Rick Perry vs World
03 September 2014
When you start losing the alt-weekly crowd...
Jim Schutze of the Dallas Observer on Wallace Hall:
But what is to be said for the Texas press and its handling of the Wallace Hall story? Every major newspaper in the state has either called for Hall's head at one point or questioned his integrity, most of them basing their complaints on an allegation that Hall asked for too much information from the university -- in other words, that he did too much reporting.
Eight months later in a triumph of virtuoso investigative reporting, Jon Cassidy, writing for Watchdog.org, an online news service sponsored by a conservative foundation, laid out the real back story of the law school admissions racket. Pitts had told the truth about one thing: It was standard practice.
In an ingenious use of public information laws and law school application procedures, Cassidy was able to expose an entire cadre of candidates admitted to UT law school in spite of startlingly low scores on the national Law School Admission Test (LSAT), many of whom graduated somehow, but, unlike almost anybody else at UT Law School, kept flunking their bar exams after they got out.
Of these, 15 of the names unearthed by Cassidy were of students directly linked to officeholders, either by blood, influence or money. Cassidy reported that a large number of ringers came from the district of state Senator Judith Zaffirini, former chair of the state higher education committee, including her son Carlos Manuel Zaffirini Jr. Many were connected to House Speaker Joe Straus.
I guess we know why Speaker Straus has been trying so hard to impeach Wallace Hall.
Deleting that tweet
That Rick Perry tweet and delete was canny.
He got us all talking about what he wanted us to talk about.
25 August 2014
Wendy Davis is 10 points behind where Bill White was 4 years ago
How many Texans would bet anything at even money that Wendy Davis does better than Bill White on Election Day?
Four years ago today, two polls had Bill White within the margin of error of Rick Perry. Zogby had him down just 3, and Hill Research Consultants had him down 1. Right now we've got polls out that show Wendy Davis down 8 (Rasmussen) and down 18 (trade group poll). Most of the recent numbers are closer to the trade group poll than to Rasmussen.
People tend to forget that Bill White actually ran a decent race. He spent lots of time talking about himself being a fiscal conservative, despite the fact that his record as mayor of Houston reflected the contrary. Still, he tried to convince Texans that he shared our values. It didn't work, because 2010 was not a year in which Texans were likely to be fooled.
On the contrary, Wendy Davis hasn't even tried to convince Texans that she shares our values. Her only real feint in that direction was so awkward that she managed to lose support on the left while highlighting her own anti-gun record. As we now say in Texas politics, "oops."
Or maybe coming out for open carry was simply a reflection of her home state Rhode Island values?
[Yes, somehow Rhode Island is more pro-gun than Texas when it comes to handgun open carry. We have Joe Straus to thank for that.]
Wendy Davis has never seemed to understand that being Obama's pick to turn Texas blue was going to hurt her. And maybe that is the ultimate sign that she doesn't share our values.
12 August 2014
Random attack ads in early August
My first thought was, "did they even focus group this?" It's not a good ad. It's slow, it barely mentions Greg Abbott, it requires assuming bad faith by Abbott to be effective when they haven't built the message that would enable belief.
My second thought was that it's possible that it did ok in focus groups. Focus groups aren't going to hit the remote to change the channel, because they can't. They'll try to suggest cute phrases like "thank God this time Greg Abbott lost." On the other hand, you'd think they'd point out that the ridiculous final screen of
"another insider, not working for you" is not supported by anything in the ad.
As it has been throughout the campaign, the message is inconsistent. Sometimes it seems like she's running for governor of her native Rhode Island, and then the next day she awkwardly tries to pander to Texas value by flip-flopping on gun rights.
So Wendy Davis is spending money to try to temporarily drive Abbott's poll numbers down in the hope that the left will keep writing big checks to a candidate down 10 points.
Throw something against the wall and see if it sticks. Even if it is the opposite of what you said yesterday -- it's the Wendy Davis strategy.
01 August 2014
Texas Democrats have Robert Earl Keen.
Texas Republicans have Pat Green:
Note that Greg Abbott sticker on the guitar.
22 July 2014
Obama's man in Texas
Dan Balz writes up Wendy Davis' helter-skelter campaign for the Washington Post. It has some truly impressive quotes from Obama's Man In Texas.
Without doing anything, Democrats say, they expect to see their vote totals grow slowly over time
Well, at least we have something to measure them against. However, this has been a standard refrain for about 15 years. You might recall that Tony Sanchez even dropped $80 million in 2002 (105 million in 2014 dollars) to test out whether there was any validity to this theory.
Jeremy Bird, who set up Battleground Texas, said there is a path to victory for Davis: turning out registered minority voters who often stay home; registering unregistered minority voters; and attracting the support of suburban white women. She will do better among African Americans and Hispanics than the polls now show, he said.
Everything about this paragraph is amusing. The Obama staffer from up North has figured it a path to victory. It has just 3 easy parts:
1. turnout registered minorities
2. register unregistered minorities
3. win suburban white woman
Maybe Steve and Amber Mostyn are fooled by this, but to the rest of us this sounds preposterous.
Turnout registered minorities? You mean, white liberal Wendy Davis of the abortion filibuster is going to convince "minorities" to turnout to vote more than Obama did? Keep in mind that Bird's definition of minorities means that most of the group is Latino.
