February 12, 2009
More on Schieffer

Still not sure what I think about potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Schieffer, but at least as long as he's out there at least there will be someone who can provide some counterweight to the Rick 'N' Kay Show.

Although Schieffer, 61, served under Republican President George W. Bush -- with whom he worked as general manager of the Texas Rangers -- he says there should be no confusion about his political affiliation.

"I am a Democrat," said Schieffer, who voted for Barack Obama in the primary and general elections.

Schieffer, the younger brother of CBS newsman Bob Schieffer, was ambassador to Japan for four years, and before that, to Australia for four years. He says he is thinking that he has something to offer in the seemingly already crowded gubernatorial race. His diplomatic career ended Jan. 20 as Bush left office.

"I'm not sure the level of debate in the state is where it ought to be," Schieffer said.

As for the sniping in the Republican primary race between Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Schieffer said, "I think it's about to go down a petty, mean and nasty road."

You don't say.

A rivalry almost 20 years in the making between Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison erupted in open acrimony Monday as she accused him of playing politics to embarrass one of her supporters while he all but accused her of shirking her duties in the nation's capital.

The verbal snipes exposed a growing bitterness between Perry and Hutchison as she prepares to challenge his re-election in next year's gubernatorial primary.

When my daughters act like this, we put them in timeout. Sadly, that option doesn't exist here.

Back to the original story:

Schieffer calls himself a moderate Democrat with ideas about how to make Texas competitive.

"We've got some substantive challenges in Texas, and we've got to deal with them in a substantive way," he said.

From the outside, Schieffer said, the image of Texas is still drawn from the TV show Dallas and that the Lone Star State is not preparing the next generation to compete in a global economy.

"Kids in Texas in the first grade are competing with kids in India and China," he said. "I'm not sure we're preparing them for it."

Asked about Perry, Schieffer said, "If you had better leadership, you'd have better perception."

"People want to respond to a thoughtful government figure," he said. "I don't know that I'm that candidate. There's a constituency for that kind of candidate."

Schieffer met with friends and colleagues during his driving tour of Texas with his wife, and many encouraged him to run.

"People believe there is an opportunity for a moderate Democrat to be elected," he said.

I'd rather have a more progressive Democrat, but beggars and choosers and all that. Schieffer has a lot of baggage to deal with - the Bush thing, the "who the heck is this old white guy?" thing, his own legislative record (thanks, Evan) - but the more he's out there criticizing our two squabblers in chief and looking good by comparison, the farther he'll get with that.

And hey, it's not like we're up to our clavicles in better options at this point.

Humorist and author Kinky Friedman may run for Texas governor again, but if he does, he says he's serious this time.

First, he'd run with the help of a major party -- the Democrats -- instead of launching an independent campaign like he did in 2006.

Friedman told the Associated Press on Tuesday he learned some hard lessons from his fourth-place defeat to Republican Rick Perry in a race with three political veterans. He said he found out he couldn't win as an independent and that he shouldn't crack so many jokes.

"I'm toning down the one-liners a bit. If I run, it's going to be a serious run," said Friedman, peppering the interview with one-liners.


He said he's been a Democrat all his life -- though "not the kind of Democrat that goose-steps to the polling box" -- and that he likes the direction the state party is taking.

Democrats can win the state's highest office if they pull in what he calls grass-roots voters and small-town Texans, Friedman said. He considers rural support one of his strengths.

"I certainly like the way the Democratic Party is moving in Texas. I think the past four years it's kind of transformed itself into a more populist ... it's in a populist direction. In other words, I think they're moving toward Barbara Jordan and Ann Richards and (commentator) Molly Ivins... That kind of thing," he said.

Yeah, a Democrat all his life, except for the whole 2006 election thing and his votes for Republicans - in his defense, at least he bothered to vote that year. Anything you can say against Tom Schieffer, you can say at least as much against Kinky Friedman as well, that's all I'm saying.

Yet there may be a brighter light at the end of all this. Again back to the Star-Telegram story:

So far, no Democrats have announced that they are seeking the nomination, although [Democratic strategist Matt] Angle said that several, including state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, are considering it.

Sen. Van de Putte would be an exciting candidate, one about whom there'd be little griping among the faithful. She's previously been mentioned as a potential Senate candidate; good to know at least one such Democrat has a broader view of the situation. She also had a bit more than $300K cash on hand as of January, and ought to be in a decent position to raise what she'd need to compete. All of a sudden, I'm feeling a little better about the top of the ticket next year. Amazing what some hope can do, isn't it?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 12, 2009 to Election 2010

I like Leticia van de Putte but worry about another Noriega disaster. I know, I know. The Texas Democratic Party loves its Hispanics. I am not, again, so sure the Hispanics love their Texas Democratic Party.

She certainly would be a viable candidate against Kay Bailey Hutchison, however, but that's assuming Kay Bailey Hutchison actually wins the primary. But if she does then Leticia van de Putte might be able to pull off the coup of the century by pulling in some Republican women voters and keep the Democratic women voters who really do vote for our version of the Wicked Witch of the West. Just because, after all, she's a woman first, a Republican second.

I worry about Schiefer simply because of the Bush connection. But then the Bush connection worked for Bill White. So you never know.

I suspect the race will be as interesting as the 2006 race. With one or two Independents again.

Posted by: Baby Snooks on February 12, 2009 8:56 AM

I would like to see Cris Bell make another run for GUV.

Is this possible?

Posted by: Joe Montemayor on February 12, 2009 10:02 AM

"I would like to see Cris Bell make another run for GUV."

Wonderful idea. Kinky can run as the Democrat and Chris Bell can run as the Independent along with Kay Bailout Hutchison and then Governor 39% will be elected again. With 39% of the vote.

Posted by: Baby Snooks on February 12, 2009 2:09 PM

kinky is nothing but a freakside show. It pains me to think some democrats actually buy into his stupidity and I dont mean stupidity of politics, just stupidity.

It is very sad.

Posted by: john cobarruvias on February 15, 2009 4:39 PM
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