The fact that Jason Embry is asking the question whether Kay Bailey Hutchison is the new Carole Keeton Strayhorn, which as he notes was brought up by Burkablog commenters, says a lot about the state of the Hutchison campaign so far. Having said that, I must admit that Embry’s review of the facts shows that as bad as Team KBH has been, Team Strayhorn was much worse. It’s hard to imagine them doing anything as cringe-worthy as the Put–“Grandma”–on–the–ballot debacle, for instance, if only because that was in a league by itself. Still, it’s worth keeping the comparison in mind. We’ll check it again later, just in case.
On the other hand, The Contrarian has an eponymous perspective:
Campaigns usually have ebbs and flows. While Hutchison seems well behind at the moment, as soon as she gets her act together for a few days, political reporters will be itching to write the Kay Comeback story. Not because they’re biased. It’s just how these things work. Everyone loves a comeback story.
I’m not suggesting the comeback will be a media creation. Hutchison remains plenty dangerous to Perry.
Here are three big reasons she can turn it around: One, it’s August and few voters are paying attention to her foibles. Two, she has a veteran campaign staff and a ton of money — people will hear what she has to say. And three, Perry is vulnerable from both the right (property rights, business tax) and the left (education, health insurance, home insurance).
Come winter time, I bet this will be a tight race.
I agree that there’s a “KBH’s Comeback” in the works, and that it will be more than a media creation. Honestly, just cutting down on the unforced errors would go a long way. But I’m still not impressed with her campaign staff – when they show me something, I’ll revisit that – and while I agree that Perry is vulnerable in many ways, his vulnerabilities on the left are a November problem, not a March problem, and whatever problems he’s had with the conservative wing appears to be patched up – he and Dan Patrick are BFFs nowadays. I don’t see KBH outflanking him on the right, though she may try. The problem there is that she’ll be like so many hapless Democrats in 2002, trying to win their elections by portraying themselves as Bush buddies; given a choice between the real thing and an imitation, the voters went with the real thing. I do think she can and will close the gap, but I think that starts with a coherent narrative about how and why she’ll do a better job achieving the goals the Republican voters want. When she figures that out, she can change the dynamic of this race.