Barry Smitherman hasn't done a lot of time on the Railroad Commission, but he's already set his sights on becoming the next state attorney general, and he's calling for a conservative crusade to get him there.
Smitherman has come a long way from the days when he was a prosecutor at the Harris County District Attorney's Office. In July 2011, Gov. Rick Perry tapped Smitherman to fill a vacant seat as chairman of the Railroad Commission, the entity charged with regulating oil and gas in Texas.
Last June, Smitherman announced he was running for state attorney general. It seems he wants the gig because he wants to protect Texans from the bad old federal government in general, and the evil Environmental Protection Agency in particular, according to his latest video advertisement.
His campaign has put out two videos so far, complete with shots of the San Jacinto Monument (in a totally non-phallic way), shots of Smitherman in his truck, and music that sounds like it was cribbed from the Jurassic Park soundtrack.
"There are great paying jobs at the Houston Ship Channel, and yet the Obama EPA wants to shut this industry down, eliminating those great paying jobs," he says, alternating between looking at the camera and steering his truck.
(Bonus points if he actually filmed the truck segments while driving his truck, because doing both at the same time wouldn't be easy or terribly safe.)
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Texas and the EPA have had a relationship that can definitely be described as prickly, with the regulatory agency trying to enforce federal laws on air, water, pollution and the like, and Texas officials resenting the hell out of any outside interference in the Lone Star State.
Smitherman's newest commercial plays right into that, calling for a "conservative crusade" which we're pretty sure has nothing to do with people wearing three-piece suits and riding horses, which is a shame. Smitherman notes in one video that he has filed seven lawsuits against the EPA while on the RRC, and makes it pretty clear he intends to keep on filing if elected state attorney general.
"Join me in my conservative crusade to keep Texans safe and to defend the laws and the constitution of the great state of Texas," Smitherman says, as the music swells.
In the video, there's a swell of that great dinosaur adventure music and then in comes the percussion, letting the audience know that it's about to get serious around here. If you don't find yourself a little moved and frightened, all at the same time, during this part of the ad, you're probably a pod person. And no, a conservative crusade has nothing to do with people wearing three-piece suits while riding horses and drinking tea. We think.