The David Dewhurst phone call heard ’round the world is mostly, bluntly, hysterically funny. Blazingly stunning in the level of his awkwardness, he was stumbling over his own words in an obvious attempt to convey that he would say nothing to step over the line, with the clear subtext being, “but you know what I’m sayin’, right pal? It’d be a shame if anything happened to your nice little police department….”
Step over the line he did, simply by being, as he repeated over and over, “The Lieutenant Governor Of The State Of Texas” who was willing to make such a phone call, the sole purpose of which was to get a relative sprung from the hoosegow.
Voters need no further evidence that Dewhurst was using his public office for the personal benefit of his family than when he said he would have the guy in charge of the entire Department of Public Safety – the state police – call behind him “in ten minutes.” Unless you somehow believe that you – a rank-and-file citizen – could also get the commander in charge of your state’s police to call a local police department on behalf of your jailed relative, you have to conclude that the Lt. Governor stepped over the line.
Let’s be honest – a lot of people, elected or not, would have done exactly what Dewhurst did. When you have a family member or close friend in jail, you’ll use everything at your disposal to spring ’em. I’m confident that legendary Democratic Lt. Governor Bob Bullock would have done everything he could to get a family member out of jail. It’s just that if Bullock had tried it:
1. It would have worked.
2. He wouldn’t have gotten caught.
3. He probably would have gotten somebody else to do it for him.
4. He might well have himself been the family member in jail.
Dewhurst apologists are on social media trying to convince us that this is nothing more than a distraction, and they’re probably right. It’s just that they underestimate the extent to which we Texans absolutely love being distracted. The story has gone national, and it has legs which his opponents will be all-too-happy to exploit. There’s simply no way that this can somehow be considered great news for the campaign of a Lt. Governor already in political peril.
Situations such as these are why Texas politics is the greatest contact sport on earth.
Update: From the Dallas Morning News, Tod Robberson’s take on this is priceless.