Texas 17 Representative Chet Edwards is a resilient Democrat in an increasingly overwhelmingly Republican district. The district, which includes the President's ranch in Crawford, went for Bush in 2004 with 69 percent of the vote. Edwards has stayed on top of the tiger with hard work and conservative votes.

To repeat what I said last Friday, Edwards is a center-right Democrat I admire, and one for whom I have consistently voted. Disappointingly, he voted for the House timetable last week. The next congressional election in Central Texas should be interesting.

Painfully aware of how precarious his position in Texas 17 with votes such as these, here is how he explained his actions in a recent press release. By the way, much of the release made it into the Waco Tribune (here), not merely as quotes, but also as content. It helps to have a friendly local paper.

The Title of the Press Release:

Edwards: Iraq Bill Supports U.S. Combat Troops & Veterans, and Tells Iraqi Politicians to Take More Responsibility for Nation’s Future

How his office characterized his vote:

"U.S. Representative Chet Edwards today supported House passage of the $124 billion emergency war funding bill that gives the president and military commanders the flexibility and funds they need to carry out the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."


"This bill fully funds our U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan..."

Correct, but...

"...and sends a message to Iraqi political leaders that it is time for them to take responsibility for their own nation’s future."

Is that the message?

"This bill does not authorize an immediate withdrawal."

Thank God for small favors.

"I voted against immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops and led the effort to give the Commander-in-Chief critical flexibility in managing troop rotations. I believe this is a reasonable, balanced approach that improves the chances for victory in Iraq.”

So, the President must be for this then, right?

"As recommended by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group headed by former President Bush’s Secretary of State Jim Baker, Edwards supported provisions in the bill to refocus the U.S. military mission in Iraq and Afghanistan to prioritize fighting terrorism and the training of Iraqi security forces, and redeploy U.S. combat forces in Iraq by August 2008 to accomplish this goal."

So, again, the Bushes must be all for this then, right?

"In February, Edwards spoke out publicly and led the opposition to proposals put forward by Congressman John Murtha and Speaker Nancy Pelosi that would have limited the president’s constitutional role as Commander-in-Chief."

Wow, Murtha and Pelosi must be really mad at him right now. But why all the high-fives?

Analysis: As I say, I like Chet Edwards. But this vote (and his vote for the non-binding resolution "disapproving of the decision of the President announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq") comes as a shock to me.

Back during the last campaign, Congressman Edwards wouldn't even admit that he was going to vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. He gave no indication that he would break with his history of voting in support of the President on the war. These two votes, notwithstanding his lame attempt to cast them as something they are not, are not at all in keeping with how I understood his position last November.

I am anxious to see how this plays out during the next election cycle.