Sunday, December 04, 2005

If A Democrat Runs In Texas And The Media Doesn't Cover It...

Yesterday OffTheKuff pointed us to a pretty sorry piece of journalism from the Houston Chronicle, Texas parties define strategies as filing deadline hits. Kuff points out the fact that the article doesn't even mention the fact that David Van Os if running for AG:
So far, there are announced Democratic candidates for governor and U.S. Senate, but no other statewide offices. The party instead is focusing on rebuilding for 2010 and capturing some seats in the Texas House and on the Third Court of Appeals.

[...]

The only Democratic candidates formally announced for any statewide office so far are Houston lawyer Barbara Radnofsky for U.S. Senate and former Houston congressman Chris Bell for governor.
Umm...David Van Os? Running for Attorney General? Been on the campaign trail for, I don't know, six or eight months now? Was on the statewide ballot in 2004? Hello? Anyone there?

And though she's nobody's idea of a serious candidate, Maria Alvarado has announced her intention to run for Lite Guv. If you're going to use words like "only", you really should check to make sure you've counted everyone. I expect better than this from RG Radcliff.
David Van Os was even on Air America with Al Franken in Dallas on Friday (podcast here).[UPDATE] Statesman article from the David Van Os fundraiser on Friday, Democratic hopeful denounces defeatism:
David Van Os, a San Antonio lawyer poised to challenge Attorney General Greg Abbott, recently told the weekly Lone Star Iconoclast: "The biggest political impediment that I have facing me is overcoming defeatism among Democrats."

...

"If Democrats within their own ranks would reject all the cynicism and skepticism and defeatism and hangdog attitude, then beating the Republican corporate mouthpieces running government in this state would be a piece of cake," Van Os said.
And of course they give the good press to Kinky:
Bell wants to take on the winner of the GOP gubernatorial primary. Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Bob Gammage also is looking at entering the Democratic primary for governor.

But a search of on-line news libraries showed independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman, mystery writer and singer, has garnered more ink in the Texas press in 2005 than Bell and Radnofsky combined.
That sound you hear is me grinding my teeth. Friedman gets the ink because he's a Celebrity, which seems to be the one thing that guarantees coverage these days. Meanwhile, the newspapers ignore what Bell and Radnofsky have to say (never mind poor David Van Os), then criticize them for not getting into the newspapers. How stupid can you get? Just shoot me now.
Today we get almost a similar type of article from the Statesman, Few Democrats willing to stand up for statewide races. It was a little better, at least they knew Van Os is running (Maybe they read Kuff?) They trot out former Senate candidate Ron Kirk who takes the, hopefully, former Texas Democratic Party mantra against "Run Everywhere":
Ron Kirk, a former Dallas mayor who was the 2002 Democratic nominee for the Senate seat won by Republican John Cornyn, sees no wisdom in slotting candidates for the sake of having candidates.

"I've never believed we do any good by just running a token who gets trounced into the ground," Kirk said. "The political reality is what it is. If we don't have the talent base or the people with the energy, ambition and experience to run right now, I'd rather they go get that and run next time around."
The first question that comes to mind is how do you get the experience? The next is who's to say if we don't have people willing to run with the energy and ambition? It's filing season and not election day yet. The Democratic Party needs candidates and multiple candidates in each statewide race would be my preference. Therefore I like much better what Ruben Hernandez said:
"It's important for us to see how the filing period goes," said Ruben Hernandez, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party. "We're optimistic that credible candidates will present themselves.
The one thing both of these articles help to reinforce is that the Republican Party in Texas has held every statewide office since 1994 and the legislature since 2001 and they have been unable to do much of anything. While the filing for the 2006 elections started on Dec. 1st there is still plenty of opportunity for Democratic candidates to get in the race.

But the overall tone you get from both of these articles is that it's hopeless for the Democratic Party to even try because nobody will even vote for them because they can't get any coverage around the state. Like Kuff noted that's a "Catch-22" or a "Chicken-and -the-egg" kind of argument. Whenever the media mentions Chris Bell they will always put Tom DeLay in there with him by referring to him and the Congressman that brought the ethics charges against him. Then they turn around and say all he's known for is bringing ehtics charges agains Tom DeLay while not reporting on anything he's said recently in his campaign or what he's currently doing going around the state. Same thing with Barbara Radnofsky. They'll call her unknown but then fail to tell the readers anything about her.

It's not that the media has to be a major outlet for Democratic candidates - fat chance of that - but they should treat them with the same respect they treat the other candidates running for office in Texas.

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