It’s Over

This is from the Chron today. This is part of what Cong. Sheila Jackson Lee put out yesterday on her mean rant:

“To anyone who has listened to this recording with concern, I am regretful and hope you will judge me not by something trotted out by a political opponent. I know that I am not perfect. I recognize that in my zeal to do everything possible to deliver for my constituents I have in the past fallen short of my own standards and there is no excuse for that.”

What BS. Political opponents didn’t put this out. It was from her former employees. She is a vile and mean person. Folks know that.  She also doesn’t have standards. Never has, never will.


This is how Charles Kuffner reacted to the Chron E-Board endorsement of State Sen. John Whitmire for H-Town mayor:

When my wife saw the endorsement in the Sunday paper, she asked me if this was a surprise to me, and I said no, not at all. I’m a little surprised to see that the Chron only interviewed three candidates for the endorsement – you can see some video of that conversation in the piece – if only because they appear to have reached out to every candidate in all the other races, no matter how unlikely they were to win. I get it, life is short and it’s hard to justify that much effort on candidates who will struggle to get a half a percentage point in the final tally. I don’t recall them doing it this way before, and they also didn’t send their screening questionnaire to everyone (again, and for the same reasons, I get it), so I’m just a little surprised.

All that said, if you had asked me who their three finalists would have been, these were the three I would have predicted. I figured Whitmire was a strong favorite, with Gilbert Garcia having an outside chance if Whitmire blew the interview or they were in a “let’s shake things up” mood. It never occurred to me that they would endorse Sheila Jackson Lee. Whether that’s limited imagination on my part or theirs, you can decide.

However one feels about John Whitmire, there is a substantial chance that he will be the next Mayor. I have two major reservations about his candidacy. One, which I’ve touched on before, is that I think bringing DPS troopers to Houston, even on a scope-limited basis, is a bad idea. They’re not accountable to a Houston Mayor, and so unleashing something we can’t control has all kinds of downside risk. If we had a trustworthy state government – hell, if we had a state government that wasn’t bent on our destruction – I could be talked into this. But we don’t, and as we should know from decades of horror movies, letting the vampire into your house never ends well. Ask Kirk Watson about that.

Two is a broader expression of that first point. Senator John Whitmire, with his fifty years in the Capital and personal relationships with anyone who ever was anyone in Austin, is confident that that experience and those personal relationships with the various power brokers and other People Of Influence will be to Houston’s benefit as Mayor. And again, if we had a non-malevolent state government, I would not only agree with that, I’d tout it as a unique strength that Whitmire has. It should be a strength. As recently as when Mayor Turner took office, I for one would have seen it as a strength. Mayor Turner, with a similar level of experience and personal relationships, was the right person at the right time to push pension reform through, and it was a huge win for the city. I’d like to think we could have something like that for our next set of challenges going forward.

The problem is that many of those challenges are the result of the state putting its boot on our neck. Even before the “Death Star” bill, there’s been an inexorable march towards taking away the ability of cities to govern themselves. Republicans in the Legislature and their seething primary voters, including those who live in these cities, see us as a decadent force that needs to be dominated. They’re not interested in nice bipartisan solutions to thorny problems; quite the reverse. I don’t doubt that John Whitmire could get Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick and Dade Phelan and whoever else on the phone and tell them what Houston’s needs are (and aren’t) and ask them to help us out. What I do doubt is that they will see any reason or incentive to do their part.

The larger concern there is that a Mayor Whitmire would see his experience and connections and overvalue them, on the understandable but (in my view) mistaken idea that they mean something to the people on the other end of those connections. I fear that he could get strung along by his colleagues, in the way that President Obama got strung along in the first debt ceiling fight by the “moderate” Republicans in Congress, and in doing so foreclose other avenues to address issues. I fear that given the chance to improve the city’s political standing by working to vote out particular members of state government, Whitmire will value his connections above that possibility and thus contribute to leaving us in a position of subservience that much longer. Yes, of course there’s a risk in campaigning against someone who has a good chance of winning. You can’t avoid risk in politics. I’m just saying that the risk of not going for it tends to be downplayed in ways that it shouldn’t be.

There’s an analog here to the value of then-State Rep. Sarah Davis, the mostly moderate (certainly by modern GOP standards) from HD134, whose presence in the Lege and on various committees was supposed to be a tempering factor against the majority’s baser and more troglodytic instincts. If you thought she was effective in that role, it made sense to support her re-elections even against strong Democratic opponents. If you didn’t – if you thought the real way to moderate our government was to have at least one part of it be under Democratic control – then it made sense to support her Democratic opponents, as hers was a rare swing seat. You know where I stood on that, and I maintain that I was correct.

I could be wrong about all of this. It may be that I am grossly underestimating Sen. Whitmire’s relationships, and in doing so I am undervaluing their potential for good in a Whitmire administration. Like I said, it was only a few years ago that Mayor Turner achieved a big result on the back of his relationships in Austin. I guess it comes down to how similar you think the state of politics and bipartisanship – specifically, the state and value of bipartisanship for Republicans – is in 2023 compared to 2015. My assessment of that is not the same as Sen. Whitmire’s, hence my concerns. Your mileage may vary. If Sen. Whitmire becomes Mayor Whitmire, I will very much hope that he’s right and I’m wrong. I’m just not feeling that hope right now.

Nice take by Charles.


The featured photo is from last week when we were winning. It is my favorite photo of the 2023 Astros season.

Commentary is done with #Ready2Reign.

This is from Tags today:

Kyle Tucker postseason: .150/.292/.225, 6-for-40 (three doubles, one RBI).

Jeremy Peña postseason: .200/.238/.225, 8-for-40 (one double, one RBI).

Add in Framber Valdez’s postseason pitching woes and Christian Javier lasing only a third of an inning last night.

Commentary stayed at The Yard for the final out last night.

It was not meant to be.  It’s over.

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