The MSNBC Interview
Tue August 10, 2010 4:16 pm

In response to Eileen's question, below, about whether the mountains were real or fake: They were fake. Colorado Springs is situated right at the base of the mountains. It is a magnificent setting, but if you go two miles east of I-25--say, to the airport, it is plains, plains, plains all the way to the Mississippi/Missouri. MSNBC caught up with me in Grand Junction (the junction being where the Gunnison River joins the Colorado) almost to the Utah border. Unfortunately, there was no TV studio they could use for an interview, so I said that my wife and I would drive to Colorado Springs, where I had hoped we could stop anyway. The interview was originally scheduled for the studios of the NBC affiliate, but then the New York schedulers discovered that there was a state-of-the-art studio at Focus on the Family. So we drove to Colorado Springs and the next morning I headed north to the studio.

I'm not the most punctual person in the world, but I had a GPS and printed directions for 8605 Explorer. Just as the GPS gal with a Brit accent was giving me the crucial directions, MSNBC called to ask where I was. I couldn't hear the directions. I was able to backtrack and get to the Focus on the Family campus, a large compound with buildings set back from the street so that it was impossible to find addresses. But I arrived on time at 8605. Alas, the door was locked. Meanwhile, my cell phone was ringing with NBC wanting to know where I was. Fortunately, a janitor was walking up to the door. He wanted to know who I was. I wanted to know where I was. Wrong address! The TV studio, the janitor said, was in another building, 8655 Explorer. I drove up and parked my car in the tow-away, fire zone, red curb area as close to the front door as I could and a very worried producer met me inside. We raced up the stairs and I made it on time.

I thought Chuck Todd did a great job with the interview. (It didn't hurt my opinion of him that he cited my blog post about Obama's trip.) He didn't just ask short questions; he began his questions with a bit of a discourse. I felt that the interview was more like a conversation than an effort to get me to say something controversial. I was surprised by how long the segment was. In the end, he asked me if White had a "snowball's chance" and I said that "snowball's chance" was about right. (I did add that White had been a very good mayor of Houston.) Todd said that David Plouffe, Obama's 2008 campaign manager, believes that Texas will be a swing state in future3 elections. I pointed out that Perry usually gets about a third of the Hispanic vote and added that Hispanic turnout, which is the basis of Plouffe's optimism, is increasing only at the rate of around 1/2% per election cycle, and at that rate it would be the 2020s before Texas would be a swing state.

Colorado Springs struck me as a very strange place politically. My wife, who took our car to be serviced at the Nissan dealership, told me that she asked workers if she could change the channel from Fox News to MSNBC because her husband was going to be on TV. She got a flat "NO" --the TV is ALWAYS on Fox News.

For reading material, the dealer offered copies of "The Constitutionalist Today." I was particularly interested in an article headlined, "GOP: Party of Unity or Division?" The piece, written by the tabloid's managing editor, voiced considerable skepticism about a unity party hosted by the county GOP after the primary election, which is tonight. (Tuesday). This passage particularly caught my eye:

"Why so skeptical [the managing editor writes]. Could it be all the mudslinging, dirty political tactics, verbal attacks, and downright disrespect the GOP backed candidates have displayed toward their conservative opponents? Could it be the musings of the state GOP as to who they would put on the gubernatorial ticket if their handpicked man dropped out of the race? Or perhaps it is the latest rumor that if their man loses to the most conservative candidate in the primary, the GOP will not support or back the conservative candidate.....Their display of arrogance toward the conservatives and the Tea Party movement is shameless and disgusting. How can they not realize the consequences of their actions will be to drive people away from the Republican party."

The reason that I posted this passage from an obscure publication in Colorado Springs is that it indicates the tension between the far right/Tea Party conservatives and the mainstream conservatives. This mutual contempt has the potential to destroy Republican tickets across the country. I do not believe it will happen in Texas because Rick Perry has been so strident about attacking the federal government. There is always going to be some degree of tension between the far right and the mainstream, but Perry saw the rise of the Tea Party before almost anyone else in the country and jumped out in front of it with talk about secession and the Tenth Amendment. That will keep the Texas GOP from splitting this year.

Back in Texas tomorrow.

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...

Most Read

  • Viewed
  • Past:
  • 1 week