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Ben Hall in a Dark Room

Caught this on TV yesterday morning ...

I'm not sure how effective this is going to be toward Hall's "Pincer Strategy" goal. On the one hand, it undoubtedly helps Hall identify with African-American voters. I'm sure there are some folks who will find Hall's darkroom mannerisms folksy and good-natured. But the critiques of Annise Parker seem very insider-ish and he doesn't really seem to have any details to offer ehre. Maybe that's what we're supposed to talk about next time. For now, I'm supposed to believe that Mayor Parker is hiding something. I think there are going to be a number of bold-type political consultant names, if not the candidate himself, who realize how invisible their argument is about debates. So far, I haven't heard a natural clamor among normal people for six debates versus one ... or two candidates versus twenty. And if it were my reputation, I wouldn't bank on this ad changing that.

In short, the ad looks like it was devised in an echo chamber, with a faulty idea being what gets echoed in said chamber. Whoever decided to include "grew up poor" with mention of Duke, Harvard, multiple degrees, and a gig at Vinson & Elkins probably shouldn't be allowed to write ad copy in the future. But at least they left out any mention of Hall's longtime residency in Piney Point. Smart on their part.

Via media questioning, Team Hall attempts to spell out some of the detail by offering four areas where they believe Mayor Parker is "hiding" from Houstonians. One of those items is: "Our looming pension liabilities are real. What is Parker doing to address them before it is too late?" A fair enough point, in and of itself. What's odd, though, is that Ben Hall doesn't have a thing to say about the issue on his campaign website.

And since Hall is endorsed by the Firefighters, maybe it would be of interest for him to spell out some facts on how he would deal with this "looming" liability. Would he seek to get a bill carried in the Legislature that would force the Firefighters to negotiate directly with the City? Would he seek to restructure the city's pension obligations (thereby funding them less) or does he see a need to put more funds into local pensions (thereby funding them more)? I think those would make some worthwhile questions if only Hall wouldn't hide from them on his own campaign website. I don't necessarily agree with Parker's position on Firefighter's pensions ... but I at least know where she stands.

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  1. Define “normal people”.

  2. People not named Greg or Perry … for starters 😉

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