Monday, November 2, 2009

Dallas Morning News seeks clarity from Kay...

The Dallas Morning News is seeking some answers from Kay not just on when she might be resigning but also on where she stands on issues (link). Excerpt follows...

Kay Bailey Hutchison's campaign for governor has taken shape around two general themes: Rick Perry is bad for Texas, and Barack Obama is bad for the nation.

Oh, and she would defend property rights as ferociously as the Texians defended the Alamo.

Aside from elaboration on these positions, the public has few specifics from Texas' senior senator on how she would govern if she turns Perry out of the governor's office. This comes despite Hutchison's declaration of specific policy areas she would concentrate on.

In kicking off her campaign in August, she stated, "As governor, I will focus on five areas: fiscal policy, education, transportation, health care and government reform."

It's now November, and we await details. How would she change the way schoolchildren are educated, for example? Conscientious voters surely want to hear.

The Hutchison campaign has said for weeks that the senator plans a "rollout" of policy positions, but she doesn't appear ready to begin. The primary election is in four months. What's the holdup?

Hutchison aims to knock off a known quantity in the Republican primary. Agree or disagree with Perry, his nearly nine years in the governor's office – a Texas record – gives voters lots to judge him against.

Hutchison does not hesitate to point to her own record in office to promote her candidacy. But since she has spent the last 16 years representing Texas in the Senate, her record there is not the right measure. It's how she would govern in Austin that matters, and voters deserve a chance to vet her positions.

The senator's campaign Web site reflects her approach. The first thing that pops up is a picture of a grim-looking President Obama and an invitation to help her fight his health care initiative. Should we be comforted that a sitting senator is steeped in policy debate that matters to Texans? Or should we see a shallow appeal to Republican primary voters?

Better that Hutchison use the infinite real estate of her Web site to display her positions so voters know what she's for, and not just against.

After the senator's campaign kickoff, this newspaper published a list of policy questions important to the future of Texas, from education and environment to social services.

A key one was transportation, one of her focus areas. We wanted to know where she would find the money to expand and maintain Texas' underfunded roadway system, be it tolls, taxes or none of the above. That question remains unanswered, even though Hutchison has taken robust swipes at the governor for his record on toll roads.

The senator also has been cagey about her plans to exit the Senate, leaving a field of would-be successors to guess about when and how to rev up their appeals to voters. There, too, Texans deserve clarity from candidate Hutchison.

I think this makes a really important point... we are four months away from the primary and all Kay has said is that she does not like Rick, she thinks TXDOT is arrogant, and she would do things better...

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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.