February 26, 2020
Dead Anti-Conservative Austrian Dragged Into Hit List
Fiasco with GOP Lawmaker Tweet Targeting Democrats
By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor
A Republican state lawmaker who'd been implicated with Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen in a primary targeting scandal opened some old wounds inadvertently this week when he borrowed a line from a famous European liberal in an apparent warning on the hypocrisy of socialism.
State Rep. Dustin Burrows of Lubbock had been attempting to belittle Democrats before the presidential debate in South Carolina on Tuesday night when he invoked the wisdom of the late economist and philosopher F.A Hayek in a byzantine Twitter post that backfired.
"As the Democrats debate tonight who can best destroy our Nation’s economy, ponder a favorite quote: “There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal.” - Hayek
Burrows could have been setting himself up for some ribbing from Democrats with the profound social media eloquence waxing in light of the fact that Hayek had been one of the most outspoken critics of conservative politics on either side of the Atlantic Ocean before his death at the age of 92 in 1992.
A self-style classical liberal, Hayek sparked an international war of words in intellectual and academic cirles when he penned an essay called Why I Not a Conservative in the early 1960s as a postscript to the book that he published in 1960 as The Constitution of Liberty.
Burrows - the chairman of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee - has billed himself as a staunch conservative. But Burrows managed to alienate conservative, liberals and moderate Democrats alike after teaming up with Bonnen in a secret meeting in June at the Capitol where they peddled a plan to a political enemy designed to eliminate 10 designated GOP colleagues in the 2020 primary election.
While the targeting scheme fizzled after Empower Texans chief Michael Quinn Sullivan blew the whistle on it, Burrows rekindled some of the bad blood that it had created with the reference to the Nobel Prize-winning Austrian who's no relation to actress Salma Hayek.
State Rep. Stan Lambert - an Abilene Republican who'd been on the hit list that Sullivan exposed - countered the Burrows comment on Democrats with a tweet on Wednesday that called his fellow West Texan out with a reference to the targeting strategy gone awry.
"So where does targeting your fellow Republicans fall into this favorite quote of yours about treating people equally??" Lambert said. "There are nine other Republicans, besides me, who have been waiting to hear your response for about 6 months."
Lambert and other Republicans who'd been in the Bonnen and Burrows sights have lamented that the powerful leadership pair have shown no real remorse for their leading roles in the furor that prompted the speaker to pull the plug on a re-election bid this year in his coastal House district.