Campaign Central 2/17: The Negative Spots versus Betty Brown and Nathan Macias
Here are links to the ads funded by horseracing interests against Betty Brown and Nathan Macias:
Betty Brown “Followers”
Nathan Macias “Courage”
Here is the text of the spot against Betty Brown:
[Male voice] There are leaders in Austin and there are followers . Betty Brown is not a leader / She followed her party bosses when they told her to vote for spending 23 billion dollars of your money on new government programs [citing HB 2785, record vote #1157]. She followed the utility companies when they donated to her campaign, then raised your electric rates by 56%. With as much at stake, should we reelect Betty Brown ? B-aa-d idea. This election, we can do better. Vote for change on March 4.
Compared to the Phil King spot, this one is weak. I don’t think voters care whether their representative is a leader–or, perhaps I should say, they care about a lot of other things before whether they care if she is a leader. The point is too vague. The charge that “she followed the utility companies” doesn’t make sense. So they donated to her campaign. Did she take any action that allowed them to raise their rates? It’s one thing to say Phil King takes money from the industries he regulates. If Betty Brown is a just a follower (and she is), she is unlikely to be responsible for that 56% rate increase. If she is responsible, nothing in the ad says so. Because she isn’t.
Finally, what is all this about HB 2785? This was a Ken Paxton bill to provide more property tax relief by increasing the school district M&O tax compression rate. The fiscal note was around $2.5 billion. How can this result in “spending 23 billion dollars on new government programs?” Nor could the ad refer to the 2005 session. HB 2785, whatever it was, died in committee. This appears to be a bogus charge.
Now, the text of the anti-Macias ad:
[Opening video of an ostrich with its head in the sand, accompanied by a male voice: Nathan Macias thinks this is what passes for political courage in Austin. He should know. He hid his head when he had the chance to vote against 23 billion dollars in new government spending . He said fine when big utility companies raised our electric rates. He even kept quiet as college tuition rates soared. With so many challenges facing Texas today, don’t you deserve someone in Austin who won’t stick his head in the sand . We can do better than Nathan Macias. This election, vote for change.
I have no sympathy for Nathan Macias. He deserves this ad. What he and Craddick and Leininger did to Carter Casteel is being done to him. Still, this is scummy politics. Whatever else might be said about Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Macias, he has served his country in uniform, and he ought not to have his courage questioned. As for the substance of the video, there is no substance. The 23 billion dollars in new government spending appears to be bogus. Macias didn’t say “fine” when electric rates went up or keep quiet when college tuition rates went up. The implication that he somehow aided and abetted increases in electric rates and college tuition is totally false: He wasn’t in the Legislature when electric rates and college tuition were deregulated.
If I could write the election laws, here’s what I would do: I would outlaw all independent expenditures (except in contitutional amendment elections). All other campaign expenditures should come from funds donated to the candidate himself. And the candidate must be the one speaking the words on screen, not off, and not through someone’s anonymous voice. I guess someone is going to tell me that this violates the Constitution. Well, as we’ve heard, the Constitution is not a suicide pact, and the hidden money that is now being used in the name of free speech is toxic to the body politic.
In the interest of fairness to Nathan Macias, I am going to post two YouTube links to pro-Macias videos:
1) This is your standard bio spot:
2) This is an endorsement — three minutes and forty-five seconds long — to Macias from David Barton, the president of Wallbuilders, a pro-family organization and one of America’s leading evangelicals, and the immediate past vice-president of the Texas Republican party.
Finally, here is a two-minute campaign video featuring Macias’s primary opponent, Doug Miller. It’s one of the better bio spots: