Skip to comments.Two county officials make shift to GOP (Howard Dean loses a few more red state votes)
Posted on 02/26/2005 6:37:53 AM PST by Libloather
2 county officials make shift to GOP
By Kurt Allen/Assistant Managing Editor
When Robyn Flowers and Barbara Hale were trying to find their place in the world of politics, it was almost a given it would be the Democratic Party. Growing up in the South, Democrats ruled the region, and there was little thought given to being Republican.
"I think probably, like most people my age, if you were born and raised in Texas, you've been a Democrat because that's what your family did," said Hale, Walker County's court-at-law judge.
How the times do change.
Now the South, and Texas in particular, has become heavily Republican as the GOP has come to represent the beliefs once held by Democrats.
It was for that reason, albeit on a deep, personal level, that Hale and District Clerk Robyn Flowers announced Thursday their switch to the Republican Party.
Such party switches, on a state or national scale, are rare. But in Walker County, it's happened on an increasing basis. The two elected officials join three others who made the move since late 2003. Walker County District Attorney David Weeks and Walker County Judge Danny Pierce switched to the GOP last year, while State Judge Bill McAdams made the move in 2003.
The shift wasn't easy for Hale, who said she struggled with the decision.
"It was really hard for me to change parties, because one of the qualities I admire in people is loyalty," she said.
But the Democratic Party's shift over the past couple of decades had slowly eroded her confidence in the group. When John Kerry earned the party's presidential nomination, and later when Howard Dean was tabbed as the Democratic leader, Hale's decision was finalized.
"When they went with Howard Dean, it just hit me. I'm being loyal to a party that hasn't been loyal to me," she said. "I just can't do it."
Hale's opinion represents a general consensus among many politicians at all levels, said Russell Martinez, chairman of the Republican Party of Walker County.
"I think that probably started with (Ronald) Reagan, actually, before he became president, as early as 1964," Martinez said. "He really set the tone for the more traditional values."
Those values, long the backbone of Southern Democrats, became key points in the Republican platform. By the time Reagan replaced Jimmy Carter as president in 1980, the move was on in earnest. By the time George W. Bush was elected president in 2000 and 2004, virtually the entire South had gone to the GOP.
"It was bound to happen as the Republican Party shifted to a more conservative (ideology), the Democrats shifted to a more liberal stance," Martinez said. "More and more people began to identify with those issues and those principals (adopted by Republicans)."
The belief Reagan was a catalyst for this political shift provided Martinez an interesting backdrop for Thursday's dinner honoring the two-term president who died last year. He said it was Reagan's strengthening of the GOP that brought the party to where it is today.
"It's really kind of fitting what's happened here in Walker County, that we were able to honor Ronald Reagan last night and have a lot of the things he set forth come into play last night," Martinez said, referring to the party shift. "It was really exciting."
While partisan politics doesn't play as critical a role in Walker County campaigns, for some officials, the decision to shift was still big because many voters opt for a straight-ticket vote.
"I think it's important for those folks that don't take the time to study individual races and individual candidates," Hale said. "That gives them something to hang their hat on. There are a lot of folks who work long, hard hours, and they don't have the time to study individual races."
But for Flowers, the shift was less about party politics and more about personal standards.
"Well, I just feel like the Republican Party more follows my beliefs and values," she said. "I've been praying on this for three or four months. A party affiliation to me is not that critical. I base my beliefs on people on what I believe their values are, what their beliefs are.
"I believe that goes countywide as well."
She isn't worried the party change will have much of an impact on how voters respond to her when she runs for re-election.
"I think the majority of the people locally vote for who they feel will do the best job for the county," she said. "The majority of my friends are Republicans, and have been for a long time. They supported me in running, in spite of my party affiliations. I feel those people voted for me because of who I was."
But Hale has a little more concern about the change.
"I'm filing at the end of this year to run in 2006. I'm sure it will be an issue with those people that have supported me in the past, and I don't blame them for having that issue, because loyalty is very big to me," she said. "But I hope they haven't become disillusioned by the job I'm doing. In this job, you have no party. When you go in with the robe, it's you and following the law."
And it really doesn't stop there. The RATS have a few more northeast left-wangers on deck right behind these jokers...
Is this Flowers any relation to Jennifer Flowers?
Love your screen name!! Didn't Howie the Screamer vow to go to the red states and recapture the lost votes? Howie doesn't have a clue about what makes rural Texas (or rural anywhere for that matter) tick.:-)
Yours in despising liberalism and all it stands for,
It would be nice if these folks moved to a party that embraced limited government and conservative values(like Declarations of War before you send troops overseas)...but alas, instead they joined the GOP....
Hmmmm... and I thought it was because the Rats are being led over the cliff by anarchists and Bolshevists.
My whole family were Democrats, so naturally I was too. Then along came Clinton and Jesse jackass and queers and NOW cows, I looked a Reagan and said this guy stand for America, not special interests , and freaks , but for the America I want to belong to. I changed, next thing you know my brother changed , and then my sister and her husband. I still have one sister that votes Dems no matter if they ran a Kangaroo, But still have hopes she will wake up one day.
Its about loving America not catering to every weird group that comes along wanting special interests.
"GWB's New Breed of Conservatism"?...What is that praytell?...Big Government at home and Big Government abroad....?
rural anywhere? Vermont IS the most rural state in the country; Nevada is most urban (nobody lives in the desert outside Las Vegas).
And I've talked to alot of diehard Southern Democrats whose social views would make liberal "Big Tent" Republicans wince...If the GOP betrays social conservatives like it has economic and foreign policy conservatives, the GOP will be the one in trouble....
"It would be nice if these folks moved to a party that embraced limited government and conservative values(like Declarations of War before you send troops overseas)...but alas, instead they joined the GOP...."
And that party would be?
"'I think that probably started with (Ronald) Reagan, actually, before he became president, as early as 1964," Martinez said. "He really set the tone for the more traditional values.' Those values, long the backbone of Southern Democrats, became key points in the Republican platform."
I'm only in my 40's. Could a more seasoned person here (preferably someone that knows Southern Democrats) tell me if this is actually true? Were the Dems the party of Family and Moral Values way back when? It seems unfathomable to me, because I've never perceived them in that way.
All you have to do is read Zell Miller's book for your answer.
"All you have to do is read Zell Miller's book for your answer."
Thanks. Will do. :)
First, the people who argued for keeping the canal often said "we stole it fair and square". Second, our navy is focused around the concept of a multi dimensional carrier battle group. We don't have small, single ships roaming the ocean anymore. The carriers can not make it through the canal. Also, the big container ships and oil tankers can not make it either. The canal does not hold much military or commercial appeal. Shipping still goes throught the canal in smaller ships, but these are not as economically important as the large ships.
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