Hey, whatever works …
Gov. Rick Perry has announced that, just as he did in the primary campaign, he will not speak to newspaper editorial boards while he seeks re-election to his third full term.
Perry raised plenty of eyebrows early in the year when he swore off the interviews. He said then he had better things to do than speak to newspaper editors who would question him about why Republican voters should renominate him.
An interesting thing then happened: Virtually all the papers in the state endorsed his major primary opponent, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. From Amarillo to McAllen, and from El Paso to Beaumont — and all the places between — papers spoke glowingly about Hutchison’s credentials as a senator and the dedicated service she has given to the state.
What did that get her? Well, she lost the primary by more than 20 percentage points to Perry.
So, the governor must figure that what worked in the primary can work in the general election.
Perry’s Democratic challenger, former Houston Mayor Bill White, spins the refusal quite differently. In a statement issued today, White spokeswoman Katy Bacon said, “It’s no wonder Rick Perry doesn’t want to meet with editorial boards. He has a lot to answer for, from his spending and the $18 billion budget deficit to a lack of ethics and abuse of state government as his own self-serving, partisan political machine. Texans deserve a leader who’s not afraid of tough questions.”
Bacon does have a point. It’s been a tradition for politicians to meet with editorial boards and to answer pointed questions from ink-stained wretches. Bill White no doubt will get the treatment when he comes calling later this year. It goes with the territory.
But as the governor proved during his winning primary campaign, this is shaping up as an unconventional election year.
However, the National Conference of Editorial Writers is having its annual meeting next month in Dallas. One of the featured speakers will be, um, Rick Perry.
I wonder if he’ll take questions.