White in West Texas

West Texas has not been friendly territory for Democrats lately, and won’t be any more so this year, but that doesn’t stop Bill White from seeking out support there.

The Texas Panhandle town of Canadian, where morning weather reports include southeastern Colorado, southwestern Kansas and the Oklahoma panhandle, is a long way from Houston — 590 miles, to be exact.

The leafy little town on the banks of the Canadian River, population 2,300, also is a far piece politically from the Democratically inclined Bayou City. “Most folks are Republicans up here,” said Lee Haygood, a rancher and futures trader who had just shaken hands with a former Houston mayor who wants to be his governor. “We’re so far from Houston, I don’t think anyone knows who Bill White is.”

The Democratic gubernatorial hopeful ventured into those foreign political climes recently, seeking “common ground” with Amarillo business leaders, a fundamentalist minister who hosts a popular local talk show, Canadian civic leaders and Panhandle newspaper publishers and editors. “We’re picking up support where we can find it,” White said. “We’re not going to neglect the small towns like people in our party sometimes have done.”

More here. It’s a good story about White reaching out to people who normally vote Republican but who aren’t particularly thrilled with Rick Perry. These are voters White will need to win, and what they need is a reason to believe that they will in fact get something better than what they already have when they decide for whom to vote. Bill White is the devil they don’t know, and his job is to de-mystify himself to these folks.

Now contrast all of that to the devil we all know, who spent the weekend helping to make “honorary Texan” Glenn Beck a wealthier man while giving the same “aw, shucks” routine about his Presidential ambitions. When was the last time Rick Perry voluntarily engaged with people who weren’t already his supporters? Of course, he doesn’t need to, or at least he doesn’t believe he needs to, which explains just about everything about his style of campaigning and governing. There are many ways in which one can compare and contrast Rick Perry and Bill White, but this one speaks volumes to me.

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