Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Primary School

In a matter of days, voters will finally get a say in the 2008 Presidential election, and I can't wait. I have never been so proud to be a Democrat in a year in which we have no fewer that half a dozen candidates who would be excellent presidents (and another who isn't running in Gore), while the Republican Party couldn't have run a more motley crew.

The one thing I've learned since I've started watching such things as a 13 year-old in early 1984 is that you really can't predict (not even the media) how the caucuses will turn out: remember the 1988 Republican contest that finished Dole, Robertson, Bush (which must have been surprising for the then-Vice-President considering that in 1980 he beat Reagan there)? Or how about 2004 for the Dems? Dean and Gephardt, fighting it out for the win, finished 3, 4, leaving the eventual ticket of Kerry/Edwards to finish first and second.

All this leads me to believe that we really have no idea what will happen in Iowa, and not a good idea about New Hampshire either, since an unexpectedly strong showing in the caucuses can lead to unstoppable momentum 5 days later in the Granite State.

That said, it will not surprise me to see the Republican caucuses go Huckabee, Paul. Harder to predict on the Democratic side since the top three seem bunched together, but I do not expect Hillary to finish first.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Barrett Wins! Barrett Wins! Barrett Wins!

Well, well. The old "call a quick special election to hold a seat" trick fails the Republican leadership again. Wonder if they'll learn. Actually, I kinda hope not, this has been working pretty well for us.

We now have a good shot at winning a House majority, I gotta think, especially if we get another switcher.

And another fantastic by-product of this race: no more Anna Mowery. Boy, was she a terrible member.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Baseball, Steroids, Ken Caminiti and Joe Moreno

I know what you are thinking, what does the late St. Rep. Joe E. Moreno have to do with the other three subjects of this headline, but bear with me.

Like a lot of political folks here in Houston, Joe was a good friend of mine. Before he got elected to the legislature, we ran together, whether it was going out to eat, or work out, or a drink and a cigar. After he became an elected official, we were still buddies, but we didn't spend as much time hanging out together.

I remember the session in 2005 more for who wasn't there than for who was. First, we had a baby the previous August, so I decided for the first time in 3 sessions not to work in Austin, get an apartment, and be gone from my wife and newborn daughter for 6 months. I wasn't in Austin for session, and I missed it.

Also gone was my friend Rick Noriega, who had been deployed (as many of you know) to Afghanistan. Then in early May, Joe was also gone.

I think of him every so often, and I and many folks miss him terribly. When I think of him, it usually doesn't have to do with politics exactly, and this is one of those times. Today's report on steroid use in Major League Baseball reminded me of hanging out with Joe.

Also gone from our lives is Ken Caminiti, as famous for his drug use and overdose as much as his MVP-caliber career with the Astros and Padres. It was during Caminiti's second stint with the 'Stros that Joe had a suggestion that makes me laugh every time I think about it.

You see, one day at Joe's campaign headquarters, Joe decided that I looked just like Ken Caminiti. Well, maybe not just like him, but more like a shorter, less fit brother. Then he suggested that we could pick up dates if we went out together and he introduced me as Ken Caminiti's younger brother, Matt Caminiti.

He was serious. He wanted to try it out, but as a happily married man I was not really interested in picking up girls under an assumed name, especially one of a local celebrity.

Now that Joe's gone, I wonder if it would have worked.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Johnson Treatment

Just thought I'd post a photo of the famous "Johnson Treatment" alluded to in comments to my inaugural post. Notice how Sen. Green moves farther back as Majority Leader Johnson invades his personal space. I'm sure Johnson maneuvered him into that table to keep him there.

This series of photos is available for sale at the New York Times store at

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Typhoid Georgie

Wow, it's been a fairly rare occurance for anybody running for office on a pro-Bush platform to win a competitive race for something. In fact, going back a few years, it seems that the best way to lose your job is to campaign with the guy or openly support him (or even just fail to oppose him, which seems to have been a big part in Tony Blair's calling it quits.)

Are you listening Karl Rove? Your warning today to Republican candidates not to shun the President on the campaign trail this year might spread severe cases of Bushitis, which, if not properly treated, can cause political death. Weren't you paying attention in 2006, when Republicans lost control of Congress in the last Bushitis pandemic?

Y'all don't need an architect, you need an epidemiologist.

Typhoid Georgie's latest victim: Australia's 11-year Prime Minister John Howard, who's Center-Right Liberal Party lost control of Parliament to the Labor Party; Kevin Rudd was sworn in yesterday to the job. I think an argument could be made that Mexico's presidential choice was more anti-Chavez than pro-Typhoid.

Hell, if it weren't for Nicolas Sarkozy, Bush would pretty much be 0-fer in elections in the western world since 2004. Am I missing anybody?