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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

As Election Nears, Parties Should Keep Eyes on Road

With yesterday’s runoff election complete, the Texas primaries have now ended. However, the bitter feelings have not.

Months ago, before everything really heated up, I wrote about how Texas Democrats were going to have to adapt to having competitive primaries once again and not allow it to be an embittering process. In other words, get over the primary and move toward November with a united front.

As the election season wore on, I came to realize just how wishful my thinking might have been. Among both Democrats and Republicans, the venom has flowed quite freely, and I don’t see a lot of these former adversaries holding hands and skipping down the road together any time soon.

I had forgotten just how ruthless Republicans could be with one another. Back when they were winning every race in sight, they did a great job of presenting a rosy facade. One would have thought they were holding hands and singing “Kumbaya” on a regular basis.

Now that the GOP wheels appear to be coming off, so is the facade. One only has to look at two local examples, races for Harris County District Attorney and Congress (District 22), to see that the knives were out with full force. In fact, just reading the newspaper coverage about the DA race, one could easily imagine Kelly Siegler wanting to re-enact her famous courtroom scene by tying Pat Lykos up in a bed and stabbing her repeatedly.

It wasn’t much better between Pete Olson and Shelley Sekula Gibbs as they battled to face Democratic Congressman Nick Lampson. Olson struck first with a radio ad that sounded like something from Radio Mystery Theatre, complete with the shocking, I mean shocking, revelation that Sekula Gibbs had once demonstrated a shred of sympathy for illegal immigrants and had taken a pro choice stand. Heresy!

Sekula Gibbs responded by correctly pointing out Olson’s carpetbagger bonafides. She also provided some comic relief with what has to be one of the greatest Freudian slips in the history of politics. While saying she lives by the medical creed of “do no harm,” she was going to impress the audience by first saying the phrase in Latin. However, she mistakenly said “caveat emptor,” which means “buyer beware.”

But the Democrats have had their fair share of family fighting as well, much of it produced by what’s happening on the national level. As the presidential race has dragged on, tempers have flared among supporters. There have been accusations of racism, sexism, lying, extreme body odor and just general unseemliness. Okay, maybe not the last two but you get the picture.

With the heightened level of attacks all the way around, it will be hard for both sides to simply mend fences and move on. But whichever party does the better job of it stands a much better chance of celebrating come fall.

Everyone would be wise to read chapter six of Chris Matthews’ “Hardball,” the best political guide book ever written. The chapter is titled “Don’t Get Mad; Don’t Get Even; Get Ahead,” and it wisely explains why the pursuit of vengeance is such a wasteful effort in politics.

Matthews quotes former Maryland Gov. Marvin Mandel who said, “Don’t spend your life looking through a rearview mirror.”

Obviously, easier said than done. We’ll soon see who can actually heed the good advice.

(Originally published by Examiner Newspaper Group)

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