimation procedure. The National Journal doesn't say what model they used. If it's the same, we have a winner! But I doubt it is.

    I think the more telling comparison for voters is how the candidates rank with their peers mapped into the new 35th, if that makes sense. Based on that I think both candidates line up with the voters and would give progressives currently represented by Lamar Smith a better situation.

    Austin progressives afraid of Castro's voting record shouldn't be worried and San Antonio progressives afraid of Doggett's voting record shouldn't be worried. They seem to be cut from the same vein as their current representatives.

    Of course I'm sure some Austinites will take issue with that but the facts are there, thanks to Phillip.

  3. Progressive Punch Score
    Here's another scoring.

    Progressive Punch scores Doggett at 106 of 432 with an Overall Lifetime Progressive Score of 90.24%.

    His Crucial Lifetime Progressive Score is 86.91%.

    Crucial Votes are really “where were you when we needed you” votes as defined by PP.


    PP Lifetime Scores on the other reps:

    Al Green: 92.09

    Sheila Jackson Lee: 90.05

    Eddie Bernice Johnson: 89.77

    Charlie Gonzalez: 87.01

    Ruben Hinojosa: 82.66

    Silvestre Reyes: 81.51

    Gene Green: 80.15

    Henry Cuellar: 78.13

    PP Crucial Lifetime Scores:

    Sheila Jackson Lee: 85.97

    Eddie Bernice Johnson: 83.89

    Al Green: 78.69

    Charlie Gonzalez: 77.49

    Ruben Hinojosa: 71.06

    Gene Green: 68.56

    Silvestre Reyes: 66.62

    Henry Cuellar: 43.16

    PP ranking out of 432:

    Al Green: 78

    Sheila Jackson Lee: 110

    Eddie Bernice Johnson: 116

    Charlie Gonzalez: 142

    Ruben Hinojosa: 163

    Silvestre Reyes: 167

    Gene Green: 170

    Henry Cuellar: 175

    • Compares with National Journal
      That tracks somewhat with the National Journal which still validates Phillip's reference. As I stated in my posting you really have to compare to Gonzalez to see how closely he maps with the district he'll be representing.

      Honestly, all this “progressive” talk is more noise to me than important from an issue perspective. The district encompasses Democrats who also lean moderate, like myself. If we're trying to elect a progressive to the district, in my opinion we've missed the boat. I want the district, both San Antonio, Austin and parts in between, to elect someone who maps to the overall ideology of the district.

      If you market yourself as progressive only, you're going to lose this election. I find it interesting how some Democrats feel only their viewpoint matters and disregard the district in general. Remember, it also takes in Smith's district. Those people aren't going to move all of a sudden because a Democrat may be representing them. They're going to vote.

  4. Dr. Donna Campbell in 2012
    Rather than worrying about who is most the statistically progressive Democrat is before this whole redistricting farce has been to federal court, Democrats would be wise to concern themselves about how to handle a possible Dr. Donna Campbell candidacy in 2012.

    An unconfirmed rumor has her moving to Hays County. If that proves to be the case, we can anticipate her running for the proposed CD 25, a possible court ordered CD 25, or against State Senator Jeff Wentworth. No matter which option she might choose, I anticipate her have the same energized, aggressive campaign organization.

    If Wentworth gets tea bagged, Bexar County Democrats may want to a have viable candidate ready to file. Congressman Doggett will have no chance of winning against Campbell in the proposed CD 25 running from East Austin, to Hays County, to Brownwood, to Cleburne, and finishing up in Corsicana. So for future discussion purposes, the concept of Congressman Doggett running in the Texas Republican proposed CD 25 should not be considered a viable option.  

  5. What Were The Actual Votes?
    What were the actual ores they were rated on? I would like to see that. For one thing, in some years, you can get a decently “progressive” ranking in the Texas Legislature based only on a handful of actual progressive votes. Plus, because Doggett has been in Congress so long, there is no doubt a disparity in the number and type of votes cast.

    And, if Castro only ranked in the top 24 percent, who was above him? And which votes counted “against” Doggett and Castro in their respective positions?

    Congressional votes and voting patterns are far different than legislative ones. For one thing members of Congress often have to vote against an entire bill–good or bad–because of something detrimental to their state or district, which is far less common in the Legislature.

