“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

ask not for whom the Bell doth toll

Chris Bell will be here in Amarillo Saturday, and I've been trying to construct a scenario whereby he could win.

So here goes.

We are facing an entrenched incumbent who remains the frontrunner, not because anyone anywhere thinks he is doing a good job, but due to his party. Like many of the other candidates in the race, Perry switched, some time ago, from the Democratic to the Republican party because he felt the switch would better his political prospects. He was right. Despite mind-numbing mediocrity, the governor has managed to distinguish himself as the incumbent in the race. This looks easy. All you have to do is serve out a term in your office and you get to be the incumbent next time ‘round. But, when you’re Rick Perry, nothing is as easy as it looks . . .

Since Democrats are the opposition party in a crushingly one-party state, our task would ordinarily be to throw up an increasingly desperate sacrificial lamb and pray that he doesn’t get hurt too bad. But the two “independent” candidates this year throw a monkey wrench into the race.

As the increasingly desperate sacrificial lamb, we would ordinarily be expected to a) try desperately to hang on to our base, and b) attempt to attract media attention through crackpot press conferences. The first is good positive politics but it can’t possibly win a race. If we had the numbers to win a race by holding on to our base we wouldn’t be increasingly desperate sacrificial lambs in the first place.

The second tactic invariably seems necessary, usually in the apocalyptic last days of an election, but generally ends up driving voters away.

This time around, however, things are different. It’s almost as if the role of increasingly desperate sacrificial lamb has been divided up. Kinky and, to an even greater extent, the-one-who-would-be-Grandma have already been attempting to attract media attention through crackpot press conferences.

Leaving Chris Bell to quietly travel around the state, making sure that the Democratic base turns out and votes for him. It’s not a bad strategy. It could work. Anything’s possible—so long as Bell leave the crackpot press conferences to Kinky and the-one-who-would-be-Grandma.

Because, mark my words, if Bell calls a tinfoil hat press conference about anything, the election’s over and we lost.