A little less than a week ago, Ben Hall unveiled his first TV ad, a perplexing 60 seconds that ranged from friendly introduction to portentous foreshadowing. I, for one, did not think the advertisement was all that bad, it certainly did not deserve the epic smackdown it received from the Houston Press, but that is a whole different issue.
Anyways, Annise Parker has now responded with a television ad of her own. Clocking in at 30 seconds, the ad is not an introduction, and does even feature anything having to do with Parker except the mandatory “paid for by” epilogue. The ad, plain and simple, is a full-throttle attack on Hall.
“Ben Hall wants to be mayor of Houston. But he hasn’t bothered to vote in a city election in 11 years. In fact, Hall didn’t even live in Houston. Just last year, he bought a house inside the city, so he could run for mayor. When Houston was hurting in the recession, Hall offered no vision, no ideas and no leadership. Now that things are good, he’s back. Ben Hall really wants to be mayor. He just didn’t want to live here.”
Like I said back when there was a question as to if Parker’s people leaked the “Ben-Hall-is-a-tax-cheat” thing, “it is nice to know Parker is willing to play dirty–though still honest.” None of the attacks Parker made are anything short of the complete truth. It is about the worst-kept secret in town that Hall lived in Piney Point for a number of years, and just recently moved to Houston.
Further, while the “offered no vision, no idea and no leadership” thing may be a factual statement, as he was certainly out of the limelight at that point in time, it is certainly a cheap shot. Hall doesn’t hold elected office, and has not served in any public capacity since the 1990s. This situation is unpleasant for him any way he goes about it because, in retrospect, if he had been pontificating about how he, some random trial lawyer, would be handling the situation back in 2010, things would have been mighty unpleasant for him as well.
It is an interesting point to note that Parker felt comfortable enough with her identity and reputation, such that she did not create an introduction or biography. Historically, Parker’s name identification has been painfully low, but I guess the low-information citizens who don’t know who she is will not bother to show up on Election Day. I remember, when I started my second full year at City Hall in the autumn of 2010, an embarrassingly high number of not only my contemporaries, but my teachers as well, telling me to “wish the Mayor good luck in his gubernatorial campaign.” I would still guess that over 1/3 of the City does not know who the Mayor is, but that is a different rant for a different day.
Now I am curious to know when Parker will release her first “good cop” ad (e.g., with her speaking on positive messages). As I have said many times, Parker has a heck of a record to run on, and it would be a squandered opportunity to pass that up.
Dos Centavos has more.