Can a Good Democrat Vote for Perry?

True confessions: Many of us carry some secret shame, a memory of youthful indiscretion that we'd rather no one else know. Maybe you shoplifted or felt up a cousin at a family reunion. Hey, it's cool. We understand. Even Buzz has an ugly secret, but since we have no shame, we'll share it with you: We voted Republican. Once.

Look, it was 1980. We were 18, and it was our first time. It was a choice between Ronald Reagan or Jimmy Carter. We felt dirty afterward and have never done it again.

Lately, however, a siren song has been calling us to the dark side. Buzz is seriously considering voting in the GOP primary next March. Why? Well, a poll published this week in the new online journal The Texas Tribune found that Governor Rick Perry is leading Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison by 12 percentage points in the GOP gubernatorial primary. Both Hutchison and Perry are polling far better than any potential Democratic candidate. In red-state Texas, that means we could end up with four more years with the poster boy for conservative wing nuts in the governor's mansion. So, we're seriously considering voting for...for...oh, don't make Buzz say the name. We're thinking of voting for her just to avoid Perry.

Yeah. It's effed up. Try saying this with a straight face: Kay Bailey Hutchison, the progressives' choice.

Obviously, we needed a little spiritual guidance in this matter (Pray the GOP away!), so we called Dallas County Democratic Party chair Darlene Ewing and asked her if this might be a good plan. We were shocked, shocked by what she said. First, with several contested local Democratic races on next spring's ballot, she'd rather Democrats not party-switch at all. Second, if voters decide they must, she suggests voting for Perry.

What?

Perry's drive to the hard, hard right has fuzzied up Hutchison's image, Ewing says, but don't be fooled. "She's totally conservative."

"Our chances statewide are better if Perry is the candidate," Ewing says. "Everybody thinks Kay Bailey is this moderate [but] she voted with Bush 95 percent of the time...Vote for Perry because it gives the Democrats a chance."

Ewing is a bit of a gambler, it seems, willing to risk four more years of Perry for a better shot of taking the whole prize. But vote for Perry?

"We all have to make sacrifices," Ewing says.

You know, maybe we'll cancel our grand strategy and just stick with the Democratic primary. Like Meat Loaf says: We'll do anything for love, but we won't do that.

 
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