The Clayton Williams story is a simple one. He was destined to be governor of the great state of Texas. He held a sizeable lead over Ann Richards a week before the election. The only thing that could have stopped him is what eventually happened. He was being interviewed when someone asked him his opinions on rape. He said women should, "sit back, relax, and enjoy it." The rest is as they say, history.
Fastforward to 2010 and you see the Rick Perry strategy in full technocolor. He won't debate Bill White. He won't make a ton of public appearances. Sometimes I wonder if he even knows there is a world outside of Austin. Yet, look in the local paper and see that he has an eight point lead in the polls over Bill White. The human being in me wonders how in the hell this is possible. The political scientist in me knows all too well.
People like my wife drive this point home everyday. She is voting for White because she knows White and knows Perry (at least knows of their record). Yet, she has blamed a lot of Texas's problems on Obama. The bait and switch is not that hard to make and especially easy in NASA country. Few people hear about how Perry took stimulus funds and reappropriated them. In fact, Congress had to pass an amendment just to address what he was doing with the educational stimulus money (read: it wasn't applied to education).
The case for blame being placed at Obama's door is all to easy. Facts and figures prove otherwise, but who needs those pesky things. The reality is that all signs point to the biggest baffoon that has ever been governor having the longest reign as governor in the history of the state. It makes me long for Mel Brooks' character from Blazing Saddles making a run for the governor's mansion. His tomfoolery at least wouldn't cause harm.
It's a sad day when "sit at home and shut your trap" becomes an effective campaign strategy. Even if Obama were to blame for Texas' plight, people should know that Bill White is not the same kind of Democrat anyway. Perhaps the White campaign should reprise the Williams quote in reference to Perry's "leadership." While he hasn't done anything like that in the literal sense, it sure feels like that in the figurative one. This time though, our collective brains hurt knowing the fact that our governor doesn't have one and will probably be reelected again anyway.