The NY Times has announced that for the week of November 6, anyone will be able to access Times Select for free.
No More Apples
"Adam ate an apple from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It's a shame we ran out of apples." -- The Sage.
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." -- John Kenneth Galbraith
"Reality has a liberal bias." -- Stephen Colbert
We are proud members of the resistance.
Saturday, November 4
KISS THE COOK -- SHE'LL KISS YOU BACK
I do love to cook! Sally, this is what you and the other volunteers coming to our all-day MoveOn GOTV calling party tomorrow can expect for munchies:
Bagels and cream cheese
Tuna salad and chicken salad (for sandwiches or not)
Smoked salmon and cream cheese
Brown sugar smokies
Louisiana shrimp casserole
I get a rush just out of reading cookbooks. Last week was our oldest daughter's birthday. This was the menu for her birthday dinner:
Blackened catfish filets
Onion dijon crusted catfish
Marsala-glazed carrots with pecans
Cream potatoes and green beans
Wedge salad with raspberry vinaigrette
Olive-cream cheese dip
My son asked me, "Mom, why do you have to make it so hard on yourself?" I told him, when I'm cooking I'm not thinking about politics. Everyone needs a break once in a while, and cooking seems to be the only thing that gets my mind off the critical mass we're approaching in this country.
Plus, cooking is an act of love, and when someone eats your food and enjoys it, there's an exchange of grace.
CONGRESSIONAL COUNTDOWN -- NOV. 4
3 DAYS REMAINING.
Leans GOP -- 1
Tossup -- 21
Leans DEM -- 13
Leans GOP -- 0
Tossup -- 4
Leans DEM -- 5
Unchanged from yesterday.
"FULL SPEED AHEAD"
This is what Bush's dirty little war has gotten us. After nearly 3,000 coalition fatalities and nearly 45,000 wounded, more than $400 billion (some analysts say the real economic impact could be as high as $2 trillion), and a severely damaged military, we're left with an Iraqi prime minister who caters more to Shiite leaders and militias than to U.S. wishes for a unity government. At this point we have more in common with Saddam Hussein's Sunni insurgents than with the "elected" Iraqi government. And there's little we can do about it.
Yet Darth Cheney says "full speed ahead" with the Bush administration's course in Iraq -- something like the captain of the Titanic was claimed to have said (he reportedly wanted to break an ocean-crossing record). Cheney says it doesn't matter if the American people oppose the Iraq war, or if the Congress does. He and Dubya think it's right, and they know better than anyone else.
Cheney said, the administration is not considering a fundamentally different course.
"I think it'll have some effect perhaps in the Congress," he said of the election's outcome, "but the president's made clear what his objective is. It's victory in Iraq. And it's full speed ahead on that basis. And that's exactly what we're going to do."
Or maybe the situation is more akin to a shipwreck something like the Hesperus, led as we are by a captain who laughs at the cautions and warnings he receives from his more experienced crew:
Then up and spake an old Sailòr,
Had sailed to the Spanish Main,
‘I pray thee, put into yonder port,
For I fear a hurricane.
‘Last night, the moon had a golden ring,
And to-night no moon we see!’
The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe,
And a scornful laugh laughed he.
Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
In the midnight and the snow!
Christ save us all from a death like this,
On the reef of Norman’s Woe!
Tags: full speed ahead, Dick Cheney, Iraq
THE AIR AMERICA BLACKOUT
This is simply shocking. Though why anything should shock me anymore, I don't know.
I've been bitterly missing my daily fix of Air America on my commute to and from work. It suddenly disappeared one day from Dallas and was replaced by some right-wing Catholic programming. Then, of course, I read that the AA network was in deep financial straits.
I guess now I know why. Corporate America was boycotting it. Can't stay on the air without advertising bucks.
Well, in response, here I go with another one of my personal boycotts. (I refused to buy any Nestle products for more than a decade, until they ceased their predatory practice of providing artificial milk products to the newborn infants of impoverished mothers in third-world countries, which resulted in the mothers' natural milk drying up and forcing them to buy formula for their babies or seeing those babies die of malnutrition.) I hereby pledge not to support any of the companies participating in the Air America boycott with one thin dime of my hard-earned dollars. And dang, this one won't be easy. Take a gander at the list -- it's everything from Hewlett Packard and Microsoft to McDonald's, Clorox, Coke and Pepsi.
Good thing I prefer RC Cola.
Tags: Air America boycott
Friday, November 3
Now this is my idea of a Christian politican and public servant.
Jennifer Granholm, Governor of Michigan.
"NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS"
Ouch. Pastor Ted Haggard's booklet takes on new meaning.
I was talking to a couple of sensitive hetero males at work today about the Haggard "scandal." We all feel tremendous compassion for the guy (and especially his family). Older closeted gays are still, to a great extent, held hostage to their fears of job discrimination, family condemnation, etc. We understand and sympathize, though we regret tremendously that they are still subject to those fears.
But hey! If you're a closet alcoholic and you wage public war against drinkers, you've asked to be judged if it's exposed that you do exactly what you're asking to be condemned, right? By the same token, if you're struggling with your sexual preference, you should just keep your mouth shut and not denigrate those who've elected to be honest about theirs. Evangelicals, in particular, should be aware of Jesus' admonition to "judge not lest ye be judged."
Tags: Ted Haggard, No More Lonely Nights
WILL THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT RE-EVALUATE THEIR POSITION ON HOMOSEXUALITY?
I just heard an honest assessment of the end result of the Mark Foley and Ted Haggard scandal by Esther Kaplan, author of With God On Their Side and who writes for The Nation, The American Prospect and other publications. When asked by Keith Olbermann what the result of all the Foley-Haggard scandals would be, she replied that she would think that this would cause the Christian right to reflect on whether it is wrong on homosexuality and of it being a moral decision on the part of individuals.
She said she thought it was possible that they would conclude that, "Ted Haggard would choose not to be gay if he could."
Tags: Ted Haggard
OH, MY, SO CLOSE TO THE ELECTION
So national-security proponent president George W. Bush overruled his National Director of Intelligence, John Negroponte, in ordering the publication on the internet of captured Iraqi documents from before the first Gulf War that included a guidebook for building a nuclear weapon. It's been there for a couple of months for any terrorist to access. And why did he do this? At the urging of Republican Congressman Peter Hoekstra (D-MI) and Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), who head the Congressional Intelligence Committees, who were holding out hope for evidence of the never-found Iraqi WMD.
On Keith Olbermann's Countdown tonight, Joseph Cinicione, nuclear weapons and proliferation expert, called this a "textbook" example of the politicization of intelligence. "This is a classic case of Congressional zealots" who have caused "real harm" to the interests of the United States. "It is a myth that you can go on the internet and get a design of a nuclear weapon," he said. It was the IAEA that protested this information being made public when they saw it in September. It wasn't pulled down by the administration until yesterday, after the New York Times published a story about it. "It's their [Congressmen Hoekstra and Roberts] zealotry that has caused the problem, not the media."
And despite the outcry from intelligence and weapons experts, our Secretary of State used the controversy to continue to foster the belief that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat, while fully aware that the referenced documents were 15 years old and dated from before the first Gulf War:
Yet in an interview on the ``Laura Ingraham Show,'' she also cited the documents in arguing that Saddam was a threat. ``The interesting thing is that there clearly were an awful lot of nuclear documents floating around Iraq, which suggest that this is someone who'd not given up on his ambitions,'' Rice said.
