Sunday, November 05, 2006

Last-Minute Endorsements for the Nov. 7 Election, Subject, As Always, to Change

During a hasty convening of the editorial board at the South Hill Barber Shop late Saturday afternoon, the following candidates were awarded the coveted “Slampo’s Place Unequivocal Endorsement,” which may possibly be good for one vote, depending on how we feel Tuesday morning. But before we open the envelopes, permit us to quote at length from this recent endorsement editorial in the Bryan-College Station Eagle, which starts off like this on the gubernatorial election:
This is a race that makes a lot of Texans wish for a fifth, better candidate … In his six years in office, Rick Perry has disappointed us time and again. When leadership is called for, Perry is too often out of the office. That lack of leadership on public school finance allowed the Legislature to postpone a solution for several years, until a court order forced reluctant lawmakers to act. Even then, the solution is less than perfect …
And comes to a screeching halt five paragraphs later like this:
While the choices are not great, Gov. Perry seems the best of the lot.
Yes, ah … in that spirit of discombobulation, the envelopes, please:

Jerry Patterson, Texas Land Commissioner: He’s always struck us as a decent, no-BS guy who by most accounts quietly runs a lean, efficient shop at the General Land Office (and seems to have been pretty good on enforcing the Open Beaches Act). He does it so quietly, in fact, that we had forgotten he was seeking re-election until we got a direct mailing from Patterson last week (we’re sure his Democratic opponent is a fine person who would make a good land commissioner, as would his Libertarian opponent, if he’s got one---we’re just going with our Bush-ian gut reflex here).

The piece parodies (we think) Patterson’s image as a “maverick,” a sort of Aggie John McCain, and includes a noticeable photo of Jerry talking aim, Dirty Harry-style, replete with a thumbprint that indicates the land commissioner ain’t just “posin’ ” (as a state senator, Patterson famously authored the state’s concealed handgun law, which occasioned all sorts of hand-wringing and dire predictions from opponents---none of which came to pass, as you’ll recall).

Anyway, what caught our attention was Patterson’s words, his credo, so to speak, as spelled out inside the mailing. Permit us to quote at length---the first time in the long and storied history of Slampo’s Place (voted “Bestest Blog in the 77079 Zip Code” two years running!) that we’ve stooped to quoting approvingly from a piece of political junk mail (‘cause it’s actually that worthy):
I strongly believe that Texas need less political grandstanding and more reasoned debate based on specificity and fact-based opinion. Have no doubt, I am a Republican … a true conservative who believes strongly in individual liberty, constitutional rights and trusting everyday Texans like you and me with decisions that affect their lives. I never put party before logic or ideology before individuals …. [Emphasis added]
Imagine that: A politician who brags about basing his opinions on “logic” and facts.”

If he even comes to close to living up to those words, there's obviously no future in Texas politics for somebody like Jerry Patterson.

That’s it for the endorsements, except for Jim Webb in the Virginia Senate race, which isn’t worth even one vote.

One more thing: When we go to the polls Tuesday and delicately close our nostrils to cast our meager lot with a wide variety of unworthies, we will keep in mind this exchange we witnessed t’other night at the butt-end of that local PBS politics show, the one with Gary Polland, the former county Republican chairman, and David Jones, the Democratic lawyer-gadabout, who were beating their gums, vigorously as always, over the election.

Polland, who sometimes strikes us as a reasoned voice of moderation (must be the mid-life change thing), observed that with Perry likely limping back into office with 40-something percent or so of the vote, the Legislature was going to have to step up and get busy addressing the move to lower the cap on property-tax appraisals, or else we’ll all be talking about Gov. Dan Patrick in a few years.

That brought an avuncular demurral from a guest panelist, Chronicle somnambulist Rick Casey (nah, he’s actually roused himself recently to put some pretty good pops on the non-fact-based bloviations of local congressmen Ted Poe and Kid Culberson [“Not Endorsed by Slampo’s Place”]), who declared it a safe bet that Dan Patrick will never be governor of Texas.

Yeah, we would have thought the same way 25 years ago if you’d have told us the sports anchorman who painted his noggin blue in the heyday of the Bum-era Oilers would one day be elected to the state Senate.

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