We enjoy a blood feud as much as the next guy (or gal). We’ve been embroiled in a few our self, some dating back to elementary school. They’re clarifying and cleansing of the soul, especially if you’re capable of nursing a grudge for going on 5 decades. But we really, truly and mostly enjoy a long-running vendetta in which other people are involved and no expenditure of blood, bile or other bodily humors is required on our part. Which is why we’re hoping the Al Edwards-Borris Miles Democratic primary rematch becomes a (possibly WWE-sanctioned) biennial affair, one that we’ll be able to savor every other spring well into our dotage, when we’ll care even less than we do now who our state representative is, or at least until our precinct is mapped out of Texas House District 146.
Channel 11’s Leigh Frillici on Monday brought us an update on the latest Al-vs.-Borris set-to, which Democratic voters will settle in their party’s March 3 party primary (WARNING: FRILLICI’S REPORT INCLUDES GRATUITOUS "EXPERT" COMMENTARY FROM RICE UNIVERSITY'S BOB “ROBERT” STEIN). Apparently there’s not been a whole lot of note and newsworthiness going on in the race, at least since Miles took a drug test live on KCOH radio a couple of weeks back. Frillici’s report included the standard file footage of a (strangely, all white) cheerleading squad throwing down some semi-suggestive moves, to illustrate the immortal “booty bill” that Edwards sponsored a few legislative sessions back, the piece of attempted law-making that landed him his one and only appearance on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and will surely follow him to his grave. (While we wholeheartedly agree with critics that this was not a “problem” deserving of government action, at the time it occurred to us that much of the booty-bill derision aimed at Rep. Al emanated from white sophisticates––or would-be sophisticates––who don’t have a clue––not even an iota of a shred of a clue––about what actually transpires at the public schools where the great majority of Edwards’ child-bearing constituents send their kids. Al, of course, has spent so much of his adult life at the public trough that he just reflexively looks for a government "solution" to any ol' "problem" that comes down the pike.)
The Channel 11 report also included the obligatory balancing mention of criminal charges lodged against then-Rep. Miles after he was alleged to have “kissed a married woman and brandished a gun at a Christmas party,” as Frillici put it. Borris the Third Ward Insurance Man was acquitted of those charges, which he apparently took as a green light to pursue the seat he won in 2006 against Edwards and then almost immediately turned around and lost to Edwards two years ago (because of the gun-brandishing, married lady-smooching “scandal” he says was a result of a conspiracy among Edwards and his “Republican friends”). It also included this startling new information: Despite his run-in with the law, Miles ain’t gonna stop kissing the ladies! It is, according to what he told Frillici, “part of his upbringing as gentleman.” He even planted one on the comely reporter when she arrived to interview District 146's Gangsta of Love.
“How did I greet you?” Miles asked Frillici, in a manner we construed as rhetorical. “I gave you a kiss on the cheek and a hug, did I not? I have not changed. I’m gonna continue to do that.” (In the interest of inclusion and diversity, would he not greet, say, Channel 11’s Jeremy Desel in the same manner? Just askin’.) For some reason, Frillicci did not recap the earlier episode when Borris made his bones as a bona fide deep-red Texan by employing a pistol to drill an alleged burglar who was stealing stuff from the insurance man’s then-under construction Third Ward mansion, an act whose commission we personally had no problem with at all.
Thus far neither campaign has sent us a direct-mail piece anywhere near as sublime as the one Edwards mailed out in 2008, which featured pictures of .38-caliber handgun, spent cartridges and a puddle of what appeared to be blood (or ketchup) spilled from an overturned bottle of wine––all, apparently, elements of some Platonically ideal bad-hangover night with Borris Miles. Al, however, has been calling and writing us every other day, leaving messages on our machine that say something to the effect of, “Let’s not go through the shame and embarrassment again,” meaning (and we’re taking a wild guess here) the shame and embarrassment of being represented in the Texas House by Borris Miles. (This argument does not sway us in the least, most likely because we’re not the sort of citizen who’d suffer shame or embarrassment because of who represents us in the Texas House, unless it was, you know, Hitler.)
Although the district is predominantly African-American, it also includes a sizable white and heavily-voting populace on its west side, where it takes in a sliver of Meyerland and a good chunk of Westbury, home to many––but not all!––of Houston’s Jewish voters. And Representative-for-Life Al is leaving no demographic stone unturned, as evidenced by the mailing we got that featured a picture of him with a white guy who was identified as--regrettably, we tossed the flier in the recycling sack and can’t be sure of our accuracy--either the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. or maybe just an Israeli consul (possibly consul to Meyerland!). According to the caption--and this we recall with precision---Al and the diplomat were “discussing the similarities between Texas and Israel.” (Let’s see, both have some Jews and Arabs, Israel more than Texas, and both have protective barriers or parts of protective barriers on their borders, of varying effectiveness ... )
It probably goes without mentioning (WARNING: HERE COMES THE “SERIOUS,” SERMONIZING PART OF TODAY’S ENTRY), that there is no Republican running in District 146 and that the winner of the two-way Democratic primary will be the holder of the seat come January 2011, and it further goes without saying that there’s no way in hell a Republican could ever win the seat, even if Borris and Al were to engage in a shoot-out on South Post Oak at high noon, because the district--like almost all legislative jurisdictions in these United States, state or federal––has been drawn to ensure maintenance of “communities of interest” and one-party dominance and thus no actual competitive, substantive debate and ... you get what you pay for. (Personally, if we do vote in the Democratic primary we’ll probably go with Rep.-for-Life Al, because he occasionally shows a streak of independence and is safe and comforting––like a big side of mashed potatoes ’n’ gravy.)
UPDATE: Just today we received a mailing touting a veritable all-star line-up of Caucasians who "believe in Borris Miles," including Houston's new alcaldesa, Annise Parker (who appears to be the only Gentile of the four pictured Borris-believers––is it possible, we idly wonder, to take the pandering thing too far?). Now we like the mayor and know she's a proud Democrat, etc., but when it comes partisan politics we prefer the arms-length approach of Bill White (and every other mayor we can think of, come to think of it), unless there is some pressing municipal need to get involved, and whether Borris Miles or Al Edwards represents District 146 just doesn't rise to that standard. Besides, we'd think the mayor would want to have as many friends as possible in the Legislature, or at least no dire enemies ... in case, y'know, Al Edwards is re-elected.