Earlier in the evening, on Hardball, chief weapons inspector David Kaye noted that just because the pages had been taken down from the Internet didn't mean that they weren't still accessible. As any of us who are knowledgeable in the operations of the Internet know, there are a number of sites that archive web pages and sites and make them available long after the sites have been "removed." Just last week I was able, for a presentation I had to make, to pull up company websites from as far back as 1996, 1998 and 2000 that have long been removed from general viewing. Kaye did say that Saddam had "postponed" his nuclear ambitions until sanctions were lifted (as Colin Powell noted, THEY WERE OBVIOUSLY WORKING). Chris asked him, "So Sadda, wasn't an imminent threat?" Kaye agreed, he was not.
In addition, Keith reported that the Military Times Media Group will issue an editorial in the Air Force Times, the Army Times, the Navy Times, etc. that calls for the dismissal of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense.
UPDATE: Here's that editorial.
Tags: nuclear weapon, Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, Internet
TUCKER DOESN'T HEART TED
Tucker Carlson was outraged tonight at Rev. Ted Haggard confessing to a TV reporter that he bought meth and a massage from a gay prostitute. He didn't care that Haggard insisted he threw the drugs away without using them. What infuriated Tucker and, he said, made him lose any sympathy whatever with the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, was the fact that he gave the interview from his car with his wife beside him and three children in the seat behind.
Tucker saw this as Haggard "using" his wife and children to gain sympathy, and he excoriated him for it. To openly expose his family to that humiliation, he implied, was beyond the pale.
Tags: Ted Haggard
MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS
A good friend of mine at work, a Republican who enjoys talking politics with me, dropped into my office this morning for one of our periodic discussions. James is one of the most brilliant men I know, an early-thirties type with master's degrees in both business and information systems (from MIT), a former Bain consultant and for the past few years director of strategic planning for my company. And he's voting for Kinky Friedman for Texas governor.
James began our little talk by wondering aloud if the Republican strategy that has bonded economic conservatives, social conservatives and paleo-conservatives to consolidate their power, isn't unraveling (James is an economic conservative). His contention was that not one of the three groups has gotten what they wanted from the Bush administration, though Republicans have controlled both houses of Congress and the White House.
I thought about it for a minute, and then took issue with him. The economic conservatives got their longed-for tax cuts, though they certainly didn't get the fiscal restraint they expected from a government wholly controlled by the Republicans. The social conservatives, though they didn't get constitutional amendments banning abortion and gay marriage, did get conservative Supreme Court justices and a presidential veto of expanded federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. It's only the paleo-conservatives that have gotten virtually nothing from this administration. Basically isolationists, they've seen their pet peeves -- foreign military adventures and nation building -- embraced and advanced by Dubya, and their biggest worry -- illegal immigration -- receive a presidential proposal for a guest-worker program, a path to citizenship for illegals already in the country, and border security receiving the short shrift.
James agreed, and then pointed out that it's a fantasist's dream to expect that any one of those groups would turn to the Democrats in the voting booth. "Something's better than nothing," he concluded.
That's pretty much the reaction of all my Republican friends. Still, they don't seem awfully anxious to cast that vote.
Or so I thought. I left work to vote early, and as I did, on the elevator I ran into one of my fellow Directors who was doing the same. He was on his way to vote a straight Republican ticket. While I was standing in line for my ballot, I heard a familiar voice behind me and turned around to discover the CEO of our commercial construction unit (we're dear friends) also voting early. We hugged, then he said, "I should have noticed your car outside and punctured your tires so the Democrats would have one less vote. But then, I guess I should have done it before you got in line."
So much for them staying at home. All the hoopla and projections about Dems retaking the House give me hope, but not confidence. That's why Sunday and Tuesday I'm hosting MoveOn GOTV events at my house. We can't take anything for granted. We have to do everything we can. Or live with the consequences.
Tags: midterm elections
CONGRESSIONAL COUNTDOWN - FOUR DAYS OUT
Congressional Countdown update for Nov. 3.
Leans GOP -- 1
Tossup -- 21
Leans DEM -- 13
Leans GOP -- 0
Tossup -- 4
Leans DEM -- 5
Thursday, November 2
PASTOR TED HAGGARD RESIGNS
Ted Haggard resigns.
The leader of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals, a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, resigned Thursday after being accused of paying for sex with a man in monthly trysts over the past three years.
I take no pleasure, never have, in any other person's misfortunes. The most important reason why I've always been fanatical about forgiving others is that my faith teaches that if we don't forgive, we won't be forgiven, and on a daily basis I commit sins of commission or omission that need forgiving. In that light, I also have to confess that my anger over various political events requires me to ask God for forgiveness, and offer forgiveness to the perpetrators, multiple times daily.
So I don't rejoice that "evangelical" gay-basher Ted Haggard is suffering embarrassment, exposure (? his so-called lover's allegations haven't been proven yet) and ignominy.
But I'm sick and tired of projection, the practice of people attacking others for the very "faults" or "sins" that they themselves harbor. It's hypocritical, and it's endemic in the U.S. today. And there are just so many right-wing "Christian" evangelicals that have sexual feelings for their own gender but are terrified of being exposed for them, demonizing gay Americans in an attempt to -- I don't know, make themselves feel more righteous, or appear more righteous? Every one of them knows that God knows all, so who are they trying to fool? The obvious answer is, their fellow man. And to what purpose? Personal enrichment? The approval of their fellows?
I just don't get it. How can any professing Christian practice a religion of attack, demean, and exclude? It is so antithetical to the teachings of Christ that I can't account for it.
Tags: Ted Haggard
THE WAVE: CAN IT BE SWAMPED?
Charlie Cook is trying to be cautious, but he clearly thinks the possibility exists that the midterms could be a reprise (in reverse) of the 1994 Gingrich revolution.
For those who were not paying close attention to politics in 1994 or whose focus was on a single state or district, the concept of a 'wave election' is foreign and is radically different from the "all politics is local" elections of 1996-2004. For others whose sympathies lie with Republicans, it is difficult to deal with the possibility, or growing probability, of a profound rejection of their party -- that Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman could actually lose an election. For diehard Democrats, who are s so used to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, they are having a hard time seeing their party actually win a majority in the House for the first time in five elections.
The bottom line is that at this stage, Republicans should consider themselves lucky if their net losses stay in the 20-25 range in the House, four or five seats in the Senate, and between five and eight governorships. It would be a tough election, losing their majorities in the House and governorships, but it would fall short of the devastating losses that are possible. But the chances of this thing going bigger -- far bigger -- still exist, and there are quite a few veteran Republican strategists, people who have done tons of races in all kinds of states and districts for many years, who are bracing themselves for that distinct possibility.
Wednesday, November 1
If you have any problems with voting, or witness other such problems, contact the following number:
And while you're at it, you might consider taking a friend along with you who can videotape your experience. Can't hurt.
"THE CONSEQUENCES OF WORDS"
Unbelievable and more evidence that Dubya practices no introspection into his own comments or character at all.
Bush said in an interview with (gasp!) Rush Limbaugh, "Anybody who is in a position to serve this country ought to understand the consequences of words."
Yeah? Then how about YOUR WORDS, Mister pResident: let's just use a single example -- "Bring it on."
You can add all the Bushisms you want. I'm so weary I can hardly bring myself to type.
STUCK IN IRAQ
One last comment on the John Kerry hullaballoo.
For all the idiots, hypocrites and MEDIA who are using Kerry's badly delivered joke about Bush not doing his homework about Iraq and thus getting STUCK IN IRAQ to assert that Kerry REALLY was saying to the students he was addressing that "if you don't do your homework, YOU will get stuck in Iraq" --
Who's going to point out that WE DON'T HAVE A MILITARY DRAFT? This is an all-volunteer service.
