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August 20th, 2006:

The many faces of Carole Strayhorn

I don’t actually have much to say about this article regarding Carole Keeton Strayhorn’s chameleonlike political career. RG Ratcliffe does a nice job laying out Strayhorn’s all-things-to-everyone position on a variety of issues. I’m certainly not one who thinks that once a politician takes a stance on something he or she needs to believe that very thing for the rest of his or her life. It’s just that I at least tend to prefer a politician who makes me believe that the change in heart really comes from the heart, and not from the needs of whatever campaign is currently being run.

Anyway. The one thing I do want to highlight is this:

Strayhorn is the only candidate for governor whose Internet site lacks a page dedicated to her position on issues.

I complained about Strayhorn’s pathetic campaign website two months ago. I see it’s no different now. Maybe they’re just waiting for her to settle on what her stances actually are before the campaign commits them to print. Check back again in two more months and we’ll see.

Wallace to make his announcement on Monday

Former Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace, the Chosen One Who Wasn’t, talks to KTRK.

The first person to file as a Republican write-in candidate, Mayor Wallace had not commented publicly ever since Republican precinct chairs chose someone else to throw their support behind. But now, he’s opening up to Eyewitness News about the unusual selection process and his future plans.

While it’s no secret that Wallace wants the job DeLay left behind, it’s also quite obvious that on Thursday, Republican precinct chairs picked someone else — Houston Councilmember Shelly Sekula-Gibbs to support. And Wallace admits he’s not a fan of the closed door selection process.

“We’ve got a large voter base in Congressional District 22 and having the voice of 83 individuals coming together, is that representative of the entire district?” he asked.

What’s so funny about this is that Wallace was once hoping to be the choice of four individuals that were selected collectively by not much more than 83 other individuals. From a small-d democratic standpoint, the Benkiser Gang anointment process wasn’t all that much different from the original Gang of Four process. Mostly, they had a lot less time to work with. It’s just that Wallace was able to deceive himself into thinking that he had a shot with the Gang of Four, but even he could see the writing on the wall with the Benkiser Gang.

But Wallace has an even tougher decision — whether or not to stay in the race as a write-in candidate against Democratic nominee Nick Lampson. Our political expert, Dr. Richard Murray, says it’s almost impossible to win with one write-in candidate. He can’t imagine the Republicans would have any shot with two.

“It’s complicated, but my guess would be he’s best advised to pass on putting his name as a write-in candidate and yield this to Ms. Gibbs with the expectation it won’t be very helpful to her,” said Dr. Murray.

Mayor Wallace says he’ll be announcing his decision on whether to stay in the race on Monday. And a lot of people will be waiting for an answer.

“With all of the different changes that took place this week, obviously I am doing a lot of soul searching, meeting with a number of representatives to talk about the next step and that’ll be announced on Monday,” he said.

Yes, as Chris says, it’s pretty impressive being able to get on TV to announce that you’re going to make an announcement. Will he unfile, if that’s even possible? Or will he stick it out? Either way, I agree with Fred: this is all about his 2008 campaign, because it’s all about him.

Juanita thinks Wallace has nothing to lose. Muse channels The Clash for Wallace. For what it’s worth, I think Wallace has nothing to lose, either. Again, if you assume that being the Congressman from Sugar Land is what Wallace wants to be, then what could anyone entice him with to drop out now? The only thing I can think of that makes any sense is a promise to support him in 2008 regardless of what happens this year. If you want to get into a little conspiracy theorizing, imagine someone like Tom DeLay telling Wallace that all that talk about providing massive financial help to Sekula Gibbs was a load of hooey. They know it’s a lost cause but while they couldn’t bear the idea of having no Republican at all, they didn’t want to waste someone who’d have a real shot at Lampson in two years by making that person a laughingstock now. So they settled on Shelley, whom they don’t truly respect, and now they want to make sure Wallace doesn’t make a fool of himself so he can finally be the true Chosen One, supported by all, next time.

