advice from a fake consultant

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

On John Cornyn, Or, Let's Play "20 Questions"

I am again today playing the part of the player at the piano bar. Today’s request is from sarantx, over at the John Edwards site, who wonders how we might resolve her (and by extension, Texas’) John Cornyn problem.

For those not aware, Cornyn is the former Texas Attorney General who filled in the last few weeks of Phil Graham’s term following his own election in 2002, and before his inauguration in 2003. He is serving his first term, and is up for re-election in this cycle.

This is one of the more difficult diaries I have written in a while, mainly due to the strange nature of Texas politics.

It is difficult to describe exactly how weird Texas is in this way, and should you require a refresher course, I would direct you to the works of Molly Ivins, who was able to sustain a long and distinguished career thanks to the bizarre antics of the Texas Lege, and the unusual behavior of the Texas voter.

It is also fair to point out that in many states the political spectrum rums from blue to red. In Texas it’s more like blue to red to more red to super duper red.

Suffice it to say that you can travel very far off the beaten track and still win elections in Texas.

There are demographic issues that also impact the Texas vote, and for that background I would refer you to one of our earlier discussions, “On Unexpected Opportunities, Or, Wanna Win Texas?” to see the numbers.

Perhaps a quick recap? OK. Basically, Texas women are less likely to vote than almost any others in the US, and in fact 6.7 million are not voting at the present time. (In contrast, the total number of votes cast for the Cornyn and his opponent, Ron Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas, in the 2002 Senate race, was only about 4.5 million.)

Just to reinforce the point-more women in Texas did not vote than the total of all voters in 2002.

This is clearly the first step to defeating Cornyn-get new voters voting.
Especially women.

How can this be done? By reminding women that they are the ones who have to look after their families-and that Republican policy is anything but family-friendly.

But I have another idea as well: the best defense is a good offense.

Hire a camera operator. Have someone follow every public step he makes, and let him write his own anti-Cornyn commercials. Democratic Party, time to step up with some funding, if you haven’t already.

Now that we have him on camera, there should be an effort to ensure that whenever he appears, he is forced to answer-or duck-questions about his views on today’s issues.

When you look at his positions on issues, you find a very “target rich environment” to question.
For example:

--Texas is possibly the most military State of all. Why were you unaware of the Walter Reed problems and issues affecting veterans who can’t get disability ratings before the Democrats raised the issue? Why don’t you care about veterans?

--Why do you support sending troops to war who aren’t properly equipped? Why did Texans have to buy body armor for their family members in Iraq until Democrats raised the issue?

--You voted against working to reduce oil imports in 2005. Saudi Arabia and Iran control major parts of our oil imports. You claim you support Homeland Security. How do those two positions fit together?

--You claim setting a date to leave Iraq is “how to lose”. How can you ever leave if you never set a date to leave? Do you support a “forever” war?

--Why did you vote no to restrict corporations from financing terrorists?

--Your own website lists your positions on “Constitution & the Rule of Law”. There is not a single word on that page about the Patriot Act, or Enron, or the Attorney General. Why?

--Your own website says you do not support “mandating national standards and curricula” for education. The very next sentence says “Local schools need to be held accountable by testing for real results”. How does this make sense?

--Your own website says you created the “Texas Internet Bureau” to arrest those who prey on children over the Internet. Should Mark Foley be arrested and prosecuted for doing the same thing? If not, why?

--Remember Katrina? The levees aren’t fixed, neither are New Orleans’ pumps, and what about redevelopment? FEMA? There’s not a single word about any of this on your website. Why don’t you care about Americans facing another hurricane season?

So there you go, sarantx:

--let’s dog Cornyn with cameras, to let his own words work against him.

--let’s force him to explain in front of those cameras the answers to these questions (and any others we can think up-suggestions below, please...)-or, in the alternative, let’s put images of him ducking the questions on YouTube, and Texas TV news, and the national outlets, as well.

--most important of all, as we have said before, get Texas women voting. Convince them that their families’ quality of education, economic future, and very survival (Iraq today, Iran tomorrow...) is at stake.

This is not an impossible task, but it will require funding, and big-time effort, and a willingness to find non-voters and show them it’s worth the effort to get involved.

Time is also a factor-by spring of ’08 the legwork needs to be well under way. Reach out to women’s groups, churches, and veteran’s groups now. It will be worth the work next November.

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