You know things have gotten off on the wring foot challenging Rick Perry when the state's leading political writer compares your operation to Kay Bailey Hutchison's.
Here's how things have gone in the Texas governor's race since the primaries: Rick Perry has been in Patton mode, ostentatiously "activating" a secret plan to beef up border security because of Mexico drug violence. Bill White, on the other hand, has made his key issue so far his refusal to release his tax returns.
If White's aim was to get himself slaughtered in the blogosphere -- Mission Accomplished!!
White says his income derives from partnerships in some cases, and his tax returns would expose his partners' proprietary information. He says he's filed the City of Houston financial disclosure forms every year he's been in office, but those are noticeably vague.
The issue isn't going away -- not if Rick Perry can help it -- and it's just the kind of (probably) irrelevant red flag that makes for great attack ads.
So what terrible thing can be hiding in Bill White's tax returns? Possibly (or possibly not) such things as these:
2004 -- Consultant, Carlos Coyotes Inc.
Gave advice on best transportation options to tourists traveling to Houston from points south, including freight-train schedules and 18-wheeler routes. Received payment in cash. Cash that had traces of white substance along the edges.
2002 -- Purchased stock in Light Rail Crashes R Us
White made a significant stock buy this year in an obscure company that specializes in the fallout from light-rail cars smashing into other vehicles. LRCRU's filings with the Securities Exchange Commission say their services include "the recommendation and installation of hilariously overwrought traffic signals that will still be ignored by relevant parties, insuring long-term economic benefits for our stockholders."
2008 -- Invested heavily in the "Rock the Bayou" concert series
Explanatory note from his investment manager: "We feel an annual showcase of such superstars as Warrant, Bret Michaels and Sammy Hagar is a 'no-brainer' of an investment."
2007 -- Partnered with Roger Clemens on a syringe-making company
The company, called "e-Needle," promised next-day delivery of swabs, syringes and attractive carrying cases for your semi-medical needs. White's investment appears not to have paid off, for reasons which aren't clear from the returns.
2008 -- Deductions related to Ike damage
Itemized losses include a Mariah Carey box set, the first two seasons of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, a David Carr game-worn jersey and a beta version of Farouk Shami's hair-growing blow-dryer.
So yeah, we can kinda see why he might want to keep the returns secret. But good luck with that...