Medina is not a "Truther" -- but she's also not a politician

I apologize in advance for another political post, especially to those who don't care about the Texas governor's election, but politics are like a tarbaby...once you get a finger in the mess, it's hard to make a clean break.

In case you haven't heard, Debra Medina's interview on Glenn Beck's radio program yesterday turned out to be an absolute train wreck, both for her and for Beck (although she had a lot more to lose than him, given that he specializes in causing train wrecks). If you missed it, you might want to take a moment to read the transcript posted on Beck's website. I'll wait here.

*whistling* *thumb-twiddling* *heel-rocking*

Pretty cringe-inducing, huh? Now, take a look at what Medina meant to say.

This stands out pretty clearly:
I have never been involved with the 9/11 truth movement, and there is no doubt in my mind that Muslim terrorists flew planes into those buildings on 9/11. I have not seen any evidence nor have I ever believed that our government was involved or directed those individuals in any way.
In order to get a true assessment of the damage done to Medina's campaign for governor, contrast the preceding statement with the Associated Press headline that appears today in newspapers around the state: "Governor candidate Debra Medina: 'Good arguments' US involved in 9/11." While the phrase "good arguments" in that headline are indeed taken directly from Medina's comments, they are also removed from the context that she provided for them: she isn't in possession of all the facts about 9/11, and citizens have the right to question the federal government about everything. She goes on to say that she's not taking a position due to her not having all the facts, and, further, that the issue is irrelevant to the Texas gubernatorial campaign.

Medina's appeal to me all along has been twofold: her passion for state's rights and strict adherence to the US Constitution, and the fact that she's not a career politician. Unfortunately, the latter factor proved to be detrimental yesterday as she gave an unpolished and, frankly, a bumbling answer to a question that someone more experienced would have quickly dismissed. She compounded the problem by going on a tangent about screening her staff that served only to make her sound evasive and unsure. Having heard her speak in person, I know that neither of those descriptions are accurate, but given the absence of nuance in reportage, they're damaging beyond estimation.

The Texas blogosphere is hotly divided today between those who are defending Medina as being honest almost to a fault, and the victim of a nasty, carefully planned setup by Beck, and those who feel that we're at last now seeing the true candidate, an unskilled person in over her head and aligned with fringe political elements.

To me, this was a gigantic misstep for Medina, one that will hurt her already slim chances of getting elected. I was disappointed at her response (while at the same time being outraged at Beck's behavior; but then, he's not a journalist, he's an "entertainer," although his idea of entertainment and mine aren't even in the same universe), and I'm not sure there's enough time before the election for damage control.

Even worse, it's a distraction from the really important issues that should be driving this election:  ensuring that Texas continues to be a leader in preserving and honoring the constitutional rights of states, and ensuring that private property owners in Texas are not overly burdened by governmental interference. To the extent that the Beck interview damages Medina's chances to make that happen, we'll all be losers.


Listening to the interview it sounded to me as if Medina did not understand the question (didn't know what was meant by a "truther"?) or she truly did feel like there could have been some government involvement in 9/11. Either way was a huge (to me) negative to her campaign. Her retraction/clarification on her website does little to change my perception because she gives no reason for her response in the interview. There's still time for her to drag me back on to her bandwagon but the interview was bad. Real bad.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on February 12, 2010 9:40 AM.

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