Some days there’s not much to write about except the silly stuff, and there’s nothing sillier than the flap over how the names of the independent candidates for governor should appear on the ballot this November. Carole Keeton Strayhorn’s nickname is NOT “Grandma,” and Secretary of State Roger Williams is correct to rule that it’s a part of her political slogan, “One tough grandma.” Not that Strayhorn cares. By the time early voting starts, we’ll have seen a hundred Strayhorn commercials ending with, “One tough grandma.” All along this has been a twofer: If Williams agrees to the nickname, Strayhorn gets to remind voters who may not aware of her latest married name of who she is; if he disagrees, she gets hundreds of thousands of dollars of free publicity in newspaper and TV stories and blogs desperate for items. I’m grateful for the material, but I can’t quite get rid of the idea that the Strayhorn campaign has tended to view the governor’s race as a video game in which the object is to score points by zapping Rick Perry and his toadies in made-up battles. That isn’t how elections are won and lost.
Williams also has said that the name by which candidate Friedman is known across the nation cannot be used except in conjunction with his given first name of . . . do you know it? I didn’t. It’s Richard. Kinky should just go to court, change his name legally, and dare Williams to reject it. In this instance, the Secretary’s position is wrong enough to make me stop feeling bad about inadvertently forgetting to include him in a list of prospective candidates for 2010 in a recent story I wrote about the governor’s race and who might succeed James Richard “Rick” Perry.