    Why not publish the full list of votes used to compile each ranking here in the comments?

    • The links to the sources were published
      Vince I think your browser allows you to go to links. Phillip published the links to the sources with their methodology and votes. I looked and did some further analysis.

      You chastise Phillip for not doing the legwork you could do yourself with one mouse click. Unmerited in my opinion.

      Personally I would prefer the links to the sources so I can do my own analysis and not deal with possibly filtered views.

      • Evidently…
        You didn't get what I was saying. I was asking because there ARE NO VOTES related to the Castro ranking I can find going through the links. The Rice/Tribune study doesn't show it's work.

        The Castro ranking is based off a mathematical and statistical formula created by political science professors. Doggett's ranking is from Roll Call and is a more straightforward up or down ranking based on actual votes.  

        This isn't even close to an apples-to-oranges comparison because the methodologies are completely divergent.  It is an apples-to-VW Bus comparison. The data is too dissimilarly calculated.  

        • Darn it when sarcasm gets in the way of your message
          Vince, I got what you were saying and felt it unproductive and somewhat irrational. That's why I preferred looking at different aspects of the report, which you seem to have ignored. BTW, the votes used to calculate the scores are viewable. (Darn, another click.)

          I think we all agree there is disparity in the votes and positions based on the differences in the legislative bodies. However, most Doggett supporters keep harping on him being more progressive than Castro or that Castro isn't progressive. Frankly, I don't give a hoot being a moderate myself. But I think the posting was to bring facts out instead of assumptions and accusations.

          Read it however you want to. BTW, the Castro number is ALSO based on actual votes (999 in the Texas House in 2011).

          There, now you have one less click to get to the data. Hope that helps you out in your criticism.

          • Let me say this one more time
            NJ/Roll Call actually publishes the list of votes they used. The Tribune/Rice study DOES NOT. I already checked, and the links from the Tribune site never take you to a vote listing. They didn't and really can't show their work like roll call because of the mathematical formulas required to get their end result.

            The calculation methodologies are wildly different. NJ bases their rankings based on what the D/R “line” was on the vote. Tribune/Rice requires filtering through multiple algebraic formulas.  Go look at the methodology. It isn't the same, period. This is neither a boon nor disaster for either Doggett or Castro because it is simply not a valid comparison. It isn't the same thing as comparing poll X with poll Y. The formulas used to calculate the rankings far too different.  

          • Let me say it one more time
            We know it isn't. Read our postings. We've expressed that. As I said in my first posting “comparing Doggett to Castro in terms of progressive ideology will take more investigation.”

            However, I used it as an opportunity to compare the two to their peers who currently represent that district to see how they stack. But don't chastise Phillip for posting it. I'm glad he opened the conversation and provided some information.

            Reasonable people can see the differences in the data and can look at other factors, which I tried to do.

  6. One thing…
    ..which shows this is not even an apples to oranges comparison is looking at other congressional and legislative score cards. Castro, for example, has a spotty record with NARAL while Doggett has straight 100-percent scores. Castro also scores higher on legislative scoring models from conservative groups than Doggett does. With some groups, they score about the same, with Doggett usually leaning more progressive.

    Based on individual voting records and selected votes, conservative and business groups score Castro at least slightly higher than Doggett to substantially higher than Doggett.

    Also, by and large, the Lege doesn't have the foreign policy votes Doggett has been ranked on, which I think may be skewing Doggett's ranking lower.

    More fun stuff that is not apples to apples but isn't as bad as the Rice versus NJ rankings:

    Castro got a 74 percent score from Americans for Prosperity in 2009. By frame of reference, Garnet Coleman got a 60. So did Lon Burnam. Americans for Prosperity gave Doggett a 15 percent score for 2009-10.

    Castro scored far higher than the most liberal members of the Lege with conservative groups. Compare that score to Doggett's and Castro and Burnam both look like wanna-be Tea Baggers in comparison to Doggett. Are they? Of course not. The ranked votes and issues were far too different–and the Lege has far more unanimous votes than Congress.

    Now the NARAL stuff is more troubling for Castro because that is a pretty cut and dry issue for progressives.

    • NARAL positions
      Interesting you bring that up because Vote Smart has Castro voting 100 percent for NARAL issues in several years. Hmmm.

