Will Tony Sanchez, the one trick pony, truly begin his Clayton Williams self-destruct dog and pony show tomorrow?
Tony Sanchez has been called a one trick pony because all he seems to talk about is education. Now he is quoted as saying that he wants to be a moderate on all issues. What he is really saying is that he has taken a whole year and spent over a million dollars to craft a slick ad campaign to try to sell himself to the public.
Per the Houston Chronicle's article below: "Williams was a loose cannon with the news media, who blew up his 1990 governor's race with his own mouth. Bush, by contrast, was elected governor and later president after highly disciplined campaigns that controlled the candidate's image. "
I think everyone learned something from Clayton Williams. One thing I realized was that big time corporate executives have a hard time realizing that what you can say and do in the board room is not the same as what you can say and do running for public office. Business is autocratic and private. Politics is "give and take" and open to public scrutiny.
I am sure that Tony, if he runs, is going to run a disciplined campaign like little George his mentor. But there is one major difference, little George was not carrying the baggage that Tony is carrying. And when one is carrying the kind of baggage that Big Tony is carrying, you don't start off a three day dog and pony show without having already bled off some of the coming heat on the negative baggage.
By this, I mean that Big Tony has committed himself to a three day, twelve city tour beginning on Tuesday to announce his candidacy for governor. He has already designated the locations of his city by city coming out. The problem is that the press is going to be demanding answers to questions that are presently in the public's mind and which Big Tony has made no effort to defuse in the last year. As each city is visited, the press corps will get more and more vicious. The feeding frenzy will intensify. Big Tony has not allowed himself any time to adjust his "middle of the road on everything pitch" nor any time to find a better spin for the negative baggage that he is carrying. Big Tony should have been trying to find a credible spin on his baggage at numerous little civil clubs all over the state as opposed to flying in non-discriminating audiences to his ranch. Hey, if Big Tony flies me over to his ranch and feeds me and shows me a good time, I will nod in agreement with anything he says.
Well the hungry press corps is out there waiting to hear Big Tony's platform. What they will hear is a watered down middle of the road, blah blah blah, with no factual solutions to real problems, designed to do a $30 million sales job on the citizens of Texas and with a goal of making Big Tony governor. All this untried material going out all at once. Every salesman in the world knows that you have to polish a pitch. You have to test it with real audiences and clients before you have something that works well enough to wholesale to the public. And that is just the part of his coming out that he can control. The part that he cannot control or make go away is his negative baggage.
THE QUESTIONS THAT DEMAND ANSWERS
1) Where is the Henry Cuellar "death threat" letter? We demand to see it.
2) How do you explain the character assassination of Henry Cuellar, Secretary of State, where your operatives called him a homosexual?
3) For the Democrats: How can you convince Democrats that you are one of them after supporting the Republicans for so long? And how do you justify $300 thousand to little George's beat the Democrats campaign over the years?
4) Explain to everyone how you feel about all the people who were financially hurt by your mismanagement of the Tesoro S & L. And how is it possible to trust you with the state budget when you have this kind of business failure on your record?
5) Explain how $25 million of drug money was laundered through your S & L and you acted like it was as obscure as some kid depositing his piggy bank money? And how is it possible to trust you with the state budget when you are so inattentive to these matters?
6) Make us believe that Ben (the Pariah) Barnes is not running your campaign. Assure us that all you know about politics did not come from The Pariah when you worked for him thirty years ago. Make us believe that you had nothing to do with attempting to buy off Marty Akins. Make us believe that you do not consider running for governor just another corporate takeover where the "one with the most gold ends up ruling."
7) Explain to us why the Confederate Flag is flying at the International Airport in Laredo? Tell us what you are going to do for the Blacks when you become governor. Tell us what percentage of the Black vote you intend to get and how are you going to solicit their vote.
8) AND THIS IS WHERE THE PRESS HAS MISSED THE BOAT TO DATE. The problem with Tony's drilling in the Falcon State Park is not the environmental damage. That is just the red herring to divert attention from the real issue. The real issue is the fact that the drilling had to be directional to get under the reservoir. The reality is that half the reservoir is in Mexico. THE QUESTION IS, WHY DIDN'T THE MEXICANS DRILL FROM THE MEXICAN SIDE OF THE LAKE FOR THEIR FAIR SHARE OF THE OIL AND GAS? Sure smells like some international corruption and payoffs with Big Tony right in the middle.
