Don't Shoot! We Know You're Conservative, Tom.

Mr. Right: Dear ex-Mayor Tom Leppert: Please don't shoot a coyote.

We know you're running for the GOP 2012 Senate nomination, so you have to be Mr. Hardcore, anti-gummint pseudo-Tea Party guy. And we realize Governor Good Hair Perry got tons of publicity when he killed a coyote while out jogging in 2010.

But, as much as you'll need name recognition to overcome the long odds of winning, please don't do it. Buzz likes coyotes. We always rooted Wile E. to get that bird.

Not that we suspect that you're a cold-blooded animal killer, but you never know. Heck, we didn't know you were quite the right-winger you apparently are until you quit the mayor's office. That recent Twitter message you sent out criticizing Obama for refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court? Surprised us almost as much as it surprised the members of Dallas' gay and lesbian community. After all, you appeared in two local gay pride parades and your former mayoral chief of staff, Chris Heinbaugh, is gay. Heinbaugh told Unfair Park's Robert Wilonsky that he had no comment on the tweet, and your camp certainly isn't talking about it, but we get it. Principles, loyalty and decency will only get you so far in GOP politics.

Oh, and tweeting in favor of cutting government funding for NPR? We may remember how you supported local arts funding, but folks in the Panhandle won't. Your promise to never raise taxes while calling for the balanced budget amendment? Hey, every Texas schoolchild knows that math is unimportant. Your sudden distaste for earmarks? We know in your heart that doesn't apply to bridges and tollways in Dallas. Condemning government's interference in the private sector? Yes, of course, but downtown really needed another hotel.

We truly understand. Gotta show them conservative bona fides, though Austin-based GOP consultant Royal Masset doesn't seem to think it'll help much. "I was totally shocked when your guy announced he was running," Masset told Buzz. "I don't see how he's going to do it." With 17 major media markets in the state, selling the Leppert Brand (suggested motto: "More rabid than you might think!") is going to be tough. "I would frankly call it an impossibility," Masset says.

OK, that's harsh. But please, let's not let any little coyotes pay the price. How about instead you start wearing a tricorn hat and carrying a musket? That'll get attention. Or you could always shoot a gay guy. What the heck? You've already stabbed them in the back.

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams

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