It was the week that went from bad to worse for a “progressive” Republican in the Texas House.
It ended when Dallas State Rep. Jason Villalba was exposed for attempting to run roughshod over the constitutional rights of Americans. The effect was to unite social media in opposition to both his legislation and his mean-spirited defense of it. He went so far as to give interviews in which he called for critics to challenge him in the 2016 primary.
While Empower Texans was not the first group to notice the dangerous implications of his legislation (and even then, it was only through a tweet by our general counsel), Villalba irrationally singled out me and our Metroplex bureau chief – Ross Kecseg – for scorn. He wrote in a rambling, since-deleted Facebook post, “I will destroy you.”
Social media users flooded the Internet with their disgust.
Meanwhile, conservative congressional standard-bearer Justin Amash of Michigan read about Villalba’s bad legislation (and horrible response) in a Breitbart Texas article. In that article, Villalba literally begged for conservatives to challenge him in 2016.
Amash tweeted: “To his constituents: Please take him up on this.”
Even the public supporters of House Speaker Joe Straus, who Villalba has ridiculously described as “Reaganesque,” were slamming the Dallas lawmaker.
“What in the hell are you thinking?” tweeted blogger David Jennings. “Holy crap dude, you need to pull this bill down. Embarrassing. #TXlege @SpeakerStraus.”
It was a bad end to a bad week for Villalba.
Earlier in the week, he disavowed his own “religious freedom” legislation. That was a measure he had introduced in December in an attempt to establish conservative bona fides. However, when a coalition of gay rights activists, liberal advocacy groups and big business announced their opposition to his measure, Villalba dropped the bill.
Jason Villalba’s commitment to conservatism is at best only rhetorical, and then only when convenient.