Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In case you missed it....

Texas made the New York Times again. I know this because my Tuesday paper was waiting for me right outside my door yesterday morning. Yay! This time, The Paper of Record featured an article written about their junior Senator's presidential campaign and the "walkin' around money" Team Clinton passed out to politiqueros here in Houston and South Texas:

The Clinton campaign made payments of $80 to $125 to more than 200 people in Houston, and $100 to $200 to 170 people in the McAllen and Brownsville areas near the Mexican border.

The Clinton campaign did not respond to several requests for comment. Hari Sevugan, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, drew a distinction between the money it paid to college students, who he said were enthusiastic supporters to begin with, and the payments by the Clinton campaign, which he described as an effort to buy influence among important constituencies.

It is unclear whether the payments made much of a difference. Mrs. Clinton did sweep the border areas of Texas by wide margins, helping her win the primary by about 100,000 votes, of nearly 2.9 million cast, but she had already had a strong base of support among the region’s Hispanics. And Mr. Obama carried Houston and other urban areas where black voters formed a crucial bloc of support.

Here in Houston, the Obama campaign resisted the "shakedown" by many people and at least one public figure (and you know who you are). It's been widely suggested that the reason Sen. Obama didn't do better in Philadelphia is because his campaign refused to pay the locals the walkin' around money they are accustomed to getting from various candidates at election time.
If there is one practice that should be abolished, it is this one. I am all for campaign workers getting paid for the work they do in the field. Hell, I am one of those campaign workers. What I despise is the "pay to play" old-school game that equivocates the hard work of true believers in this democracy with the sheisty patron/patrona system that gives Latinos in politics a bad name.

Extortion sucks. Anyone who plays this game is a liar, a cheater and yes - deserves to lose.

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