June 13, 2006
Bell attacks Strayhorn

Coming out of the Dem convention, Chris Bell is taking aim at Carole Keeton Strayhorn for her many about-faces on different issues, such as CHIP. The following is from an article reprinted from the Rio Grande Guardian.

When Gov. Rick Perry has a bad idea, time and again Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn backs him up. That was the message Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell delivered to Rio Grande Valley reporters outside a Medicaid Eligibility Center earmarked for closure under a Texas Human Services privatization plan initially recommended by Strayhorn.

Bell said he was calling his border swing the Carole Strayhorn Reality Tour. He said he planned to visit Del Rio Monday afternoon and El Paso on Tuesday.

"The bottom line is this," Bell said. "When Rick Perry has a bad idea, Carole Strayhorn has backed him up time after time after time, or vice versa. Rick Perry and Carole Strayhorn are two sleeves of the same empty suit."

"While Mrs. Strayhorn has come to rival Mary Lou Ratton with her flip-flopping abilities, changing her positions on numerous issues and trying to trick Democrats into believing she’s our friend, facts paint a very different picture indeed," Bell said.

Strayhorn is now running for governor as an Independent. She has blasted Perry for a drop in the enrollment of Texas children in the Children’s Health Insurance Program. "It's time to put children first," Strayhorn has said. "It's unconscionable that we’re dead last in percent of children on health insurance."

Bell pointed out that in the Office of the Comptroller’s e-Texas report of April, 2003, Strayhorn recommended reducing the eligibility period for the state's Children’s Health Insurance Program from 12 to six months for the 2004-05 biennium.

"This resulted in the $231 million so-called savings that Rick Perry and Carol Strayhorn were originally so proud of," Bell said. "It also resulted in over 200,000 kids losing health insurance."

The case against Strayhorn's Grandma-come-lately wooing of Democratic and progressive voters is pretty clear. Dave McNeely lays it out.

# Redistricting - As a member of the Legislative Redistricting Board, Strayhorn in 2001 cast the deciding vote to re-draw Texas House districts to reward Republicans and punish Democrats. In 2002, with corporate campaign funding help engineered by then-U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, the GOP took over the House, installed Tom Craddick of Midland as Speaker, and with direction from DeLay and help from Perry, re-drew Texas' congressional district lines to kill off half a dozen Democrats with decades of seniority.

# Vouchers - Got a loan of almost $1 million from voucher supporter James Leininger in her 1998 comptroller campaign. But earlier this year, Strayhorn vowed to ''veto any type of legislation that puts a single dollar into any voucher program.''

# Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) - Called for cutting CHIP spending in 2003, by requiring registration every six instead of 12 months. But in 2004, she blamed Perry's tight-fistedness for a large drop in enrollment. ''It's time to put children first,'' Strayhorn said. ''It's unconscionable that we're dead last in percent of children on health insurance.''

# Toll Roads - Strayhorn called for more toll roads as part of a Texas Performance Review report in 2001 on the Texas Department of Transportation. But since toll roads have become a focus of Perry's road-building program, Strayhorn said in January that she is ''dead set against toll roads.''

# Tuition Deregulation - Strayhorn called for it in 2003, but nine months later said a student's tuition rate should be frozen at what they paid as a freshman.

# TAKS Test - She endorsed grade advancement based on testing in 1998. But a few weeks ago, she said she would ''scale back the importance of the state's standardized TAKS test.'' Democratic standard-bearer Bell will be telling Democrats in Fort Worth this weekend, and voters around the state until November, that he may not be the perfect candidate against Perry, but he comes a lot closer than Carole Keeton Strayhorn.

Thanks to Eye on Williamson for the link. I wonder sometimes if people like Ben Barnes and Tony Sanchez think about these things.

The only concern I have about this is that I'm not convinced it's Strayhorn who's currently the biggest poacher of Democratic votes. Given that Rick Perry's numbers are consistently around 40% and that Strayhorn is around 20 in most polls, you'd think that would imply that at least half, maybe even three-quarters, of her total is coming out of Perry's hide. It's Kinky Friedman and his 10-15% that worried me more, even if I think his numbers are inflated by unlikely turnout projections. I understand the rationale for going after Strayhorn - the first mountain to climb is still the persistent perception that Strayhorn is the frontrunner among the challengers, and the best way to do that is to knock her down in the polls. I'm just saying that there's still work to be done after that.

Elsewhere, Bell's participation at a stem cell summit drew hearty praise and a call for support from a fellow attendee. And finally, there's links to more media coverage of Bell at the Dem convention here.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 13, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack