Implications of the James White revelations
Sat May 19, 2012 9:14 am

The first obvious point to make is that somebody failed to vet White. The question that should be asked of every candidate for office is, "Have you ever done something that could cause you a problem if it becomes public?" In the White campaign, who did the vetting? Some consultant's head ought to roll.

The second obvious point to make is that the fleas are going to land on somebody. As of now, the number one candidate is Rick Perry, who endorsed White. Perry made a big show of going around the state and bestowing endorsements. That's all well and good if you know what you're doing, but if something goes wrong, the fleas start to circle. Perry is going to be asked if he stands by his endorsement, or if he is going to walk it back. The fleas are going to land on TLR too. As I wrote in a post yesterday, TLR is playing a dangerous game. They are "all in" against veteran legislators, and if something were to go wrong, they're going to be in big trouble. Well, something has gone very wrong, and they're about to be in big trouble.

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about how unusual it was for statewide officials to endorse in legislative races. Some readers took me to task, saying that it happened with some frequency. I'm not going to debate that point. My sense is that it is rare for state officials to endorse as far down the ballot as state legislative races, but even if I am wrong about that, I think that for a high ranking state official to involve himself or herself in endorsing candidates in obscure local races is foolish. At least Combs had a reason to endorse, being desperate to pander to the far right. As for Perry, he was looking for a way to remain relevant. Endorsements are not risk-free. They can come back to bite you if the candidate you endorse loses or self-destructs. Perry spent his political capital on something that didn't matter at all. If several of his chosen candidates lose, it is going to embarrass him, and if James White self-destructs, the governor's influence is going to take a hit.

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