Gathering steam?

This has the headline of yesterday’s Houston Chronicle was. However, the article by Mike Morris on Ben Hall’s mayoral candidacy did not especially convince me of any significant develops for the better in his campaign.  Morris interviewed both Democratic and Republican who painted rosy pictures for the Hall campaign that may have been taken out of context by some readers of the article. For example, Democratic consultant Mustafa Tameez explained:

“Let’s say Ben Hall comes out and he raises $2.2 million and he only puts in $200,000 of his own seed money,” Tameez said. “Then Parker’s more likely to have multiple debates with him because he has substantial support and she wants to clarify her positions. All challengers want to take it to the incumbent and point out one of the 10 things that are wrong with the city at no expense to themselves, and no incumbent would ever allow that.”

Morris did note in the preceding paragraph that this was about as far from the case as possible from the truth, as reflected in Hall’s most recent campaign finance report. However, I do fear that anyone who simply looked at the headline and skimmed the article with chunks like that could have gotten the wrong impression. Additionally, the article talks about Hall’s housecleaning of the old operatives, and their replacement with new Republican consultants.

This should be noteworthy, but I could would have not ascribed the word “gathering steam” to it. First, the housecleaning reeks of Farouk Shami. It is not the mark of a healthy campaign. Second, this represents a troubling departure for Hall politically. He is obviously not a Republican, and anyone who listens to him is made aware of that fact somewhat quickly. However, Hall, for some reason, still appears to be pretending to be a Republican. As I have demonstrated before, going out of your way to attract the far-right may have some profound effects.

Hall’s campaign has been dominated by three things thus far, only one of which has made it into mainstream press: Not paying his taxes, Bizarre Facebook posts and Neo-Nazis making comments on said posts.

Off the Kuff & Greg’s Opinion have more. From my experience in writing for a newspaper, I rarely have been able to select  my own headline. Accordingly, it would make sense that Morris writes such a neutral article on the issues at hand, and his superior editorializes it in a sensationalist headline. For the life of me, I can’t tell if he’s “gathered steam” or just “full of hot air.”

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