Friday, February 12, 2010

Smucker (Rhymes with Pucker) for Guv

Ordinarily we assign no value whatsoever to pronouncements by "political consultants," be they Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Rosicrucian. We've found, based on extensive past experience, that any utterance issued for public consumption by a hired-gun political type has only the most tenuous relation to the truth, or even thruthiness. However, the tart observations regarding hometown Dem gubernatorial contender Bill White that gut-punching, 'nad-slapping GOP consultant Allen Blakemore provided the Houston Chronicle's Joe Holley (or so Holley reported––we were not a party to the alleged conversation) certainly had the tang of truth, or truthiness, delivered, as they were, in the spirit of fun and bitter partisanship:
In addition to questioning White's business acumen, Blakemore wondered whether his mayoral persona — a wonkish guy with ears and hair made for radio — will effectively translate to a race for governor. “His schtick became, ‘I absolutely, positively couldn't be a politician and speak as poorly and to present as poorly as I do.' It's the old, ‘with a name like Smucker's, it's got to be good' routine.”

A mayor, Blakemore contends, can get away with portraying himself as a colorless, competent technocrat. It's harder, he says, for a statewide candidate in Texas, where the relatively weak office of governor is about symbol as much as substance.
This is pretty much in accord with our own trenchant insta-analysis, delivered in the spirit of fun, hard science and non-partisanship following the one and only televised debate between White and some foreign-sounding guy who definitely lacked Rick Perry's easy "Adios, mofo" insouciance. This synchronicity is most likely a case of weak minds thinking alike, or recognizing the painfully obvious.

Holley's story also touched, glancingly, on a matter we've long suspected would be raised when (not if) White sought statewide office, one that we don't remember getting a whole lot of traction when he first ran for mayor, although we were temporarily retired from the punditry and blogging game at the time ("blogunditry") and not paying full attention:
White's Republican opponent also will try to portray him as a less-than-successful businessman in years past. It's a tack his Democratic primary opponent, Houston hair-products magnate Farouk Shami, has attempted, charging that White's initial business venture, Frontera Resources, exploited contacts he made in the Energy Department to seek oil and gas opportunities in the former Soviet Union. His Republican opponent likely will make much of the fact that Frontera lost its assets in Azerbaijan after defaulting on a loan and that the company reported $23.8 million in losses in its two most recent quarters.
We did notice that White, whose primary pre-mayoral vocation was that of "trial lawyer," was quite insistent during this week's debate when plumping his business credentials, suggesting that he and his have been practicing a detailed line of rebuttal to that expected attack.
Despite these potential vulnerabilities, White remains a viable, highly marketable alternative to Mofo Perry, not having (at least thus far) gone out of his way to alienate the state's largest bloc of voters or questioned whether the U.S. government had a hand in 9/11.

So he's got that going for him.

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