Could Mike Rawlings Win a Senate Seat Just by not Being Totally Nuts or Shiftless?

Categories: Schutze

martyfeldman.jpg
20th Century Fox
No disrespect to the late great Marty Feldman, but in the current atmosphere, if Mike Rawlings could run for the Senate and not look like this, voters might flock to him.
Toward the end of last week I reported that some kind of Democrats -- I wasn't sure which -- have been whispering in Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings' ear about running for John Cornyn's Senate seat in 2014. Rawlings admitted he had spoken with them but discounted the whole deal, saying, "I'm way too fiscally conservative for the Democrats and way too progressive for the Republicans on the social issues."

So I've been thinking. What is the window, really and truly? What kind of Democratic candidate will be right for statewide office in Texas in 2014?

At this moment Fort Worth State Senator Wendy Davis is sort of the Texas Democratic Everest. She's big here because she's there. She's there because she's big here. But, tell me again: What is she?

On her own website Davis brags she helped Houston state Senator Dan Patrick, a Tea Party guy, pass legislation reducing academic rigor and accountability for Texas high school students. When I wrote about it last month, some commenters complained I was taking Davis to task on a single issue in a whole big complicated political landscape before she even had time to thoughtfully craft a platform.

OK for that. I see the point. I still like looking at what people actually do once in a while as opposed to what they promise to do. And since then, Texas Democratic war-horse moneybags lawyer Lisa Blue has jumped into a school board race here in Dallas on the side of the anti-school reform camp, donating her otherwise completely unaffordable legal talents to a candidate supported by the teachers unions. The unions want to get Dallas Superintendent Mike Miles fired so they can stop school reform.

Blue, widow of the late Fred Baron, a major national Democratic moneybags, allies herself in this one with the same tired old political Democratic patronage machine in Dallas County that lined up locally for Hillary Clinton against Barack Obama in 2008. Blue is the same woman, of course, who took the Fifth recently in a nasty false prosecution case involving all the usual Democratic Party suspects in Dallas County, some of whom are now persons of interest in a years-long FBI corruption probe. By the way -- and I know this is about the hundredth time we've heard it -- rumors are rife again that indictments are imminent in that one.

So, wait. What do I want, instead? Teabaggers? It looks like 2014 will be a big year for "instead." Eric Nicholson reported here last week on the big "instead" issue we will face in North Texas in Senate District 16, where incumbent John Carona, who has grown rich off the homeowners association laws he has championed, confronts possible ouster by Don Huffhines, a Tea Party challenger whose formula for the future is based entirely on Obama hatred. Yeah, thanks for that one, too, political gods.

See also: John Carona's Primary Opponent is Attacking Him for Pushing "Barack Obama Freeway"

Ross Ramsey wrote last week in the Texas Tribune about the "instead" dilemma as a statewide theme in 2014: Establishment Republicans in Texas are worried their party will be sundered forever if Tea Party Robespierres try to put longtime Republican incumbents in the tumbrels and haul them all off to the chopper. Nobody likes going to the chopper.

And it's not as if Texas is the Lone Star Lone Ranger. Tomorrow, in fact, Alabama voters will decide a special election for Congress that's all about "instead." Big business interests have been sluicing money into the coffers of lawyer Bradley Byrne because he's not Dean Young, a Tea Party guy running on the anti-gay, anti-Obama, anti-abortion, anti-government platform that gave us the recent national government shut-down, a quantum peek at anti-reality.

So on the one hand we have the sheer raving pinwheel-eyed lunacy of the Teabaggers who want to take the whole country down. On the other hand, we have, instead, the dead-eyed Fifth-Amendment-takers who want to preserve the cradle-to-prison-pipeline we call urban public education.

That choice is not merely a turn-off. It's more like turn around and run away. To Belize. How bad can Belize be? They've got eBay, right?

In this larger scenario, then, what happens if someone like Rawlings steps into the game? He's a Democrat. He's a successful businessman and a pragmatist with a record of conciliation at Dallas City Hall. He has earned national moral cred for his don't-beat-up-your-wife-so-much campaign. He has been a stalwart defender of school reform in Dallas at some political expense with what might be viewed as his Democratic base, although I'm not sure he thinks of it that way. Yet.

There is still a tremendous amount we don't know about Rawlings because the office of Dallas mayor, non-partisan and mainly ceremonial, doesn't often strip its occupants down and make them show their stuff. For a long time half of conservative North Dallas thought former Mayor Laura Miller, ideologically one of the most liberal occupants ever in that office, was a Republican because they saw a campaign photo of her wearing couture and pearls.

But what if Rawlings did step out? What if he came forward as a sane, business-savvy moderate with an empathetic heart and an ability to keep the train on the damn tracks? Is that the kind of "instead" that Texans would go for? And you know what I'm really thinking? What if he could just run for office without scaring the shit out of people? How about that? Instead.



