Rick Perry vs World

06 October 2015

Is 60% against nobody a resounding victory?

Ross Ramsey had an opinion piece on crowded primaries and runoffs. In general, I felt the piece was quite long on assertion and skint on quantitative support.

However, what I found very surprising was the conclusion:

But falling short can play in favor of the incumbent: Does anybody really think John Cornyn looked weaker after beating seven Republican opponents in 2014?

Quick: can you name any of those seven opponents? OF COURSE NOT.

Ok, maybe you got Steve Stockman. I've met Stockman a couple times, and yet even I had to look him up because all I could remember was "performance art" and Jack Brooks. Yes, I remembered Jack Brooks before Stockman's name. Steve Stockman didn't campaign for Senate. At all. More than a few speculated that he was just getting his congressional campaign out of debt by running for Senate. His Senate campaign was a strange post-modern piece of "performance art" because you couldn't really tell if he was a candidate or not.

There was also the guy in the pickup truck who got some Tea Party support.

John Cornyn got just 61%. When Cornyn faced a bunch of folks no one had ever heard of in 2002, he got almost 80%.

The good thing for Cornyn is that he won a 6 year term, and that's a long time. But if John Cornyn had faced a credible challenger in 2014, he'd probably have lost. Guys like Mike McCaul must be kicking themselves.

Posted by Evan @ 10/06/15 11:04 AM | Comments (0)        


03 October 2015

Not linear, but correlated

Noted this today in a Burkablog post on Wendy! Davis (I'm sure Burka loves that his name lives on in a blog he never wanted!)

There are several things I would do differently. When you get into a race of that magnitude – and it was my first experience on a platform of that magnitude – you tend to have to rely on a team of people around you to help shape everything you do, from your day-to-day logistics to your speeches to your priorities and your messaging. And I felt like as the months ticked by, my voice was getting lost.

Campaigns aren't a perfect proxy for governing skills. But if you completely mismanage a gubernatorial campaign, then how can you expect to run the sprawling bureaucracy of the state government? If you can't hire a few good people to run your campaign, then how will you hire good people to run the agencies?

Not to mention her campaign position in favor of open carry, only to flip flop back to being against it as soon as she lost the campaign. No wonder Texans are cynical of their government.

Posted by Evan @ 10/03/15 09:56 AM | Comments (0)        


01 October 2015

The Ted Cruz 2016 Texas endorsement list

Take a look at Ted Cruz's endorsements, and it's a pretty amusing mix of true believers and "I sure hope this endorsement saves me from a primary!"

Let's start with the Texas Senate -- no real surprises among those listed here. But where is Dan Patrick? He went from ambushing Cruz to promoting Cruz2016 as the gambit that got him elected lite guv only to . . . be conspicuously absent.

Congress: Does anything in John Culberson's record as a Congressman suggest he'd endorse Ted Cruz? Does he lead fights in Congress? If you don't follow politics, the answer to both questions is no.

TX House: a good deal of these folks are believably Ted Cruz supporters. A few are go-along-to-get-along types whose personal style is quite different from Cruz's but perhaps who are ideologically in sync. It's at least plausible.

But there's a few obvious...ahem, discrepancies: a good example is Debbie Riddle, whose voting record moves progressively left with every session. Or how about John "Implement Obamacare" Zerwas? Those are just the few close to Houston, but I can spot a couple more who fall into a similar category.

At least Sarah Davis, one of the most liberal Republicans in the Texas House, didn't feel the need to pretend to endorse Cruz in order to try to ward off a primary challenger. Cheers to her for avoiding the dishonesty of cynical endorsements.

[Also noteworthy: endorsements aren't easy to get in the crowded field of 2016. Ted Cruz is a sitting senator who is quite popular with the activists in his home state and yet his endorsement list is less than 1/3 of the lege. Look at how many sitting governors and US Senators have endorsed -- it's surprisingly low.]

Full list of Cruz's endorsement below the jump.

[Read More]

Posted by Evan @ 10/01/15 03:52 PM | Comments (0)        


28 September 2015


Peggy Fikac got tasked with trying to write something about Battleground Texas that would leave open the possibility that they have a clue. I wouldn't want to get that assignment:

"We were always clear this was going to be very long term. I didn't think about, when we said it, that would mean a lot of heartache every two years," outgoing executive director Jenn Brown said recently over coffee.

A few months before the election those same Yankee Obama consultants were saying:

Without doing anything, Democrats say, they expect to see their vote totals grow slowly over time

With Battleground Texas and its millions, Democrats vote totals went down.

The heartache was on national display when Battleground Texas served as Democrat Wendy Davis' field organization in her longshot effort to beat Republican Greg Abbott for governor and break the GOP's long hold on statewide office.

If you paid any attention to the campaign, there's lots of LOL in that statement. Wendy Davis counted money given to Battledonkeys as part of her fundraising totals, only to disavow them when they did dumb stuff. Plus there's the amusement that many reporters filed pieces (and magazine covers!) acting as if Wendy!'s campaign was anything but longshot.

The group had to speed up its timetable to take on the job, and it wasn't in control of her message.

No independent organization will EVER be in control of the message. With Wendy!, they were about close to having control of the message as possible.

As for speeding up the timetable, they also got to "speed up" their donations.

As it forges ahead, the group last week installed an advisory board including prominent Texas Democrats such as U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk.

Battleground really is Obama's Yankees. Because no Texan would think that the path to victory is highlighting your ties to Obama cronies.

If Battleground Texas were a business, Steve Mostyn would probably already have sued them.

Posted by Evan @ 09/28/15 07:35 AM | Comments (1)        


27 September 2015

Annise Parker is not a fiscal conservative

Presumably Annise Parker will attempt to keep feeding at the public trough. If she does so by running for statewide office, I'm sure Parker will call herself a fiscal conservative just like she did when she ran for mayor.

Mayor Annise Parker's administration will not move forward with renovating the Exxon tower at 800 Bell downtown into a new police and courts complex, citing an uncertain financial outlook and a desire not to bind a new mayor with a pricey, decades-long commitment.

Parker had described the project as one of the most important of her tenure, and had hoped a groundbreaking could come as early as the end of the year to replace the city's current aging complex.


As of Sept. 14, the city had spent almost $3.2 million on consultants and advisors studying justice complex options.

This is a relatively small point, but moving the police department into the Exxon tower was silly from the start, and it didn't take much genius to realize it:

From the start, however, the estimated annual payments fell roughly between $25 million and $40 million, and it was never precisely clear how the city would cover that payment. . .

So Annise Parker wasted $3,200,000.00 of Houston's money in the hopes that she could push through a boondoggle for her "legacy."

Posted by Evan @ 09/27/15 01:18 PM | Comments (0)        


26 September 2015

Minority party chooses the speaker

From a Politico story on Boehner's resignation as speaker:

The reality is that his critics inside his conference would have been hard pressed to ever remove him in this term as speaker. Democrats are reluctant to support any such effort since they don't want Republicans intruding on their own leadership fights in the future.

To those outside of Texas, it's unthinkable that a House minority party would be able to choose the speaker. Yet strangely that is the current equilibrium in the Texas House.

Posted by Evan @ 09/26/15 09:44 PM | Comments (0)        


12 September 2015

Crow eating time: Perry first to drop out of the race

I was wrong. Politico's insiders were right. Perry has dropped out of the 2016 campaign.

OK, crow eating out of the way. My initial reaction:

If you go back to the original post, I concluded:

So is Perry going to be the first to drop out? Dropping out comes down to the candidate's psyche -- but rationally, if you're Rick Perry then you stay the course through Iowa. Nothing has changed: may as well give Iowa a shot.

I added the bold and italics now.

As my tweet and prior post indicate, I argue that it is irrational to drop out now. There was never any chance that he was going to do well in the polls at this point. [In fact, I argued in May 2013 that it was "wishful thinking" for Perry to hope of success in 2016 without running for re-election in 2014.] I know it's easy to criticize from the sidelines, but everything up to now should have been expected as part of the campaign plan.

From the very start, his only shot at the nomination in 2016 was to come out of nowhere to win Iowa. Given recent Iowa caucus history, that's not as unreasonable as it sounds. Perry is very good at retail politics and his super PAC has $17 million in the bank -- Santorum won Iowa in 2012 with 24.5% and it might take even less this time.

Why run at all if you're going to quit the game before you even play the only card you've got?

Posted by Evan @ 09/12/15 12:19 AM | Comments (0)        


06 September 2015

If I were Rick Perry

[I challenged myself to write a blog post in 8 minutes and edit in 30 seconds. Go!]

If I were Rick Perry:

I think it's pretty obvious.

First of all, let's distinguish between strategies which are designed to get you a niche and those which might win you the nomination. For example, Donald Trump came out as the anti-free trade candidate and immediately occupied a niche that no one else was playing in. He immediately dominated that niche, which due to the divided field was good enough to be "#1."

Focus on difficult paths that might get you to 1600 Pennsylvania, not on easier paths that get you to double digits in the polls.

Second, Trump isn't going to be the nominee. Positioning yourself as the anti-Trump isn't a bad place to be.

Right now, Donald Trump is like Paris Hilton a decade ago. Put her name up as clickbait, and you'd get traffic. Right now in politics, talk Trump, get press coverage.

So go after it. Tear into Trump with the most Trumpian of insults: call him a socialist -- Trump would do it to you. And to use Trump's logic, it's entirely fair: he's had zillions of über-big government proposals over the years. Arguably Trump's record is as far left as Obama's or Hillary Clinton's. [To be fair, neither Obama nor Hillary has ever created a job, whereas at least Trump used his inherited wealth to create jobs]

Counterargument: Both Rick Perry and Rand Paul went after Trump and saw their poll numbers drop.

It's a dumb counterargument.

1. Extremely small sample size. Two brief salvos by different candidates? You can't control for the thousands of other variables. Small sample size arguments are quite popular in politics -- for decades journalists and pundits swore that you couldn't get elected president as a US Senator -- but it seems like a prep school kid from Hawaii with a funny name proved that one quite silly.

2. Find a messaging frame, be consistent, and stick to it. Do more than one speech. When you give a couple speeches and soundbites, you just desperate, so it's not surprising that your poll numbers go down. Plan a communications strategy, then commit to it.

3. Donors don't like Trump. Expose his liberal record and bring down his poll numbers? They like you more. You look presidential.

4. Most actual Republican primary voters have already decided they will never, ever vote for Trump. They're not liberals, after all. So you might carve yourself out a niche as the anti-Trump and immediately benefit.

Posted by Evan @ 09/06/15 04:24 PM | Comments (0)        


27 August 2015

Ben Carson 2016? Only if you dislike oil and gas and love ethanol

Wandering around Galveston today, I saw a bunch of different Ben Carson 2016 bumper stickers. Perhaps just coincidence.

Do you think they know that Ben Carson echoes the anti-oil & gas talking points of liberals? Even worse, that he wants to take from oil and gas companies to subsidize ethanol production?

There's a reason why you study economics and public policy before you run for president.

Posted by Evan @ 08/27/15 10:31 PM | Comments (0)        


18 August 2015

Insiders are wrong: Rick Perry won't be the first to drop out

It's been a long time since a real post.

I actually wrote a few real posts over the past months, but got distracted by the kids and never got around to hitting publish. Instead I'm going to do a quick combination of two of those posts "Rick Perry 2016: Quixotic" and "The financial constraint has been removed."

Politico's poll of insiders:

Forty percent of early-state Republicans and nearly half of early-state Democrats believe Rick Perry will be the first candidate to drop out of the presidential race.

This is in reaction to the news that Perry's campaign is essentially out of money and are no longer paying staffers.

Look, as the title of my unpublished post says, Rick Perry running for president in 2016 is quixotic. Perry 2016 always has been impossible: if you couldn't win in 2012 against the weakest field of candidates with the wind at your back, how are you going to win the White House in 2016 running against the strongest ever Republican field of candidates with the wind in your face?

It just ain't gonna happen. Never was. But per the title of the second post: there's no longer a financial constraint.

Though the Perry2016 campaign might be out of money, essentially nothing has changed in the strategy that might make him a contender. From the beginning, his one shot has been to go to Iowa and meet as many caucus participants as possible. Focus on farmers and veterans and hope you're under the radar enough that they don't target you for not supporting ethanol subsidies. Spend all your money in Iowa and see if you can make a go of it.

The financial constraint has always been what ended presidential campaigns. But with the rise of Super PACs, not only is it possible to make a real go of it in a few states, you also have the assurance that you can raise money if you can pull off a surprise and prove yourself viable.

The Super PAC has raised more than $15m, and shouldn't be burning any money right now, so they should have a solid $15m to fund campaign-like activities that don't cross the FEC's fancy legal line. So all the Perry presidential campaign has to do is really fund his travel expenses and maybe a bodyman. Given the email/direct mail lists and relationships he's accumulated over decades of running for office, covering those expenses should be easy. It's not much money.

So is Perry going to be the first to drop out? Dropping out comes down to the candidate's psyche -- but rationally, if you're Rick Perry then you stay the course through Iowa. Nothing has changed: may as well give Iowa a shot. It ain't gonna happen, but then again: a governor from Paint Creek wasn't gonna happen either.

UPDATE: Rick Perry was the first presidential candidate to quit the 2016 campaign.

Posted by Evan @ 08/18/15 12:09 AM | Comments (0)        


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