Question One: How do you know it's the slow political season?
Answer: Lazy political pundits are busy banging out 'won/loss' opinions on campaign ads.
Question Two: How do you know your political pundit is lazy and/or not especially creative?
Answer: See above.
In retrospect, we shouldn't really be all that surprised. Burka's best political days were spent kow-towing with the Bush inner-circle. Once they left Austin for D.C., his days as a tuned-in political reporter came scratching to a halt. Casey's best days were spent in San Antonio writing stem-winders about the criminal justice system there. He doesn't have the institutional knowledge of Houston government, the Rolodex (obviously) or the desire to become a really good Metro/State columnist, so he obviously skims the interwebs for column ideas. That's great...if you're an unpaid blogger, but not so great if you're being paid to be the lead Metro columnist at the biggest political blog (and former newspaper of record) for America's fourth largest city. (With an editorial board that's turning getting it wrong into an art-form.)
This is the second news non-story that I'm surprised is garnering so much attention in the media. When you consider the other, more important local and state-level issues that would benefit from the in-depth treatment a columnist can provide, one wonders whether good, issues oriented column-writing is going the way of the newspaper industry?
Most bloggers, self included, lack the resources to provide the level of in-depth reporting found in a well-researched column*, most lack the sense of journalism as well. The fact is most bloggers (not all) are ideological and partisan in nature. It's very rare to find someone willing to do something for free without the strong, motivating influence that political ideology provides. The upside to this is spirited debate. The downside, as we've seen here, is lackluster, predictable political commentary when the established media decide to punt.