Politics brings out the very worst in all of us. That could be no more true than what we have witnessed from Mattress Mack over the last several months. It started when Mack broke a cardinal rule of business when he openly endorsed Alex Mealer for Harris County Judge.
Lina Hidalgo won re-election in a very close race. In her celebration speech she referred to the forces against her and referenced a “furniture salesman”. Maybe she should have left well enough alone. Maybe she could have mentioned him but in an effort to reach across the aisle to repair broken relationships. She certainly was respectful when she referenced Mealer herself. You are almost always better served when you can be magnanimous.
Mack forgot that lesson. He responded with a full page ad in the Houston Chronicle. This is a failure on so many levels. It is a failure on Mack and those around him. Someone should have gotten to him much sooner and told him not to openly endorse Mealer and do so publicly. He can support whoever he wants and he can certainly contribute to any campaign he wants to, but his reputation deserves more than that. Those that have been in business for any length of time will tell you how foolhardy it is to openly support either side.
Someone should have gotten to him before he sent this letter into the Chronicle. They should have told him to hang back and let the water flow underneath the bridge. The Chronicle itself probably should have either declined to accept it or should have urgently swayed him against wanting it published. It made him look small. It threatens his legacy and he has built quite a legacy in the Houston area.
I was introduced to Mack (not personally but in terms of consciousness) when I was in junior high. That was approximately 35 years ago. He spoke to our junior high. I saw his business grow out of literal tents into a furniture empire with multiple branches. We saw him stand up during hurricanes, tsunamis, and other crises in town and around the world.
He became Houston’s biggest fan. Whether it was the Astros, Texans, Rockets, or University of Houston, he was there cheering the loudest. Did it help his business? Sure. Being a good guy got him a ton of free advertising. Yet, there was also little doubt that it came from a genuine place. He also circulated in Catholic circles as well. All of that pointed to his likely conservatism, but he didn’t broadcast it. He stayed above the fray. That is until this year.
Maybe there is still time for him to fix this. Maybe someone around him will convince to reach out to Judge Hidalgo. Maybe she will reach out to him and extend an olive branch. It would probably be the best move from both involved. I suspect he will realize that he made a big mistake and we hope he does before it is too late.