      To follow your comments, provide the information backing your position (or at least links). Tell you what, I'll help you out. Here's the overall Vote Smart analysis on Castro. Here's Doggett's scores. Granted, there's going to be a lot more scores for Doggett because he's been in office longer (as Castro stated, Doggett was elected to the Texas Senate the year before Joaquin was born) and the US House votes on a lot more and broader issues than the TX House (as you point out) but there is some comparative information.

      The bottom line on this is that while you gripe at the info and the comparisons, you and others seem to want to create comparisons of Doggett to Castro (quotes Phillip pulled) that paint Doggett as more progressive. Personally, the problem with this race is it started way too early and we probably won't see any debates or true candidates head-to-heads for a while.

        • One year and it was 91 percent
          What are you getting at? That's a pretty lame position. You provided no data, just a generalization and cast Castro as anti-NARAL (“Now the NARAL stuff is more troubling for Castro because that is a pretty cut and dry issue for progressives.”).

          Troubling? Come on Vince. I know you're above that kind of discussion. 9 percentages points on one year makes him pro-life?

          • Yep, missed his first year in office
            But that was even higher atat 93 percent than 2005. You quibble over that? I guess you're just looking for an excuse and elevate that to “troubling.” I guess you call A students in the 90th percentile “troubling” also. Your choice of words.

            Of course NARAL also doesn't list the votes so isn't that statement kind of contradictory? You chastise Phillip for not having the voting record for Castro yet call a NARAL rating “troubling” without having the data yourself. I'm just sayin'.

            So here are the votes:



            Hijacking a Sunset Commission Bill to Risk Women's Health.  Representative Hartnett (R-Dallas) offered an Amendment 2 to CSSB 419 (a bill reauthorizing the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners) to amend the Occupations Code to prevent physicians from being licensed to practice medicine and to subject them to disciplinary action for performing a third trimester abortion when the fetus is viable, unless the abortion is necessary to prevent the woman's death. Amendment 2, as amended by Amendments 3 and 8, was adopted by a record vote of 118-16 on May 16, 2005.  A pro-choice vote (“P”) was a vote against this amendment.  Amendment 3 added an exemption when the fetus has a severe, irreversible brain impairment, and passed by voice vote with 10 representatives recording “no” votes.

            Out of 11 votes NARAL tracked Castro voted 10 Pro and 1 Against. BTW, Medendez and Strama also voted Against.

            The 2001 information is not posted at the NARAL Texas website.

  7. A Response to Vince

    Of course there are no votes to compare between the two, and this is difficult to compare as I mentioned at the beginning of my post. Yet, despite that fact, many Austin Democrats — including those who I quoted in the three comments atop this post — have decided that Doggett is more progressive. I don't think that's the case at all. But either we allow such a comparison, or we don't. If we're going to, then here's one way we can make a comparison.

    And if the conclusion is we simply can't make a valid comparison because there is no comparable data, then there should not be any Doggett supporters stating that Doggett is more progressive than Castro and we should future positions on issues going forward — as I mentioned at the end of my post.

    I don't mind that you don't like the conversation, but please give some credit to the fact that I acknowledge the concerns you raise. And you can't wish this post never existed – it was a conversation that was going on anyway.

    • Votes on similar issues
      surely there must be some where you could actually compare the two. I can think of the Marriage Amendment for one.

      I think that would give a better idea on where one stands in comparison to the other.  

    • Yes…
      You said it was difficult to compare the two, but you have devised a metric of comparison from which actual comparison is not just difficult but rather impossible or misleading at best. The formulas and methodologies used to devise the two rankings are too dissimilar. Even if the two methodologies were comparing the same exact votes, NJ and Rice/Tribune have used such different methods to get to their rankings that the comparison just is not appropriate.  

  8. One thing is clear
    They are both solid progressives and we will be splitting hairs to find substantive policy differences.

    I hope this helps folks understand Joaquin's value system a little better.

    Now, I would hope we can talk about what this race means for the future of our party.

    I'm confident that either gentleman would be a solid progressive voice.

    • Entitlements and the debt
      I agree with you on balance. However, I'm holding support for either based on that issue alone. It is the single most important right now.

      I want to see if either support the President on whatever deal ends up being cut with Boehner. If they do, then none of this really matters.