You can take that line of thinking all kinds of places, but there’s still a big hole in it: Why would anyone – at least, anyone who is supposed to be officially neutral in these matters – promise to support a specific candidate for 2008 now, when we don’t know who else might get into the race? What if Robert Eckels decides that maybe he isn’t so worried about spending time with his family any more? What if Paul Bettencourt decides he’s bored with being Harris County Tax Assessor? How silly would you feel as a Wallace ’08 supporter if something like that happened? And that doesn’t even address the issue of what happens if Sekula Gibbs actually wins. I know, we’re in ConspiracyTheoryLand here, but I imagine the question would come up in our hypothetical conversation. Look at it this way: Given everything you know about Mayor Dave, if you had to explain this grandiose scheme to him, would you then trust him to keep it a secret? You can see why none of this seems realistic.

So I guess there’s one last what-if scenario to play out before we finally get down to the by now mundane business of actual campaigning. Maybe we’ll start to get a handle on how much the Republicans do plan to spend on this race, too. As always, stay tuned.

UPDATE: Bob Dunn thinks Wallace will stay the course.

Ron Paul’s other unlovely guest

So it turns out that Tom Tancredo will not be coming to Texas to wish Ron Paul a happy birthday today, though he was invited to attend. Paul will have to make do with someone almost as charming.

[Paul] has invited Chris Simcox, the founder and president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, to be the event’s special guest. The fundraiser will be held at the Charles T. Doyle Convention Center in Texas City Sunday afternoon.

Simcox heads the controversial group that patrols the United States-Mexico border on the lookout for illegal immigrants. The Minuteman group also is pushing for tougher border security as well as enforcement of immigration laws.

That’s a very generous way of describing the Minutemen. For a more realistic description, I refer you to David Neiwert, who has a six-part series on the Minutemen linked on his sidebar (or go to the final article and work your way through the previous entries).

Paul recently waded a bit deeper into the immigration fray by introducing legislation that would deny citizenship to children born in the United States to illegal immigrant parents. He referred to those children as “anchor babies.”

“As long as illegal immigrants know that their children born here will be citizens, the perverse incentive to sneak into this country remains strong,” Paul said last month. “Citizenship involves more than the mere location of one’s birth. True citizenship requires cultural connections and an allegiance to the United States.

“Birthright citizenship sometimes confers the benefits of being American on people who do not truly embrace America.”

You know, there’s a lot of truth to that. It just doesn’t go far enough. After all, what guarantee do we have that having parents or grandparents or even great-grandparents that were born in America will lead to truly embracing America? Clearly, we need to have some way of testing everybody for true embracement of America before we let any benefits confer on them. It’s time for Ron Paul to sponsor a bill that would create the Department of Embracing America to make sure this sort of thing never happens again.

Paul’s stance on illegal immigration and the recent legislation drew the ire of Texas Democrats who are backing political newcomer Shane Sklar in his bid to unseat the longtime congressman.

“Our response to illegal immigration must be absolute vigilance at the border and a commitment to end the demand for illegal labor in this country. Changing the definition of citizenship is a radical measure that will affect every American family and create a whole new bureaucracy,” Sklar said.

If you’d prefer to give Shane Sklar a birthday present instead of Ron Paul, you can do so here.

Bonilla: I want more money!

Via Vince, Rep. Henry Bonilla wants to tap his donor well again.

Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas), whose re-election outlook went from safe to shaky when the Supreme Court changed the boundaries of his district and four others in the Lone Star State, asked the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday whether he’ll be allowed to solicit a fresh round of campaign cash from donors who previously had maxed out to the Congressman’s coffers.

Interesting. If he gets to do it, will the other four (Doggett, Hinojosa, Cuellar, and Smith) follow suit? Or is it only Bonilla, the $2.2 million dollar man who has no new rows to hoe and thus needs to replow the same old fields?

I say this is further evidence that the Dems really ought to throw some money in this district and make a play for it. Don’t let Bonilla spend that money, whether it’s this much or more, without pushing back and making him earn it. He’s telling the world he’s nervous. The DCCC and anyone else who can give Ciro Rodriguez a boost should give him a good reason to be.