January 18, 2005
On Martin Frost for DNC Chair
Let me start by saying that I agree with what Sam Rosenfeld says regarding Martin Frost and his candidacy for DNC Chair. There are plenty of reasons to oppose Frost's candidacy for this position, but on balance I'd say how he ran his campaign against Pete Sessions is a point in his favor. You want a no-holds-barred fighter, Martin Frost is your guy.
Something to keep in mind that though the outcomes were different, Frost's campaign was tactically very similar to Chet Edwards' in that they both touted areas of agreement with President Bush. It's hard not to do that when some 60-65% of the voters in your district will be pushing the button for Bush. Edwards won, so people are willing to overlook that sort of thing because we all know he's infinitely better to have in Congress than Arlene Wohlgemuth would have been. Edwards has been widely lauded for his odds-against victory, and justly so, but if he were in Frost's position, he'd be vulnerable to the same criticism. See Andrew D's comments in this post for more.
One thing I want to make clear: Martin Frost is not my first choice for DNC Chair. He's not in the top three - I favor Rosenberg, Fowler, Dean, and Wellington Webb in more or less that order. I'm just saying that if you're going to oppose Martin Frost, do it for the right reasons.
UPDATE: Southpaw weighs in.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 18, 2005 to Show Business for Ugly People
On the Frost candidacy...
I have no particular views on who is the best candidate. I haven't followed the national race.
I can say that Frost was the heart of the redistricting challenge in Texas, the heart of the Texas Democratic opposition, the first office to put out protests on almost any change in the DeLay ethics charges, the redistricting case, etc. His office churned out more press -- smoke and/or fire -- than any other office I've seen. It was constant and aggressive.
Frost had an impressive machine. A lot is missing from Texas Democrats with Frost gone. As I wrote in the Austin Chronicle, you lose Frost in Texas and you've lost both the biggest cheerleader and biggest heckler for the Texas Democratic Party. And I don't mean that in a bad way. Every time I saw one of the other Texas Five, the staffers always wanted to know what was going on with the "Frost campaign."
I have heard from people who think the Democrats should be more extreme. Others say they should be more centrist. Of course, Frost lost to Pelosi because he wasn't considered aggressive enough. Everyone has an opinion... except for us journalists.
(who saw almost every Frost-Sessions debate, covered the race and often had the two candidates over to the TV station in Dallas to discuss national issues.)
My thought on Frost is simple: He's a red-state Democrat, and that background hampers him.
Not as bad as it did to Daschle, but what we need is a fighter who DOESN'T have unfortunate campaign ads to throw against him every time he shows up on CNN.
Senor Martino Frosterino did not pull out all the stops during his campaign. He failed to don the 8 foot diameter sombrero and the outrageous bandito mustachios which were clearly required to win. And he showed that odd fascination with the naked, adolescent Pete Sessions....
Annatopia has a different view over at MyDD.
Personally, I come down somewhere in the middle. In the comments, Byron revealed that the 32nd's Democratic performance was abysmal. Given that, I don't think Frost could've won even if he'd promised to switch to the GOP on Nov. 3. (Not that he would have - Frost is clearly committed to the Democratic Party.) And in any case, Frost's Bush-clinging campaign couldn't have helped other Democrats, even if though did help him beat the district's Democratic performance by quite a bit (just nowhere near enough).
But other districts would've been even tougher. I suppose he could've given "Smoky Joe" Barton a run for his money, but Frost was screwed over by DeLay's redistricting no matter what he did.
Edwards' district wasn't quite as dire, and he was blessed with an even more extreme opponent who lacked the advantage of incumbency, so running to the right worked for him.