This was supposed to be her week. She spent a lot of money. Based on the lag time from her initial announcement to her announcement to announce and then finally her announcement tour, she spent many months crafting her strategy, message, and travel route game plan.
Kay had a bad week. This is hardly up for debate. On the week when she was supposed to be crowned homecoming queen, Rick's peeps played prank after prank... Like something out of Animal House... fun to watch. The new website http://www.WashingtonKay.com that relentlessly churns out videos and facts about Kay's less than pristine voting record and her less than consistent... let's face it, less than coherent... public statements.
Rick's peeps drove Kay crazy. Literally. Their Crazy Train video is hilarious... Very similar to the Blues Brothers car crash web video they made last month... and don't even get me going about that cat playing the keyboard. I doubt many people who vote in Republican primaries will ever see tha web video, let alone understand why a cat playing a keyboard makes any sense, but influential writers... the press... bloggers... people who send signals to their peers... they all see it and get what Rick's peeps are saying. Kay's campaign so far is a joke. A really expensive, bad joke. It is as if Rick's small team of recent YCT graduates and CR alumni are batting down Kay's much more elaborate DC heavy consultant juggernaut by just goofing around. That spells real trouble for Kay if a bunch of amateurs can own these experts.
I am still getting lots of emails from a source who tells me that Kay's campaign staffers do not have high morale right now. If my source is as accurate as usual, Kay has a more colorful vocabulary than I realized.
Rick's peeps have absolutely no qualms about rubbing Kay's sputtering campaign in her face.
Rick's peeps don't need to say any of it, though. This week has been an unmitigated failure for Kay. While she drew miniscule crowds all over the state, the Kay Bailout Express followed her around... and airplanes with banners telling her to release her tax returns.
Kay's team responded with non credible hyperbole about Rick's peeps being the dirtiest in Texas history. Such utterly unbelievable comments just underline that maybe a lot of us overestimated Kay's new A team. Joe Pounder came with undeniable accolades, but of all the statements from Kay's team, his seem the most foreign to the political culture of Texas.
Have these people never heard of Lyndon Baines Johnson? If Kay's skin is really this thin, and her staff are really going to waste all credibility on playing the victim card after a few harmless hijinks, I don't want to see what the reaction will be when Rick's infamously battle hardened squadron decides to stop letting their interns make their videos and instead gets David Weeks and that crew to put something professionally together. Rick's team can and will make a great 30 second ad about Kay's apparent conflict of interest with her husband. Rick's team could get really nasty if they wanted... and they could base it all on her own votes.
Kay and her team have been passive aggressively attacking Rick for 9 months or more, with occasional direct assaults... usually on non central issues like fight clubs at state facilities for mentally ill people. Then Kay goes on Greta this week and tries to play the victim. Greta wasn't buying it.
Rick and his team have kept their powder dry for months, except to return a few "Kay Bailout" volleys. It seems obvious to me that Rick basically said to his peeps last week, "It is go time... have fun, don't get too nasty."
To top it off, Kay just won't leave the unemployment insurance issue alone. Again in Odessa this week she waded into that muck. I think she thinks she can convince people if she keeps blathering about how Rick should have taken the 550 million dollars he turned down from the federal government due to long term entanglements and obligations.
Kay, YOU CAN NOT WIN THIS ISSUE no matter how well your tiny crowds may respond when you mislead them and tell them Rick is raising taxes. Nobody buys that, and I know that this issue... which should have been a tiny issue... is why Rick will earn the endorsements of most of the major conservative groups, business groups, and even a few other pro Republican groups. We who consider ourselves members of some of those groups all discussed this issue ad nauseum earlier this year with one another. We debated it amongst ourselves. We came to a pretty firm consensus that a little pain in the short run is a lot better than continued pain over perpetuity. Kay was not questioning just Rick, she was second guessing the Texas Association of Business, she was contradicting the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and she was slapping the Texas wing of the National Federation of Independent Business right in the face. Texas Association of Manufacturers, Texas Conservative Coalition, Texas Chemical Council... all supported Rick's decision with gusto. Each time Kay rips Rick, she is ripping the Texas conservative braintrust.
This is the issue that really moved me from 50/50 to much more pro Rick back earlier this year. To me and many others on the periphery of the Austin Rick/Kay political bubble, Kay's disagreement was mainly just her being disagreeable for the sake of disagreeing with Rick on something...
Speaking of this bubble and the periphery, I am a couple weeks into a pretty exciting time in a large city in a big blue state, and oh how I miss Texas. Let me just remind those of you back in God's Country that nobody is paying attention to Rick vs. Kay outside of Texas or outside of Kay's office inside the beltway...
This may be a good thing for Kay, because if enough peeps with influence outside of Texas realized what a train wreck Kay's campaign has become, you might be seeing more high level calls for her to just drop this quixotic quest and instead stay and fight liberal Democrats in DC, not muck up the good thing Texas Republicans still have going.
Honestly, Republicans I talk to up here don't understand why anyone would want to run against Rick in the primary. He is even getting far more 2012 attention here than back in Texas. People have heard that Texas sucks less than it does here and every other big state. Here the unemployment rate is much higher than it is back home in Texas. People seem to understand that Rick is standing up to President Obama, a guy who is still worshipped here like he is Paul McCartney circa 1965. Rick gets EXTRA credit for standing up to Obama here, because that seems extraordinarily brave and gutsy. Back in Texas, it is expected, so people may take his anti Obama voice for granted. Here, he is like John Wayne plus Ronald Reagan amongst the rare few Republicans I work with.
I have come close a few times to an outright endorsement of Rick, especially after some of Kay's attacks from the left on a few different issues. Today, I will go ahead and make it official. I have made up my mind. I am officially in the tank for Rick. Kay has squandered a lot of good will I once had toward her, and I anticipate that once others see what I have seen since early this year Kay's poll numbers will drop further compared to Rick. He is a tested, solid leader with results. Kay is unknown quantity at the state level except for her terrible performances so far this year. Rick is varsity... playing in the big leagues... getting national attention. Kay by comparison is junior league. Her slogan quite frankly is inverted. She is all politics. What real results does she have to show for herself? Meanwhile... again when she criticises Rick for no results, she is really criticizing the collective wisdom of we conservatives who have fought for decades and finally got the chance to prove ourselves in 2003. We are pretty proud of our results. We are proud of Texas, and although we all have some occasional bones to pick with Rick he is still the guy who was right there with us on those fights. Kay was nowhere to be found, and now she only diminishes our movement's accomplishments like some Monday morning second string QB or some backseat driver.
Kay's boat is sinking before it has left the port. Rick now has as good a chance as any to be the voice of opposition to a liberal administration running amok. Kay's challenge in some ways is a blessing in disguise for Rick. When he wins it will be the frosting on top of an already sweet legacy. If he has ambitions beyond Texas... and I know he always says he doesn't... beating the Kay juggernaut would propel him to immediate top five 2012 status.
I know I am not alone in my assesment of this race. I know a lot of what I have written today has already been written by Kronberg or Burka or Embry or Herman... I have just been chomping at the bit and this is my first chance to really get my thoughts down about something other than work.