I have three things to say about this:
So how does a former ambassador gird for a possible battle with the ever-black-hatted, cigar-chomping Kinky Friedman for the Democratic nod for governor?
Campaign honchos who faced the finger-in-the-eye-of-the political-establishment candidate in 2006 don't mind dishing up some advice for Tom Schieffer.
"He's going to have to take Kinky very seriously," offered Robert Black, who worked for Republican Gov. Rick Perry. "Kinky has substantially better name ID than Mr. Schieffer does right now."
Mark Sanders, who worked for Carole Keeton Strayhorn: "Best thing to do with Kinky is to ignore him."
Jason Stanford, who worked for Democrat Chris Bell: "Catalog all the crazy things he's ever said as a politician and just deal with that. Ignore the sideshow."
Stanford quipped that the challenge for Schieffer -- who was ambassador under George W. Bush -- will be his similarities to the quirky musician and humorist: "We've got two white guys collecting Social Security who say they like George W. Bush. Now, does Tom Schieffer sell that he's not funny? That he only wears a hat when it's socially appropriate?" (Friedman is 64; Schieffer's 61).
Clay Robison, Schieffer's communications director, was the Austin bureau chief for the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News the last time Friedman ran. Now in the midst of the fray, Robison swung back: "Tom Schieffer will win the governor's race on his strong leadership ability and on issues important to Texans, not on a stream of one-liners. Tom Schieffer wants to lead, not entertain."
But don't forget the main bit of advice from Kinky's 2006 spokeswoman, Laura Stromberg: "Keep your sense of humor."
2. The advice proffered by Messrs. Black and Sanders should stand as the main reason why Democrats should not take political advice from Republicans.
3. My advice, for what it's worth, is simply this: The task at hand is to win a Democratic primary. The mission should be to demonstrate to Democratic voters why Tom Schieffer is the best option to be the Democratic nominee. The rest will take care of itself. Frankly, my advice to Kinky Friedman would be the same. Whoever does the best job of that - assuming nobody else who can do an even better job of it comes along - will win in March. The winner can worry about what to do after that then.Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 21, 2009 to Election 2010