Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday Night Madness - Primary edition: Mud, Sweat and Tears


• Politics on a local level should even out after tomorrow, even if we end up with a few runoff elections.  All of the politicians with whom I have spoken are certainly glad the primary season is almost over.  It has been ugly, and I've only seen bits and pieces of it.

• I was very glad to see inForney.com tackling the latest hit piece in the Kaufman County Precinct 2 commissioner race.

That mailer is wrong on so many levels, it is hard to find a place to start.  I have heard – from people I trust – that Skeet Phillips is a really good guy. And maybe he really didn't have any idea this what this was going to turn into.  But a smart candidate would have jumped on the opportunity to say that isn't how he operates and turned it into another positive for himself.  Instead, Phillips seems to have just left it hanging in the air.

Plausible deniability may work in national politics, but I'm not sure about local politics. When you have a last minute bomb like that dropped in a relatively low-budget county race, it is hard to convince anyone that an unknown party came up with it and paid for it.  Mailers aren't cheap.

Even worse, given the opportunity to comment, it looks like Phillips just implicated himself in the matter.  In the inForney.com story, he is quoted as saying “I gave her the name of somebody they could get ahold of and they would help her ... and that's where it went from there. I never saw it again, I never touched it again, I never talked to them, I never approved a single thing, I never even saw it, and that was it."

Which implies that when someone came to Phillips with the salacious story, he sent them along to his campaign folks then conveniently walked away.

That leaves the bottom line question of who paid for the mailer.  It all leads back to the same politics-as-usual folks who make a living running these campaigns.  And until politicians stop thinking that is their ticket to victory, it will continue.  Which is partly our fault for falling for it.

• I am not going to make predictions, but I will tell you what I'd like to see happen in a few Kaufman County races.  (Don't get me started on SE Dallas county races….)

Like everywhere else in the country, this year is going to be the TEA Party vs The Establishment part II or III or IV.  I really like having an organized group trying to slow the constant liberal drift on the Republican side.  It would just be good if that group managed it without driving people away.  Over the last few years, especially after I started working in Terrell, I was surprised at how many people said that they like the main TEA Party objectives but could not join in with the Kaufman County group.  That needs to change and quickly.  And I'm not sure if it changes faster by winning or losing.

I would like for my friend Stuart Spitzer to win tomorrow, and over time use the victory to lead the local party back to some form of unity of cause, even with a diversity of opinions and personalities.  A lot of that depends on the Kaufman County Republican Chairman race, which is also interesting given Jody Dellar's long history here and Jimmy Weaver's TEA Party backing.

I'm thinking runoff election in the 86th District Court race.  With four candidates though, it goes to show you that even with a potential lucrative career in private law practice, there is still a great appeal to a steady salary.

Same goes for the Precinct 1 JP race, with two lawyers in that race.  I would like to see Tony Torres do well and bring some attention to the Republican Party among the county's growing Hispanic community.  There are a lot of strong potential conservative candidates out there that should be welcomed, not simply lost in the immigration debate.

OK folks, go out and vote for leaders with high moral character.  In the end, the county jobs are something that anyone could potentially learn to do.  But people of good character will serve us the best  at all levels, especially when you get to the legislative efforts which are incredibly hard to turn back.

Happy election day!

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