Generalissimo Craig Watkins: Thin-Skinned, Perfect and Nuts

On January 13, I wrote a column for the paper about Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins and how thin-skinned and paranoid he seems to be getting.

Two days after my column came out Watkins issued a new policy directive to his entire staff telling them they are no longer allowed to talk to reporters. To explain his new policy Watkins gave an interview to Jennifer Emily at The Dallas Morning News in which Watkins said he considers being thin-skinned a good thing.

"I like thin-skinned," Watkins told Emily. "I like someone that's going to be dedicated to the small things because that means I'm getting, as a citizen, better government. I'm getting someone that pays attention. I'm getting someone that's looking out for my interests and that's not making decisions politically."

And may I say, I like that quote, because it's soooo crazy. It's just right up the middle, center-stage, full spotlight, totally crazed in the head.

There were other good lines. Emily asked him what he might change if he had his first term to do over, and he said he wouldn't change anything he did in his term as prosecutor, because, "I think we pretty much exercise our duties as prosecutors almost perfectly."

Not competently. Not well. Not even very well compared to prosecutors in Ukraine. Watkins executed his responsibilities "almost perfectly."

Now that one I might like even better than the first quote, because it's even crazier. First of all, it's crazy because it's not true, it not being a part of the human condition to do much of anything "almost perfectly."

But it's so crazy, so whacked, so extra-gourdo as a thing for a politician to say. Think of this in terms of bumper stickers. So far what have we got? "CRAIG WATKINS: THIN-SKINNED AND PERFECT."

I like that, because it's so scary. It just gives me the willies. I think of "thin-skinned and perfect," and I hear scary music.

I'm going to be gone for a week, Dear Reader, but I wanted you to know I did not miss this on the way out, before leaving town, and I'm thinking about you.

If I were a defense attorney and I had to go up against Watkins in court, know what my strategy would be? I would start cupping my ear toward the air conditioning duct and whispering, "Yup, got it. Thanks. Will do. Great idea."

The man's maybe got some rattles.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze