The Dallas Morning News Editorial Board: Dwaine Caraway Entertained Us and That was Part of the Problem

Dwaine Caraway arrives at the Earle Cabell Federal Building on Commerce Street in downtown Dallas on Friday afternoon to be sentenced in a federal corruption case. Caraway had resigned after pleading guilty to accepting $450,000 in bribes and kickbacks in the Dallas County Schools bus scandal. (Shaban Athuman/Staff Photographer)

Dwaine Caraway is going to prison. He deserves to go to prison. Dallas will be better because he is going to prison.

But even as we write those words, knowing they are true, we can’t help but feel torn about the man we know —  a politician who was a sort of caricature of himself, so ridiculously ebullient in spirit and manner that it was hard not to get caught up in the Dwaine of it all.

Caraway has been a figure in Dallas politics for so long that Dallas politics seems somehow reduced without him, without his pinstriped suits, without his dark glasses, without the blue dashiki he took to wearing a few years back, without the life-size wood carving of a giraffe he planted outside his office.

We think back on all the suspicious things we wrote about. There was the South Dallas poker house where he and his father gambled and that he called the police off of when it came under scrutiny. We think of the way he tried to explain it all away, standing in the poker-house parking lot spilling the whole story to a reporter like it was nothing at all.

We think about the Rudy’s Chicken Shack deal on Lancaster Road where Caraway forced a business owner to take a city grant the man never wanted so Caraway could move the business somewhere more suitable to Caraway.

We think about Arthur and Archie and the ridiculous, transparent lies Caraway was caught in, lying all the way to the witness stand where, as acting mayor of Dallas, he sued his own city to keep police tapes from going public. We think about the holes in his campaign finance reports where cash just disappeared.

Caraway was shady. We all whispered it. We even said it out loud.

But he was entertaining. Did he get a pass from the press? No, that’s not right. Caraway got plenty of bad ink for the bad things he did. This newspaper broke story after story about the things he did.

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SOURCE: The Dallas Morning News