Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mud Wrestling with Nick Lampson and Shelley Sekula Gibbs

I wish I had positive news for you today. And yellow-doggers, forgive me for being critical of a Democrat...But recently I expended no small effort criticizing local Libertarians on Fort Bend Now for distorting Lampson's record and slinging some fairly nasty mud. Well, I want everyone to know that this is not a partisan issue for me - And what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Lampson's mail campaign has begun, and it ain't exactly pretty. Basically, instead of mailers talking about Lampson's record, or his fight for economic discipline, or his campaign finance reform credentials, or the need to end the culture of corruption, the consultants running the Lampson campaign decided to spend a boat-load of money giving name ID and credibility to Shelley Sekula Gibbs.

He sent two (and these are just the ones I got) attack mail pieces on Shelley. The only place it says Lampson is a tiny disclosure box on the back. Imagine average voters who are only vaguely aware of the personalities involved in this circus. In their minds, a write-in is a crazy person not to be taken seriously. Gibbs will only be able to spend a modest amount of money dispelling this idea. But now that Lampson is paying for attack ads against her, she gains legitimacy. And a ton of name ID.

As if that wasn't bad enough, take a look at the ads:


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Click on the thumbnail for a large version. This ad, attacking an upscale GOP dermatologist for choosing not to take Medicare patients, borders on ridiculous. I mean, how is this a shock to anyone? For an attack, this piece has all teeth and no weight.

Gibbs' likely reply: "I refused to work any longer with a broken bloated bureaucracy created by Nick Lampson and his liberal allies in congress. As a doctor, I know what's wrong, and when elected, I pledge to fix it."

I mean, c'mon, this dumb drivel writes itself...

In addition, a lot of people are really upset about the stupid tag-line: "Whatever her name is, one thing is clear - We can't afford her in Congress." Some people think it's sexist, which it is. Some people also think it's childish, which it is. More importantly, some think it's dumb, and they're right.


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Ok, first off, I've said some mean things about Shelley when it comes to this issue. But I attempted to be fair, cite my sources accurately, and leave it at that. In Shelley's defense, Lampson's ad goes too far and plays loose with the facts.

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This attack piece accuses Shelley of calling for the end to the city's sanctuary policy while voting for the policy the previous year. It cites the Houston Chronicle on July 24, 2006. First problem: That didn't actually happen. Second problem: They cited the wrong article, so there's no way a voter can verify this.

Ok, I'll explain. It took me a bit to figure this one out. Examine this piece from the Online News Station. It's a press release from the Lampson campaign. It cites two different Houston Chronicle articles, one from July 21 and another from July 24:


The July 21st article:

"At the time, Sekula-Gibbs called Ellis’ proposal, which would also required people to show proof of U.S. citizenship to get social services,“a political stunt.” According to the Houston Chronicle, “Sekula-Gibbs said it would be impossible to verify someone’s immigration status before, for example, putting out a fire. She said she also disapproved of Ellis’ tactic of trying to force a council vote on a nonbinding resolution.”

The July 24th article:

And in June 2006, the Houston Chronicle reported that The Metropolitan Organization said that Shelley Sekula-Gibbs pledged to them that she would maintain the city’s current policy on dealing with illegal immigrants. When the Chronicle pushed her on this group’s claim Sekula-Gibbs, “declined to discuss the pledge specifically.”


So first of all, Gibbs never voted for the city's policy. It's pretty dishonest to say she did. She cast a vote to refuse to entertain a vote on the Ellis proposal, which was a poorly worded non-binding resolution that if followed, would've resulted in firemen checking immigration status.

Second, I hope to God they meant to cite the first article and just made a mistake. I hope it wasn't on purpose...Because the July 24th article cited in the attack piece makes no mention of the Ellis proposal or any council vote at all. Instead, it talks briefly about a pledge made to TMO, a special interest group. So not only are they slinging mud and distorting their opponent's record, but they're being sloppy about it. And it makes the rest of us look bad.

Ok, moving on. Assuming you agree with the strategy of the Lampson attack ads, then it's enough to simply say that Shelley is weak on immigration. The idea is to supress GOP voter turn-out. You don't have to convince them that Lampson is the answer - You just have to destroy their enthusiasm for Gibbs. So, you might think, it is quite unnecessary to go on a chest-thumping hard-line rampage on the subject of immigration that will alienate your base...

Think again:

Good grief...Lampson himself recently declared that it's time to "get serious" on immigration by sending troops to the border. Do you have any idea how much harder it is to energize our base for local races when we have a congressional candidate talking this way? I spend so much time trying to convince fellow Democrats that Lampson is on our side, and so much time trying to convince Republicans that he is not. All this triangulation is making me dizzy.

Finally, let us pause and trace back to consider one detail: I got these mailers. They arrived at MY house. Now you're a reader of my blog - Do I look like a swing voter to you?

These mailers are persuasion pieces. They are meant to target likely Gibbs voters. Yet they arrived at the homes of Democrat activists all over the county. My guess - It was sent to any household where at least one person voted in at least one GOP primary. But these out of district mail consultants were ignorant of one anomaly - The 2000 primary, which had no contested Democrat races, but several contested GOP races with "shadow Democrats" like Sandy Bielstein. It's the only way I can account for it. And the failure to screen out hard core Democrats was a major mistake.

One of many in this debacle, I'm afraid.


Blogger Houston said...

Thanks for the update, ugly though it is.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What did you expect from a man who won't even advertise he is a member of the Democratic Party?

5:56 PM  
Anonymous lightseeker said...

I am a member of TMO and it is NOT a "special interest" group. It is literally a grass roots NON-Partisan organization. Its motto is that is has no permanet friends and no fixed enemies.

I make that point not to shoot down your criticism of the sloppy nature of Lampson's ad , but to set the record straight. I also add if the TMO claimed it so, it was so. In my experience they don't make up stuff like that.


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