Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Locke’s response

So while I was out watching Rice beat Tulane, the Gene Locke campaign released the following statement regarding the homophobic attack on Annise Parker.

“As I have previously stated, I reject any association with the style of campaigning that was the subject of an article in the Houston Chronicle today. We have serious issues to deal with in our city that requires us to work together as one Houston and I trust that Houstonians will choose a new mayor based on the issues that effect our lives every day and not to be swayed by divisive rhetoric.”

That’s a lovely sentiment. I’m sure it’s sincerely spoken. It’s certainly a lot better than the snotty “I know what you are, but what am I?” response that Locke’s spokesperson gave to the Chronicle. And if it were in response to actions made by some unaffiliated group that had crawled out from under a rock, it would have been perfectly fine.

But that’s not the case. Let’s review that Chron story to see why:

[Dave Welch, executive director of the Houston Area Pastor Council] said he had “no doubt” there would be numerous independent advocacy efforts urging voters not to choose Parker, most of which would involve mail.

[…]

[Locke] has made recent efforts to court some of the staunch social conservatives who are either actively planning on attacking Parker’s sexuality or strongly considering it.

He appeared at the Pastor Council’s annual gala last Friday and was encouraged several times by State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, a featured speaker, to stand for conservative values.

Locke has also met with and sought the endorsement of Dr. Steven Hotze, a longtime local kingmaker in conservative politics and author of the Straight Slate in 1985, a coterie of eight City Council candidates he recruited who ran on an anti-gay platform.

The slate was formed to oppose eight incumbents who supported measures aimed at protecting homosexuals from discrimination in city government. The measures were resoundingly repealed by the voters in a referendum, but none of the eight council members lost their seats.

Republican consultant Allen Blakemore, a longtime Hotze associate who spoke on his behalf, said he is considering mailing out a slate of endorsed runoff candidates, and Parker’s sexuality is a “key factor” in his decision.

In other words, before these folks crawled out from underneath their rock, Locke got down there with them to ask for their support. Some acknowledgement of that is necessary for his statement to mean anything. If he’s not actually disavowing Welch and Hotze and Blakemore but merely tut-tutting about the sins he expects they will commit on his behalf, it’s not the least bit penitent of him. He chose to associate himself with them. He shares responsibility for what they do. He has not admitted his responsibility. It’s as simple as that.

Putting this another way, when Welch and Blakemore follow through and send gay-bashing mailers to however many voters with a message to vote for Gene Locke, will he continue to “reject any association” with that style of campaigning? Or will he gladly reap whatever electoral benefit he may get from that because he thinks he’s covered now?

(See here for an example of Blakemore’s work from last year’s election. If someone whose endorsement Annise Parker had courted sent out a similar mailer on her behalf that was aimed at Gene Locke, do you think a statement like the one Locke made here would suffice to distance herself from it?)

So color me unimpressed by Gene Locke’s statement. When he says something meaningful – something that calls out the bad actors by name, owns up to his association with them, and specifically tells them he does not want any of this kind of “help” from them – then we can talk. Stace has more.

Related Posts:

7 Comments

  1. Joe White says:

    …issues that effect our lives….
    If he doesn’t know the difference between effect and affect, then he doesn’t deserve to win.

  2. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    I think Locke’s statement is instructive. He wants to reject the association (who wouldn’t?). But does he reject the support of Hotze and Patrick? Haven’t heard anything on that one.

  3. Baby Snooks says:

    Someone told me last night I HAD to vote for Locke regardless. I don’t HAVE to vote for anyone. And won’t. Particularly after reading his “disassociation” from all of this.

    The bottom line in this is he did NOT deny seeking the endorsement of Stephen Hotze. The family itself has always been divisive in this city. Rumor has always been Margaret Hotze, his mother, was the one who set off the furor over the art exhibit at the University of St. Thomas by Dominique de Menil which resulted in what everyone refers to simply as the dissolution. The great morality play which cost a university an enormous amount of support by two benefactors who decided their money could be better spent elsewhere if their right to expression was to be censored by a few. The Hotze way has always been their way or the highway.

    I don’t like the associations Annise Parker will bring to City Hall, one of the reasons why I don’t support her, and I don’t like the associations Gene Locke will now bring to City Hall. Quite a few feel the same way. So we won’t vote. No matter who wins, both will be a disaster, we can say “I didn’t vote for them.”

  4. John says:

    The sad truth: Locke can get away with cozying up to people who say “GLBT citizens have no place in our society.” Substitute a racial or religious minority for that and it would be beyond the place – like quietly accepting a KKK endorsement – but there is still a minority where this is acceptable to some people. Locke knows it and while I don’t think he’s a personally prejudiced guy, he’s apparently rather flexible on these things. The great irony? Anybody who votes for Locke because Parker is a lesbian will be picking the candidate with a more assertively pro-gay platform (regarding DP benefits for city employees).

  5. Baby Snooks says:

    The great irony? Anybody who votes for Locke because Parker is a lesbian will be picking the candidate with a more assertively pro-gay platform (regarding DP benefits for city employees).
    _____________

    The real irony is that the glbt community doesn’t see that. All they see is the lesbian becoming mayor.

  6. […] If Gene Locke really means what he says about rejecting any association with this kind of campaigning, the statement to make is to tell […]

  7. […] question now is whether Gene Locke will live up to his previous statement that he “rejects any association” with this style of campaigning and repudiates […]