Question: What did one career politician say to the other career politician?
Answer: You're not conservative enough, so I'm going to run against you.
No, that's not much of a joke. But that's because this is not funny. We now have two Republican cheerleaders running against each other to see who can get the right-wing of the Republican Party to shout the loudest.
U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison announced — for, what, the twelfth time? — her candidacy for Governor of Texas today. The two will now embark on a seven-month quest to try to hide the fact that, for the last 20 years in office, they have each put their own massive personal egos ahead of the principles and people of Texas.
When hundreds of thousands of Texans have lost their jobs to a Republican recession, all Rick and Kay care about is their next government job. This was the headline just weeks ago in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Texas jobless rate likely to rise, Workforce Commission chairman predicts
The state’s unemployment rate normally runs at least 1 to 2 percentage points below the national figure. At this stage, double-digit unemployment appears unlikely in Texas, he said, but that scenario could change if the nation’s unemployment pushes into the 12 to 15 percent range.
Texas unemployment claims for individuals out of work for more than a week are nearly 170 percent higher than they were a year ago. Nearly 89,400 workers are unemployed in the Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan region that includes Tarrant, Johnson, Parker and Wise counties, according to commission statistics that were released last week.
In Washington and in Austin, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Rick Perry have been part of the problem – playing politics instead of working to fix the economy, improve our schools, and deliver more health care to Texas families. One of the worst perpetrators of the cowardice has been none other than Senator Kay “Coward” Hutchison herself.
Is Hutchison really a moderate, or is she no different than Rick Perry and Sarah Palin? The Sotomayor vote was Senator Hutchison moving strong to the right — then hoping she can pretend (as she did today) like she's moderate, and her non-existent efforts on the economy are definitive evidence that she's happy to talk a lot, but she doesn't want to actually do anything to solve the problem — other than retire in the Governor's mansion.
That's not leadership. That's politics. The Texas Democratic Party took a strong stance against such politics already:
The Dallas Morning News joined in the chorus against her, too, in their editorial, “Kay Bailey Hutchison's office politics”
On Sotomayor, Hutchison was caught between a state GOP electorate mostly to her right and an overall Texas electorate trending from red to purple. As our former Washington bureau chief, Carl Leubsdorf, wrote in a recent Viewpoints column, Hutchison could be seen as playing to a largely white, male, conservative primary vote or a more Democratic and Latino general electorate.
If she pleased one side, she almost certainly would disappoint the other.
Texans deserve more than a Republican primary contest between two cheerleaders trying to see who can get the right wing to shout the loudest – we need leaders who can take the field and score a victory for Texas families.