Today I participated in a conference call with some fellow bloggers and Rick Noriega. It was a rare moment because he did something that is unheard of in the political realm in recent years–he took responsibility for the mistake he made in his speech (LINK) and he apologized. Then we all brainstormed ways to make the campaign even better more effective.
Later this afternoon Noriega issued a statement in a live blogging session at Fire Dog Lake where he took questions from bloggers. His statement is below.
I would not be in the race for U.S. Senate in Texas without the netroots. A group of Texas bloggers banded together to form the Draft Noriega movement, and I answered their call in July to run for U.S. Senate. I experienced first-hand the power of the blogosphere and its democratizing effects. There were no smoke-filled rooms filled with power brokers making the decisions – just a group of concerned citizens working together to take back Texas and their country. The amazing thing is this is not an isolated event. From the victories of Ned Lamont, Jim Webb, and Jon Tester to the ongoing fight on important issues like Iraq, net neutrality, the economy, and health care, the progressive netroots have changed the game in politics, and they have changed it for the better.
Yesterday, the San Antonio Express News printed an article discussing the netroots and my campaign. Needless to say, I was disappointed. Disappointed in the article, but more importantly, disappointed in my own quoted statements. I own up to making those statements. I do believe that the politics of Karl Rove, John Cornyn, and right-wing talk radio are based on exploiting wedge issues like flag burning or the political trifecta of “gays, guns, and God.” I do not equate the democratic influence of citizen journalists in the blogosphere fighting for their country with the corporate right-wing noise machine, and I do not believe the progressive blogosphere is participating in this form of wedge politics. I also realize my statements are hurtful to our greater cause to promote progressive politics. I know what it is like to be devalued, whether it’s because of my last name, my skin color, my lack of hair, or any number of things folks have used against me in life. My comments devalued the blogosphere, and I apologize.
As I stated above, the netroots have made a tremendous contribution to today’s politics. Ultimately, I know I will be judged on my actions going forward, and I’m confident you’re going to see a candidate and campaign fighting for our shared values. Our campaign to bring change to Texas took a hit yesterday, and there will undoubtedly be more. I’m going to continue busting my butt out here in Texas to fight for what we all believe in. I hope you’ll stand with me.
I’m impressed with Rick Noriega’s honesty in admitting his mistake and accepting the responsibility. That’s the kind of character we need in our leaders!