Bill White: Grumpy Gus for Guv

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Posted June 16, 2010 by Jimmy Fowler in Blotch

Here’s a good piece from the Texas Observer that breaks down Dem candidate Bill White’s management style as both mayor of Houston and as energy and investment executive. As much detail as the reporting provides on White’s resume, the story leaves you – at least, it left me — with little sense of what kind of governor White would be. I think that’s the fault of the candidate’s uncommunicative style.

I’m the first person to rail against politicians who try to be folksy characters, moral leaders, or hip entertainers. Perry’s podium-pounding at the recent Republican state convention in Dallas was as hollow as his coyote-killing rhetoric. But White doesn’t just come across as dull – in interviews I’ve heard, he sounds downright surly. He conveys no enthusiasm for the job of governor. And he appears singularly uninterested in courting Texas progressives.

For instance: He’s against the legalization of both casino gambling and pot. For the record, I didn’t expect White to champion poker-playing tokers during his campaign. (That was supposed to be Kinky’s job). But the Texas state deficit is sizable, a majority of Texans support casino gambling as a revenue source, and the California ballot initiative on pot is coming up in November. You’d think White would at least bother to say “There’s a case to be made for…” to please his Democratic base before explaining his “no” positions. Instead, he curtly declines the discussion and, in one interview I heard, compared pot smokers to heroin users. If Bill were one of Snow White’s dwarfs, he’d be Grumpy. Right now, I’m Apathetic.


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