Sunday, March 23, 2008

Kimberly Ann White & Negative Campaigning

With the possible exception of the 174th Republican Race, most political races get nasty at some point or another. Some more so than others.

I've been chastised before by people who's opinion I respect (Big Jolly from Lone Star Times, for instance) that when we focus on the negative, all of our candidate's positive attributes get lost in the wash.

Big Jolly's point is well taken. And I'm absolutely guilty of listing a lot of negative things about Pat Lykos in this campaign. My defense to that, however, is that the negative things that I've listed were genuine things regarding her job performance as a judge and as an employee for the County Judge that I, personally, found relevant to what kind of job she would do as a potential District Attorney.

I think it is worth noting that when this race involved four candidates, I didn't sling any mud at either Jim Leitner or Doug Perry (other than saying that I didn't feel Perry was qualified for the job).

It is very difficult not to throw mud when you are being pelted by mud and rocks from all around you, and at the risk of sounding like "she started it", that mud has largely come from the Lykos campaign. Lykos and her supporters have gone above and beyond the call of duty to minimize the great disparity in experience between Kelly and Pat by attacking everything from Kelly's personal life to trying to associate Kelly as "Chuck Rosenthal in a skirt".

The temptation to point out the numerous instances of Lykos' lack of judgment has been too much to resist.

This weekend, however, the Lykos Campaign has sunk to a new low in the form of one Kimberly Ann White.

Ms. White started her Easter weekend by blanketing my blog, Mark Bennett's blog, and the HCCLA blog (I've heard) with an e-mail encouraging people to look into Kelly's personal life, and then took the extraordinary step of listing Kelly's home address in her posts. I elected not to post her irrelevant and dirty e-mail at all on this blog. Mark elected to blank out Kelly's home address, but did print the remainder of her e-mail.

Whether you like prosecutors or not, I think you would all agree that prosecutors who try violent offenders do have a reason to be concerned about their privacy and safety to a large degree. Kelly has two young daughters and her own safety to be concerned about. A person who would go to the low step of attempting to post a prosecutor's home address is inviting violence into that home, and the act of doing so is beyond despicable.

Although Ms. White's behavior is several steps below even what the typical party line has been from the Lykos campaign, it speaks volumes as to how her campaign has been run.

I strongly encourage Pat Lykos to denounce Ms. White's atrocious behavior on behalf of her campaign.

I know that when it comes to experience and skill that you don't hold a candle to Kelly Siegler, Pat, but at some point, you've got to stand for something. A candidate's personal life, other than some extreme exceptions, has no relevance to a campaign like this, and God knows you've run in enough races to know that.

You really should stop this, Pat. It's gotten too far out of control.

NOTE: It was very tempting to list Ms. White's e-mail address and encourage my readers to let her know what you thought about her obscene tactics, but in an effort to not sink to her level, I've refrained from doing so.


Anonymous said...

The difference between a good message and a bad one is not, as Mark claims, whether you sign your name to it, or remaining strictly positive in the face of libels & dirt as Big Jolly would suggest but how accurate the information contained in the posting is.

KAW's posts suffered most because they lacked any means to check on what was said so she was completely schooled on at least one of the forums she was on. When people are unable to back up their claims, as the majority of people hating Siegler seem to be, they betray their lack of preparation to jump in the fight.

Jolly all but ignores anything positive when such material is posted so people give him what he claims he doesn't like, provoking his claims that it runs people off. His double standard in regard to the negativity (a negativity espoused by Lykos as a valid campaign tactic by the way) is telling though and fails to understand that a harshly negative diatribe against a candidate based on slurs and falsehoods invites a response other than "sorry, you are mistaken as that is not the truth".

Ron in Houston said...

Yikes that is scary. There is a very fine line of relevance of a candidate/office holders personal life. My belief is that unless you can make the relevance nexus (damn I sound too much like a lawyer) you should leave the personal stuff out.

I don't fault you for what you've said about Lykos. Your "negativity" about her has been strictly limited to her actions in the public sphere. It's not like you've made allegations that she abuses her spouse or anything like that. (Hmm, I wonder - oh never mind!)

If anything Lykos deserves a big dose of negativity. I can personally say she's demeaning and strange. People Mark has interviewed say she is "cruel."

I hope Kelley feels it's worth it, because something tells me she's in for a big mud bath.

Mark Bennett said...

