Will “a few glorious rips from a blunt” sink Jonathan Stickland?

Photo by Jay Janner

Good morning Austin:

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The word of the day is Schticklandschadenfreude.

It is obviously a compound variant on schadenfreude\ˈshä-dən-ˌfrȯi-də\ – a German word meaning taking delight in the misfortune of others.

Schadenfreude derives from the German word, Schaden, meaning damage + Freude meaning joy.

It is a perfectly normal, if not particularly noble, emotion.

But life is short, and you’ve got to find your pleasures where you can.

Schticklandschadenfreude refers to a very specific form of schadenfreude, in which the beholder revels in the particular misfortune of Jonathan Stickland, a tea party Republican state representative from Tarrant County, who, in only his second term in the House, has emerged as among its most recognizable and confrontational members. He is the Pavarotti of the back mic and the bête noire of many of his colleagues, who find his “tribune of the common man” schtick – thus the double entendre at the start of Schticklandschadenfreude – tiresome and irksome.

(Among those not especially enamored of Stickland was, apparently, former Gov. Rick Perry, who, since this First Reading was initially posted, endorsed Scott Fisher, a four-time Perry appointee, who is challenging Stickland in the Republican primary. More on this at the end of today’s First Reading.)

Schadenfreude’s first known use was 1895.

Schticklandschadenfreude’s first known use was right about now, and comes in response to some of the tweeted reaction to a story that broke yesterday from Scott Braddock of the Quorum Report.

Here’s the top of Braddock’s updated version of his story.

Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, and his Republican primary challenger on Monday traded jabs over Stickland’s past drug use and public online search for advice about how to grow marijuana at home and how to beat a drug test at work.

Rep. Stickland admits that back in 2001 and 2002, he used online forums to seek advice about growing his own marijuana and also looked for a “smoke buddy” to enjoy “da green.”

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Stickland’s campaign said that he has indeed smoked marijuana in the past and in doing so “wasted much of life, said and did things I wish I hadn’t.” Stickland denied ever growing marijuana at home, despite admitting he is the author of those internet postings.

The campaign of Scott Fisher, a pastor from North Texas, released to Quorum Report the internet posts in which Stickland “was wondering if anyone lived in the Dallas Fort Worth area and loved to smoke da green.” He did so under the screen name “Stick.”

In another post, Stickland said he needed “a little help here” because he was “very seriously wanting to grow some of my own stash but am totally clueless on what to do.”

“I think the best thing I need to do right now is find someone “preferrably local) with experience to help guide me,” the post said. “ANYONE who can help me out I would be truly grateful.”

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After Stickland today talked about his past drug use, the Fisher campaign wasted little time in unveiling internet posts from 2008 in which the incumbent Republican also sought advice about how to keep from failing an employer-mandated drug test.

Here’s how Capitol Inside promoted the story:

Texas Politics: House Hopeful Seeks to Smoke GOP Lawmaker Out on Pot Posts as Primary Battle Focus Shifts in High Voltage Race to Marijuana Use and Truth of Admissions on Past.

Too busy. But there’s a great headline lurking here somewhere.

Stick was stoned, but says names will never hurt him

Stick’s new nickname: Just call him Lonely Stonedsome

From Craig Murphy, Fisher’s campaign consultant:

In a recent letter to constituents, State Representative Jonathan Stickland says he takes “pride in knowing I can tell the truth” and in a December 17th Twitter post, he said “speak truth to power.”

 But an odd series of drug-related public internet posts by Stickland would indicate that Stickland is lying to his constituents and others.

 The issue began today when the Fisher campaign asked State Representative Jonathan Stickland to explain a series of internet posts on MARIJUANA.COM that Stickland now admits he made in 2001 and 2002, which centered on his intent to grow his “own stash” of marijuana in his house. Stickland has now admitted he authored those messages that also advertised for a person in the Dallas-Fort Worth area who “loved to smoke da green” to be a “smoke buddy.”

In the 2002 post, Stickland referred to himself as both “stick” and “RaTmasTeR4LiFe.” The “Ratmaster” alias would appear to refer to Stickland’s then-occupation as a pest control technician.

In his written response, Stickland only admitted he smoked marijuana in “high school and early college” seeming to try to leave the impression his use stopped there. But the reality indicated by additional public internet posts is that Stickland’s drug use has continued long afterwards. According to those posts, Stickland posted a message on the website FFtoday.com in July of 2008 asking for advice about how to avoid failing a work ordered drug test. He was scheduled to take the test that evening at 5pm after having taken a “few glorious rips from a blunt” some days before.

(Tip to Stickland –  Turn this to your advantage. Re-title your constituent newsletter A few glorious rips from a blunt lawmaker.)

Photo by jay Janner

Photo by Jay Janner

Here was Stickland’s initial response.

I talked with Scott Fisher days after he announced his campaign and we both agreed to run very positive campaigns, focused on our differences on the issues. It’s clear he never had any intention of keeping his word, and it is disappointing that he would chose to attack me and my family three days after Christmas.

