Notes from Evan Smith
"If all goes according to plan -- his plan -- and if the various polls are accurate, Rick Perry will be reelected on November 7, and unless he decides midway through his term that he'd like a different job, he will enter the annals as the longest serving governor in Texas history. Under ordinary circumstances, this would be cause for great celebration, and in the Perry household, otherwise known as the Governor's Mansion, it surely will be. But 2006 is no ordinary political year. Five candidates are competing for the state's top job in a race that can be charitably called chaotic. In addition to the incumbent, who got a promotion in 2000 when his famous boss won the White House and successfully stood for reelection two years later, we have a Democrat, Chris Bell, two independents, Kinky Friedman and wayward Republican Carole Keeton Strayhorn, and a Libertarian, James Werner. This unprecedented free-for-all masquerading as an election guarantees, almost certainly, that the winner will not receive a majority of the vote. Put another way, more than half of the people who bother to participate in our democratic process will cast their ballot for someone other than the person who will serve. Cold comfort to be sure, but comfort nonetheless for 56-year-old Perry, a fifth-generation Texan who first served as a Democratic state legislator from his native West Texas and, later, as a Republican commissioner of agriculture and lieutenant governor. Winning is winning, whatever it takes to advance his aggressively prideful and undeniably conservative agenda -- an agenda that, by the way, has people in two capitols -- Austin and Washington, D.C. -- whispering his name as a possible vice presidential candidate in 2008. For now, he'd surely say, his thoughts are only on 2006. Ours too. "
- Evan Smith, Texas Monthly Talks, Broadcast 10.12.05