Flashback: Vietnam conflict. Every young man in the U.S. was subject to being drafted. In the earlier years, college students got an automatic deferment. If you were 18 or older, didn't go to college, or flunked out (or even if you left on your own volition), you were I-A and subject to involuntary induction into the military, which carried a great likelihood that you would end up in Vietnam. Kerry knows this. He was one of the few who were privileged and could have avoided service (as George W. Bush did) by entering the National Guard, by continuing in school (as Dick Cheney did), or by getting married (as Dick Cheney also did). But no! John Kerry volunteered for military service AND elected to serve in foreign climes (as did Al Gore, but as Dubya specifically DID NOT DO), a virtual guarantee that he would end up serving in Vietnam. John Kerry served honorably and with distinction in a very hot zone. When he returned stateside, he heroically and bravely spoke truth to power, advocating for his fellow veterans.
Of all people, John Kerry knows there's no draft now. His explanation that he was dissing Bush, not the troops, has the clear ring of truth simply because there's no reason for young people today to get "stuck in Iraq" simply because they don't "do well" in school. They have any number of options, according to Republicans who tout the great economy we're supposed to be experiencing. Well, at least he knows they could work for no benefits and low wages at Wal-Mart or flip hamburgers at a fast-food joint.
I sympathize with Kerry's position that he doesn't have anything to apologize for, and his resolution that he won't be "Swift-boated" again. But yet, a savvy politician should know that it would have been very easy to have simply said, "That wasn't at all what I meant, I'm lousy with jokes, but I realize in retrospect that I blew the joke about Bush, that my words actually hurt the people I care about most -- our troops and their families -- and I am deeply sorry for that. Now, in the light of my apology, I ask president Bush to join me and apologize for leading our troops into harm's way for nothing that will substantively help or protect the U.S., and for failing to protect them by providing them with the proper equipment, the proper levels of troops, and a properly thought-through plan not only for the invasion but for an extended occupation."
From my perspective, I was really glad to hear Kerry be tough for once. But reluctantly I bow to the political realities.
Tags: John Kerry
WaPo has a new campaign feature, "Congressional Countdown," which updates daily the 35 most competitive House races and 9 of the tightest Senate races.
Here's where things stand today:
Leans GOP -- 4
Tossup -- 18
Leans DEM -- 13
Party currently holding tossup seats: 18 Republican, 0 Democrat
Leans GOP -- 0
Tossup -- 3
Leans DEM -- 6
Party currently holding tossup seats: 3 Republican, 0 Democrat
STICKS AND STONES
I was about to post on my outrage at the media hullaballoo over John Kerry's botched joke while virtually ignoring the fact that our vaunted Commander-in-Chief yesterday pulled our soldiers off their checkpoints in Sadr City at the behest of Iraq's Maliki (who was just taking orders from Moqtada al-Sadr). Yes, folks, Bush ABANDONED A KIDNAPPED U.S. SOLDIER to the bloody Mahdi Army.
But then I ran across Sully's post of the day, and he says it well so I don't have to:
The U.S. military does not have a tradition of abandoning its own soldiers to foreign militias, or of taking orders from foreign governments. No commander-in-chief who actually walks the walk, rather than swaggering the swagger, would acquiesce to such a thing. The soldier appears to be of Iraqi descent who is married to an Iraqi woman. Who authorized abandoning him to the enemy? Who is really giving the orders to the U.S. military in Iraq? These are real questions about honor and sacrifice and a war that is now careening out of any control. They are not phony questions drummed up by a partisan media machine to appeal to emotions to maintain power.
And where, by the way, is McCain on this? Silent on Cheney's "no-brainer" on waterboarding. Silent recently on Iraq. But vocal - oh, how vocal - on Kerry. It tells you something about what has happened to him. And to America.
Yep, it says something, all right. George Bush can lead 3,000 American soldiers to their deaths, but heaven help John Kerry for saying anything that could be construed, rightly or wrongly, as dissing them.
