Who Am I?

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I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.

All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

TEXAS PRIMARY ELECTIONS


Sorry I am behind in my postings, but I stand by my decision to get an introduction written up. Plus I have school going on as well.

The first blog: a political one. No surprise.




DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY

Speaking in the No Surprise Department, former Houston mayor Bill White easily and almost to no one's surprise won the Democratic Gubernatorial Primary by a 3:1 margin. Bill White's victory over his lone challenger, beauty care entrepreneur Farouk Shami, can be traced to the lone Democratic Gubernatorial Debate that took place last month. There were a total of SEVEN candidates running for the nomination for governor in the Democratic Primary.

If you watch the video, you may see the blog author at the 1:19 mark.

Shameless self promotion…. I know. I have such unhealthy delusions of grandeur.

My analysis of the debate, as I wrote in an e-mail and comment posted on the North Texas Daily website pre-dating Michael's Rant:

(From E-mail dated 2/8/2010)

I was in the audience for the debate. I was the youngest in the audience at the ripe age of 26. In fact, there were a couple of people that had connections to people I knew in various Democratic circles in the Metroplex.

This was a good chance for Texas voters to see that, yes, there are Democrats running for governor. I mentioned to a couple of UNT students that there was going to be a debate among the front runners for the Democratic nomination on Monday night and most of them were surprised that there were candidates.


The debate was more civil than the ones that took place between the Republican candidates for the gubernatorial nomination. Audience members and I were not pleased that the moderator representing the Fort Worth Star Telegram asked three wedge issue questions. The issues that Bill White and Farouk Shami addressed are the REAL issues that Texans are facing: transportation, immigration, and the 3 E's: energy, education, and employment.

I admire Mr. Shami's energy and enthusiasm, but he seemed to stray away from the questions a couple of times. I do agree with him that there needs to be a moratorium on the death penalty given the advances in forensic science over the last several years that have proven people once guilty, now innocent. Other than that, it seemed like he wasn't adequately prepared for the debate. Even in a question referring to the Voter I.D. Bill, Shami mentioned employment. I wonder how many times he mentioned the word job or jobs in the debate.

I am having a difficult time finding something wrong with the responses Bill White gave. Maybe the mistakes that Shami made were more glaring than any that Bill White made. If there were, please point them out to me.

Bill White's response to why should Texans elect to send its first Democratic governor in 20 years had a focus on the bigger picture. Texans want change. I agree with a friend of mine, who is a Libertarian, that Rick Perry needs to go.

Since this was the only Democratic primary debate, Farouk Shami wasted an opportunity to make it an interesting race. I think his display of energy and enthusiasm would have brought some much needed attention to the race, but Bill White has experience in government with managing a large city.

This debate showed who is going to win the March 2 primary.

George Nassar of The Texas Blue summed up the debate at the end of his blog with this sentence:

So when the dust settles, it is clear that Bill White won this debate -- but it can equally be said that Farouk Shami lost the debate.

In another e-mail commenting about a polling report reported on the local news, I made this analogy between the lesser known Democratic Primary and the Republican Fatal Three-Way.

The Democratic Gubernatorial Primary was kind of like watching a football game in the Noon slot between two teams that only cater to the fans in those areas. You maybe know a couple of players, but that's it. (Examples: Jaguars-Texans, Bengals-Browns, Dolphins-Bills, Seahawks-Rams). You're only watching it because you're waiting for the 3PM game (between the Cowboys-Eagles). The score is 21-10, and there's 5-6 minutes left in the game. Theoretically, it's not over, but it's getting to that point.

As a casual observer with no rooting interest, you're trying to decide whether to stay with the game or flip over to the more competitive Noon game on the other network (cough, Fox) that's between two teams in a shootout with better known players (Examples: Vikings-Bears, Saints-Falcons, Green Bay-Pittsburgh). The losing team has entered into hurry up mode and they've driven the offense within 25-30 yards from scoring a touchdown that could make it interesting (21-16, pending the kick or two pt. play w/3 minutes to left. I would stick around).

(If you have clicked on the links showing the games in the Noon and 3PM slots for the Week 13 during the 2009 Season you will notice that the examples I used do not matchup. I just arbitrarily picked games that you would expect to see in those time slots to highlight my point. Ask yourself this: which of these teams do NOT have a large following: A. Pittsburgh Steelers, B. Houston Texans, C. Dallas Cowboys, or D. Green Bay Packers)

Then... this happens.

Se habla espaƱol.

