Thursday, October 4, 2012

The “Likeability” Factor

A frequent commenter on my blog, who in the past has always posted very pro-Marquez comments, and I are having a bit of a debate about the recent actions of State Representatives Marquez and Gonzalez.

Essentially “Max Powers” is stating that being a “nice guy” is everything in politics. I would submit that Max is half-right. It's everything in campaigning, that's for sure. I myself have made the comment on more than one occasion that before people will vote for you they must first like you.

That explains why a lot of candidates never win and why some are no long in office. A point that Max makes pretty well by giving some solid examples.

"Yes, Norma, at least on paper, had everything to be State Senate, 14 years of experience, access to money, etc. But she was not anywhere as likeable as Jose Rodriguez.

Hillary, at least on paper, was the stronger candidate, but Obama was more likeable" 

And Max is mostly accurate in his assessment. However I should point out that likeability is both relative and not fool-proof.

Representative Naomi Gonzalez is more likeable than her predecessor. I don't think anyone would dispute that. But overall, she's not very likeable and has done absolutely nothing to reach out to people, despite the fact that she's been advised by many of her own political allies that she should do so.

If you put a well-funded candidate that is likeable up against her, she'd be in trouble.

And as it turns out Marquez is another example. Her primary opponent Aaron Barraza was much more likeable than Marquez. She won because she was the better candidate and more qualified. Not because people found her more likeable. Lets face it Barraza is much more likeable.

But lets get to the real point here. There is a difference between campaigning and governance. And we don't elect people to campaign, we elect them to govern.

And in terms of governance the measure of effectiveness is success. Margo only had two bills pass. Thats it. Thats not effectiveness by any measure. Apparently his likeability didn't help him pass any bills.

The reason we have political parties is about values. What they represent. Anyone who is in the legislature knows that fundamental fact. I need only point to the extremist legislation proposed by the Republicans as an example of exactly what I mean.

The dynamic of bills making their way through the legislation has everything to do with party affiliation. That underscores further the ineffectiveness of Margo. I have challenged several people to point to anything that has been accomplished in the legislature this last session that happened because we had Dee Margo in the delegation.

Its not like I haven't voted for the occasional Republican when I felt the Republican was the better candidate. Don Minton is an example. I told you people about Barraza and no one listened. I was right then and I stand by it. I stand by it because I do my best to make sure the right Democrats are elected in March so that I can say vote straight ticket in November with a straight face.

And I'm being consistent here. I have been both critical and complimentary of both Reps based on their voting record. So for me, this is about the values of the Party. Don't confuse that for the personalities of the Party because many of the loud-mouth has-beens wouldn't know the Party's values if it bit them in their old nalgas.

It is the height of hypocrisy for Representatives Marquez and Gonzalez to run away from their Margo endorsements by saying they are solid Democrats. You can't tout your Democratic credentials and justify supporting someone from a party who is solidly working against the very agenda you are trying to hide behind.

The Democratic Party stands for the protection of a woman's right to choose, for social justice, for labor, for comprehensive immigration reform, for equality, and for education, among other things. Dee Margo and the Republicans stand in direct opposition to what we advocate for.

The idea that Marquez' and Gonzalez' personal relationships with Margo is more important than the values our Party advocates for demonstrates that their actions are very similar to a former elected officials actions that former Senator Shapleigh once characterized as a “Me, Me, Me Attitude”.

And lets keep this in perspective. Its one thing to not go out and help another Democrat. Its an entirely different thing when someone actively works against the Democratic candidate. That is a declaration of war against that candidate.

What's worse is that Representative Marquez's explanation about when she decided to support Margo doesn't hold water either. If you look at Moody's website you can see that Moody declared he was a candidate in HD 78 in the first week of March. A full two weeks later Marquez said she was supporting Moody. That means her story doesn't jive.

My question is this? Who in the hell is advising those two? Who thought endorsing a Republican was a good idea?

The bottom line is this. Their endorsement of Margo is basically putting their stamp of approval on the Republican agenda. At that point your voting record doesn't mean anything because personal relationships for you mean more than the needs of your constituents.

I'm pretty sure those two just put a political target on their backs. They will likely get well-funded opponents in their next election and be a priority race for various lobbies around the state of Texas.


Max Powers said...

You're missing the forest for the trees when you talk about how many bills Margo passed and comparing it with Moody. Conservatives, by their own definition, support limited government. Thereby you are not going to pass a lot of bills.

Regarding Margo, he is one of over hundred Republicans in the House. If you think you add Moody, you will stop the GOP steamroller, you're delusional.

What exactly are Democratic credentials? If you want to play that game, there are certainly many things a liberal can call out Obama on.

Barraza likeable? I know you said he looks like an A&F model, but every time that guy spoke he would actually lose support.

The truth is the people that did not like Marquez and Gonzalez were not going to like them no matter what. The Morenos and Norma, EPYD, etc. made up their mind about Marquez, to an extent Gonzalez as well. Their opinion has not changed and never will. Marquez and Gonzalez had nothing to lose by supporting Margo. Maybe if the Democratic Party itself was less acidic, then you would not have this problem.

Regarding political target, Marquez and Gonzalez have been in tough races. They know what it takes to win, their would-be opponents though might not.

Anonymous said...

Right you are. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

Moody made the mistake of endosing norma in the democrat 2010 race. norma voted for craddick and was called a cradick d. Mary Gonzalez is another one to stay aaway from norma. reyes supported dee margo in his run against elliot shapleigh. The moody/margo race is not county wide. I support Marissa Marquez and Naiomi Gonzalez. Look at all those reyes staffers who are going to vote for the republican for the 16th congressional district.

The Lion Star said...

Wait a minute, you can't have it both ways. You can't say that having a Republican in the delegation is beneficial to El Paso and then run behind the fact that Republicans are supposed to be for limited government. I would argue Reagan and Bush II knew nothing of limited government.

Never did I argue that having Moody would somehow stop the steamroller. You are having an articifial argurment over something I never said. My argument is that Margo has shown ZERO benefit to El Paso by being in the delegation. By contrast, Moody has been beneficial.

Barraza was much more likeable, he just didn't inspire trust and confidence. Marquez and Gonzalez have both been in tough campaigns during their first go around. But its easier the first time. All you have to do is criticize the incumbent. Its a much more difficult thing to do when you are having to defend a record, votes, and now in this case, support for a Republican.

I assure you, there will be an impact on each of them.

Max Powers said...


You undermine your own point regarding Barraza saying he was likeable, yet did not inspire trust or confidence. If you are not seen as trustworthy and do not inspire confidence, you are NOT likeable. People won't like you. Period.

Regarding Margo limited government, we are not talking about Bush II nor Reagan. Yes, having a Republican or at least Republican friendly is important for EP on big issues. Let's give credit where credit is due, Norma played her political cards right when in the House when she aligned with a Republican Speaker, when EP's lone Republican refused to do so. While everyone was throwing bombs, Chavez took hard votes to get the medical school done. So yes, it does matter. Now Austin and the Valley are trying to follow EP's led on getting a medical school.

Moody will be persona non grata in Republican-dominated Austin when it comes to lobbying for issues such as the medical school or UTEP. Margo, on the other hand...

If Texas were more evenly divided, I would say, "Okay, Jaime you have point". But Texas is far from purple.

You talked about electing people to govern not campaign, well I am sorry, but running on pet issues such as abortion is not governing. All that is throwing cheap red meat to get special interest money and press releases.

There can be an impact. That's fine. But there was an impact on them no matter what.