The Tea Party initially formed because of a citizen-led backlash against self-absorbed career politicians that are incompetent and unprincipled governance. But in conservative and predominantly Republican areas there has been incidents reported where Republican candidates are trying to beat their opponents in the Republican primary by either forming the local Tea Party or snookering its leadership – effectively trying to win their race by misusing the trust and goodwill of sincere Tea Party activists. What voters who value the Tea Party know however is this election is not about parties but about principles for them.
Principles are what Tea Party members encourage voters to use to discern who they give their vote to. Principles like fiscal responsibilities, constitutionally limited government, free market, abiding by the Constitution, and an emphasis on local control are what the Tea Party promotes. Since we have heard candid, behind-the-scenes remarks by people that say they are organizing and controlling the local Tea Party we thought it would be revealing to analyze the Liberty County sheriff’s race in light of the Tea Party principles.
How does Sheriff Henry Patterson stack up when his record is compared to the Tea Party principles?
The most glaring departure Patterson’s record has from the principles listed above have nothing to do with him running as a Democrat in 2004. They have to do with his associations. They have to do with him allowing The Outsiders to commandeer a portion of Liberty County’s sheriff’s department (see previous articles for further explanation of who this group is). This single ongoing act by Patterson separates him from any pretense of following the Constitution. His campaign people and his “call a friend” help in going after bad guys are more like a secret police than anything else. Most, if not all are unqualified to work in the sheriff’s department. Their work involves investigating people without probable cause – unless probable cause for an investigation is that a citizen is suspected of being a problem for Patterson’s re-election team.
Patterson also violates the cornerstone ideas of the Tea Party. Less government and less intervention in our lives from government. This sheriff has expanded government by inviting outside people in. He has also opened aided and abetted his secret political hit team as they interfere in people’s lives that are for his opponent. The idea of local control is also out the window, with people like Eddie Shauberger from Anahuac and Robert Valdez from Fresno “controlling” the sheriff.
Patterson may be trying to convince people he is the great avenger of corruption and the non-entrenched politician, but it just plain doesn't line up with the facts. For two years Patterson spent more time eye-balling the people in his own department than criminals on the street. The most common explanation for his inability to let people go he didn't think were good for the county was he didn't want to be sued. The fact is in Texas he could have fired whoever he wanted to and it would have been easy to avoid lawsuits. But he didn't. Patterson has become part of the problem. His excuses sound like the ones we have heard for years. When asked why he did not pursue the information given to him on former County Judge Phil Fitzgerald, he sounds no different than those who he has accused of being corrupt.
Patterson’s personal views and how they compare to the Tea Party may or may not be aligned, but his actions and the actions of his closest advisers are definitely more of the calculating politician than a principled conservative. There campaign has bragged that the Tea Party will win it for them. They have also boasted that they have a preacher from the north part of the county, one from Chambers County, and one former evangelist that will draw in the church people. They have expressed great confidence that people in Cleveland especially will trust preachers to know the truth – and implied that the truth they know is who all of us should vote for.