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Two weeks out, time for the sleazy attack mailers

Ah, there’s nothing like the last two weeks of a campaign to bring out the truly special campaign tactics. Here’s Harvey Kronberg catching one such example near here.

In a year potentially sitting on the powder keg of racial politics, a direct mail piece put out by Empower Texans may have crossed the line.

In this instance, the battleground is the Pasadena based open seat vacated by the retirement of Republican Robert Talton. It is a battleground seat pitting Republican Ken Legler against Democrat Joel Redmond. Given Redmond’s deep evangelical ties, Democrats believe the seat is winnable. It is a key seat in next January’s speaker politics.

On one side of the mailer pictures Democratic contender Redmond surrounded by pictures of Democrats. None of them are white.

The title of the mailer: “Don’t be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.”

Prominently displayed are Sen. Mario Gallegos, Cong. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. Harold Dutton, Rep Garnett Coleman and, of course, presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Notably missing are Democrats Bill White, Gene Green, John Whitmire, Scott Hochberg and Nick Lampson.

Empower Texans president and CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan explained , “Some people may look through politics through a racial lens, which I find absolutely disgusting and reprehensible. All I can I do is look at how people vote; I’m offended you would suggest anything else.

“We simply pulled together the most liberal members from the Houston delegation who are on the 2008 general election ballot – using the TFR (Texans for Fiscal Responsibility ) Index for state officials and the National Journal ranking for federal officials.

“In each case, these are the individuals with the most liberal (and fiscally irresponsible) voting records were presented from the party Mr. Redmond would like to represent in the Texas House.”

Fair enough. The only problem is that the mailer presumes that bubba in Pasadena recognizes Dutton, Coleman and the rest and understands they are running for re-election. There are no names attached to the individuals and no explanation of the common theme that binds them together.

It is also worth mentioning that both Houston Reps Jessica Farrar and Alma Allen have lower scores on the TFR list than do Dutton or Coleman.

I’ve got a scanned image of the mailer uploaded – here’s side one and side two. Obviously, one can read or not read whatever one wants into such things. But especially in a year like this, when the McCain campaign has been making increasingly overt racial attacks on Barack Obama, it’s more than a little precious to create a mailer of a white guy surrounded by a bunch of black people, headline it with “Bad company corrupts good character”, then get all defensive when the racial aspect of the piece is pointed out. Let’s all be grownups here, OK?

At least one person associated with the Empower PAC had the grace to be sensitive to this:

In its recent 30 day out report, the PAC indicated total contributions of $56,600 with $50,000 of that coming from Bob Perry. It is likely that other contributors will surface in the 8 day out report.

Perry spokesman and Patriot Group member Anthony Holm said, “Clearly they need to be more careful so people don’t misinterpret their mail pieces.”

It’s still all in our heads, but at least it’s something. I’m sure there will be plenty more where this came from.

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3 Comments

  1. sccs says:

    Holy crap. And they even used crows!
    No, no overtones here. Really.

    I grew up in Pasadena, and I had hoped that there would be some progress in the racial relations there. This mailer doesn’t help.
    I can’t believe they had the gall to put this out and then get defensive about it.

  2. Kevin Whited says:

    ** when the McCain campaign has been making increasingly overt racial attacks on Barack Obama **

    Can you believe they called him a socialist?! Those race-baiters!

  3. Greg Wythe says:

    The closeness of the pro-Legler mail and the 2003 mail done for Terry McConn sure do look familiar.