Schieffer on the trail

The main advantage Tom Schieffer has over his actual and potential rivals for the Democratic nomination for Governor is that he’s actually out there on the trail right now, and stuff he’s saying is in the news.

Schieffer is traveling across the state, introducing himself to Texans as a Democratic candidate for governor.

“It’s been a long time since we had any vision in this state, and I want to do something about that,” said Schieffer, 61. “This spirit of Texas is still alive. This is the election. This is the day. This is the hour to decide to change Texas again.”

Schieffer said he is running because the state must improve its education system and stop the high dropout rate, develop a better energy regulatory system, improve the healthcare system and focus more on the environment.

Schieffer said he can win the 2010 election no matter who survives the brutal Republican primary — Gov. Rick Perry or Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

“To win, this campaign must become a cause,” he said.

Hard to argue with any of that, and full marks to him for his confidence in a matchup with KBH. That’s the sort of thing I had in mind for Schieffer as he introduces himself. Keep it up, Tom.

Although Schieffer is a Democrat, his past ties to Bush are not necessarily a bad thing, said Jerry Polinard, a political science professor at the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg.

“You’ve got to have a candidate to attract independent voters and siphon off Republican voters … while holding onto the more liberal wing, which is a question mark, but nonetheless they may hold their noses and vote for Schieffer,” Polinard said. “If he has Perry as an opponent, he can isolate him as a far right-wing candidate. And it’s not like he’d be running against a person who’s enjoyed overwhelming support.”

The issue Schieffer will have next November if he’s the nominee is not with the Democrats that are habitual voters, whose tribalism ought to kick in as the bad guys say the sorts of things that get us all riled up. (Assuming he hasn’t done too many little things to tick them off.) The concern is with the more casual voter, who may or may not find him to be a particularly compelling candidate, and may stay home as a result. The way this was recently and poetically expressed to me was what the “give a shit” factor will be. It will help that there likely won’t be a high-profile third party alternative, but the level of support among the more sporadic voters is crucial and could be determinative.

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One Response to Schieffer on the trail

  1. Linkmeister says:

    Oh, a Texas candidate named Schieffer. I couldn’t figure out why CBS’s Bob Schieffer would be headlined in one of your posts. 😉

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