In 1776, during the darkest time for the Continental Army, Thomas Paine wrote “The American Crisis No. 1” to strengthen the resolve of George Washington’s outgunned soldiers and appeal to the patriotism of the American people. The words are familiar to every American and are as inspiring today as they were on the battlefields in 1776.
Paine’s pamphlet begins with this somber but beautiful prose, “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
Paine’s words galvanized support for the revolution and helped secure a historic victory. Paine’s call to act boldly and serve courageously with fervent patriotism continues to resonate and are traits Americans have rewarded when they see them in their leaders. (RELATED: Texas House Committee Recommends Impeaching AG Ken Paxton)
Republican presidents like Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump all challenged powerful institutions and the political establishment. Whether they were seeking to abolish slavery, defeat the global threat of communism or reform institutionalized economic policy that had for too long tilted toward Wall Street bankers over Main Street workers, they all exemplified bold leadership.
Texas Republicans are allowing Democrat “investigators” to ram through a sham impeachment of Paxton.
The Texas GOP is acting like the Vichy French. https://t.co/nGIjiRz0uF
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) May 26, 2023
Texas Republicans have especially valued these traits. In 1983, when Congressman Phil Gramm, then a conservative Democrat when there was such a thing, was kicked off the House Budget Committee for working to pass President Reagan’s priorities, he resigned from Congress and ran in a special election as a Republican for his seat. Gramm could have simply switched parties and walked across the aisle to sit with the Republicans. However, he chose a bold and courageous path to allow the voters to determine if they wanted a Republican or a Democratic representative. Gramm won that election in a landslide, and the respect he earned among Republican voters secured his victory in the race for U.S. Senate the next year. The significance of Gramm’s Senate victory should not be underestimated, as his 1984 victory was the last time a sitting member of Congress was elected statewide in Texas.
More recent examples include Ted Cruz, a little-known constitutional attorney who served as solicitor general for the state of Texas. In 2012 he ran for U.S. Senate, joining a field of nine candidates that included David Dewhurst, the deep-pocketed and powerful lieutenant governor. Despite running ten points behind Dewhurst in the primary, Cruz achieved a stunning victory in the runoff, gathering almost 57 percent of the vote. Voters trusted Cruz because he spoke boldly about fundamental constitutional principles that should never be compromised. He earned the trust of Republican voters who admired his unwavering commitment to conservative values. (RELATED: Texas House Votes To Impeach AG Ken Paxton)
The career of current Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also fits this pattern. In 2014, Patrick, who at the time was one of 31 state senators, ran for lieutenant governor, entering a GOP primary that included the entrenched incumbent as well as the land commissioner and the agriculture commissioner. Despite his clear underdog status against three well-known statewide elected officials, Patrick had the support of grassroots conservatives because of his reputation for principled leadership in the Texas Senate and his demonstrated willingness to stand up to the Austin establishment.
The attorney general of Texas, Ken Paxton, has also earned a place on any list of courageous conservatives who have earned the support of conservative voters. As a state representative, he had the courage to challenge a sitting House speaker who represented the establishment wing of the party. While that challenge was unsuccessful, it helped propel him to the state Senate and ultimately to a statewide victory. As attorney general, Paxton is an uncompromising conservative who demands accountability of the federal government, state institutions and predatory corporations. CNN characterized Paxton’s lawsuits against the Biden administration as “an unrelenting, and mostly successful, legal war against President Biden’s agenda on immigration, healthcare and other issues.” Paxton even launched investigations into two hospitals over their alleged embrace of genital mutilation of children and other abusive medical procedure to advance the radical transgender agenda.
The TX House’s impeachment was based on totally false claims. After an internal investigation, the OAG retained an outside law firm to further investigate, which culminated in a report. The OAG offered it to the House, but they refused.
Read it here: https://t.co/SwQsawtO4m
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) May 27, 2023
Unfortunately, Paxton has paid an enormous personal and political price as powerful political opponents have repeatedly weaponized the institutions of government against him, most recently the Texas House of Representatives with an illegal impeachment proceeding. Sen. Cruz correctly characterized the motivation for such an attack when he said, “the special interests don’t want a steadfast AG.”
It is ironic that the very future of the conservative movement in Texas now depends on Lt. Gov. Patrick as he leads the Senate through a resolution of this nefarious and shameful attack on Paxton. If the Senate demonstrates that due process and the rule of law will be respected, Patrick will easily solidify himself as the Republican choice to be the next governor of Texas in 2026 when the seat is expected to be open. Of course he will win the continued contempt of liberal Austin lobbyists and the leftist opinion writers at newspaper editorial boards, but he will deserve the respect and support of every Texas conservative.