QB throws a Pick-six. Game. Set. Match. Score in our scenario: 27-10 with 3 minutes to play. Kick good. Now, 28-10 with 3 minutes to play.

It's over. The losing team is now playing for pride.

(Yeah, I know. A football reference in an e-mail about politics. OK, I miss the NFL. I can't wait until September 9.)

The February 8th debate was the death knell for the Shami campaign. I cannot stress again that I admired Shami's energy and IF he was better prepared for the debate THEN MAYBE the electorate would have seen that the Democrats have candidates as well.

Other elections in the Democratic Primary included former AFL-CIO Executive Vice-President and former Democratic National Committee Vice-Chair Linda Chavez-Thompson winning the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor in a race that many political observers and I expected to go towards a run-off, mainly due to the lack of big name recognition outside of those that follow politics. Probably one of the more popular down ballot elections was for the Democratic nomination for Agriculture Commissioner between former gubernatorial candidate Hank Gilbert and humorist Kinky Friedman.

REPUBLICAN PRIMARY

At the time when I sent the e-mail commenting on the gubernatorial primary races, the polling for the GOP stood as follows:

Public Policy Polling (Feb. 4-7) 
Rick Perry: 39%
Kay Bailey Hutchinson: 28%
Debra Medina: 24%
Undecided: 10%

Something happened to both Rick Perry's and Debra Medina's numbers. 


Public Policy Polling (Feb. 19-21)
Rick Perry: 40%
Kay Bailey Hutchinson: 31%
Debra Medina: 20%
Undecided: 10% 


Rasmussen (Feb. 23)
Rick Perry: 48%
Kay Bailey Hutchinson: 27%
Debra Medina: 16%
Undecided: 10%

At the beginning of the month of February, it looked like the highly publicized Republican Gubernatorial primary was going to be headed towards a run-off. Governor Perry was going to make it to the run-off. The questions heading into the final days of the campaign: who was going to join him, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) or former Wharton County Republican Party Chair Debra Medina? Were there signs of another Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) type revolution here in Texas in the primaries?

The key moment: Debra Medina went on The Glenn Beck Radio Program and effectively sunk her chances to make the run-off.

Hmmmm….. Now, HOW did that happen?!

Another factor in the campaign was Senator Hutchinson's indecisiveness on her resigning from the United States Senate to campaign for governor here in Texas. If she wasn't sure if she was going to campaign, then why bring it up? The senator made a mistake by not announcing her candidacy after Rick Perry made his appearance at the Fort Worth Tea Party Protest in April 2009 advocating for secession from the United States (great…. Texas: The South Carolina of the 21st Century). Every time she was prompted with that question, she would not give a straight answer. My favorite was in September when she said that she would stay in Washington to fight the Health Care Reform Bill.

Senator, my question to you is this: I'm not seeing much of you fighting this big, bad, scary health care bill. I haven't seen you conduct any interviews on the big networks. Have you made any speeches on the Senate floor? Introduced any legislation? So, where are you?

Once again, to quote from my e-mails, I have more faith in the Texas Rangers winning the 2010 World Series than I do in Senator Hutchinson resigning. Maybe we'll get to play this game of "Will she resign, or will she run" again when her seat comes up for re-election in 2012.

Another observation was the Tea Party, the extreme paranoid branch of the right wing, was all bark, but no bite. Where was the movement to put in candidates that reflect their "true, conservative values" and our plan "to vote the bums out?" I didn't see it on Primary Election Day. The Republicans strategy was to cater to this group.

Case in point: Governor Perry at the previous mentioned Tea Party Protest. Another good point was brought up by Todd Hill, commenting on the primary taking place in HD-92 between incumbent State Rep. Todd Smith (R-Bedford, TX) and his challenger Jeff Cason. In order for incumbent Republicans to keep their seats at all levels they are going to have to appeal to their base which has drifted all the way over to the right. Hopefully, moderates and independent voters will take a hard look at what the Republican Party has become.

On March 2, I do not think that any challengers representing the Tea Party came within 15% to any incumbent Republican office holders (Opportunity to fact check me on this). What trends will this have nationwide in various GOP primaries? I suggest stay tuned. Remember, Texas holds their primary elections early in the year.

CONCLUSION

As predicted, Perry painted Hutchinson as a Beltway Insider. During the debate and campaign, White kept his focus on the REAL issues that are facing Texans and seems poised to take on whoever won the GOP Primary. Already, some national sources are paying real close attention to what could shape up to be an interesting governor's race in November.

Carry on smartly.
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