Thursday, October 19, 2006

19 days of commercials to go...

The sequence of ads during KVUE's 5:55 am break this morning:

1. Carole Keeton Strayhorn: Rick Perry shafts education
2. Greg Abbott: I've collected a lot of child support money
3. Chris Bell: Rick Perry shafts children's insurance
(And by the way, Mr. Bell: Making a trite statement and having a couple of rows of sycophants applauding does not a great commercial make.)
4. Buick: We're ending our model year two months after everyone else did
5. Susan Combs: Putting students first
6. Rick Perry: Protecting our borders

I'm thinking of voting for Buick.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

TX-Gov: The debate continues, kinda

The Libertarian candidate for governor, James Werner, when not threatening to sue Belo for deliberately excluding him, has started posting his answers to the questions the other four candidates faced (and, in some cases, mishandled).

There are some interesting tidbits to be found (such as the idea of supporting the FairTax on a state level), and in most cases, his ideas are clearly articulated. Of course, he wasn't in a shoebox with harsh lights on him, answering within a one-minute time limit, either.

By the way, he has stated that Belo's invitation to the others constitutes their giving them "a giant TV commercial". (No, Belo gave themselves a giant TV commercial, with their name in the top left corner throughout...and I noticed at least KEYE making an obvious effort not to show any of the Belo journalists in the clips--take that, Christine Haas!) How is the Statesman's offer (made only to Werner, as best as I can tell, and mentioned repeatedly in the Statesman's coverage of the debate) of blogspace that much different? Sure, it's not quite the same as statewide TV coverage, but by what factor? After all, the televised debate was competing for attention with Texas-OU and Deal or no Deal, so how many people, aside from me, really watched the thing?

TX-Gov: Just what is a reasonable contribution, Mr. Bell?

From Chris Bell's site:

Texas is currently one of only 13 states that allow unlimited contributions to candidates for legislative and executive office. Consequently, a small number of large donors contribute the vast majority of the money raised in Texas politics. For example, in the 2002 election cycle, 76 percent of all contributions came in checks of $5,000 or greater. The lack of reasonable contribution limits allows this small group of wealthy individuals to buy special influence and play on an uneven playing field.

From this morning's American-Statesman:

After Friday night's see-saw gubernatorial debate, Houston personal-injury lawyer John O'Quinn gave Democrat Chris Bell a potentially record-breaking lift, promising to give his campaign $1 million now and to give or raise $4 million more later.

I don't think any further comment is necessary.

Friday, October 06, 2006

TX-25 Update

I actually meant to post this, oh, about a month and a half ago. Now I've taken so long that the Statesman article I referenced to get the candidate information has disappeared. However, has pretty much the same stuff, which rather helps the procrastinating blogger.

Our candidates:

Lloyd Doggett (D, incumbent): A lot of people in Austin really love Mr. Doggett. I appreciate that his staff did answer a question I sent him years ago (don't remember the subject), but that said, his website now is rather uniformative. It used to have placeholder links for items like "Issues", but these have disappeared. Now, the only mention of issues is his statement in which he says he has worked "to encourage economic growth and job creation, improve our public schools, provide retirement security to our seniors and veterans, keep our communities safe, and promote affordable housing and child care." Specifics would help here...can anyone come out against these generalities? Oh, and his site touts his seniority.

The rest, in alphabetical order:
Barbara Cunningham (L, oil engineer, Caldwell): her website mentions three issues (immigration, education, and taxes). On immigration, she has a long, single-spaced, and rather difficult-to-read essay about how none of the current ideas will work. She seemingly likes a consumption tax to replace income taxes, but she specifically dislikes the FairTax. Her education idea is to remove all federal funding for schools. Apparently she is not courting the teachers' votes, then. (Her endorsements page, as well as her campaign blog, are sadly empty.)

Brian Parrett (I, systems analyst, Austin): I could not find anything about positions on any issues, but hey, he's got a picture on his site. He also invites questions via e-mail, but who's going to take the time?

UPDATE (24 Oct): Mr. Parrett's website now includes ideas on "Protecting America", "Reducing Our Tax Burden" (which doesn't spell out specifics, but his ideas smell a little like a FairTax...), and "Winning the War on Drugs".

Grant Rostig (R, computer programmer & chiropractor, Dale): recently endorsed by Ron "Dr. No" Paul, Mr. Rostig, like Dr. Paul has Libertarian-leaning views. (Ms. Cunningham, who has very similar views herself, showed up when Mr. Rostig dared to run as a Republican during the open filing period in August; previously, he had been the Libertarian candidiate.) He is against the idea of open borders (and pro-Minutemen, drawing criticism from Mr. Doggett) and pro-FairTax.

TX-25 is still majority-Democrat (albeit less so than it was before August), so it appears that Mr. Doggett will have smooth sailing at this point.

TX-Gov: Did anyone win besides maybe Belo?

Here's a great idea: let's put four gubernatorial candidates, four journalists, and a somewhat lost moderator in a shoebox for an hour and see what happens! So, here's how it looked from here (at least what wasn't drowned out by a small child):

Chris Bell: Ducked at least one question entirely, referred to all three of the others in the debate as Republicans, but seemed to handle the lightning round questions well.

Kinky Friedman: Generally articulated his point well, but seemingly got rather flustered in the middle, just after all three of the others assailed him for certain remarks which had been brought up in a previous question. Didn't really seem to have fully articulated solutions for problems, just an awareness of those problems.

Rick Perry: Looked mad for some reason...maybe he didn't want to be there. Explained pretty well his rationale behind pushing the Trans Texas Corridor, even if the TTC (and tolled roads pretty much throughout the state) isn't the only solution to future traffic problems. He also ducked at least one question entirely.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn: Ducked several questions entirely, including the question I have wondered myself, that of whether she is a political opportunist. (She ducked that question at least twice.) Blew her lightning round question, proving she knows about as much about foreign leaders as Paris Hilton.

James Werner: What do you mean, he wasn't invited? He liveblogged the debate for our friends at the American-Statesman, and while he promised to answer the questions asked of the other candidates, his blog shows that he discarded that idea in favor of snarky "awards".

Belo: Great move, taking the focus off the actual debate by placing it instead on your exclusivity clause. This, no doubt, allowed KVUE's coverage to be completely stomped in the ratings by KXAN's "Deal or no Deal". Hey, KXAN had to show something, why not something that might draw a lot of viewers? I can't imagine that most people watched this debate all the way through. (Granted, this was in Austin, but I don't believe Belo owns an NBC station anywhere in Texas.)

And by the way, I don't remember who moderated the whole thing, but way to blow your signoff by forgetting when Election Day is. Even Ms. Strayhorn remembers that.