On the whole, I try to keep politics out of this blog, even though my day job is political reporter for Austin's alternative weekly newspaper. Here, I want us take a break from the bitterness that occupies so many other places on the net.
So I'm not gonna use this forum to tell you who to vote for. But I just got some news that compels me to at least tell you who NOT to vote for. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, running for re-election in 2010, just got the endorsement of the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas. Therefore, that makes Perry the enemy of craft beer lovers in Texas.
If you read this blog earlier in the year, you know that WBDT and its lobbyist, Mike McKinney, single-handedly killed off a bill during the 81st Legislative Session that would have allowed microbrewers to sell their product on the premises of the brewery — a sales-boosting opportunity afforded to Texas wineries, but not to beermakers. They also killed a similar bill in 2007 during the 80th session. The wholesalers have a stranglehold on how beer gets from the brewing tanks to you. Understandably, they don't want that stranglehold taken away, but the legislators (and Governor) ought to be serving the public, not the lobby.
So if WBDT is getting whole hog behind Perry, then you can guess how things are gonna go in the unlikely event an on-site sales bill ever reaches his desk.
Now, I'm not going to be disingenuous here: For what it's worth, I'm a big flaming Democrat, and wouldn't vote for Perry anyway. However, I'm not gonna single out one of his opponents for the official I Love Beer endorsement. If you love good beer, vote for whoever you damn well please, just so long as it's not him.
In the Republican primary, Perry is being challenged by U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Larry Kilgore, and Debra Medina. In the Democratic primary, declared candidates are Kinky Friedman, Tom Schieffer, and Hank Gilbert, and Farouk Shami is expected to declare soon. Among Libertarians, you have Jeff Daiell, Kenneth Griffith, and Steve Nichols (no relation to yours truly, as far as I know). Fran Cavanaugh is an independent candidate.
It's been rumored that Houston Mayor Bill White might switch from the U.S. Senate race (to replace Hutchison) and jump into the gubernatorial contest. His campaign firmly denies it, but if he did, I think this photo shows why he would quickly jump to the front for my vote.
The Beer There: Olde Mecklenburg (Charlotte, NC)
9 hours ago