Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"All bets are off"

Harvey Kronberg, in his weekly Austin teevee appearance.

“We are seeing something none of us has anticipated, and that is the Abbott campaign is on the defensive. First, they had the Ted Nugent experiment... which was supposed to be about the Second Amendment and ended up being about child predators. The second event was the Lily Ledbetter Act, which is about equal pay. They want to talk about process. But the message that is breaking through now anyway is about equal pay for women. If you have a series of additional issues like that that seem to put the Republicans on the wrong side of women, then all bets are off as to how this election will actually turn out.”

Republican women pinch-hitting for Abbott that are saying women are too busy to be concerned about their pay inequality -- or need to be better negotiators -- is just digging his hole deeper.

Abbott has always been a lousy lawyer and an even worse human being, but now it appears his vaunted political instincts are failing him.  The ladies doing the talking for him this week must have been trained by Todd Akin, or maybe Ralph Reed.  I am amazed that Abbott is making these kinds of mistakes because he's never, ever made them in his political career before.  Like Noah and Charles, I didn't believe that Emerson College poll had enough of a track record to be legitimate, but if another one that does reports a similar tightening of the race, there will be a massive surge in momentum to Davis.  Her press shop is now firing on all twelve cylinders, and that -- as much as Abbott's stumbling (is that insensitive to a man in a wheelchair?) -- has moved her campaign forward in the past week.

Abbott's failings in policy and tactics have been clear to those of us who follow these things closely for some time, and now they're getting more attention, such that the low-interest, low-data, low-participation voters might begin to take notice.  None of this addresses the Democrats' historical turnout problem, but Battleground Texas keeps grinding away on that also.

Now if Senate and Congressional Democrats will just stop running away from Obamacare, November prospects might really brighten up.  Here's their clue on how to turn a negative into a positive, courtesy Dave Weigel.  Nancy Pelosi, in Houston yesterday, reiterated the message: run on Obamacare, and run hard on expanding it (and Medicaid).

Texas Democrats report to their Senate district conventions this weekend, and with stinky options like David Alameel and Kinky Friedman as least worst choices looming in the May runoff, Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte are going to have to do the heavy lifting for the fall slate.  It's a good thing they both have years of experience in doing dirty jobs left to them by the men.

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