Friday, July 27, 2007

Noriega: Watts Should Support His Candidacy

In an interview earlier this week in Edinburg, Texas, Rick Noriega suggested that Mikal Watts, who is also evaluating a run for US Senate to replace Bushite Senator John Cornyn, should stand aside.

“We both share the same goal, and that is to defeat an ineffective senator. I would hope to earn his support.”

Kos, wrote to this today on Daily Kos, suggesting that a contested primary is not necessarily a bad thing as it gets the candidate’s name in public for a longer period of time. That notwithstanding, I have always thought that contested primaries were drains on limited resources unless there were true ideological differences between the candidates. To me, except for Watts’ dim view of women’s abortion rights, and his use of anti-gay code words like “preferred alternative lifestyles,” the two candidates seem to have similar politics.

So that’s what makes this race seem so pointless. So wasteful. It would be better to concentrate time, energy, resources and wealth on the real opponent, the ideological opponent, John Cornyn.

And that is why Mikal Watts needs to take the long view, and not take the viewpoint of what Mikal Watts wants, but what is best for the people of Texas. The people of Texas need representation in the Senate. They don’t have that now. We have an opportunity next year to unseat a politically weak Republican, but to do that we need to put up our best man, the one with the best credentials, the one who has been there and done that.

That man is not Mikal Watts.

Mikal Watts has held no political office. He has no legislative experience whatsoever. His only strengths are that he is self-funding and that he has spent all of his time in courtrooms winning huge settlements from Ford Motor Corporation. These strengths are his chief liabilities. He will be open to charges, and not undeserved ones at that, of trying to buy a political office, and just another shark trying to get into a powerful club.

The man who Texas needs to run against John Cornyn is LTC and State Rep. Rick Noriega.

As Noriega himself says, Texas needs a candidate who has walked the walk, not just talked the talk. The latter is all that John Cornyn has done. Cornyn talks about building a wall. Noriega has been on the border enforcing the law, in full communication with those on the ground that know for a fact that building a wall won’t solve anything. Cornyn talks about supporting Bush and his war, Noriega spent 14 months in Afghanistan training the Afghan army to battle the al-Qaeda supporting Taliban. Cornyn stood for a photo op with Katrina emergency bungler Michael Chertoff while Noriega commanded the humanitarian effort at the George R. Brown Convention Center as thousands of Katrina evacuees streamed into the city of Houston.

It’s a powerful story and it’s one that will attract Texas voters of all political stripes. It is no wonder that during Noriega’s service for Katrina evacuees he was visited by none other than Bob “Swift Boat” Perry. Perry and Noriega do not see eye to eye politically, but that didn’t prevent Perry from saying to Rick’s son that his father was a hero. It’s that kind of appeal I am writing about. With Rick Noriega, it’s not just politics and money, it’s public service and experience. It’s about how he’s been there and done that.

And that’s why Mikal Watts needs to stand aside, and needs to endorse Rick Noriega’s candidacy. You could argue that in doing so, we lose Watts’ financial resources but that doesn’t have to be the case. There are many ways Watts can use his millions to help Texas turn blue. Financing a Get Out The Vote movement, especially the Hispanic vote, is one way. Or maybe even finance his own Swift Boat campaign against Cornyn, and it could be done without lying at all.

Bloggers all across Texas have endorsed Rick Noriega. I have yet to find a concentration of blog sites that show similar support to Watts. Now from what I can see, this isn’t because bloggers don’t like Watts, it’s just that they like Noriega more.

And that makes all the difference

No comments: