February 29, 2008
Endorsement watch: Obama and Grant

Today's been a day of press releases touting unprecedented endorsements. First up, the Houston GLBT Political Caucus endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for President. Here's the release (PDF):

The Houston GLBT Political Caucus PAC is proud to announce its endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic Presidential Nominee in the March 4 Primary.

"This was an exceedingly hard decision because we have two exceptional candidates. After historic conversations with both Senator Clinton and Obama, the Caucus board engaged in thoughtful deliberations and were proud to get behind Senator Obama," said Jenifer Pool, President of the Caucus, which held interviews with both candidates in late February.

The Caucus board was empowered by the membership to endorse candidates who sought the endorsement after February 6 and before March 5. Both Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton sought the endorsement of the Caucus after its membership meeting in February.

"This is a phenomenal moment in Caucus history. Never before has the Caucus endorsed in a presidential race. We require all candidates to submit their responses to our questionnaire and hold a conversation with our screening panels. When we invited the two Senators to seek our endorsement, we never truly believed we would be forced to make such a difficult decision. But both candidates held conference calls with us and answered our questions. A difficult decision because we have two extraordinary candidates," said Jenifer Pool, president of the Caucus.

I think it's both very cool, and a clear sign of how seriously this primary is being taken by both candidates, that they took the time to go through the formal screening process, which is quite thorough. Kudos to all involved, and congratulations to Sen. Obama for snagging the endorsement. BOR has more.

Next, outgoing Travis County DA Ronnie Earle has given his endorsement, the first he says he has ever given for something other than local justice system offices, to Dan Grant in the CD10 primary. I've reproduced Earle's statement beneath the fold due to its length. It's a pretty ringing endorsement, and another feather in Grant's cap. Check it out.

Thank you for coming.

Today I am announcing my endorsement of Dan Grant for Congress in the Democratic Primary.

My duty to see that justice is done depends on the rule of law. That in turn depends on democracy. And democracy requires us to make sure that our country is led by those who can set an example worth following.

It is unusual for me to make an endorsement in a race that is not solely about law enforcement. But crime trickles down, and the tone of corruption at the top is reflected in violence on the streets. In order to avoid the latter we have to clean up the former.

We all know that our country is in trouble. We are endangered by corruption and we are threatened by the kind of over-simplistic warmongering that insults the intelligence of the voters.

Dan Grant has seen first hand what happens when corruption erodes the peace upon which public safety depends.

We have a remarkable opportunity to elect a person with the kind of wisdom and experience that we need to face the challenges of the future.

Dan has worked as a warrior for peace, putting his civilian boots on the ground as a peacemaker in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He has extensive experience that is grounded in realism and gained literally under fire for years. He has shown his courage by his service to his country as a peacemaker.

Now he has brought his experience and his concern about democracy to make a difference here at home.

That experience has produced a man of courage with an independent perspective formed not just out of abstract high ideals and not the product of military chain of command.

Dan has chosen to personally take command of what he as one person can do to make a difference. He is too good an offer to pass up.

He has three qualifications that set him apart, and they are the three issues that are most important to the voters:

First, he has seen through his service overseas the consequences of corruption and he is committed to clean government.

Secondly, he has actual experience doing the real work of democracy; he doesn't just talk a good game.

Third, he believes in the high ideals that made our country great and that are now in great danger.

His campaign has not been showered with cash by the large moneyed interests who profit from their business before Congress. As a result, he has been considerably outspent financially.

That gives us, as voters, the chance we need to set a better example by proving that politics does not have to be ruled by money. Democracy is not for sale in Texas.

Voting for Dan Grant for better reasons than those that can fit into slogans or sound bites is our chance to prove to politicians, big money, and the system in general:

o that voters are smarter than 30-second TV ads,
o that voters are independent thinkers who have the courage to make up their own minds, and
o that doing whatever it takes to collect and spend vast amounts of money to spend on TV advertising is not the way to convince us to vote for or against anyone or anything.

Today's voters are too smart to let advertising alone determine their choices. Voters have outgrown the need to be spoon-fed TV images and sound bites as a basis for making their decisions. Voters have experience, courage, and independent thought, just like Dan Grant.

This is our chance as voters to show the political system that we have them too. A vote for Dan Grant will show that we are not controlled by big money.

We look deeper than that now to decide what's right. Some cynics have believed that there was a time when voters felt overwhelmed and powerless about their ability to self-govern.

If it ever was, that time has gone. This is our chance to prove it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 29, 2008 to Election 2008

Actually, the Caucus endorsed Jimmy Carter over Reagan in 1980, but that was a general election endorsement and not for a party primary.

Posted by: Temple Houston on March 1, 2008 2:00 PM
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