Anyone who knows my testimony, my family, friends, and many supporters, are aware that I smoked marijuana in high school and my early collegiate years. Let me even go a step further and say that during that time I wasted much of life, said and did things I wish I hadn’t. But by the Grace of God my past sins are forgiven.

Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and I have all smoked marijuana. I never grew marijuana. But I hope and pray that my daughters never make the mistake I made, and that, if they do fail, they know of the forgiveness readily available.

Scott Fisher knows that I represent the Christian conservative values of my constituents, so he has instead decided to focus on mistakes I made at 17 years old. It’s disappointing that politics has gotten to this point where even a pastor will stoop this low.

Every campaign I have run has focused on the issues, but if Mr. Fisher wants to make this campaign about my personal testimony, we can do that too.

I particularly like the image of Ted, Jeb and Jonathan as a latter-day Jack, Peter and Dennis, sitting around the campfire and not bogarting that joint.

After Fisher’s campaign released the second batch of more recent on-line comments by Stickland about getting around drug testing at work, here was Stickland’s subsequent response:

Scott Fisher must have no shame. It makes me sick to my stomach that my little girls will have to face these attacks for the next 60 days. I know the Fisher campaign would love to act like this is a gotcha, but it’s not. I smoked marijuana regularly in high school and early college years, but started cleaning up after my first daughter was born in 2006. I encourage the kids I teach in Sunday School, and my own children to never make the mistakes I made.

Photo by Jay Janner

Photo by Jay Janner

It should be noted that this is not a case of a conservative lawmaker who railed against marijuana being revealed as a hypocrite.

A libertarian, Stickland backs decriminalizing marijuana.

From Brittney Martin with the Dallas Morning News in April:

Three Republican lawmakers have signed on as co-authors to a bill that would decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, making it a ticketed offense.

Reps. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, David Simpson, R-Longview, and Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, joined 35 House Democrats in supporting a proposal by Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, to make possession of small amounts of marijuana punishable by a fine of no more than $250.

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Strickland agreed that decriminalization was the tough on crime position because it will free up space in state jails to house violent offenders for longer. He believes measures like Moody’s are what Texans want.

“I think the politicians here in Austin are far behind what the people of Texas want,” Stickland said. “I hope more Republicans stop and take a look at this.”

But then there’s this.

Meanwhile, evidence of Schticklandschadenfreude yesterday was offset by some expressions of at least reluctant empathy.

The Stickland of these past on-line comments is a far cry from the confident, even swaggering, figure of today, who is clearly high on his newfound life as a public figure in the throes of constant, against-the-odds combat.
Compare that Stickland to the sad sack in this sampling of ruminations about beating the drug test.

 

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Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 9.26.16 PMI first met Jonathan, not long after I arrived in Texas in December 2012. He was a freshman-elect and I went up to meet him in his district for a story about the large incoming freshman class.

JT Stickland Ledge 1

I wrote:

Stickland was “discovered” by Julie McCarty, president of the board of the NE Tarrant Tea Party, who was especially impressed with the way he confronted U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Flower Mound, at a town hall meeting after Burgess voted in 2011 to raise the debt limit.

“Jonathan was so well spoken, and it wasn’t just that he had good points to make. They were so well-thought out and easy to understand,” said McCarty. “It was truly the voice of the people.”

“Honestly, I never considered running until I got an email from Julie McCarty at 11:45 at night, sitting in front of my home computer eating a bowl of ice cream,” recalled Stickland. “My wife was leaning over me and started laughing. Then she said, ‘Crap, you might be able to do that.’”

Stickland, who used to work as an exterminator and is now an oil and gas consultant, prayed on it and decided to run. His initial survey, he said, found only two voters knew who he was. “I knocked on 7,112 doors myself,” he said. He lost 50 pounds.

What impact will all this have on Stickland’s primary against Fisher?
I don’t know.
And Braddock, who apparently kept reading through Stickland’s prolific comment stream, later in the day came up with this:

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Oh well. Cue the Schticklandschadenfreude.

 

Photo by Jay Janner

(Photo by Jay Janner)

 

Perry endorses Fisher

Here are some Perry quotes from the Fisher campaign press release announcing the former governor’s endorsement.

“Scott Fisher has an incredible record of achievement. After serving one term as my appointee to the Texas Ethics Commission, I asked him to once again serve the State of Texas as Chairman of the Texas Youth Commission where he led the agency through a major restructuring and a reduction in the size of the agency by 40%. When the Legislature merged two agencies into one, I asked Scott to lead that merger and Chair the new Texas Juvenile Justice Department. It was a very difficult job that required the sound, principled leadership that Scott provided,” said Perry.

“Scott Fisher knows how to take strong conservative values and turn them into successful conservative policies,” said Perry. “Scott is a conservative that can get things done.”

 

 

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