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29 November 2001

WSJ Denounces Brown's Tactics

Readers of this site are well aware (probably sick to death) of numerous examples of Houston Mayor Lee Brown's efforts to defeat challenger Orlando Sanchez via the politics of racial division. I've blogged numerous links documenting these despicable tactics, and have tried with no success to interest sites like the OpinionJournal's Best of the Web in some of the more egregious examples (like this one).

Today, the full WSJ Editorial Page picked up on what is going on, although it is not available as a free link. Some of the highlights are as follows:

Frumencio Reyes, the state's Democratic vice chairman, has accused Mr. Sanchez of opposing racial preferences as a city councilman and highlighted the fact that Mr. Sanchez comes from Cuba, not Mexico, as if to suggest that he's not a genuine Hispanic. The Brown campaign put up signs accusing Mr. Sanchez of being "anti-Hispanic," although it took them down after protests.

But the Brown campaign hasn't flinched from reprising one of the most infamous campaign smears ever by exploiting the horrific murder of Texan James Byrd Jr., the black man who was dragged to his death from a pickup truck by three white men in Jasper, Texas in 1998. Houston voters should "fear a city under Orlando Sanchez," warns Mr. Byrd's brother in an automated telephone message sent out by the Brown campaign....

The negative response to last year's sordid NAACP ad [during the Presidential eleciton] ought to have kept such nasty tactics caged up for a while. But the Brown campaign, heavily backed by the national Democratic Party, has decided the only way it can win what looks to be a very close race is to scare blacks into voting and pitting them against the city's growing Hispanic population. Far from ending the phone smear, the Brown campaign told Houston's ABC-TV affiliate that more calls are on the way. Mr. Sanchez says he has nothing to do with anonymous flyers attacking Mr. Brown and is focusing his criticism on Mayor Brown's fiscal mismanagement.

Someone is going to have to govern Houston after Saturday's election, so it's distressing that the winner could take office in a climate of suspicion and anger. Democrats are understandably worried about losing their grip on Hispanic voters, but stoking racial polarization by spreading fear should be beyond the pale.

What is even worse is that Houston is a highly diverse city that is, for the most part, racially harmonious. There is no good reason for any politician to attempt to divide us by race here. But there is a bad reason: liberals like Lee Brown REALLY don't like to lose political power, and will do whatever it takes to retain it. Kudos to the WSJ editorial page for picking up this one.

[Posted @ 04:21 PM CST]

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