Cornyn video is campaign gold mine;
Race in virtual dead heat
By John Moritz / June 27, 2008
AUSTIN — The sight of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn wearing cowboy threads while an ol’ boy with a Lone Star twang sings his praise was designed to fire up his party’s base.
There was only one hitch in Cornyn’s get-along: The wrong party got fired up.
Turns out the video bio of Cornyn shown at the state GOP convention this month was panned as corn pone by more pundits, bloggers and other smart-mouthed know-it-alls than could fit in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
And it’s the Democrats who are making sure that anyone with a laptop has a chance to see and hear the campaign clip they call “Big Bad John,” complete with a takeoff on Jimmy Dean’s classic song with the same name.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee posted the video on its Web site and suggested it shows that the urbane and courtly Cornyn is, well, all hat and no cattle.
Here’s a sample of the lyrics: “He rose to the top, in just one term. Kept Texas in power, made lesser states squirm. Big John.”
“We figure it helps our cause more than his,” the Democrats say on their Web site.
The posting came on the heels of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show spoofing the spot, with host Jon Stewart suggesting that Cornyn’s outfit might have come from a store for oversize kids.
Some left-leaning Web sites have called the video Cornyn’s “Michael Dukakis in the tank” moment, recalling the blistering reviews drawn by the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee when he wore a helmet and stood up while riding in a military armored vehicle.
The then-Massachusetts governor ended up looking more silly than soldierly.
Cornyn, a former Texas Supreme Court justice and state attorney general, is in what one poll shows to be a tight race with Democratic state Rep. Rick Noriega of Houston.
A poll of 1,000 likely voters by the nonpartisan Texas Lyceum, a statewide leadership group and think tank, showed Cornyn leading Noriega 38 percent to 36 percent.
The remaining 26 percent of respondents were undecided.
The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Daron Shaw, a pollster at the University of Texas at Austin, said he made an extra effort to ensure that the random sample was reflective of the state’s demographics.
Other polls have shown Cornyn with wider leads.
The same poll showed Republican presidential hopeful John McCain to be running ahead of Democrat Barack Obama in Texas by 43 percent to 38 percent.
If the senator was worried that the video’s reviews would make his campaign more difficult, he wasn’t letting on.
“I think it’s hilarious,” he said with a laugh during a conference call with reporters Thursday.
“This was a good-natured introduction we did at the Houston convention a couple of weeks ago.”
When the video was shown at the convention, Cornyn told delegates: “My staff convinced me that it would be a good idea. Maybe I need a new staff.”
Source. / Star-Telegram
Also see Ride ’em, Corn Dog! / The Rag Blog / June 17, 2008
Thanks to Harry Edwards / The Rag Blog