  9. Citizen Andy on

    Not convinced – and not sure if this is the right frame
    As someone who looks forward to voting in this primary, let me say that this is ultimately unconvincing to me as a potential voter. Because I care less about a label of “more progressive” and more about an actual legislative record.  

    Here's what I know:

    As a legislator, Doggett was involved with the writing of the original TPIA and TOMA.  As a Congressman, just in the past few years he voted AGAINST TARP (and for all the right reasons), wrote his own climate bill (Climate MATTERS, which was far better than Waxman-Markey and could've been passed through the senate under budget reconciliation), and was originally against Waxman-Markey for all the right reasons, then he voted for it at the last minute because the vote was so close. I know Joaquin has done some good things in the Lege, and voted correctly most of the time, but I don't want another Yes vote in Congress– I want a leader, a thinker, a person who has seniority on Ways and Means who understands how to unravel the tax code in positive ways to close loopholes.

    All that being said, I would be proud to be represented in Congress by Joaquin Castro- I just see no compelling reason to change from someone who has been doing excellent work in public service since before i was born.

    Also, let's be clear that the redistricting plan always had as one of their top agendas to get rid of Doggett. A win by Castro is giving the GOP what they want. It's not to say Castro won't be an effective Congressman, I'm just saying how the other side sees it.

    If we want better metrics, here's one i care about: the environment.  Doggett got a 100% from the League of Conservation Voters for the 111th Congress.  Castro got a 92% for the 81st Lege.  

    • I guess we should just disregard it as a Hispanic Opportunity District
      I guess we should just forget the fact that it was also carved out as a Hispanic Opportunity District. I mean, all the clamoring we've done about disregarding Hispanics as having the highest population growth rate and probably what gave Texas a part of the four new seats is just hogwash when it comes time to actually elect someone to the district?

      I like what someone told me at the Castro event. The folks of south Austin have never had a US Rep or Senator that looked like them. Now may be their time. If not now, when?

      BTW, regarding change most of the people in the new district are having to change regardless. You seem to want to take an Austin only viewpoint. I'm telling you, that's an easy way to screw with the San Antonio base. We're looking at issues down here and could easily be represented by either.

      If folks in Austin keep shoving the “it's our rep and our district” argument down the throats of San Antonio Democrats, I think you know what the results will be. I'm just sayin'. I think that kind of talk needs to start going quiet if you REALLY want to win this election.

      • Citizen Andy on

        Not to quibble, but. . .
        First of all,  don't think this should be about race. I also don't think it should be about geography. It should be about who will best represent the people of this district. I'm looking at once guy with an extensive record and one guy with less of one. That's all.

        But please tell me exactly WHERE in my post I'm taking an “Austin-only” viewpoint?  Or made a “it's our rep and our district” argument? Because I don't think I dd either.

        • Good points but there is some track record, not from you
          Andy I agree we should get to where it's not about race but I also think we shouldn't shove disregard a Hispanic for a carved out Hispanic district because we want to retain the Austin rep.

          Maybe I read too much into this statement: “I just see no compelling reason to change from someone who has been doing excellent work in public service since before i was born.” Doggett represented only a portion of this district. The majority of population and geography is in San Antonio where he's never been a representative.

          It seems to follow the line that Austinites would prefer Castro go away and let's give the seat to Doggett.

        • but…
          geography and inertia are the primary arguments being made in support of doggett.

          but it is immoral for our central legal premise to be “Hispanics fueled the growth that resulted in Texas receiving new districts and, therefore, should receive more Hispanic-opportunity districts”, while allocating THE ONLY NEW H-O district to a non-Hispanic by default.

          there was a similar situation in 04 in Bell's district. i find the position that “minorities have enough representation” odd.  and to imply that these minority communities don't want to be represented by their own or that they would be represented better by their own flies in the face of our very redistricting legal arguments.

          we can't take both positions. either minority representation matters…or it doesn't. we can't pick and choose what parts of Texas it matters in.

          the situation sucks, but it is the situation that we are stuck with (for the time being). and ignoring the other very meaningful debates about the next generation, potential for leadership, etc…race, ethnicity and geography are critical issues that should be considered.

          • Geography and inertia?
            Look, I support Lloyd Doggett, and it has nothing to do with geography and inertia.  I support him because I feel that he is hands down the best member of the Texas Congressional Delegation.  Feel free to disagree with that, but don't call it geography and inertia — because that isn't what it is about for many of us.

            With respect to minority representation, I absolutely support that — hell, I'm a minorty myself.  And the district has been drawn up in a way that increases minority representation.

            But once the district has been drawn up, then it is solely about who the best man or woman for the job is.  If a minority representation district votes for a white male, what is the problem.  If the voters say that that person is the one they want to represent them, no one has the right to tell them otherwise.

            Simply put, the purpose of minority represention districts should be to give the minority voters a greater voice.  But that voice is theirs, not anybody elses.  

            In the end, it looks like Castro will go in as the favorite.  And if he is the next congressman, great — he has a strong record and will do well.  It makes sense for him to run in this district in 2012, and nobody should fault him for doing it.  Opportunity doesn't knock very often.

          • Good points and we may elect a minority
            Great points on your post. I agree with your positions. If we elect a minority, then so be it. I think a lot of Doggett supporters other than you need to breathe on this and understand that may be the case.

            I've seen a lot in here that still think this district should be “given” to Doggett and list their reasons.

            Several of us feel it's time for a Hispanic with good track record to enter the Texas Congressional delegation. It's time to allow new energy into the delegation.

            Thanks for the rational comment.

          • My pleasure!
            and thanks for your insight on this race — it is very informative.  

          • fair point on re: this diary
            i was offering more of a commentary on the balance of the comments over the course of the 3 diaries that have been posted on this possible race.

            having experienced several congressman over the years, my personal rankings differ from your's, but i can understand your support of doggett.

            i'm feeling better and better that the maps will ultimately give both gentlemen a chance to represent their own district in 2012.

  10. This new district is not to the far left
    As I've stated before (and it seems to get lost in the “I'm more progressive than you are” babble), this district takes in some more moderate areas up and down IH-35. NE San Antonio isn't a liberal paradise. New Braufels and San Marcos are probably not either.

    We can try to push these candidates to the left as far as we want but in the General Election, that's probably not what the district will want.

    I hope we don't try to paint them into a corner with our “more liberal” fanaticism.

    That's why tried comparing them to some of the people who already represent the areas of the new district. I consider that a more reasonable litmus test. But if you guys want to keep drawing lines in the sand, we've got a great historic icon and tourist spot down here in San Antonio where you'll fit right in.

  11. Phillip, I will look into the two rankings, but …
    Let me give my two cents now while this thread is still fresh. Over my years of involvement with the Texas League of Conservation Voters, I've learned that records of floor votes tell you a great deal about very little. They often miss and mislead on the key component of leadership.

    For example, if you visit the TLCV website and look at the older scorecards, you'll find a couple of lawmakers with environmental voting records above 90% who were also Craddick Democrats. At the same time, if you look at the 2001 voting records of Rep. Zeb Zbranek (67%) and Sen. David Bernsen (78%) you'll miss the key fact that the two of them were outstanding leaders on the most important environmental legislation of that session.

    After TLCV helped them in their 1999 races, both of them asked for assignments on the committees dealing with one of our most important issues: air pollution, particularly with industrial polluters with plants that were “grandfathered” from having to comply with the Clean Air Act. Environmentalists had been working on this issue session after session with little success, but the leadership of these two was absolutely crucial: on their committees, on the floor, as the authors of strengthening amendments and back home in their districts. Sen. Bernsen, for example, brought up plant managers from a couple of the big oil refineries in his district having persuaded them to endorse the legislation; those endorsements neutralized the effects of the oil industry's lobbyists, and the legislation passed.

    Voting records alone miss a big part of the story because the most important action usually occurs in committee. Voting records don't capture how strenuously a legislator questions a witness, for example. Nor do voting records measure how good one is at forming coalitions, authoring legislation or getting bills passed. There are an awful lot of backbenchers in legislative bodies with perfect voting records as measured by one side or the other.

    Now let's talk about Lloyd Doggett's leadership in particular. I remember a conversation I had with Lloyd in 2002 about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction. Tony Blair had recently revealed supposed intelligence regarding the presence of WMD's and I brought that up. Lloyd's reply, “Do you trust Tony Blair? I don't.” He later added, “There are some issues that you have to stake your entire career on. This is one of them.” Because of Gephardt's position, none of the Democratic House leadership could lead opposition to the resolution. Nancy Pelosi, opposed though she was to the resolution, had to stay in the background, so Lloyd became the anti-iraq war whip.

