Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We can do better, we're the 2nd largest State in the Union.

So, about that budget...Paul Burka, Burkablog @ Texas Monthly

I don’t get it.
We know this Paul, we understand that you don't "get" it.  And still you're treated by the State's lockstep political media as some type of political savant, that you know where "all the bodies are buried" and that you understand the inner-workings of Texas bicameral legislature and that you understand what's going on.

Except you don't Paul.  You don't understand what's happened to politics in Texas over the last 20 years, you don't understand how the State works since W left, and Perry took the reins. You've decided to live in an old-school, the-way-we-used-to-do-things-in-Texas, howdy pardner, handshake and a smile bubble and the State has passed you buy.  The thing is Paul, Texas has just come full circle.  Instead of the Democrats dominating state politics within their party, Republicans are now doing the same.  Yes, there are less moderates, in both parties and politics has devolved into a "woe is me" pity party by the supposedly wounded side but, and this is important, it's still the same one-party rule that Texas has experienced since Reconstruction, only the letters behind the names have changed.

To be fair, this isn't all your fault Paul.  Your contemporaries aren't any better.

On one side we have Wayne Slater the Dallas Morning News political columnist with the Karl Rove obsession and a habit of appearing on Current TV, the ultra-left Al Gore founded TV channel that recently sold out to oil-money funded Al Jazeera.  Wayne's current idea of a witty riposte is to throw around the vulgarity "tea-baggers" at anyone slightly to the right of Bill Clinton.  When he's not pimping his next Karl Rove book that is.

On the other side we have Patricia Kilday-Hart the former Texas Monthly cub reporter at the capital who's stepping into the columnist role despite exhibiting no insight that's particularly unique among her peers. If anything, Kilday-Hart learned too well from you.  Believing that things have really changed in Texas when, in actuality, they're much the same.

Oh sure, there's the usual batch of ideological writers, Bud Kennedy fills the role of angry progressive just fine and Ross Ramsey, now writing for the Newsish Texas Tribune, is playing the role of above-the-fray, old-school, liberal just fine.  Republicans, to their detriment, have ceded the public space to you, choosing to retreat to Fox News and Lord Dan Patrick's talk radio channel and that's on them. I don't hold you responsible for the Republicans decision not to communicate.

The big problem with Texas' lockstep political media Paul is that y'all are still living in the agrarian, Democratic controlled historic age while the rest of the State is moving on.  Yes, you pay lip service to Texas vibrancy being in her cities, and much of this is true, but you still want the Texas Lege to run itself in the good ol' boy style where everyone is a friend and policy differences are something to be hashed out in smoke-filled back rooms over a Lone Star while Willie strums his guitar in the corner.  It's not that we still don't like Willie, we do, but politically the State has diversified.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't some slack-jawed "liberal bias in media" rant Paul, quite the contrary.  This is a running commentary on quality, not ideology.  But the point is that you have to at least have an understanding of the majority party mind-set in order to commentate on it in an intelligent manner.  Where you, and your contemporaries fail Paul, is in your inability to do that. In that sense you, especially, have overstayed your welcome.  Maybe it's time to change roles, to write your memoirs. I'm guessing those would be pretty interesting.  Perhaps it's time to let some new blood into the political trough and see what they come up with?

I'm not sure who that would be because, truthfully, the media bench is weaker right now than that of the Texas Democrats, but maybe it's time to get someone in there on a pass/fail basis?  Surely there's someone on the backbench.  Robert T. Garrett of the DMN possibly?

Too often the lament from the media is that people don't pay enough attention to the local politics which plays a very real, and hefty, role in crafting legislation that affects their daily lives.  What the media forgets is that the street runs both ways.  In order to possess information most people need to be provided with information.  Right and left wing blogs, Pay-wall protected inside-baseball gossip sites and political writers churning out the same clap-trap aren't going to get it done. To quote Pogo Possum "I have seen the enemy, and he is us."  By "us" I mean Texas' LockStep political media Paul, and you're the so-called "Dean".

It's time to either step up or move out of the way.  Meaningless analysis like "I don't get it" is a disservice to your readers and Texas.

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