I don’t mean quit the Senate. I mean quit talking about when she is going to quit the Senate.
She provided more fodder for the Perry campaign yesterday by going on talk radio in Dallas (Mark Davis) and hemming and hawing all over the place. This is from today’s Perry press release:
Today Senator Hutchison continues to waffle on when or if she will resign, demonstrating that she remains more concerned with her own political interests than those of the people of Texas. The Senator said today that she wants to fight health care legislation with every bone in her body. Do these comments mean she is already abandoning her opposition and pledge to lead the fight against cap-and-trade legislation, which will cost Texas hundreds of thousands of jobs? Nobody really knows what the Senator is trying to communicate, including her own campaign. One thing is clear: As the Dallas Morning News has reported, the Senator has been absent from her committee’s work on health care legislation.
The release continues by serving up various waffles:
October or November?
“Then the actual leaving of the Senate will be sometime - October, November - that, in that time frame.”
- Sen. Hutchison on the Mark Davis Show, July 30, 2009
“… if he doesn’t run, in which case I would be able to then stay in the Senate all the way to the end.”
- Sen. Hutchison to NPR, July 30, 2009
By the end of 2009?
“Some time before the end of the year.”
- Sen. Hutchison to the Dallas Morning News, Aug. 18, 2009
Not at all?
The Dallas Morning News quoted Sen. John Cornyn on Oct. 8, 2009, saying, “I believe she’s taking suggestions from a number of people about the timing of that, whether she steps down not at all, or whether she steps down earlier and how that would impact a special election.”
On Oct. 13, 2009, Sen. Hutchison again appeared on the Mark Davis Show but evaded his questions.
From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on the same day:
Davis asked if she might stay in her seat until the end of the year.
“I can’t say anything right now because I don’t know,” Hutchison said. “Every day in Washington, some new bad thing is coming up.”
Davis pushed further, asking if she might stay in the Senate through next year’s March primary.
“Well, a lot of people are suggesting that,” Hutchison said. “That’s not what I want to do. That’s not what I intend to do but … right now I want to just see what comes next. When is health care finished? I want to stay and fight with every bone in my body against the government takeover of health care.”
* * * *
I understand that the issue of when and if Hutchison leaves the Senate is an important decision. My advice would be not to leave until Congress has adjourned for the year. As long as she is in the Senate, she can raise money and get free airtime on the national media. But the one thing she ought not do is make this decision into a public drama. It looks as if she is scared to death to make a decision. Fortunately for her, only about ten people read the daily online crossfire between the campaigns.
Isn’t there somebody in the Hutchison campaign who can impose some message discipline? How hard is it to say to her, “Repeat after me: ‘This is an internal campaign decision. My first priority is to continue to represent Texas in the United States Senate. The people of Texas care about my record and about Rick Perry’s record. That is what I intend to talk about, not campaign strategy.’”