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25 comments
Gangy
Gangy

Jim, this person you describe as Mike Rawlings is almost the complete opposite of the mayor of Dallas that I know.  He calls himself a Democrat, maybe because he thinks that is a way to win in Dallas County, but I can't think of a single position or vote he has taken that I would consider consistent with Democratic values. I see Rawlings as a bully, as a live-and-let-die proponent, and as one of the Big Boys who is protecting the wealth and power of himself and his peers. 

oilman
oilman

Rawlings deserves my vote only if he can claim the title of the lesser evil- because to me he represents substantial evil.  He would surely be that (lesser evil) in a political contest with John Cornyn.

Obummer
Obummer

Yo I hate liars, they are such repeat offenders.

Admonkey
Admonkey

"What if he came forward as a sane, business-savvy moderate with an empathetic heart and an ability to keep the train on the damn tracks? Is that the kind of "instead" that Texans would go for?"

You mean like they did for that other big city former mayor, Bill White?

PerryMoore
PerryMoore

Back in the day, Texas Democrats ran Establishment candidates for statewide office and always won, while a notable percentage of their party's voting base rejected the ideas that their state level Establishment espoused. A current trend in the Republican Party is to reject the Establishment associations within their own ranks--the ones that always seem to win--in favor of maverick candidates. Now comes the local gadfly journalist in defense of the scary Establishment guy. Yawn. It's not that he's scary, Mr. Schutze. We would like him better if he were.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 It's kind of hard for me to take your "don't sound like a lunatic" advice when you riddle your whole piece with homophobic slurs.

In any event, it's all academic.  Cornyn will tack right, Cruz will endorse him for it, and he'll go back to DC for another term.  (If he doesn't tack at least a little to the right, he'll be primaried out and you'll end up with TWO Cruz types.)

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

In the old days, potential office seekers ran on their record of achievements, and a clear direction of how they view the world. Mike has not accomplished either of these two things and continues to just flounder around. I can't figure out why he would run unless he has a good group of sugar daddies that need some favors via the US Gov. Oh yeah,,, funding the Trinity toll road. Slaps forehead.

bruce.levy1
bruce.levy1

"The unions want to get Dallas superintendent Mike Miles fired so they can stop school reform. "

Jim:  You are getting a bit tedious with your seemingly never ending, uncritical, simplistic sense that those who oppose Mike Miles' policies are opposed to "reform." If it is this level of analysis that you bring to all your other writing, then I would have to say that you have a real credibility problem!  Just because you have drunk the Kool-Aid, please don't ask us to also.

leftocenter
leftocenter

Can we put Rawlings in couture and pearls? 

Quick...Wendy Davis...up-do and pearls and lose the pink runnning shoes...we've got this!

leftocenter
leftocenter

"I'm way too fiscally conservative for the Democrats and way too progressive for the Republicans on the social issues."

A MODERATE.  For those who have never seen one, this describes a MODERATE.  It describes me -- a left-leaning MODERATE.  I think Rawlings is "the ONE."  We need about thirty just like him of various shades.

The only thing that can cure gridlock and the ruin that is the US Congress is an influx of MODERATES.  The right moving further right (more tea baggers) may ruin the GOP for a generation, and as nice as that may sound to Dems/Liberals, it will perpetuate gridlock.  The left moving further left will eventually bankrupt us all. 

Rawlings needs to run...give reason a chance.

ruddski
ruddski

Wendy Davis is sort of the Texas Democratic Everest? How about Grand Tetons? Twin Peaks?

John1073
John1073

We don't need more corporate sell outs in the Democratic Party. That wing is already at capacity.

ruddski
ruddski

That's because a lie repeated enough times becomes truth. Sarah Palin can see russia from her house and if you like yiur insurance. plan, you can keep it.

ruddski
ruddski

" In the old days, potential office seekers ran on their record of achievements.." -- Where were you during the past two elections?

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

Speaking of his track record, I'm not so sure he's as much a "successful businessman" as he is a guy who manages to land on his feet.

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

@bruce.levy1 I agree, but Jim does have a point in that right now the people in office are either for  "market" style reform graft or status quo graft.


People like you and me are good at arguing on blogs, but unfortunately we haven't been able to get anyone from our side elected.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @leftocenter If that was his actual description, he would be libertarian, but it's not.  He's not terribly fiscally conservative (he just doesn't want to spend as much more this year than last) and he's not terribly progressive on social issues (he's just fine admitting that society has chosen a new priority once it's clear that is how the majority have come down.)

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@ruddski 

WMD's,

They hate us for our freedoms . . . 

The list just goes on and on, doesn't it?

leftocenter
leftocenter

That doesn't describe a libertarian...

If he's not "too" fiscally conservative or not "terribly" progressive on social issues, you've described someone who isn't extreme in either direction...hmm...what would we call that?  MODERATE.

There are many other things that make candidate (smart? idk, and the biggie:  who is he beholding to?) but a moderate can compromise -- see an issue from more than one side. 

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @leftocenter Moderates aren't middle of the road, they just take their bribes from both sides and fuck US twice as hard.

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