    The Democratic leaders of both houses of Congress–Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle–had helped draft the resolution Iraq-war resolution. Nearly every Democratic Senator with presidential aspirations–John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Lieberman–voted for the resolution (Florida's Bob Graham was the notable exception).

    Who stood firm against the rush to war? Who exercised leadership while others ducked for cover, scared that they'd be on the wrong side of history? You know who: Lloyd Doggett.

    Personally, I like Joaquin Castro; he's smart, personable, and has impressed me with his sincerity on environmental issues. Is he a leader? I have no idea. When push comes to shove, will Joaquin risk it all for a principle? Only time will tell.

    Lloyd Doggett is a proven progressive leader and has been one for decades. In his ten years in the Texas Senate he was the author of major reforms, such as the Sunset Law and myriad laws to protect consumers. A pair of basketball sneakers sitting on his desk signaled a filibuster that struck fear in the hearts of the opposition. As a Supreme Court Justice, he wrote opinions advancing progressive principles. When Lloyd came into Congress in 1995, Dick Gephardt had just surrendered the gavel ending “forty years of Democratic rule,” as he put it, and Lloyd as a freshman vaulted to the head of his class, tirelessly confronting Newt Gingrich, a Speaker unlike any we had yet seen in the post-World War II era. Lloyd quickly earned a seat on the Ways and Means committee, due to his many leadership qualities including his tremendous fund-raising efforts and willingness to invest funds from his campaign account into the campaigns of Democratic challengers across the country.

    So, Phillip, while I hold you in the highest regard and admire your tendency to present quantitative data and will look at it myself, I cannot rest this evening without pointing out something I learned while earning my MS in statistics and that I have had reinforced time and time again. Just because one can measure something doesn't mean that it is either important or useful. Many a man has had his prostate removed based on high PSA levels and suffered the consequences; now medical science tells us that damn few lives have been saved.

    Sometimes when you reduce things down to just a couple of numbers, you're left with practically nothing.

  12. AustinFilipino on

    Both my be progressive, but Lloyd is a lot more trustworthy
    I have no doubt that both men will represent south and central Texas progressive values.  The big question is, have any of you researched all of the corruption scandals that Castro has been involved with?  Everywhere from fraudulently posing as his twin brother during at SA City Council event, and being caught in the act, to assisting in cover-ups in an ongoing criminal investigation in his brother's SA City Government Administration.  We don't need another ambitious attention monger who will later on embarass us with his excess baggage and scandals.  Lloyd has represented us well for decades.  I am Filipino, and I could care less if any one I vote for looks like me, I just want them to represent me with consideration and honor.

    • Your accusations are baseless
      First of all, comments like this appear all the time in the E-N commentary section by a person who goes by “jefsr.” The person has had a baseless claim against COSA for years that keeps getting thrown out of jurisdictions.

      Secondly, the issue of the River Parade is NOT a City Council event (as I posted to your comment in the E-N) and others always ride on the Council's River Parade float. Regarding any confusion that would be expected since they are twins. People mistake Joaquin for the mayor all the time in San Antonio.

      The person may claims to be from Austin but posted as TheClivet in the E-N article on Castro.

      I'm just trying to set the record straight on this comment.

      Your claim that there are scandals against Castro is so baseless it devalues your comment.

    • AustinFilipino on

      I believe you are mistaken
      I actually do live in Austin, and I am from San Antonio.  My name is not jefrs or whatever, I believe you are mistaken sir.  My concerns are not baseless, they have been well documented on every San Antonio news station.  I was an early Castro supporter in his brother's first attempt to run for mayor.  And after that city council ordeal, it really made me question why I even would begin to support him if dishonestly seemed to be pouring out right from the get go.  Sorry, if you are so offended by my comments.  But Mr. Castro is going to have to answer for many legitimate concerns if he expects that everyone should just throw out a great Congressman like Lloyd for him.

      • same song
        second verse

        BOR is better than this. We don't need lies and blatant, baseless smears on any Democrat.

      • Unproductive comments
        Look, you come here into BOR, create an account today, and start making baseless accusations. I live in San Antonio and have YET to see your claims documented on every San Antonio news station. If they do exist, they would have them on their websites. BTW, I'll follow up on your claims regarding the stations.

