In Your Face
by Roger Gray
As Comebacks Go, We Prefer Pam Grier’s –
Like failed baseball managers who keep inexplicably finding work, defeated candidates keep reappearing on the Houston political scene like electoral Freddy Kruegers to remind us how thin the statesman herd is. The latest: Orlando Sanchez, whose work ethic is on a par with your average highway department employee, has announced his second kamikaze mission for mayor. And Sylvester Turner, for crying out loud, is in as well! Presuming he has settled on a home address and gender selection, there is still that voice and demeanor that resemble your 10-year-old son copping a plea after feeding the neighbor’s cat an M-80. Hell, let’s throw in Kathy, Fred and Louie. If it’s going to be a reunion, let’s make it a truly bizarre one.
I Did Try a Tax Dodge Once, but Never Inhaled –
As I write this, we are knee-deep in the mid-summer political mud fest, and it is certainly time to ask, what the hell were Democrats thinking with Tony Sanchez? I know, no one is perfect, but his running battles with the IRS over questionable banking practices couldn’t have shown worse timing. In an era where the public is showing disgust with the kind of financial game of twister that we’re seeing among CEOs, here’s Tony S. speaking out for the little guy while, according to the Feds, keeping more sets of books than the Publisher’s Clearing House. Add to that an explanation for his Vietnam deferment that makes Bill Clinton sound like honest Abe. Rick Perry may have all the political substance of meringue, but he’s on cruise control for now.
And to Present the Political Integrity Award to James Traficant – Tony Soprano!
I mentioned a while back that our own political superfund site, Tom DeLay, was given the “Distinguished Christian Statesman” award by some nutlog group. Well, the other night I watched the James Madison Award ceremonies on C-Span, and sharing the award for defense of free speech were Tommy-boy and Sen. Mitch McConnell, whose passionate arguments in defense of legalized corporate-political bribery were enough to make John McCain miss the Hanoi Hilton. Thank heaven Madison is long gone. Watching these two walking definitions of the term “political hack” wax eloquent on how the founding fathers would oppose campaign finance reform would have resulted in a flintlock-related Vince Foster situation. My jaw returned to its normal position when I saw the head of this free-speech group. Former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese was the presenter, which makes this group the equivalent of the Ted Kennedy Driving School.
If We Move to Rail, it Means the Terrorists Have Won –
In a DeLay-related matter, it’s worth noting that Dallas has just expanded its light-rail system into the suburbs. While still limited, the system up in Big-D (and on this subject they grudgingly deserve the sobriquet) is expanding and serving more and more riders. And more to the point, they seem to understand that, metaphorically, you walk before you run. I have to wonder out loud, who is on the take here? Some of our leading political and business lights can’t be that dumb!
Pulitzer Wept –
I took the Chronicle’s Shelby Hodge to task last month for her role as toady-in-chief to the Enron gang. Well, in July, Bill Murphy took up the mantle as he wasted Lord knows how many trees explaining how tough life is for the disgraced execs at that steaming pile left on Houston’s doorstep. His opening line? “Taking the kids fishing, attending civic club meetings, relaxing at the beach house. Such are the mundane activities that now occupy the days of the three men who ran one of the country’s most high-flying companies, Enron Corp., before it imploded last year.” What followed was the most embarrassing piece of PR since Pat Buchanan went to bat for an ex-Nazi. Perhaps Bill might consider a look at the lives of the employees who were shafted in this debacle. “Taking the kids to day care she can’t afford, collecting unemployment, relaxing at her computer posting her resume on Monster.com. Such are the mundane activities that now occupy the days of hundreds who once worked at one of the country’s most high-flying?” This was one more nail in the journalistic coffin of what once was a decent paper. Seems there have been too many lunches at La Griglia for Chron execs and not enough reflection on what is important.