How to fuel cynicism about politics

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The Chronicle‘s Samantha Levine reports on a seeming flip-flop by Rep. John Culberson (R):

Lone Star State lawmakers often say they’re Texans first and Democrats or Republicans second. They have worked together on many issues lately.

But on a revived bill that would name the U.S. Department of Education building in Washington in memory of Lyndon Baines Johnson, a Democrat and the first president from Texas, unifying loyalties to the state are harder to find.

For some Republicans, disdain for Johnson’s legacy, and behind-closed-doors pressure to avoid supporting a bill that would honor a Democrat, apparently won out.

Rep. John Culberson

Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, at first co-sponsored the bill, whose authors point out that no government building in Washington bears Johnson’s name.

“My friend (Houston Democratic congressman) Gene Green asked me to,” Culberson said, and besides, LBJ was from Texas.”

A day later Culberson changed his mind.

“I strenuously disagree with the way [Johnson] expanded the size, power and cost of the federal government,” Culberson said. “I just don’t think he’s a good role model for young people. I have a lot of respect for Gene Green, but not for Lyndon Johnson.”

Support the legislation, or don’t support the legislation.

But don’t sign up as a co-sponsor of the legislation, and then come out and blast the legislation a day later.

That’s not my idea of how Texans, honorable statesmen, or good role models conduct themselves, and it’s the sort of thing that fuels cynicism about politics in general.

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Kevin Whited
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