Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rick and Kay both give commencement addresses...

Over the weekend, Rick gave a commencement speech to the traditionally black college Prairie View A&M, while Kay spoke to Texas State. (link).

SAN MARCOS, Texas — U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison told graduates at Texas State University that while their college degrees would help them, they would need other skills to succeed in a shaky economy.

"You have the tools to conquer these challenges," she said Saturday. "Your college degree will get you in the door ... but just having it doesn't guarantee you success."

Hutchison said the keys to the future are a will to never give up, energy, a sense of humor and — in her own experience as a law school graduate at a time when major law firms in Texas didn't hire women — flexibility. Quoting Garth Brooks, the senior Texas senator and former reporter said "some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers."

Roughly 970 Bobcat candidates in fine arts, communications and applied arts received their degrees on the last day of Texas State's commencement ceremonies.

As Hutchison was beginning her speech, Gov. Rick Perry — her prospective competitor in the looming Republican primary race for governor next year — was giving a commencement address around 100 miles away at Prairie View A&M University.

Perry congratulated graduates at the traditionally black school and applauded their commitment to advance their education and break barriers.

Last week, I blogged that Rick was pretty obviously reaching out to black voters (link) by privately raising more than 600 grand for the United Negro College Fund and focusing on some legislation that black Texans care about. I am sure Rick and Kay were both offered many commencement address opportunities, so Rick's choice of an African American school speaks to his strategy.

Kay's choice of Texas State probably indicates her view that she has relative strength in Central Texas.

While many in the media are focusing with tunnel vision on Rick's wooing of social conservatives, he seems to be reaching out pretty aggressively to black voters, fiscal conservatives, and who knows what other groups. I think the mainstream media is missing what is really going on but wants to pit Rick and Kay against each other as if one was socially conservative and the other was fiscally conservative, something that is just a simplified and inaccurate depiction.

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Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.