Please don't put words in my mouth, TPB.

An anonymous message is not a "bad" one; rather, it's one whose credibility is hard to assess (and therefore should be presumptively lacking). A non-anonymous message might be equally incredible, depending on the reader's opinion of the writer.

Questions to ask when deciding how much accuracy to attribute to "information" published on the internet:

1. Do I already know it to be true?
2. If I don't already know it to be true, is the person writing it a person whom I believe to be a truth-teller in a position to have accurate information?
3. If (1) and (2) don't apply, does it carry other indicia of reliability (for example, a link to a source that satisfies (2))?
4. If (1), (2) and (3) don't apply, does the information carry plausibility and verisimilitude, and does the person writing it seem to have no agenda for publishing the information?
5. If (1), (2), (3) and (4) don't apply, then does either criterion of (4) apply?

The credibility of information diminishes from (1) to (5). The credibility provided by information that satisfies only (4) or (5) is pretty thin gruel.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the Kimberly Ann White comments all over the web recently. Does anybody know if this is a real person, or just another fake persona used by Chris Begala to spread lies about an opponent?

Murray Newman said...

I had no idea who Chris Begala was until you listed his name, so I checked him out on google.

He's got his picture taken with Yanni. That is awesome.

Michael said...

TPB, I must take issue with your assertion that the majority of people who "hate" Kelly Siegler cannot "back up their claims", which I take to mean support their anecdotal assertions that they maintain reflect on her ability to be the HCDA. The stories I've heard include her using the word "jew" as a verb; striking an African-American from a church ostensibly because she thought its members were "screwballs and nuts", when in fact she'd seated two other jurors from the same church; or written notes indicating that part of her strategy as a prosecutor is to scare the jurors. I haven't seen any of these points refuted or disproven by Ms. Siegler's supporters; I've seen them explained away. And I'm not saying whether any or all of these anecdotes is a good barometer of whetner she should be the District Attorney. I think everyone knows who I'm voting for on April 8 -- Rosemary Lehmberg.

Anonymous said...

I was commenting mainly about the people on the Chronicle forums, that being the location of "KAW" and a number of others that repeated the Lykos mantra mindlessly, shying away from answering even the most basic questions about their accusations. Frankly, if they need to dig that deeply to justify their abhorrence to Siegler, their willingness to overlook far more pressing concerns, especially far more recent ones at that, regarding Lykos seems strange to me.

The "Jew" as a verb matter is small potatoes as is reminding herself to press the fear factor regarding a violent crime in a trial. Lakewood Church is one step shy of worshiping crystals and trees according to many I've encountered, most of whom are the kind of people that are all too comfortable embracing religion over reason. Siegler's stock undoubtedly went up to folks like that even though she apologized for it so an astute political analyst such as yourself might want to factor that into your equations.

For every issue brought up regarding Siegler, there are ten or more regarding Lykos or Bradford, drawing artificial distinctions at this point for the moral high ground somewhat nonsensical. I'd welcome a forum that was even handed towards all the candidates because I have no doubt that Siegler, whatever her imperfections, would shine like nobody's business compared to her two opponents. And as a nod to Big Jolly, you can keep the comparisons to each candidate's positive attributes and Siegler still blows the other two out of the water for what most people are concerned about.

MB, that was the impression I had reading what you wrote.

Anonymous said...

Chris Begala is one of Pat Lie-kos's handlers. The same guy who ran the brilliant smear campaign against Ed Emmett on behalf of Bacarisse and is now runnin a very similar smear campaign against Siegler on behalf of Lie-kos.

Again, is Kimberly Ann White a real person?

Btw, in Houston blog-speak, when you say "Mrs. White," that's usually a reference to the Chronicle. Hat-tip to Cory at Lose an Eye.

Yanni rocks.

Murray Newman said...

Interesting. I learn more about the inner-workings of Harris County politics every day. Sounds like Begala and Lykos are a match made in Heaven.

If only he would ask himself "What Would Yanni Do?" before acting.

Is part of his strategy the defacing and cutting up of an opponent's signs? Somebody from the Lykos campaign has been cutting up and shredding Kelly signs wherever they can find them.

And Michael,
One minor quibble with your point. Kelly did not seat two members of Lakewood Church, although she didn't strike them. It should also be noted that two or three African-American jurors ended up on that jury. There are more details in this article: