Author's Note: This is the original (pre-edited) version of the column that appears in the Jan. 2, 2010 edition of the Dallas Morning News.
By a quirk of fate, known only to God and the Texas political parties, the holiday season always intersects with the campaign season as filings begins for a horde of offices (county, state and federal). And in between commercials for overbearing perfumes or colognes represented by fading stars or the next “perfect holiday treat” are the initial forays into that minefield that IS the Texas electorate.
While the primary season should not be held so darn early, and it ought to be against the laws of decency to air political ads before Jan. 1, (So, in the spirit of the season, I propose) a few grounds rules should be put into play for any candidate earning the peoples’ votes … at least from this potential supporter.
Be “for” something; not against everything – At some point, the weight of total negativity crushes the voters’ spirit. Do a mental lap-band procedure and speak to the positives you wish to achieve. Stop being such a downer!
Cut the labels – People come in all sizes and shapes, as do their political viewpoints. Simplistic labels do grave injustices to how (and what) people believe. Please stash them deep in the sock drawer and stop using them!
No demagogue with the egg nog – Too many politicians seem more interested in being part of a perpetual rugby scrum than getting things done for the betterment of all (not just a particular political party). If more offices changed to non-partisan status (all county offices and judicial positions for example), the better we’d all be served. Stop being so partisan!
If you’re against it, why run for it? – It’s hard to take someone seriously if he/she (merely) rants against the very governmental institution of which they seek to become part. If you hate government, why in the world should anyone elect you? Stop trying to fool people! To quote Marx (Groucho), “I’d never join a club that would have me as a member.”
Add some crumpets with that “tea” – This past summer’s phenomenon (the tea party movement) introduced genuine, substantive issues to the debate … when a select few “members” weren’t parading around making less-than-gracious comments about a certain person’s heritage, ethnicity, religion or birthright. Missing in some of the undue paranoia was substance. Loud debate without concrete suggestions is simply yelling. Please no more yelling!
Only directors yell “cut!” – One person cannot reduce the size of government or spending; both parties have been, and still are, guilty to bloating the budget, including so-called staunch budget-cutters. Anyone who promises drastic turnabout of this runaway train is … lying. Please stop the lying!
Be specifically specific – For once, I’d like to hear actual proposals. Not “I’m still studying the issue.” Study time should have happened before (you filed for the election) the filing; the campaign is the exam and the results are posted on Election Day. And if you tell me, “I’ll get back to you on that one,” don’t bother. You flunk! Stop flunking this simple test!
Kill the robo-calls – One surefire way to destroy any chance of garnering my vote is to bombard my house with those annoying automated, auto-generated pre-recorded solicitations … because that’s exactly what they are! Thousands of Texans have placed their homes on the “No Call” list to avoid such pandering. And no one quite panders like a politician. So stop calling!
If you follow these simple steps, you might, I repeat MIGHT, get my vote. Or not…depends on what arrives for Christmas … hopefully not any of that cologne.