Earlier this afternoon, I went to KVUE, the Belo station in Austin, to tape a TV interview with WFAA (Dallas) reporter Brad Watson about the governor’s race. Afterward, I learned that Kay Bailey Hutchison had said that she wouldn’t resign her seat until after the March 2 Republican primary.
Watson asked me how bad was the news of the Rasmussen poll. I said that it was nothing particularly new, that she has been trailing by double digits in every poll but one since last spring. “The good news is that there is no more bad news,” I said. He asked why I thought Hutchison was running so poorly. I said it was because that she had never been able to provide a rationale for why she is running or say what she would do for Texas. Perry has a good positive message (the economy and job creation) and a good negative message (she’s a creature of Washington). She has neither.
He asked about whether a media campaign could make the difference. I said that she needs to have an effective media campaign, but that meant telling people why she was running for governor and why Texans should fire Rick Perry. He asked about whether it would make a difference if she could bring new voters to the primary. I said that she needs to try to appeal to the November Republicans who do not usually vote in the primary, but that in doing things like bringing Dick Cheney to Texas, she alienates the moderate Republicans whose support she needs.
He really pressed me about when she should resign. I said it was a mistake to talk about it as much as they had and she should say it is an internal campaign matter and she will make the decision based on what is best for the campaign and best for the people of Texas whom she represents in the Senate. He kept on pressing. I said that the question wasn’t when she should resign, it was if she should resign. And the answer should be no, she shouldn’t resign. There is no upside to her resigning. As long as she is a sitting senator, she can continue to raise money in Washington and she can continue to have access to the national cable news shows.
The interview may never run, because the news of her non-resignation may trump everything that we talked about.