        Regarding the claim against the city, it is a well known in San Antonio that a person under the moniker of jefsr constantly posts the “claims against the city of San Antonio” comment on websites around the nation, claiming every city official from the time of the claim forward is party to the cover-up. It's so old it's gotten silly. I thought BOR would be safe from that silliness, but apparently it's not.

        Regarding “Rivergate,” as we humorously refer to it, it was a mistake on their part and not an attempt to “fool the voters.” It was a bad mistake but not the type that will take governments down. In fact, in San Antonio we had so much fun of it the issue was spoofed during 2009 Cornyation. Everyone laughed at it and we elected Julian Castro as our mayor.

        So, your comments are petty and baseless. If that's all you have to debate the merits of the candidates you're already behind the power curve.

    • lies lies lies
      Neither of the Castro boys have been involved in any corruption scandals. (Notice the lack of links.)

      There is no “ongoing criminal investigation” in SA.

      This is a total fabrication and smear. I'm rating a zero.

      We've all had spirited debate, but you are the first poster to fabricate lies about either candidate. You should really, truly be ashamed of yourself.

  13. Castro is no Doggett!
    I know Dogget's voting record and public stands

    I know Joaquin's voting record and public stands

    And Castro is no Doggett!

    Castro is too wishy-washy, too politically ambitious, too servile to San Antonio's oligarchy that have run San Antonio as their own little town for decades.

    As far as the narrow-nationalistic argument being raised by some politicians in S.A. that Castro must have CD35 because  “he is one of us…. and thus he shares our values…”

    Question:  Does General Ricardo Sanchez deserve our vote for U.S. Senate next year?   He is Latino and he lives in San Antonio.  

    In case someone does not remember:  General Sanchez was the commander of all U.S. forces in Irak during the Abu Ghraib atrocities.        

    • okay, explain
      wishy washy? based on what???

      too ambitious? he's been in the house for 10 years. exactly where has this ambition manifested itself?

      servile to oligarchy? really? name names. the Castro twins are so far outside the “oligarchy” (which doesn't even exist) the attack is laughable.

      call me jaded, but what are the odds that two new posters of supposed filipino origin/descent (Quijano is a filipino name) show up on BOR today attacking Joaquin with wild-eyed, baseless attacks???

      come on guys.

      • The central issue: Should Castro replace Doggett
        I'm not going to discuss who are the elites that rule San Antonio.  That's not the focus here.  

        The issue is that the Castro brothers and others in San Antonio should be pointing out that yes, the quantitative increase in Latino population does call for a district that gives us a chance to select “our own” if we so choose. (FIY:  I'm a Latino…but a progressive).  

        However,  true progressive/liberal/lukewarm Latino politicians should NOT be happy that such district comes  at the expense of a proven progressive man like Doggett.  That's playing right into the extreme right-wing Texas GOP.  It would be more principled to fight (united with Doggett) the obvious GOP strategy of dividing and conquering the Dems while also destroying a known ideological adversary like Doggett.  (while hoping that his replacement may be more…..hmmm…'manageable').

        Personal political ambition should not supersede personal or political principles.  

        • Almost agree
          You make some good points but you still seem to feel Doggett deserves the district. Actually, as I've stated, the district is a Democratic district but I wouldn't gauge it as progressive. I think some moderates, like myself, will look at the two candidates and choose Castro over Doggett.

          If manageable means moderate in your book, then I'd prefer manageable (to use your term).

        • Would Castro have run against Henry B?
          Joaquin Castro's stated reasons for running against Doggett could apply to Charlie Gonzalez as well. Would Castro have run against Charlie's father  because Henry B was  no longer “fresh”? I don't think so.

          I'm not convinced Castro's run isn't a Karl Rove plan. .  I'll vote for Doggett like I have since  1972.  When I'm more knowledgeable about Castro, I hope to regret not being able to vote for both of them.

          My cynicism dates to my first election in 1970 when I voted for Ralph Yarborough, and Lloyd Bentsen won with ads tagging Yarborough with the police riots at the Chicago Democratic Convention.

           Returning to San Antonio after 40 years in Austin, I'm glad the Good Government League is gone.  But King Antonio is still white, Gregorio Esparza only warrants an elementary school, while Crockett, Bowie, Travis, and Austin high schools abound.

