Bushs-Guiliani meddling in Houston mayoral elections was needless, counterproductive

Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
The Black Business Journal

Removing all embellishments and after all is said and done, Houstonians chose tempered experience and authentic public safety public servant (Lee Brown) over a glib, inexperienced, untested smooth-talking and handsome council member (Orlando Sanchez). Now, let the task of making our city, America's premier international city continue!

It is remarkable that despite the needless intervention of two presidential personages, and other non-Houstonian heavy-hitting Republicans, voters in Houston have, based on the merits of the experience and record of incumbent Mayor Lee Brown, reelected him to a historic third term on December 1, 2001.

Worthy of post-election reflections are the controversial roles of former President George H. Bush, his wife and former First Lady Barbara Bush, President George W. Bush and New York's abrasive Mayor Rudy Guiliani. They all endorsed, made tv appearances and campaigned for Brown's conservative (and it must be said) Republican opponent, Cuban-American Orlando Sanchez.

First, while most of us (still) expect less of Mr. Guiliani (the man is a controversial and giddy embodiment of irascible politics, verbal and assorted indiscretions), Bush Sr. and President Bush minimized their deserved toga of statesmanship by wading into the local elections here.

(In picture: Houston Mayor Lee Brown, right, during an exclusive interview with USAfricaonline.com Founder Chido Nwangwu)

Houston may be important to the Republican Party but in most cultures and societies, elders/statesmen/presidents usually tower beyond local partisans politics. Yet, it is their right to associate with and/or endorse whosoever, and such choices, thankfully, have consequences in politics.

Second, the fact that two presidential personages could not deliver one of the biggest cities in the state they acquired as their homes (and in fact where the incumbent President served as Governor) raises further questions about the viability of the Bush political coattails. The undercurrent of racial/ethnic identity politics, which impacted and soiled the dying days of the mayoral campaign, further complicated their endorsements. Somehow, Lee Brown, an accomplished gentleman (in pix above), does not take these things personal. It must be said that his major limitation has been communicating his vision and better intentions.

Third, Houstonians who saw the Guiliani's many tv ads, certainly, would have remembered Guiliani's insults to our city a few years back, and told him to just keep his opinion to the Gracie Mansion in the Big Apple.

Fourth, it underscored the folly, too, on Guiliani's part to who, at various instances, capitalizes on the crest and sympathies arising from his leadership duty as Mayor during the September 11 2001 terrorism in New York for his own partisan interests. Anyway, he has been known to lack a discretionary sense of proportions in politics (and other stuff); and seem not to know when and how to bow out!

Fifth, it is telling that the Bushs-Guiliani endorsements were equally driven by partisan party (Republican) interests, since all four Sanchez endorsers confessed they barely knew the man. In a sweet twist, it showed the wisdom of Houston voters affirming that the days of some "influential" individuals and non-Houstonians telling us whom to vote for is a distant thunder worthy of only modest consideration.

Sixth, the Houston votes despite the high-powered endorsements revealed that many Houstonians still have shards of regard for the city's non-partisan mayoral politics. The independents (including the Chris Bell supporters) and the high-voter turnout from the civil rights coalition across the African-American community overcame the strategic, expensive tv commercials orchestrated on the behalf of Sanchez & Co.

Finally, shred of all embellishments and after all is said and done, Houstonians chose tempered experience and authentic public safety public servant (Brown) over a glib, inexperienced, untested smooth-talking and handsome council member (Sanchez). Now, let the task of making our city, America's premier international city continue!

Chido Nwangwu, is founder and publisher of USAfricaonline.com, first African-owned, U.S.-based newspaper to be published on the internet, served in Mayor Brown's first inaugural transition team for economic development. He is the recipient of the Journalism Excellence Award (1997) and publishes USAfrica The Newspaper, The Black Business Journal , BBJonline.com, and NigeriaCentral.com. He traveled with and covered U.S. President Clinton's visit to parts of Africa March-April 2, 1998.

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