Saturday, May 15, 2010

CRASH: What I Learned From Bill White: Choice And Energy Policy

As I previously related, I attended a "town hall" sponsored by a TEA Party outfit from a northern Houston suburb featuring Bill White, the Deemocrat candidate for Texas governor. I listened VERY carefully.

White has made no secret that he hopes to peel off GOP voters (his only hope of winning), and he seems to have settled on a few themes he expects will work to that end.

Talking points:
  1. Local governance is the best governance
  2. He's a strong backer of the Second Amendment ("owns a pistol")
  3. Any notion that Houston under White was a sanctuary city is "a myth and a lie"
  4. Immigration enforcement via an Arizona-type law would damage police function
  5. Cap and Trade isn't the right solution (which may mean it isn't economically invasive enough)
  6. In spite of No. 1 (above), he's good with dictating where kids can go to school
 A major contradiction I found in Mr. White was his stated position about local governance (see No. 1, above), and his EXTREMELY firm...even dogmatic...stance on school choice.  According to White, he can just see no reason why his taxes should go to support your school of choice.  But, also according to White, government schools are not "monopolies".  Everybody has the right to send their kid to private schools, just like Bill White...don't they?

Well, of course not.  As I and many others have noted many times, a right without the means to effect the expression of that right is vacant.  Bill White has millions of dollars, and can effect any choice of school for his children I can imagine.  Most of the rest of us...and especially the poorest inner-city families...are effectively without a choice.  Or the choice comes at excruciatingly high cost.  The result is that Texas parents frequently are facing an effective monopoly in the education of their kids.

That is apparently exactly how Bill White would dictate...and I mean things remain if he were governor.  The question of school choice for Texas families is completely off his table.

On energy policy, as on school choice, Mr. White let a character trait slip though his very carefully crafted "ordinary guy" facade.  Several times...but not too the course of what little give-and-take the forum allowed, White let show a seriously jarring smarminess, a clear case of smart-ass that he quickly drew the curtain back over.  Each time he did it, several people caught him at it.  He very sincerely told us how much he respected the conservative group he was addressing.  Those little glimmers of his real feelings belied his words, though.

White was coquettish on the question of supporting Cap N' Trade, murmuring sweetly that he was "not a scientist", though he clearly supports the notion of man-made global warming.  He did prove he is no scientist by saying that coal-fired electrical generation should be replaced with natural gas to reduce carbon emissions.  Without delving into chemistry, I doubt seriously a Btu from burning gas is much, if any, improvement over one derived from burning coal.  Carbon is carbon.

But what I found most disturbing is that White skirted the issue so carefully.  He must know that his position is at odds with those of the vast bulk of Texans, and he's working hard to obscure it.

All-in-all, I found White less than candid, conflicted on what he believes versus what he tells people, and a fairly doctrinaire liberal.  All of that makes him a lousy candidate for conservative Texans, in my estimation, and nobody I'd care to have governing this state I love.

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