Piece of Mind: Paxton Is Real Bum Steer Of The Year

Dec 29, 2020

My favorite issue each year of Texas Monthly arrived in the mail this week and I saw something on the cover that made me wince in disappointment.

TM named the Texas Democratic Party as its Bum Steer of the Year in its annual Bum Steer edition that comes out at the end of every calendar year. The magazine has hit many home runs with its Bum Steer "honor," and it also has whiffed. I fear that the magazine's publishing deadline created a missed opportunity.

Yes, the Democratic Party missed its "blue wave" prediction, claiming it would sweep into elective power in the Nov. 3 election. It sure missed ... by a Texas mile.

Something happened, though, between the magazine's deadline and its production that to my mind provided an even more egregious Bum Steer for the magazine to consider.

That would be Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's moronic lawsuit that sought the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the election results in four states that voted for Joe Biden over Donald Trump. SCOTUS tossed the lawsuit in a fit of judicial wisdom many of us didn't quite expect from a court that comprises three justices nominated by Donald Trump. Sanity prevailed.

However, Paxton's lawsuit brought a significant level of scorn to Texas. The AG couldn't dictate how other states conduct their electoral affairs, the court ruled. Indeed, many critics have wondered whether Paxton -- a dedicated Republican -- has a screw loose.

He did all that while the FBI is investigating whether he committed crimes while serving as AG, which brings many of us to wonder whether Paxton is angling for a presidential pardon for any crimes that the FBI might uncover. A pardon from Trump, I hasten to add, wouldn't involve the state trial that awaits Paxton on allegations of securities fraud. The guy's a serious peach, you know?

I am well aware that Paxton dodged a bit of a freight train simply by virtue of the deadline that TM faced when it was assembling its Bum Steer issue. I also know that he likely won't get the magazine's Bum Steer of the Year "honor" at the end of 2021. Too bad.

Still, I want to bestow my own version of a venerable award to a politician who -- with his idiotic effort to subvert the democratic process -- has brought shame and ridicule to our great state.

Thanks for not a damn thing, Mr. AG.

John Kanelis, former editorial page editor for the Amarillo Globe-News and the Beaumont Enterprise, is also a former blogger for Panhandle PBS in Amarillo. He is now retired, but still writing. Kanelis can be contacted via Twitter @jkanelis, on Facebook, or his blog, Kanelis' blog for KETR, "Piece of Mind," presents his views, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of KETR, its staff, or its members.

Kanelis lives in Princeton with his wife, Kathy.