Mikal Watts essentially has no online or grassroots support so his campaign is intent on downplaying the tremendous online, grassroots support for Rick Noriega and R.G. Ratcliffe either played to Watts or played right into Watts’ plan.
Ratcliffe ran a piece in
Does this look like a candidate who wouldn’t appreciate his online support?
Rick Noriega live blogging at Yearly Kos.
Fire Dog Lake live blogging HERE
Below is James Aldrete’s statement on behalf of the campaign.
I want to congratulate my friend Jason Stanford for finally selling the story – after a month of trying – on Rick’s comments to a group of mainstream broadcasters. R.G. Ratcliffe of the Houston Chronicle/San Antonio Express News wasn’t his first attempt, Jason has been trying to sell this story for a month now. Of course, Jason had to rely on the last trick in the book, “you wrote something bad about my client, now you have to write something bad about the other guy.”
In case you didn’t see it, R.G. published an article last week on a letter Watts wrote to negotiate a multi-million dollar legal settlement, in which he wasn’t particularly tactful about his donations to members of the Court of Appeals.
Watts’ campaign wanted to even the score, and this is the best they had.
I accompanied Rick to his speaking engagement with the Texas Association of Broadcasters, and upon walking in, I greeted both Jason and Kim Devlin, Watts’ communication director, who were there for only one reason, to trail Rick and play “gotcha” on whatever they could find.
Rick’s speech had two messages – both expounding on his theme of “We the people.” The first was a warning of the downsides to narrow casting, which provides an environment, if not handled responsibly, that encourages division over discussion and makes solving problems more difficult. This is what Bush, Cornyn, Rove, talk radio and the right wing blogosphere have done on a consistent basis, and we must be vigilant not to fall in the same traps. What Jason didn’t share with R.G., or at least what got left out of the article, was Rick’s lead up to what got quoted, where he called out Cornyn for playing up wedge issues like flag burning, Justice Sunday and immigration, while remaining silent on the fact that over 3.700 of our men and women in uniform have paid the ultimate sacrifice for a misguided war.
That’s not an attack on blogs, that’s an attack on what Bush, Rove, and Cornyn have done to bring down the level of political discussion today. And frankly, the only comment Watt’s campaign should be making is “AMEN.”
Rick’s second point was to challenge the mainstream media to get beyond horse race political coverage and to provide more in-depth reporting on the issues. While studies show that most people get their information from local news, too often that makes them better informed about the weather than about the war in Iraq.
The mainstream media has a responsibility to engage people in our political system, and Rick challenged them to live up to it. When it comes to a deeper discussion of the issues, the mainstream media could learn something from the best of the blogs.
The truth is Rick reads blogs, participates on blogs, and is a better informed candidate because of them. He pays tribute to the role blogs have played in building up our small “d” democracy, and recognizes their successes in exposing hypocrisy, and in so doing, brought a higher level of accountability to much of what passes for political debate. That’s not to ignore the Drudges of the world, or
the fact trolls exist on legitimate blogs, intentionally hiding their identities to spread misinformation.
Attacking the politics of division does not take away from the fact that distinctions need to be made, hypocrisy needs to be exposed, and that it is everyone’s responsibility to stand up for their beliefs.
But Rove-style politics that play to the insecurities in human nature, rather than the common good, need to be denounced. And, with the issues on our side, we must be vigilant not to adopt their tactics. You can’t persuade the other side if you’re demonizing them. It’s our job to help Republicans and Independents see facts beyond rhetoric, and out political ploys for what they are – but we can’t keep
Republicans or Independents out of the discussion if we hope to win in states like Texas.
Jason, however, does what political people get paid to do … takes a comment out of context and spreads it to create division, or at the very least doubt.
But no matter what comes out of the opposing campaign, I’m confident Rick will continue to talk about “We the People,” the dangers of the politics of division, and challenge more people to live up to a higher standard. That’s what his campaign is about.
– James Aldrete