Sunday, March 16, 2008

Noriega's Senate bid linked to Democratic nominee

Arnold Garcia in the Statesman nails the quandary for Rick Noriega:

Ask Rick Noriega whom he'd like to see at the top of the Democratic Party ticket and he does an artful dance — with a Texas twist — around the question.

"I'm for whoever wins," he replies diplomatically, before twirling into the second half of his answer: "I'm for who's going to come back to Texas and help us fight (to) win Texas." ...

The Clintons were in and out of Texas to raise money in the 1990s but spent the bulk of it elsewhere, leaving state and local Democratic candidates to do the best they could.

With Republicans firmly in control of all statewide elected offices, the best Democrats could do wasn't very good. Even the courthouses in North, West and East Texas fell to the GOP.

This year, however, Texans voted in Democratic primary races in record numbers — even in areas tightly controlled by the GOP — raising hope that those numbers were the first rays of light of a Democratic dawn.

It may be dawn at the Alamo if national Democrats once again cede Texas to the GOP in the November race. No one knows that better than Noriega, who is watching the Democratic presidential fight unfold. Though he won't say it, there are plenty of others who will: He faces long odds to begin with, but put Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket and they get longer.

There is no comfort for Noriega in the Clintons' history of using Texas as an ATM with only one button — for withdrawals.

Clinton's strength as known quantity is also a weakness. She's known — for good or ill, voters have an idea of who she is. And Barack Obama? If he continues to attract new and independent voters, he might grow coat tails.

Hillary Clinton at the top of the Texas ballot in November is death for Democrats. Rick Noriega knows it just as clearly as all the rest of us do. It doesn't matter how many extra Hispanics she or Noriega draw to the polls, it won't be enough to overcome the loss of energized Obama voters disgusted by whatever machination she manages to use to deny the will of the people and steal the nomination.

The huge surge of Democratic voters in the Lone Star and across the nation are NOT turning out to vote for her now, and they will not do so in the fall. There's a very obvious reason she's losing by every measurement: pledged delegates, popular vote, and gradually now, even the supers.

Hillary Clinton is a losing candidate. A loser now, a loser in November.

Let's hope that someone is capable of preventing her from destroying the Democratic party nationally, and most certainly in Texas, before it's too late.

No comments: