Thursday, January 29, 2015

Scattershooting the political consultants' scorecard

My blog brothers have done the heavy lifting.

-- Via Stace, here's your program.  This is the most important information Houston voters need to know about who might next run the city: who's whispering in the candidate's ear?   Who's telling them to zig instead of zag?  I've heard these people brag about the size of their Rolodexes, declare that's what you're buying when you pay them $10K a month.  What a country, eh?

Just like the Karl Roves and Dave Carneys, these behind-the-scenes players have the most influence.  Take note of who's advising whom, in a paid or unpaid capacity.

With ten candidates in the race for mayor, and a "viable" campaign needing to raise $2 million in order to get 15% of the vote just to make the runoff, ask yourself again why we need so much money sloshing around in our politics.

At those prices, we're not getting anything worth owning.

Update: The Baker Institute says it will take something between 21-23% of less than 200K votes (or about 40,000) for a single mayoral candidate -- two of Turner, Bell, Garcia, Costello, King, or Pennington left to right on your spectrum -- to make the runoff.  Consequently, every campaign will target its own base vote very narrowly, so as not to encourage other bases to show up at the polls.  In other words, low turnout is the winner's friend; suppress everybody's vote but yours.  I'd love to hear how some of those tactics will be executed.  Since Bob Stein and not Mark Jones authored that post, I can at least express a bit more confidence in its various premises.  There's some other data points worth sifting through there for all you inside baseballers.  I'll unpack more of that in my next blog post.

-- Also via Stace, A-Drain Garcia has issued either a caution or an exhortation, depending on whether he's ultimately in or out.

"The community will have to vote in historic numbers".  That's the understatement of the year.

Do you think it makes a Garcia bid more likely or less?  He may already be losing the consultants' race, after all.  I have to say 'less' just on its face, but Stace's response to my question there is a point well taken.  I'm also not listening to the radio shows, can't parse inflection or word usage or read between the lines in Spanish as well as I would like.  So we wait.

-- Charles has the take on state Sen. Don Huffines' bill that essentially nullifies any city ordinance if the state legislature doesn't approve... whether a state law is in place or not.  So a municipality would be prohibited from passing a law banning fracking, or protecting the civil rights of people born LGBT -- or establishing speed limits or fireworks restrictions or noise ordinances or eliminating plastic bags at the supermarket -- if Austin says 'no' or even thinks 'no'.  This from the party that wants judges to defy federal law when marriage equality is finally recognized.  (Roy Moore is just another throwback to the '60's and George Wallace, in case you haven't seen Selma yet.)

The hypocrisy is strong with this one.  And I don't mean just Huffines, either.

-- Obama's attorney general-designate, Loretta Lynch, is a prohibitionist when it comes to weed.  German Lopez at Vox says she's got the "pot is worse than booze" part wrong, and has some data that supports that.

Just for the record, I personally don't care to use it, legal or not.  With my conditions, I only have a couple of drinks a month, and I haven't roasted any herb in over two decades.  (Made me paranoid; was easy to quit.)  But the national trend toward decriminalization/legalization has moved almost as quickly as the marriage equality issue, two remarkable social upheavals that tend to terrify the most extreme of Christian conservatives.

I don't know and wouldn't think that Loretta Lynch is one of those.  But these notions about reefer madness are deeply embedded in the minds of people who prosecute for a living, which suggests it's going to take the next generation to soften the federal resolve in this matter.  And that's unfortunate.  I would have thought that she had greater insight into the legal scourge of these harsh and vindictive drug penalties and the devastating effect they have had on her generation of black men and women.  If she hasn't figured it out by now, she probably isn't going to.

Maybe she can be better on the police abuse cases that need to be addressed; she already has some history in that regard.  She's going to have a short time to make her mark beyond the 'first African American woman' label.

-- Like Sheriff Garcia, Scott Walker didn't finish college either.  I'm not voting for anybody who can't manage that.  This isn't the century where a farmer can pull himself up by his bootstraps and his common sense, move into the city, get a good job with union benefits and retire after forty years with a nice pension.

Oh sure, your geeky kid might quit college when he comes up with an app that makes him a trillionaire.  I just don't want him to run for president, or mayor, or purchase any of the people who do.  If you can't earn a baccalaureate degree and you want to be on the government payroll, then you can read meters or mow a park (I'd rather them not be given a gun and a badge either, but that's another problem).  It's a different world and we don't need under-educated people in charge at any level.  No sheepskin is a dealbreaker for me.

If someone can leverage that perceived effrontery to motivate the vote, more power to them.  Anything that works in that regard would not be an unwelcome development... even if they voted en masse for the least-educated person on their ballot.

At least we'd have some successful voter turnout model to build on.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

Didn't you mean to say the "gaydar-dreamy" Huffines, per my and other comments at the Observer?

On the mayor's race, I'll await your take on who's best positioned for narrow strategies, especially if they're "Rovean" ones, and exactly what those are.