The Insider

Bad Dadditude
Mayoral candidate Rob Mosbacher flaunted his big-money backers and raised more than a million bucks at a Galleria gala last week. By contrast, likely contender Lee P. Brown is still ensconced in the grove of academia and has fired hardly a campaign shot -- until now.

A memo of suggested "talking points" recently circulated to the Brown inner circle and anonymously faxed to The Insider gives a taste of where the ex-chief's campaign may be headed and who he figures his main competition will be: "When the going gets tough," according to the memo, Brown "won't be looking for Daddy to help, he'll look in the mirror."

You can be sure that the daddy in question isn't the one who sired Helen Huey or George Greanias, but rather is former Commerce Department secretary Robert Mosbacher Sr., who not only employs his son but has enthusiastically raised money for his campaign.

Brown, who's still on the faculty at Rice University, denies writing or even approving the memo. But he chuckled when the document was read to him, and seized the chance to describe his life as a self-made man who hasn't asked for anything from his "daddy" since he left home at 17.

"I went to college on my own with no help from anybody," declared Brown. "I was getting up at five in the morning, going to a restaurant and washing dishes, coming back at noon and night and washing dishes, and the floors in the morning. That's the environment I come from."

Brown declined to comment directly on Mosbacher's family connections, but the undeclared candidate allowed that he'll have plenty to say on the issue once he hits the campaign trail. You suspect he won't be alone in that endeavor.

While Brown apparently won't be turning to his old man for advice, he may have a father figure of sorts in Mayor Bob Lanier, whose still-unpublicized role as Brown's No. 1 backer is becoming more obvious by the day. Lanier reportedly was jazzed by results of a survey taken for him by Louisiana-based pollster Mike Baselice and Associates, which showed Brown whuppin' up on Mosbacher by 30 percentage points in a head-to-head match.

Lanier also joined in the Mosbacher twitting last week at a 50th birthday party downtown for Congressman Tom DeLay, telling the audience he was using the occasion "to declare my candidacy for the mayor of West University," the little city within the big city that Mosbacher only recently vacated to qualify as a Houstonian.

If he's serious, Lanier might want to check out a lovely house on Vanderbilt Street. Although it's yet to be listed with area realtors, we understand it's empty.

Stockman Chronicles: One Story Begins ...
Like a B-movie monster that returns for endless sequels, recently ousted 9th District congressman Steve Stockman was once again rallying the troops on Passover evening at the Houstonian Fitness Center. About 30 Stockmanites (including three Hispanics and one black man!) showed up to be deputized as voter registrars for Steverino's next jihad: unseating Democrat Ken Bentsen in the 25th Congressional District.

According to one attendee, Stevie's new crew seemed more conservative and blue-collar than Stockman himself, who in his latest incarnation as a Galveston "banker" strutted into the Houstonian in charcoal gray dress slacks, blue oxford button-down shirt and conservative blue striped tie. While some in the crowd wanted to rap about abortion and militias, Stockman made clear they were there to learn how to register mainstream Republicans in Bentsenland. "This district," as he called the 25th until the county voter registrars left and he could get explicit about his target, would be a tough nut to crack. "[Victor] Morales won in this district," Stockman observed in a "can you believe it?" tone. Grumbles rose from his workers. One man interjected a loud "yuck."

Stockman then used a hand-drawn pie chart to show his followers the number of registered voters in the 25th, how many vote in off-year elections and the percentage of votes that should go to Republicans. "In the 25th, there is only a 49.5% Optimal Voting Republican Strength," said Stockman, who henceforth used the acronym OVRS. He pronounced it "orifice."

If more Republicans are registered, the orifice will get bigger, lectured Stockman, who suggested that the neophyte registrars hunt for unregistered voters at their churches and outside Randalls. (Apparently Fiesta and Kroger are too proletarian.) Stockman also recommended that his supporters go door to door in the most fertile Republican precincts, and above all wear "Vote Republican" pins on their lapels to avoid registering Democrats.

Several members of the audience protested that strategy would bring out the vote of "soft Republicans," the sort who supported Dolly Madison McKenna, a moderate deemed "worse than a Democrat." The hard-core thought a better plan would be to register voters at Pasadena gun shops, where more reliable supporters might be found, but Stockman nixed the idea.

By the way: In case Stockman's interested in establishing a residence in the 25th District, he might want to check out a lovely house on Vanderbilt Street in West U. Although it's yet to be listed with area realtors, we understand it's empty.

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