          Manageable doesn't mean moderate, it means blowing in the wind.

  14. really stacy?
    every comment that doesn't back your guy is suddenly “unproductive”????

    but “too wishy-washy, too politically ambitious, too servile” is excellent?

    i actually thought the level of discourse had improved dramatically. i'm very disappointed to see troll rating supplant debate.

    • 77 comments to date on this thread, RbearSat 20 comments & colin 10 comments
      You two have been playing tag team with both your comments and you ratings for each other in this thread. A similar pattern was shown in a previous thread on this subject.

      Apparently, no one can say anything positive about Doggett with some counter comment from either of you for the most part. Now in one day, you have labeled one first time commenter as “unproductive” and hide the comments of another first time poster.  

      I think the discourse may have improved, in your opinion, because some potential comments are not being made because the commenter does not want to deal with your and RbearSAT's counter comments. So positive troll on and continue to dominate discussion on this thread. Or you can just get this comment hidden also.

      • Huh?
        I didn't know there was a quota or limit on comments. Many were just replying to other points.

        Regarding the only hidden comments, read them again. They were baseless accusations on some pretty stupid rumors. Apparently you don't keep up with San Antonio politics because the “claim” against the city is a stupid claim that happened over 6 years ago by some disgruntled city employee. He can't get any jurisdiction to even investigate it because it's so baseless. Yet he trolls comment boards around the nation trying to shop it. Google “jefsr” and you'll see what I mean.

        The River Parade issue? Please, people in San Antonio have moved on from that. It was a mistake but only “grassy knoll” kind of people bring it up as a scandal. That was plain dumb.

        If you really thought those comments were productive to the discussion I've love to know why. Please enlighten me.

        I've stated clearly why I support Castro in this race. I've actually tried to provide some reasonable comparative points on the matters to place perspective in the race. In this particular race I have a stake in the matter because it's my future representative we're talking about. Not a proxy rep like many in Austin claim with Doggett, but my actual rep. I've already said I'd be fine with Doggett. I don't agree with him on several matters but I'd be okay with him. I just prefer Castro for the three points I stated.


      • ad hominem
        your ad hominem attack is fine on the surface, but not at all an accurate representation of this diary thread.

        you are trying to sell that there is some form of collusion and that i'm only rating randy's remarks. that isn't at all true. i've rated several comments a 3 or 5 in this thread that i don't necessarily agree with, but i felt add to the discussion. furthermore, i've personally posted several remarks that are positive about doggett!! for you to say otherwise is disingenuous (at best).

        i think if you'll calm down a little and review the remarks and ratings you'll see that i've been FAR more even-handed than you. at least i'm up-rating things i agree with and not just trolling along down-rating everything not in support of my position.

        if you feel the two completely false, baseless smears that i voted to hide are worthy of BOR…then we have very different opinions on political discourse.  if someone dared to say 1/2 that crap about doggett i would be the first to vote to hide because it denigrates my entire position. the fact that you think it is worthy of your position is sad and disturbing.

        but i'll be happy to stop posting on this diary if you'll stop crying and troll rating so that the discussion can continue on the issues (as it largely has).

  15. Hello Phillip
    Since you used my comment in your diary, I do feel the need to clarify what I meant in that comment.

    First, the purpose of my comment was not to compare Lloyd Doggett to Joaquin Castro in terms of their progressive credentials.  My purpose was merely to highlight why I support Doggett, and why he's the one I support.  

    The Texas Democrats whom I refer to as not “walking the walk” do not include Joaquin Castro.  Rather, I was refering to the Chet Edwards and Charlie Stenholms of the world who cast votes and engaged in behavior that did not adhere to Democratic party values.

  16. donaldbankston on

    The Choice
    GOP redistricting has forced our party in a divisive choice. One, we all want to see more minorities in Congress. Tom DeLay's grand scheme was to marginalize the Democratic Party by ridding Texas of any white Democratic Congressman. Today, we are left with the choice of meeting our commitment to Hispanics are to stand up to the cynical ploy of DeLay and the GOP. Both candidates are good progressive Democrats. I wish we had such quality candidates all over the State. We need real Democrats not the Matt Angle GOP lite Dems like Nick Lampson and Chet Edwards. I hope Court fights will keep us from having to decide this divisive choice.

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