9) And there are the little questions comparing Big Tony to WorldPeace: a) Did you serve in the military? b) Have you ever used illegal drugs? c) Have you employed illegal aliens? The last two questions have been answered in the negative by WorldPeace. One or both would probably be answered in the positive by most in society. But the question is should the chief executive of Texas be held to a higher standard? The question is whether we should ignore the fact that one can't distinguish breaking the law in these areas from breaking the law in other areas.
10) And what about the Camino Columbia Toll Road down there in Laredo; the white elephant fiasco to which Big Tony's IBOC bank loaned $13 million? Since it is on the NAFTA highway (sort of) doesn't he think the state should take it over? (and bail out his bank) And I think that as the lawsuit develops on the Toll Road, I am sure that Big Tony will be called to testify to his detriment.
Tomorrow, the Big Tony Dog and Pony Show hits the road. I still think that he might do the sensible thing and not declare himself a candidate for governor. If he does, I think he has a good chance of self-destructing within a week; and if not within a week, he will surely set things in motion to explode in the coming months. Big Tony has participated in a lot of questionable deals that some of his enemies are just waiting to throw out on the table. These are people who wanted to make sure that Big Tony was in the spotlight before they came out. They wanted to make sure that he would be destroyed.
But Big Tony has the arrogance that great wealth brings. He has lived in a world where money rules and everyone and everything can be bought and sold. Why not political office as well? Surely the people can be duped with enough slick advertising, right Tony?
Marty's money should dry up very quickly if Tony gets in. Marty has allegedly spent $2.6 million on his campaign and he hasn't even touched Tony. All he has done is to cement into the minds of the public that he is a liar. And it all culminated when he visited with Pariah Barnes about selling out. Bye Bye Marty.
The 2002 governor's campaign is going to be one of money verses ethics and morality. Both Big Tony and the Republican devil Rick Perry (I call him the devil because he was backing his number three biggest contributor Harold Simmons in his bid to turn the state into a nuclear dump, among other such deals against the public interest) will be betting their millions that they can beat WorldPeace's emphasis on equality, justice, morality and ethics in high office. It will be a minor replay of Gandhi verses the British exploiters of India. A small time non-materialistic lawyer named WorldPeace verses all Big Tony's money and then all the money the Republican devil Rick Perry's backers can bring to the table; a classic David and Goliath scenario.
The 2002 governor's race in Texas will not only be a decision by the voters as to which candidate will eventually lead the state, but with WorldPeace on the ballot, there is also going to be an undeniable underlying referendum on WorldPeace in the 21st century. The citizens of Texas will vote and God, as always, will look on.
The next governor of Texas
September 3, 2001
Sept. 2, 2001, 10:03PM
Businessman to hit campaign trail
Millionaire from Laredo will unveil his candidacy for governor this week
By R.G. RATCLIFFE
Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau
AUSTIN -- Millionaire Laredo businessman Tony Sanchez -- variously called the stealth candidate and the invisible man of Texas politics -- is stepping out from behind the curtain this week as a Democratic candidate for governor.
With the backing of much of the Democratic Party's leadership establishment, Sanchez plans formally to announce his candidacy on Tuesday during stops in Laredo, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. The ultimate goal is to challenge Republican Gov. Rick Perry as the Democratic nominee next fall.
But for the past year Sanchez has been the behind-the-scenes candidate.
Sanchez has flown Democratic politicians from around the state to his South Texas ranch. He has made unheralded speeches to Democratic constituency groups. He has shaved off his moustache and changed his glasses.
And Sanchez mostly has avoided candidate forums, the news media and any tough questions about his background or public policy issues.
Democratic rival Marty Akins -- a millionaire lawyer and former University of Texas football star -- has been handing out a document called "Searching for Sanchez."
"Rarely in the history of our Great State has there been a `public' figure as elusive as Tony Sanchez," the Akins' document reads.
Democratic candidate John WorldPeace, a Houston lawyer who has campaigned mostly through auto-dialed, pre-recorded telephone messages, has had trouble even getting his name in the newspaper. But he has attended candidate forums where Sanchez has been absent, and has called Sanchez "The Invisible Man."
Former state Attorney General Jim Mattox, who is being encouraged by some Democratic leaders to join the race, said Sanchez's political consultants have been trying to draw lessons from Republicans Clayton Williams and George W. Bush.
