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I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Texas Political Climate - pre-primary

Traveling to Texas this Monday would show the visitor that the mood regarding the presidential election is ambivalent. There may be close contests between McCain and Huckabee, and between Obama and Clinton.

Hillary Clinton may have the advantage in the Texas primary the New York Times says today. To quote,

But Mrs. Clinton’s most promising venues lie in the big March 4 primaries. One is Ohio, an emblem of Midwest economic change; the other is Texas, where Hispanics represent a dominant force.

The Clinton campaign evidently read that story. A Dallas Morning News blogger, Todd Gillman, tells us that, "Hillary's coming to Texas." To quote:

The Clinton campaign just announced that Hillary will be in El Paso on Tuesday night, and will spend the next day in Texas, too.

To paraphrase Davy Crockett: "My campaign may be going to hell and I will go to Texas."

Yesterday's Frank Rich OpEd column in the New York Times was headlined, "Next up for the Democrats: Civil War." It was a searing piece charging the Clinton campaign with "playing the race card." To quote: "The question now is how much more racial friction the Clinton campaign will gin up if its Hispanic support starts to erode in Texas, whose March 4 vote it sees as its latest firewall."

It would be a very good thing to come to Texas if you are in politics and need money. The Houston Chronicle carried this fascinating article saying that "Texas is a cash cow for candidates. In just a year, residents doled out $30.7 million to hopefuls in out-of-state races." This includes both Republicans and Democrats, but the flow does not go both ways. To quote from the article:

But the cash pipeline leading out of Texas is much bigger than the one returning to the state: Texas candidates received less than $9.9 million from the other 49 states, or one dollar for each three sent to the rest of the nation.

That 3-to-1 ratio applies to Texas Republicans and Democrats alike.

Out of Austin, the Austin-American Statesman newspaper has endorsed Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain. According to a blog in the Statesman, Texas Governor Rick Perry feels that the Republican race is all but over. Blogger Postcards said, to quote,

Gov. Rick Perry, who endorsed U.S. Sen. John McCain for president last week, doesn’t think Texas or the nation needs a competitive Republican presidential primary March 4.

Perry said Friday: “The primary election is over. I think anyone, if you gave them truth serum, would say… McCain will carry Texas. Do we work to go through this long arduous expensive divisive primary? …How long do we have to run? This (campaign) has been going on more than a year. To drag it on past March 4 is a waste of everyone’s time.”

Asked if he’s passed along his assessment to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who said Friday he believes he can yet overtake McCain, Perry said his conversations with other leaders are private.

Huckabee in Texas -- The New York Times had a story on February 7 that discussed how important Texas is to Arkansas Republican Governor, Mike Huckabee. The headline reads, "Huckabee Claims Identity as Candidate of the South." To quote:

All of Mr. Huckabee’s public remarks on Tuesday night — his Scripture-laced victory speech, and his comments to reporters — were shaped around the idea that he is now the answer to the conservative nation’s quest for a candidate. And as the newly self-designated candidate of the South, he immediately read Tuesday’s results as a mandate for the remaining big regional prize, the March 4 Texas Republican primary, with its deeply conservative voters and its 140 delegates.

“Texas is going to be a big, big state for us,” he told reporters late Tuesday. “We’ll spend a lot of time there. I think it’s a natural place for us to do well,” he said, loquacious and ebullient after weeks of bad news, even as aides tried to quiet him, finally, for the night. Mr. Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, had just won in his home state, as well as Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia, and he came close in Missouri.

The Texas political climate is anticipatory of having an important part to play in the election of our next president. That position was not something we could have predicted at the beginning of the year. But here we are and all of us will do our best, just as has everyone who has voted up to this point.

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View my current slide show about the Bush years, "Millennium," at the bottom of this column.

My links: (Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is on the space program at Making Good Mondays.

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