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Democrats Optimistic After Judge's Anti-Obama Remarks

by Shawn M. Griffiths, published
Credit: Texas Tribune

Lubbock County Judge Tom Head received brief national attention for remarks he made in August when he claimed President Barack Obama will incite civil war if he is reelected to a second term. Democrats in West Texas insisted that Judge Head step down from the bench, but they also see an opportunity to boost their momentum and support for the upcoming election.

The Republican judge is also chairman of the Committee on Emergency Planning for the county and has proposed tax hikes to “beef up” resources for the local sheriff’s department and the district attorney’s office. This will help ensure Lubbock County will have a well trained militia when Obama surrenders the sovereignty of the country to the United Nations, which will lead to an uprising and the US will plunge into civil war.

If it sounds like nonsense, that’s because it is. There is no evidence to back up such a sensationalized claim and this type of divisive rhetoric has become a problem in the realm of public discourse. It doesn’t move the debate forward on what policies are best for the US and who the best leaders are to implement these policies. It is a distraction that Democrats welcome.

Judge Head is an elected official in Lubbock County. Judges from local positions to county seats to the high courts are elected in the state of Texas, which is the subject of constant debate in the state. The majority of voters in the county have not and, most likely, will not insist that Tom Head step down from his positions of influence. Yet, some leaders within the Democratic minority are energized.

Kenny Ketner, chairman of the Lubbock County Democratic Party, said:

“Obviously it was embarrassing, but his comments have certainly helped our party because we have moderate Republicans scratching their heads wondering how people like Tom Head get elected.”

Democrats are confident that the political landscape will change in their favor, but it will be some time before such a partisan shift occurs in West Texas. However, local Democrats are already seeing this shift and it is not just because of moderate Republicans that are dissatisfied with the more radical voices in their party. There is also a growing population of Hispanic voters, and this segment of the voting age population tends to vote for Democratic candidates.

Tom Head insisted that his words were taken out of context and that he was speaking of the worst case scenario as a hypothetical only. If this is indeed the case, it is still highly inappropriate and unreasonable for a county judge, or anyone regardless of position or title, to make such radical comments about the President of the United States without sufficient evidence to back up such assertions.

While state and local democratic parties will look to capitalize on Judge Head’s comments, it won’t likely affect statewide races. The majority of voters in West Texas are still likely to support Tom Head before they support a Democratic candidate. Still, the remarks have no doubt altered the perception of some voters.

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