Williams was a loose cannon with the news media, who blew up his 1990 governor's race with his own mouth. Bush, by contrast, was elected governor and later president after highly disciplined campaigns that controlled the candidate's image.
"They've probably tried to figure out a way to get him (Sanchez) tuned up before the heat of battle," Mattox said.
But even as a stealth candidate, Sanchez and his campaign have at times appeared bumbling.
Former Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes, who gave Sanchez his first political job 30 years ago, last week tried to get Akins out the race by promising him a clear run at the land commissioner's office. But that angered state Sen. David Bernsen, D-Beaumont, who is looking at that race.
After a call from Bernsen, Akins stayed in the governor's race. Sanchez aides said Barnes wasn't acting at the campaign's behest.
Earlier this year, Tony Canales, personal friend and attorney for Sanchez, hired two private investigators who told people in South Texas and Austin that Secretary of State Henry Cuellar of Laredo had threatened Sanchez. They also suggested that Cuellar was a homosexual.
Cuellar, a Democrat appointed to the position by Perry, called it a "smear" campaign. Sanchez allowed the story to percolate in the Texas media for almost two weeks before denying responsibility and apologizing to Cuellar.
Sanchez, 58, has not sought public office before. He worked as an aide to Barnes before Sanchez and his father struck it rich in the oil fields of South Texas. Sanchez became a multimillionaire through stock investments.
To the chagrin of some Democrats, Sanchez and his affiliated businesses poured more than $300,000 into the political career of George W. Bush. Bush, as governor, in 1997 named Sanchez to the University of Texas board of regents.
Sanchez began his official unveiling late last week in limited interviews with reporters from the state's major news outlets. The format allowed Sanchez to avoid the media horde of a news conference, while time limits on the interviews limited the depth and range for any individual reporter.
In his interview with the Houston Chronicle, Sanchez was often vague.
When asked why he wants to be governor, Sanchez said: "I am going to run for governor because I think I can do a good job as governor. I can bridge the difference between the way Texas is today and the way Texas can be in the future."
He talked at length about problems in public education, but was unspecific about solutions.
"You bring business experience to this by saying there is not one solution to this. Perhaps there is a cluster of solutions," Sanchez said.
Sanchez did say he disagrees with a program Bush started as governor to require that students pass the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills before they can be promoted to certain grades. Sanchez said he wants teachers to decide whether students should be promoted.
Some Democrats have complained that Sanchez is not true to their party because of his support for Bush. Sanchez said he backed Democratic presidential nominees Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton in the past. He said his support for Bush was based on his promise to improve education.
Sanchez said he will support the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004.
Sanchez also has faced complaints about his oil companies drilling in Falcon State Park and in an environmentally sensitive area near Baytown.
Describing himself as an environmentalist whose company has a stellar record, Sanchez said the Baytown site should not be an issue because a test well was a dry hole. He said his company cleaned up the site and abandoned it.
As to the Falcon State Park lease, Sanchez said he had to put up a $500,000 endowment for the under funded state park and do a $1.5 million environmental impact statement. He said he still does not agree those costs were needed.
"The expenses they made us go through to get this done were terrible," Sanchez said. "They made us put up antennas and big dishes so we could see how the sound of the rig would affect the turtles and some other wildlife."
The most delicate issue for Sanchez is that Mexican drug lords used a savings and loan he once owned to launder $25 million in drug money in the early 1980s. An investigation found no wrongdoing by the thrift or anyone associated with it.
Sanchez said bank officers were not suspicious about the money because Mexico's economy was on the brink of collapse and large deposits by Mexicans were not uncommon.
"I didn't condone it. I didn't do it. When we found out about it, we took steps to make sure it would never happen again, and it didn't," Sanchez said.
He said he is not afraid of the Republicans using the thrift, Tesoro Savings & Loan, as an issue.
"If the Republicans want to misrepresent this to the people of Texas, then that's something they have to answer for," Sanchez said.
Asked why he thinks he can win the race, Sanchez replied:
"The fact I am a moderate Democrat and that I have a moderate position on every issue; that I bring my business experience of 30 years to the task at hand; that I bring my experience in education and my passion for education to the task; and my experience in health care. You know, I've lost a lot of members of my family to cancer. I've spent a lot of time in health care."