Evidently, Rick Perry's hamfisted outreach to secessionists and the like has helped him gain a big lead over Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Texas primary race.
I've followed this race a bit, and I must say that I am a little surprised, as I expected Hutchison to win in a walk. For one thing, Perry isn't very popular and seems to have little future in conservative politics, while Hutchison might. Their respective approval ratings, coupled with Perry's weak showing in 2006 (he got 39% in a 4-way race, if I recall correctly), seems like a clear argument for Hutchison's candidacy. Hutchison clearly knows how to appeal to people outside the GOP tent, and could help presumably erode some recent Democratic gains in the statehouse. I find it unlikely that Perry could do any of this--if he wins another term in a noncrazy election, it will be by a small plurality or majority and there will likely be lots of split tickets, and it's hardly inconceivable that the Democrats might retake the state House of Representatives--indeed, they're nearly there already, and they've augmented their power significantly in recent years, to the extent of ousting Republican baron Tom Craddick as speaker this year.
Indeed, for years Democrats have talked about how Texas was trending blue--something borne out by the stats, such as Obama's single-digit loss there last year--and I suspect that giving Perry another nomination will give the Democrats a huge opportunity to retake the seat. The Dems haven't won anything statewide there for fifteen years, but the demographics of the state--perhaps pushed even further if there is any residing anger about Sotomayor's treatment--coupled with the unpopular Perry could make this an opportunity to try to paint Texas a little purpler. I don't know Tom Schieffer's strengths as a candidate, but if he turns out to be halfway competent (and if there isn't another circus like last time), then this thing will be anything other than assured.
Seems to me that the establishment ought to be subtlely backing Hutchison, but it's beginning to look less hopeful for Texas to have a sensible Republican governor in two years.
The Man, The Myth, The Bio
- East Bay, California, United States
- Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.