The same type of internal strife and power struggle that ruined the Cowboys’ season has recently emerged between Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Unless their gubernatorial campaigns become more conciliatory and less abrasive, they will have the same level of success (or lack thereof) as the Cowboys.
On June 10, the Austin American-Statesman reported that “Gov. Rick Perry… plans to call the legislature back for a special session” to address funding issues for several state agencies. Shortly after the governor’s announcement, Hutchison told Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News that if she had been governor, a special session would not be needed.
She told reporters that she would be “working hard through the session and I would be working with the legislature, which is what I think the governor should do.”
The special session was not caused by Perry’s apathy. The arcane Texas Constitution is in drastic need of reform and only mandates 140 days for a legislative session. There is no amount of work and no level of involvement that any governor could engage in that would give the legislature adequate time to tend to the state’s business.
While I am very fond of hypothetical accomplishments, Hutchison’s critique is counterproductive. It is bad for the Texas Republican Party and ultimately the entire state.
The senator gave Perry an opportunity. He could have demonstrated a quality of executive leadership and collaboration by inviting her to contribute ideas for the special session. It would have been a smart political move, because Hutchinson could not accept the invitation.
This session’s lack of legislative leadership is going to be a major campaign issue for Hutchison. As the Dallas Morning News reported on June 2, “the fractious 140-day session that ended Monday without tackling some high-profile problems gives her [Hutchison] plenty with which to target Gov. Rick Perry in the coming Republican primary.”
If Perry reached out to her and she accepted, she would lose the issue, and declining his offer would make her look hypocritical.
Fortunately, Hutchison does not need to worry because Perry simply responded to her attack with his own.
“It’s easy to criticize when you’re in Washington and have nothing constructive to offer,” the governor said.
Texans deserve better than this type of back-and-forth from two of their most senior and influential public servants.
The practice of primary candidates whacking away at each other is an American institution. Just ask Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.
However, the race has already become contentious, and the primary is still about nine months away. This is not only irritating, it also represents a serious problem for the Republican Party.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Douglas Luippold of the Daily Texan says what I am thinking...
Doug Luippold at UT's college newspaper writes about the Rick and Kay race and says exactly what I am thinking (link). Excerpt follows...
Given how Rick has surged and she has fallen in the polls, I wonder if Kay is reconsidering her run for governor. I wonder how many of Kay's supporters are having second thoughts about fueling this multi million dollar suicide mission the Texas GOP is embarking on right now.