Political And Other Miscellany From A Stout Democrat In Dallas Texas.
"Politics is the only game for adults." --from Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star

Sunday, October 15, 2006


The Dallas Morning News is clearly an extremely conservative paper. Its endorsement of Republicans doesn't even merit a yawn. This year the harsh reality of Republican incompetence and impending defeat has broken through their satisfied placidity and frightened them. Hence they have tried editorially throwing over a few of the more embarrassing occupants of their GOP troika as sacrifices to the enraged voters nipping at the sled. Fortunately, we're running lots of good Democrats whose bandwagons the editorial writers can jump onto.

For State Representative, they endorsed incumbent Democrats Rafael Anchia, Roberto Alonzo, Helen Giddings, and Yvonne Davis, who are virtually certain winners anyway. But, they also supported three Democrats, Katy Hubener ("a strong new voice for utility reform and clean air"), Allen Vaught ("understands how Texas should prepare for a future with seismic population changes"), and Phillip Shinoda ("smart and well intentioned. He has broader perspective on issues"), who are all running against incumbent Republicans. In a fourth such race, they also had high praise for Harriet Miller, admitting it was "a very close call" and they would "welcome the opportunity to recommend the Dallas mediator for another office." That is very impressive for all four of these challengers.

For judicial offices, the paper backed thirteen Democratic candidates: Jim Jordan, Craig Smith, Emily Tobolowsky, Robert Burns, Carter Thompson, Mike Snipes, Lena Levario, Lori Chrisman Hockett, Tena Callahan, incumbent Judge Dennise Garcia, Ken Tapscott, Teresa Tolle, and Elizabeth Frizell. Almost all of these are also running against incumbent Republicans. In a wonderful example of karma coming back on someone, they also supported Gary Fitzsimmons for District Clerk against the incumbent Republican there.

They also had some good things to say about many Democrats they did not endorse, writing "In many judicial races this year, both candidates are so strong that voters can't go wrong either way." They praised Carlos Cortez's "laudable pro bono background", Martin Hoffman's "impressive level of community service", Marty Lowy ("We like him enough to suggest he pick a lesser incumbent for his next campaign"), Bruce Priddy as "a respected lawyer with more than 20 years of legal experience", Gena Slaughter as one who "holds promise", Jeanine Howard as "experienced in appellate work", Ernie White as "no slouch", Rick Magnis as "well versed in criminal law", and David Hanschen as "an intriguing candidate", saying "in another race, he might deserve a chance",

The News also praised our judicial candidates Lynn Cherry as having "the heart to be a creative judge" who "hasn't made the case, however, for why [the incumbent] should be pushed aside" [though D Magazine did], D'Metria Benson as having "a strong background", King Fifer as "an intelligent go-getter with a strong résumé", Doug Skemp's "more than three decades of criminal law experience" which "might merit a recommendation" in another race, Angela King's "experience on the prosecution and defense sides", Peggy Hoffman's "solid résumé and seven years of experience", Roberto Cañas as "a respected county prosecutor" who "has the potential to become a solid judge", and, for County Treasurer, Joe Wells as having "relevant experience and a good working knowledge of county government".

It was amusing to watch the knots they had to tie themselves in to avoid backing the Democrat in some of the other races. They agreed Andy Chatham "raises legitimate questions about [the incumbent's] work ethic". They criticized the opponent of Mark Stoltz because of a "shocking disparity" in sentencing: "A white, politically connected killer received unsupervised probation; a poor, black robber of $2, sent to prison for life after violating probation." They admit of Jim Foster's incumbent opponent: "Sometimes her aggressive dissent misses the mark." Their carefully crafted circumlocutions against two Democratic incumbents they have long fumed against could be entered in a gymnastics competition. In some cases their widdle feelings were clearly hurt because a candidate didn't bother to respond to their questionnaire or show up for an interview.

I miss the old Dallas Times Herald, which was bought out by its rival fifteen years ago. Naturally, the George H. W. Bush administration did not object then to this creation of a monopoly in local daily newspapers as a violation of antitrust laws. Even before the added arrogance of being the only major paper in town, the News had been nationally the very symbol of a downright reactionary editorial policy. Though some competent people work there, the ownership still seems to resent the twentieth century itself. In my precinct I often saw endorsement by the paper actually hurt candidates in the Democratic primary. In the general election, their endorsing a Democrat may pick up independent voters out of surprise, but their support for a Republican doesn't have nearly the effect they dream that it does. Welcome to the new world, folks, where people can get their own information and make up their own minds.


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