The state’s political leadership moved this week to publicly acknowledge what reporters at some of the major dailies have been saying for weeks now: the use of emergency leave as severance pay by another name (mostly) is a thing, and not a good one. Depending on your perspective, Speaker Straus either sent up a trial balloon or invested a little political capital in an agenda setting move as the 85th Legislature looms a little closer on the horizon. Speaking of trial balloons, Hillary Clinton launched a big blue one in a reference to competing in Texas in a very good long read profile in New York Magazine, triggering a renewed discussion of her prospects in the land of Hill & Bill’s McGovernite youth as well renewed attention the headaches and heartburn Donald Trump’s approach to Hispanic outreach is causing in the GOP. Conservative opinion leader Bill Kristol’s search for a conservative alternative to Trump in the presidential has apparently led him to one David French. Sadly, there was another shooting on a college campus, which resonated, if probably only briefly, with the ongoing movement in Texas toward the August 1 implementation of campus carry policies on Texas campuses.
Partisan charges of political corruption have flared around the edges of the 2014 Texas elections, yet they haven’t become the focus of media coverage in the marquee races or fundamentally changed their dynamics or our expectations of the outcomes in November.
Why is it that intimations of corruption and political malfeasance stay in our peripheral vision while rarely coming into the kind of Sharpstown-like spotlight that defines an election?
Everybody is nervous about privacy, and most voters don't have a high level of confidence in many public and private institutions. But their level of trust has a lot to do with their political alignment, too.
Texas voters are concerned about public ethics, and about some of the issues that have attached to the governor over the last 12 years — but they're partisan about it, and that has made all the difference for Rick Perry.