Friday, October 06, 2006

Texas Four Step -- Debate Reactions

Tonight was the one and only Texas gubernatorial debate. One hour. Four candidates. On a FRIDAY night. Apparently, this is all incumbent Rick Perry would agree to. And that’s a shame because this has to be one of the most unique gubernatorial races in recent U.S. history. A four-way race that is competitive enough for each candidate to believe they have a shot. We could use as many as six debates. But we got just one.

Here’s my rundown of the debate, candidate-by-candidate.

Rick Perry – The current Republican governor came off as exceedingly blow-dried and somewhat bored. He seemed to have little sense that Texas needs improvement. Surprisingly, I did not hear him trump up his faith in his usual pandering to the Christian Right. But he did spend most of the debate pretending his half-ass governorship has been a boon to the state. I guess that’s no surprise. He’s never been a leader so much as a hanger-on who got lucky enough to advance into the top job when his predecessor (George Bush) vacated the position. I see no way I can vote for the man.

Chris Bell – The Democratic nominee was by far the least Texas seeming of the lot. Slick and effete, he is the picture of what the Texas Democrats have become—a party more in tune with the national base than with the average Texan. Nevertheless, I thought he did very well. He was a little over-eager to paint himself as the lone left-of-center candidate, but he seemed to have a superb grasp of the issues and some solid, if uninspiring, ideas on how to improve the state.

Kinky Friedman – The songwriter, poet, humorist, Independent and all-around Character (capital C) had an opportunity to really set himself apart as a plain-spoken, no-b.s. alterna-candidate. Unfortunately, he seemed ill-prepared for the debate and left me wondering if he really has the grasp of the issues necessary to lead the state. Yes, some of his solutions are the kinds of radical ideas I think we need, but he really came off as out-of-his-league. I have been planning to vote for the man but now I’m not so sure.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn – The former Republican and current state comptroller has been the less-interesting of the two Independents. But she was by far the most articulate, forceful and intriguing of the four candidates in the debate. Other than spacing on the name of Mexico’s President-elect, Strayhorn came off as the kind of smart, tough leader well-suited for Texas Governor. Her ideas are not as radical as Friedman’s, but they seem well-considered. I am now going to have to give her serious consideration.

And that’s that. The one debate is over and now us Texans have to choose based on a smattering of ads and news stories written or produced by news agencies that seem less-than-capable of handling a four-way race. My concern is that most Texans will be undecided on election day and Perry will win. Those of us who would prefer a change, really need to rally around one of the other three candidates


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kinky "negro talking to himself" Friedman? Are you serious that you might vote for him?

What a sad place my home state has become. sigh.

1:16 AM  
Anonymous Walrus said...

Alan, it sounds like you are related to me. I have an uncanny ability to vote for the one who won't win. I think I can count on one hand the number of times in my life I've voted for the winner, and that's through three decades of voting, at all levels.

If things are that close down there, the incumbent is probably the best bet, unless one of the others drops out.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Anon -- I tend not to disqualify a guy for a few less-than-politically correct statements. In all his Texas Monthly columns and in all his books, there's no evidence the man is a racist. Impolite, yes, but that can be a good thing. My possible vote for him is based on my belief that the state is stuck in neutral and needs more than just another politician woried about his/her career.

Walrus -- Well, I DID vote for Clinton twice, so my record isn't horrible in major elections. But, yeah, I've supported a lot of losers.

9:45 AM  
Blogger M. Takhallus. said...

My first vote was for Nixon. We won!


Reading this made me long for Texas. This at least is an interesting race.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous texasfortexans said...

The debate was 59 minutes and 50 seconds of blah, blah, blah surrounding 10 seconds of brilliance. Here's the beauty part:

Kinky Friedman said he would call for military martial law in border cities if he becomes governor on Friday, during the only gubernatorial debate scheduled for the campaign season. ... "Yeah, of course, whatever it takes," said Friedman in response to a question from an Austin television reporter about whether he would declare martial law. Declaring it would make his proposal to add 8,500 National Guard troops to the border possible.

1:35 AM  
Blogger Kinky is Awesome said...

Watch this video clip. It is hilarious, it is true, and it is politically incorrect as hell.

Next, read up on Kinky's get-tough illegal alien plan and his 5 Mexican generals plan. Kinky's common sense border security plan is the straight up "minuteman" approach, not Perry's namby-pamby "let's set up cameras" approach. Make no mistake, Kinky is the only candidate brave enough to say we need armed military generals on our southern border.

Now consider Kinky's party affiliation. Kinky has run for office in the past as a Republican and he voted for Bush/Cheney in 2004.

Here is an excerpt from Kinky's interview with Ruminator magazine which confirms that he supported Bush's Middle East foreign policy:
Question: So does this idea of the honorable cowboy have anything to do with why you threw your support behind President Bush in this last election? You did, didn’t you?
Kinky: Yes. I did in this last election, but I didn’t vote for him the first time.
Question: Who did you vote for in 2000?
Kinky: I voted for Gore then. I was conflicted. . .but I was not for Bush that time. Since then, though, we’ve become friends. And that’s what’s changed things.
Question: So it’s your friendship with him that’s changed your mind about having him as president more than his specific political positions?
Kinky: Well, actually, I agree with most of his political positions overseas, his foreign policy. On domestic issues, I’m more in line with the Democrats. I basically think he played a poor hand well after September 11. What he’s been doing in the Near East and in the Middle East, he’s handling that well, I think.

Now maybe you are like me and you were worried that Kinky showed liberal tendencies by voting for a tree-hugger like Al Gore. Well, rest assuredthat Kinky was mistaken when he said that. Kinky's public voting records confirm he didn't vote for Al Gore in 2000 because Kinky didn't waste his vote on any candidate from 1994 to 2004 when he voted for Bush/Cheney.

Maybe you think Kinky's a liberal because he's a Jew. Rest assured, Kinky's views on religion are well to the right of Perry's. Kinky wants to take time during the school day for prayers in schools, and he wants to post the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms.


1:11 AM  

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