The website for former sheriff Richard Mack, the man who is challenging SOPA sponsor Lamar Smith in the Republican primary for the Texas 21st congressional district, is back up.
His issues page shows there’s much to like about Sheriff Mack. He’s for restraining spending, controlling the border, and against ObamaCare. Not only does he support the Second Amendment, he was a leading opponent of the Brady Bill, was the very first Sheriff (and very possibly the first person) to file suit to get it overturned, and was the second named plaintiff in Printz Vs. U.S., which overturned key provisions. In addition to SOPA, he also opposes the indefinite incarceration of citizens provision of the NDAA.
He also seems to be active in Tea Party circles, and was named one of the Top Ten Conservative Challengers (along with Ted Cruz) by the Conservative Texans Political Action Conference.
As for his opponent, Lamar Smith has long been considered a fairly conservative Republican with some justification, including a lifetime ACU rating of over 92%. But there’s a case to be made that Lamar Smith has not exactly been a tower of conservative virtue in recent years, even apart from his key role in sponsoring SOPA. For one thing, he voted for TARP. For another, he voted to increase the minimum wage. Smith is an example of someone who has simply been in government too long; he was first elected in 1986, and a quarter-century in the House simply too long to expect someone to oppose Leviathan rather than serving it. PACs love, love, love Lamar Smith, to the tune of $467,941 in PAC contributions this election cycle alone (including, ironically enough, SOPA opponents such as Google). (I cannot confirm reports that Rep. Smith spends more time at his house on Cape Cod, which he has owned since 1992, than he does in Texas.) Rep. Smith does not seem to have learned to his lesson about SOPA, as he’s still parroting the recording industry line, and is still working to pass the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 (HR 1981), which, while not as bad as SOPA, would still impose fairly onerous Internet data retention and tracking provisions for all American Internet providers.
Need a final reason to oppose Smith? He’s actually been endorsed by the Austin-American Statesman, in the same editorial they endorsed Lloyd Doggett, which should be the kiss of death for a Republican.
Rep. Smith’s problem is that of a boarding school boy being paddled for stealing cookies. It’s not that he was the first one to have his hand in the cookie jar (lots of Republicans have supported bad Internet bills in the past), nor will he be the last, but he’s the one with the misfortune to have his hand in the cookie jar at precisely the wrong time, when the headmaster (i.e., voters) were actually paying attention. He has to be punished as an example to the others.
Just as the tree of liberty must occasionally be watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots, so too must the careers of 13-term incumbents be offered up in periodic sacrifice…