Register unregistered minorities
Yes, not only is Wendy Davis is going to succeed where Obama failed when it comes to turnout, but she's also going to find people who don't care enough about voting to even register, and she's going to convince them to register AND vote.
Jeremy Bird failed so well in South Texas in the primary that he'd really like it if you gave him another few million dollars to try again. [Maybe Steve Mostyn will sue him for malpractice?]
Win suburban white women
Yes, abortion radical Wendy Davis is going to do the previous two things...and then get weak Republican suburban white woman to vote...for Wendy Davis?
Someone has been spending too much time in Austin. The first two parts were at least correlated. But the third is uncorrelated at best with the first two, and probably negatively correlated. Some messaging needles can't be threaded, especially when you've got a voting record as liberal as Wendy Davis.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
Abbott, they argue, is more conservative and less skilled as a politician than the man he seeks to replace, Gov. Rick Perry, and has been thrown on the defensive repeatedly during the campaign.
This is rich. Maybe Jeremy Bird was too busy working for Howard Dean, John Kerry and Barack Obama to notice that all of his predecessors have spent the last 15 years labeling Rick Perry as an extremist and an idiot. Governor Goodhair, Governor 39%, etc etc. "He wasn't elected to governor, he has no chance in 2002 against a Bush fundraiser who will throw money at the race." "He only won 39%, he's dead." "He only won in 2006 because Kay decided she Washington, DC needed her." "Kay will destroy him in 2010"
The list could go on forever.
But now that Rick Perry is leaving, they want to forget "oops" and lionize Governor Perry as the opposite of everything they've said for the last 15 years.
Eses Norteños agrandados tendrían que pasar algunos años más en Texas antes de pensar que aún tienen idea de cómo pensamos en Texas.
16 July 2014
Van de Putte's new ad
Leticia Van de Putte's new ad in Spanish:
Notice that massive crucifix she's wearing in the Spanish ad? It has conspicuously disappeared for the English ad. I'm confident that I'm not the only one who has never seen Van de Putte wearing such a big cross.
With all that said, it's a pretty good ad that probably achieves its aims. Better in Spanish than English.
15 July 2014
EXCLUSIVE: Alternate Texas Monthly cover found
This was the alternate cover for the Texas Monthly edition.
In the name of journalistic accuracy, they probably should've chosen the alternate cover.
23 June 2014
Senator Ted Cruz reads this blog?
Jeffrey Toobin spilled some New Yorker ink on Ted Cruz, and has this quote:
The chattering classes have consistently said, 'You crazy Republicans have to give up on what you believe and become more like Democrats.' And, I would note, every time Republicans do that we lose." Cruz then offered a short history of recent Presidential politics. Richard Nixon ran as a conservative, twice a winner; Gerald Ford, moderate, loser; Ronald Reagan, also twice a winner. "President George Herbert Walker Bush ran as a strong conservative, ran to continue the third term of Ronald Reagan, continue the Ronald Reagan revolution," Cruz went on. "Then he raised taxes and in '92 ran as an establishment moderate -- same candidate, two very different campaigns. First one won, second one lost. In 1996, you got Bob Dole; 2000 and 2004, you have George W. Bush; 2008, John McCain; 2012, Mitt Romney. And what does the entire D.C. Republican consulting class say? 'In 2016, we need another establishment moderate!' Hasn't worked in four decades. 'But next time will be the time!' "
Compare that to what I said a year ago in response to Stu Rothenberg's column that Republicans needed to nominate a "less ideological" and "more compromising" nominee:
[Nominating a moderate] is certainly conventional wisdom in Washington, DC, and has been for decades. But past results, while not necessarily indicative of future performance, completely belie Rothenberg's claim.
More ideological/less compromising nominees
Less ideological/more compromising nominees
Res ipsa loquitur. In the past 40 years, it looks like the GOP only won when they did the opposite of what you want them to do, Stu.
You win by unifying the party, and for the last few decades it has been nominees from the country club wing of the party that have done so poorly at it.
12 June 2014
Texas needs a Costa
If you don't follow Washington Post reporter Robert Costa (@costareports) on Twitter, then you are missing out. His tweets consistently break news. He is one of the few reporters who DC Republicans will talk to candidly, because they know he won't play gotcha politics. He reports, and his work at the National Review on the government shutdown made him so indispensable that the Washington Post had to hire him.
He's one of the extraordinarily rare instances that a major national media outlet has hired someone from a center-right publication. From a New Republic interview with him:
Q: [D]o you think being the National Review Washington editor helps you get scoops on the Republican side that reporters at The New York Times or other nominally neutral outlets, to say nothing of a liberal outlet, wouldn't get?
RC: Of course, and that's obvious, and I've known that from the start. But it's how I've developed that access. My job is connecting the dots with all these sources I have on the right. It gives me the ability to understand the language of conservatism. When I cover Tea Party activists and conservative House members, it's not like I'm a reporter going into a zoo and raising my eyebrows at the scene and filing some color piece. I'm really taking seriously the ways conservatives think, use power, and practice politics, and reporting that straight.
What is amazing is that Texas media does not have a Costa. TEXAS. There are some good reporters in Texas, but none has shown the ability to cover conservatives. Not only does it frequently lead to some milquetoast reporting and weak analysis, it means that citizens don't actually have a good sense of what is happening in their state government.
I continued to be surprised that no Texas media outlet has even attempted to find a Costa. There is an opening.
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