Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Different (Fundamentalist) Kind Of Politics

Former Speaker Pete Laney put off by today's Texas politics:
Former Texas House Speaker Pete Laney, D-Hale Center, spent more than 30 years engaged in the daily wrangling and haggling over legislation, but his last years to serve have never been more contentious, he said Wednesday.

Political campaigns waging war on the South Plains show the growing political partisanship in Austin throughout the last few years, said Laney.

"It didn't used to be that way," he said. "We take pride in the fact that we handled our business in Texas differently than they did in other states."
No need to name names, it's the usual suspects that are providing the money. He goes on:
"Right here in Lubbock, Texas, you're experiencing how people in other parts of the state want to involve themselves in things up here," said Laney, who currently holds the District 85 seat but plans to give it up, announcing his retirement in December.
This is more of the Clear Channel model I described yesterday, central/party control of local candidates. Do you think the candidate being backed by the usual suspects will do what's best for the constituents or their paymasters.
While Laney's speech before a Rotary Club meeting Wednesday carried a varied candor - perhaps more than he's allowed in his 30-plus years in the House - his demeanor indicates a hesitance to pull off the gloves. Describing political candidates as boxes of cereal, Laney said the packaging seems to play a major role in a candidate's success.

"You've got to open up the package and see what's inside."
That was Ben Bentzin's downfall. In the Austin area, where Democrats can still raise enough money to fight back, that can happen. In West Texas I don't think it can.

I remember hearing all kinds of things that were tried against Speaker Laney back in the late nineties when the R's were trying to get the majority. Mailings with pictures of dead fetuses and the like. Similar to things like this smear on Sen. Ratliff detailed here, scroll down to Feb. 14. I guess that's what's gotten Dave McNeely write this, Craddick's crony holds little promise.

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