By guest author Vince Leibowitz
I read with bemused interest Wednesday’s Houston Chronicle story formally announcing the candidacy of Ricardo Sanchez for US Senate.
About all I could muster up the energy to say initially was, “Really? This sh*t again?”
After thinking about this more, I decided it was worth a far more extended commentary.
Aside from whether or not you have an issue with Abu Ghraib stuff or the rest of his record or not, Texas Democrats, especially progressives and the politically astute should have an issue with his candidacy in general.
Where should I begin? Check this paragraph from the Chron story:
“National Democrats worked to recruit Sanchez into a race they think he can make competitive in a solidly Republican state because of his appeal to the state’s ballooning Hispanic population. Democrats also believe a congested Republican primary will weaken the eventual nominee.”
Thank you, so much, “National Democrats.” Remind me to add you to my Christmas card list for once again playing the role of benevolent father figure since we Texas Democrats just aren’t qualified to actually pick our candidates after campaigns and primaries and for dropping yet another flaming bag of dog poo on our doorsteps. We will be forever in your debt.
“National Democrats”–whoever the Hell that means–should stick to dragging their sacks through Texas and whoring for our dollars because, clearly, they have a disastrous track record of picking winners, understanding our electorate, and taking the pulse of our base–which, by the way, you cannot win a general election without exciting to encourage them to actually turnout. And this guy excites the base about as much as a wet match in a muddy swamp.
Next, who among Texas Democrats has met or heard Ricardo Sanchez speak? Where has he been campaigning, even to see if he could muster enough support to get out of a contested primary?
Too, a Facebook post and this story isn’t exactly a promising start to a campaign in the 21st century. No website, no YouTube video, no barnstorm across Texas to get earned media and actually bother to engage with a single voter. Not a single endorsement from a prominent legislator or Texas Democrat. It is more of a dumped afterthought than a start to a real campaign. I see here no early indication that signals that of a decent campaign (since it takes more than money to have one).
Now, what about that record of “National Democrats” picking our candidates? Mikal Watts was one of those, if I recall correctly. The base–particularly progressives–showed their distaste for him and he bailed well before the filing deadline; then, of course, “National Democrats” didn’t really go that far out of their way to help aide the candidate Texas Democrats actually picked (who was, by the way, both Hispanic and military) in a primary.
Finally, have those “National Democrats” perhaps bothered to realize that, maybe, just maybe, running the same, centrist, Republican Lite candidates they’ve been foisting on us or encouraging to run for years simply isn’t working and that maybe it is time to try something else–and actually make sure that the “something else” has the same resources they promise the candidates they keep sending our way?
He also claims to be a progressive. Great, care to articulate a position or two? That also seems to be window dressing since he also uses the buzzwords “Independent Voice,” which, with this type of candidate usually means, “conservative enough you can’t really tell the difference between me and a Republican, but not owned by their donors.”
These “National Democrats” also think being a Hispanic candidate in Texas is somehow a gateway to a win. Sorry, wrong again. Another candidate named Sanchez, Rick Noriega, and others have proved that isn’t enough. Without independent efforts and millions of dollars spent on Hispanic GOTV and registration independent of any campaign, at this point, a candidate that was Polish, purple, orange, black, Swedish, or made of green cheese would poll about the same. (Yes, I will no doubt catch Hell for that one, but it is reality.)
We have, in spite of the bloodbath of 2010, Democrats–prominent ones–in the Legislature and elsewhere more fully vetted both politically, policy-wise, and personally who would make better candidates, start with a greater base in our own party and outside it, and stand a greater chance of being successful than Sanchez. I could name at least five.
I’m not opposed to hearing the guy out and seeing if he is more worthy of support than he seems, but so far, I can’t say it looks promising.