Tags: John Kerry, Maliki, Iraq, Moqtada al-Sadr, Bush
Sunday, October 29
THE FUTILITY OF IT ALL
Wow. George Will has been sharply critical of the Bush administration's war of choice in Iraq for quite a while now. Like so many others, you can date their outspokenness to the post-2004 presidential election period, which maddens me even while I applaud their long-awaited road-to-Damascus conversion: think what suffering we could have prevented had they spoken of what they must have been considering prior to the election! We might even now be in the midst of a Kerry administration instead of dreading desperately the final two years under Bush's governance.
Nevertheless, George has been growing more and more caustic of late, and in this new column in Newsweek you can literally hear the frustration and disbelief his words are expressing.
A surreal and ultimately disgusting facet of the Iraq fiasco is the lag between when a fact becomes obvious and when the fiasco's architects acknowledge that fact. Iraq's civil war has been raging for more than a year; so has the Washington debate about whether it is what it is.
In a recent interview with Vice President Cheney, Time magazine asked, "If you had to take back any one thing you'd said about Iraq, what would it be?" Selecting from what one hopes is a very long list, Cheney replied: "I thought that the elections that we went through in '05 would have had a bigger impact on the level of violence than they have ... I thought we were over the hump in terms of violence. I think that was premature."
He thinks so? Clearly, and weirdly, he implies that the elections had some positive impact on the level of violence. Worse, in the full transcript of the interview posted online he said the big impact he expected from the elections "hasn't happened yet." "Yet"? Doggedness can be admirable, but this is clinical.
Tags: George Will, Dick Cheney, Iraq war
SUNDAY MORNING TALKING HEADS
Timmeh hosted a debate between the candidates for the U.S. Senate from Maryland, Cardin (D), a current Congressman, and Michael Steele (R), the Lt. Governor. Steele is polished, poised, and articulate. Until, that is, the subjects of embryonic stem-cell research, in vitro fertilization, Roe v. Wade, and Supreme Court Justices arise. Then his conservative Republican positions are awkward for him, and this morning he tried to sidestep, obfuscate and equivocate. Cardin, who seemed much less smooth than Steele for most of the hour, had his roughest moments when both Russert and Steele challenged his positions on the Iraq war -- Cardin called for "a plan" from the Bush administration about as many times as Reese Witherspoon said, "So you were in the shower" in the trial at the end of Legally Blonde. But Cardin scored well on the issues that made Steele stumble.
Michael J. Fox's appearance on This Week evoked a more emotional response in me than even did his political ad supporting those Democrats who champion embryonic stem cell research. He obviously had real trouble speaking, and his very visible tremors were more painful to watch.
The panel on This Week was split on the economy. George Will insisted that "the facts" demonstrate that the economy is terrific. E.J. Dionne pointed out that people care about the facts that affect them personally, and a large swath of the country isn't feeling any Bush Boom. Will said Ken Mehlman was "appalled" by the RNC ad ("Harold! Call me.") against Harold Ford, but that campaign laws kept Mehlman from being able to do anything about it. Excuse me? asked Dionne. It was sponsored by the RNC, and Mehlman is chairman.
UPDATE: Like everyone else on Blogger, I wrote this just after the shows this morning, but I haven't been able to post all day. It's anyone's guess whether or not we'll be able to keep up with events this last week before the election.
"CULTURE WARRIORS CAN'T CATCH A BREAK"
Boy, the Texas papers are rife this week with signs that "values voters" are becoming disenchanted with the issues that used to galvanize their votes.
These days, with all the world’s hype and all of the bloviation Fox News can muster, culture warriors can’t catch a break.
And why? Because like Elmer Gantrys, they’re being found to be empty of the virtues they espouse. And we didn’t need Mark Foley, or Tom DeLay, or Duke Cunningham or Bob Ney to remind us.
We are reminded by the falsehoods used to frame a war most Americans now think we shouldn’t be fighting. We are reminded by the dirty-tricks campaigns aimed at administration critics. We are reminded by the look-the-other-way mentality at the top that gave us Abu Ghraib.
We’re reminded by a national debt that grows and grows, looming as a horrific inheritance for our kids.
Last week, with the war in Iraq being projected to cost $1 trillion, President Bush told voters in Iowa “there is a big difference in philosophy when it comes to taxes” between his party and the Democrats.
Yep. Apparently the Democrats feel that today’s taxpayers should pay more for the government they purchased on credit. Certainly they should. Apparently this president believes that should his twins bear children, his grandkids should pay his war tab.
No, flag burning just doesn’t have the traction it used to. And the Republicans wonder why.
RICK PERRY ON THE SKIDS?
Texas Governor Rick Perry is an idiot. And even the conservative Dallas Morning News is acknowledging it.
But it's the other half of that new Perry campaign speech that makes absolutely no sense. He says he'd like to roll back the rate on the new business tax. Yes, that would be the same tax just hammered out to help fund Texas schools. Simply unbelievable.
The ink's hardly dry on this tax, which was approved in May – after four excruciating sessions – as a way to shift about a third of the funds for schools from local property taxes to Texas businesses.
GOP Sen. Florence Shapiro put it perfectly: "I don't see how we can lower the business tax rate when we haven't even begun collecting it yet."
We won't get any hint about how much cash the tax will raise until spring. If it fails to provide enough money for the state to assume a bigger share of school spending, then legislators could face a gaping budget hole. Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst already has warned of the possibility of another wrenching set of cuts by 2009 if the tax doesn't produce.
Lawmakers spilled blood for four consecutive sessions before finally approving that new business tax to replace the old loophole-ridden franchise tax. Now the governor wants to jigger with what took forever to do?
This particularly galls us because we recommended Gov. Perry for re-election partly as a result of his helping legislators – admittedly, in the final days – solve the school funding crisis. No, he's backing away from what was a step forward.
Perry's beginning to panic as he feels Chris Bell breathing down his neck. Perry is hovering around 35% in the polls in this pack of five candidates (all with better name recognition than Bell except the Libertarian candidate), with Bell at 25-26%. I haven't spoken to a single person this season who admits to planning to vote for Perry, and I know a heck of a lot more Republicans than Democrats. With only 29% of Texans identifying themselves as Democrats and 35% as Republicans, it's possible that the independents, Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman will peel off a good deal more of the vote than polls currently indicate, and that will largely impact Perry rather than Bell. Since there'll be no runoff, at this point I think Bell has as good a chance as Perry of taking home the title.
Friday two of my best buddies at work came into my office to discuss the fundraising reception for Rick Perry they'd attended a couple of days before on behalf of our company. One noted that she found it interesting that "not once did Perry mention his predecessor, who is now president of the United States." She also mentioned that not once has the Perry campaign reached out to our company (one of the largest and most profitable companies in Texas) in its fundraising efforts "while I hear from the Schwarzenegger campaign in California at least once a week." We took that to indicate that his organization is less than stellar. My other friend remarked that Perry behaved as if "he still thinks he's the homecoming king," smirking and preening. He was put off in the extreme.
Business people I talk to are seriously considering Carole Keeton Strayhorn, the state comptroller (probably the reason Perry is talking about cutting the brand-new business tax), and it seems as if the only people favoring Perry at this point are the Christian pastors network called the "Texas Restoration Project" who support Perry's opposition to abortion and gay marraige. Perry's favorite issue, the
Trans-Texas Corridor, or the "Highway to Hell," is not finding a great deal of traction among anybody except the landowners who would profit from it.
But the evangelicals do turn out votes.
Strayhorn also enjoys support among teachers and women's groups. Kinky is garnering a lot of interest among young people and the fed-up. But right now it looks like a real race between Perry, Bell and Strayhorn. My friend the public affairs director tells me that Bell is about to launch a series of hard-hitting ads aimed at Perry. Let's hope they're as effective as she's anticipating.
Tags: Chris Bell, Rick Perry, Texas governor