It’s pin the tail on someone else in the
governor’s race. Carole Keeton Strayhorn slammed Gov. Rick
Perry. Democrat Chris Bell slammed Strayhorn. Democrat Bob
Gammage slammed Bell. Kinky Friedman slammed everybody. Gov.
Perry left the country. On Monday, ((1/23/06)) Comptroller
Strayhorn blasted a state agency created to mediate disputes
between homebuilders and homebuyers.
Strayhorn, who passed up the Republican
primary to run against Perry as an independent, didn’t
mention the governor. She didn’t need to.
Houston builder Bob Perry wanted the
separate commission. He’s not related to the governor, but
has kicked in $3.7 million to his campaigns. And the
governor signed the bill creating the agency, and named John
Krugh, an executive of Bob Perry’s firm, to the commission.
It’s a “builder protection agency,”
Strayhorn charged. “If it were up to me personally, I would
blast this Texas Residential Construction Commission off the
On Tuesday, ((1/24/06)) Democratic
hopeful Bell, stung by the normally Democratic-leaning Texas
State Teachers Association endorsing Strayhorn over himlast
week, said Strayhorn’s blasting Perry last week for
supporting vouchers was hypocritical.Bell noted that chief
voucher supporter James Leininger of San Antonio had secured
a $950,000 loan to Strayhorn’s 1998 campaign – when she was
supporting vouchers. He gave her $100,000 through 2003.
But when she started running against
Perry, Leininger quit giving to her. And Strayhorn switched
her voucher position. “It’s not enough to be right about
Rick Perry being completely wrong about vouchers,” said
Bell, who said he has always opposed publicly funded
private-school vouchers. “Texas needs to trust that its
leaders will have the courage of their convictions.”
Meanwhile, Gammage, like Bell a former
congressman from Houston, said he got in the race because
Bell was lacking fire in his belly. There’s plenty of fire
there, Bell shot back when asked about it.
While all this was going on, Gov. Perry
took off on an unannounced trip to Iraq and other hotspots
in the Middle East, ostensibly to entertain and converse
with Texas National Guard troops deployed there. He and
three other governors – one Republican and two Democrats –
had flown over at taxpayer expense, at the invitation of the
Department of Defense.
Meanwhile, independent comic Kinky
Friedman, who has never held elective office, told CBS-TV’s
“Sixty Minutes” that he should be elected for that reason.
The more experience politicians have, the worse they do,
* * *
And So On . . . . . Even while the
various candidates questioned Perry’s leadership ability,
another Democrat who isn’t running for governor got in the
act. Former Mayor Kirk Watson, who has drawn only
Libertarian opposition for the Austin state senate seat held
by retiring Democrat Gonzalo Barrientos, said he questions
Perry’s recent saturation TV ad. “I’m proud of Texas,” Perry
says at the end, then turns, looks directly into the camera,
and asks, “How about you?”
Watson pointed to Texas’ ranking among
the states on a variety of issues (45th in public health
spending, 49th in water quality, 50th in high school
graduation rate, 1st in percentage of uninsured children),
to a Democratic crowd Monday night in Austin.
For truth in advertising, Watson said,
the ad instead should close with Perry saying, “I’m hard on
Texas. And I’m hard on you.”
* * *
Serindipity . . . . . Felix Alvarado, the
Fort Worth school administrator and only Hispanic who had
paid his filing fee for governor, was knocked off the ballot
when his check bounced.
That’s a gift to Gammage and Bell.With
Hispanics comprising as much as half the Democratic primary
vote, and Strayhorn and Friedman asking voters to pass up
the primaries to sign their ballot petitions, Republican
consultant Royal Masset had actually predicted Alvarado
would win the Democratic primary.