What makes Kay Bailey run?

It's been said that a politician thinks of the next election, while a statesman thinks of the next generation. It's a phrase that comes to mind in the race getting under way in Texas, where US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is challenging Governor Rick Perry for the GOP nomination in March of 2010.

Here we have a 3-term senator planning to vacate her position before the end of the year and try to unseat the governor of a state with an economy that has done exceedingly well, given the ravages of the financial meltdown across the country. Statistics for the Lone Star State show that it has largely weathered the national economic storm better than most other states. As Perry noted recently, "I'm convinced our whole country could use a little Texas-style fiscal discipline." The governor attributes the economic success to conservative policies that have been put in place after the GOP took control of the state in 2003. Those policies will be the bone of contention right up until March, as both candidates try to prove which one is the most conservative. 

Meanwhile, another Republican stalwart has recently signed onto the slugfest, claiming that she is the strongest conservative in the race. Debra Medina, a South Texas native said that Perry and Hutchison have abandoned the conservative principles that got them elected in the first place. With very little money and even less name recognition in the state, it would appear that Medina's chances are nil.

However, her staunch conservative record as former chairwoman of the Wharton County Republican Party could subtract votes from Perry in the Primary, leading to the suspicion that she may be a stalking horse for Hutchison. Think about it; if you were facing a 2-term governor with a strong record of supporting limited government, low taxes, a curb on illegal immigration, the citizens' right to bear arms, and a strong anti-abortion stand, how would you overcome the odds and out-conservative him? Although she can't win the nomination with a plurality of the votes, if Hutchison can split the Perry vote, she may be able to keep him from a primary victory and force a runoff election. That would make Perry appear vulnerable enough to be defeated in the general election. 

The political position that is likely to give the Senator the most trouble is her belief that the Roe vs. Wade right to abortion law was appropriate and shouldn't be overturned. Perry, on the other hand, has consistently maintained a strong pro-life stance. As a result, he has been endorsed by the Texas Alliance for Life political action committee. In addition, unlike Hutchison, Perry has opposed embryonic stem cell research, which requires the destruction of human embryos for experimentation that may lead to a treatment or cure of some diseases. Instead, the governor has endorsed the use of adult stem cells and has called for public funding for the research.

To be fair, Hutchison has voted yes on several issues that put her on the conservative side of the abortion issue. She voted to prohibit minors from crossing state lines for an abortion; she's against the use of federal funds to organizations that perform abortions; and voted yes on banning partial birth abortion, except when it endangers the life of the mother.  

Nevertheless, political rhetoric aside, why is Hutchison giving up a valuable senate seat at a time when her country and her party needs all the successful Republicans it can get? Is she simply tired of the commute from home to her Washington office? Is her boredom with the DC scene so irritating that she's willing to fracture the party in the state known as a GOP stronghold in a country bitterly divided between conservative and liberal orthodoxies?

If Perry had done something to embarrass the state, either in his personal or political life, it would be easy to understand another Texas leader coming to the rescue to restore respect for the office. Instead, Hutchison seems to be more interested in personal aggrandizement than in the future of the state that has been very good to her.

Thanks to her ambition, Republicans will be forced to take sides in the coming bloodbath that can only embolden the opposition party. When the smoke clears, will the state be any better off than it is now? If Senator Hutchison really cared about the next generation, instead of the next election, she would put an end to this reckless campaign and continue her capable service to the country. By doing so, she could prove to be a statesman after all.


Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas.  Email Bob.
It's been said that a politician thinks of the next election, while a statesman thinks of the next generation. It's a phrase that comes to mind in the race getting under way in Texas, where US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is challenging Governor Rick Perry for the GOP nomination in March of 2010.

Here we have a 3-term senator planning to vacate her position before the end of the year and try to unseat the governor of a state with an economy that has done exceedingly well, given the ravages of the financial meltdown across the country. Statistics for the Lone Star State show that it has largely weathered the national economic storm better than most other states. As Perry noted recently, "I'm convinced our whole country could use a little Texas-style fiscal discipline." The governor attributes the economic success to conservative policies that have been put in place after the GOP took control of the state in 2003. Those policies will be the bone of contention right up until March, as both candidates try to prove which one is the most conservative. 

Meanwhile, another Republican stalwart has recently signed onto the slugfest, claiming that she is the strongest conservative in the race. Debra Medina, a South Texas native said that Perry and Hutchison have abandoned the conservative principles that got them elected in the first place. With very little money and even less name recognition in the state, it would appear that Medina's chances are nil.

However, her staunch conservative record as former chairwoman of the Wharton County Republican Party could subtract votes from Perry in the Primary, leading to the suspicion that she may be a stalking horse for Hutchison. Think about it; if you were facing a 2-term governor with a strong record of supporting limited government, low taxes, a curb on illegal immigration, the citizens' right to bear arms, and a strong anti-abortion stand, how would you overcome the odds and out-conservative him? Although she can't win the nomination with a plurality of the votes, if Hutchison can split the Perry vote, she may be able to keep him from a primary victory and force a runoff election. That would make Perry appear vulnerable enough to be defeated in the general election. 

The political position that is likely to give the Senator the most trouble is her belief that the Roe vs. Wade right to abortion law was appropriate and shouldn't be overturned. Perry, on the other hand, has consistently maintained a strong pro-life stance. As a result, he has been endorsed by the Texas Alliance for Life political action committee. In addition, unlike Hutchison, Perry has opposed embryonic stem cell research, which requires the destruction of human embryos for experimentation that may lead to a treatment or cure of some diseases. Instead, the governor has endorsed the use of adult stem cells and has called for public funding for the research.

To be fair, Hutchison has voted yes on several issues that put her on the conservative side of the abortion issue. She voted to prohibit minors from crossing state lines for an abortion; she's against the use of federal funds to organizations that perform abortions; and voted yes on banning partial birth abortion, except when it endangers the life of the mother.  

Nevertheless, political rhetoric aside, why is Hutchison giving up a valuable senate seat at a time when her country and her party needs all the successful Republicans it can get? Is she simply tired of the commute from home to her Washington office? Is her boredom with the DC scene so irritating that she's willing to fracture the party in the state known as a GOP stronghold in a country bitterly divided between conservative and liberal orthodoxies?

If Perry had done something to embarrass the state, either in his personal or political life, it would be easy to understand another Texas leader coming to the rescue to restore respect for the office. Instead, Hutchison seems to be more interested in personal aggrandizement than in the future of the state that has been very good to her.

Thanks to her ambition, Republicans will be forced to take sides in the coming bloodbath that can only embolden the opposition party. When the smoke clears, will the state be any better off than it is now? If Senator Hutchison really cared about the next generation, instead of the next election, she would put an end to this reckless campaign and continue her capable service to the country. By doing so, she could prove to be a statesman after all.


Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas.  Email Bob.