Sunday, November 22, 2009

Haley Barbour's comments about Kay staying and not resigning picked up by the Wall Street Journal...

The "Kay should stay and not resign" theme is not just a Rick campaign talking point... it has gone national...

Oh, Kay

A lot of big names are making noise in the brewing Texas GOP gubernatorial primary battle. Former VP Dick Cheney endorsed Kay Bailey Hutchison at a Houston rally Tuesday, saying Texans know "the difference between a real talker and the real deal." Incumbent Gov. Rick Perry, presumably the target of Mr. Cheney's slight, responded by touting his own endorsement earlier this year from Sarah Palin.

But the words that may have echoed the loudest were those of the man that, if they had their druthers, many Republicans see as the most capable leader in the party. That's former party chief and current Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. In response to a question, Mr. Barbour, who happened to be in Austin for the Republican Governors Association annual meeting, said: "I would just hate to lose Kay Bailey in the Senate. She has been a great senator. I would just hate to lose a great senator like that when we have a fine governor."

Many Texas Republicans probably agree. The party has a history of uncontested primaries, and many Republicans like it that way. Ms. Hutchison herself has acknowledged as much, saying she feared "being perceived as hurting the party." That's why, in offering her bona fides months ago, she vowed to resign from the Senate sometime this month to commit herself fulltime to the governor's race. In what's being viewed as a surprise, she reversed herself this week said she will remain in the senate through Texas's March primary vote, then resign regardless of whether she beats Mr. Perry, whom she once led in the polls but now trails.

Her announcement not only unsettles the plans of several Texas Republicans who had expected to contest for her seat in a special election. Many, frankly, suspect she won't resign her senate seat if she loses to Mr. Perry. People like Mr. Barbour and fellow Texas Sen. John Cornyn, head of the party's senate campaign committee, would certainly give her plenty of cover to nix her pledge and remain in the senate.

Mr. Perry, for his part, has been trying to help Ms. Hutchison make up her mind by sending out his spokesman to blast her for missing a vote this week on one of President Obama's liberal judicial nominations. In truth, Ms. Hutchison's vote wouldn't have made a difference in the 70-29 confirmation of David Hamilton to the federal appeals bench. But the attack obviously is meant to underline a larger point: Ms. Hutchison belongs in Washington, not Austin.

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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.