Rick Perry vs World
02 February 2014
Is it tougher for #txlege to lie to constituents?
Rice University's Mark Jones wrote a solid op-ed:
Opinion polls reveal that in recent years, a large majority of the Texans who vote in the GOP primary elections are very conservative. At the same time, many of the most conservative advocacy organizations have become increasingly sophisticated in monitoring and evaluating politicians and aggressive in backing candidates they support and in attacking those they oppose. For better or worse, the days of some elected officials being able to successfully maintain separate and distinct Austin and district personas appear to be numbered. (italics mine)
We'll see over the next few months. By and large the Joe Straus wing of the party has spent lots of time trying to blur the difference and appear to be less corporatist than it is actually is. There have been shadow groups created to try to confuse voters (eg, Texans for Fiscal Accountability) and scorecards that give left-wing Democrats more conservative marks than some right-wing Republicans.
Mark Jones has probably been one of the biggest reasons why it has been tougher to blur the differences. His scorecard is unimpeachable and lays bare the voting record of our representatives in Austin. This is a valuable public service.
Of course, in many races, to uncover these differences, you have to wipe away the near-identical "strong conservative" body paint the candidates have covered themselves with. But once you review each candidate's record, the individuals and groups supporting them and their platform, you will find in most instances that they are not all peas from the same pod.
Indeed they are not. But largely the ones trying to conceal their true beliefs are allied with Joe Straus. It is a shame that the Straus wing isn't a bit more honest in presenting their vision for Texas.
Given how the campaigns are playing out, their polling must show that to be a bad idea.
22 January 2014
Wendy Davis is Jack Ryan?
In late 2003, Republicans thought they had found the perfect candidate to win an open seat Senate race in blue state Illinois. Not only did the Democrats have a weak field full of infighting (a milquetoast rich guy, a union stooge, and the a guy with a funny name who was the most left-wing member of the Illinois state legislature), but Jack Ryan looked like a hero out of a novel.
The handsome Ryan could self-fund his campaign due to his partnership at GoldmanSachs. A Catholic, he went from public school to Dartmouth, and then got a JD/MBA from Harvard. Before becoming an investment banker he'd worked at a refugee camp for Central Americans escaping wars. He quit Goldman to teach at a Southside Chicago Catholic school in a tough neighborhood.
Over the early months of 2004, David Axelrod destroyed the milquetoast rich guy (Blair Hull) by getting his divorce records unsealed. There were some nasty allegations, Hull plummeted and that guy with the funny name picked up Hull's support.
Axelrod pulled the same trick on Jack Ryan. Despite the fact that his ex-wife supported his campaign, during the divorce she had alleged that they had been to sex clubs. There was no substantiation, just her allegation during a messy divorce. In fact, Ryan's ex-wife never even alleged infidelity and confirmed as such during the campaign.
Unlike Wendy Davis temporary restraining order, Jack Ryan never had a judge tell him that he needed to refrain from drugs and alcohol around his kids. He had one simple allegation against him, not the litany of things that a judge had to order Wendy Davis not to do.
Jack Ryan ended up withdrawing. Texas divorces often get TROs issued, but I sure wouldn't want to be running the campaign of someone who had one issued against them.
Oh...and Axelrod's client ended up in the White House.
03 January 2014
#MakeDCListen was Frank Luntz's "best political soundbite of 2013"
There is a problem in Washington, and the problem is bigger than a continuing resolution. It is bigger than ObamaCare. It is even bigger than the budget. The most fundamental problem and the frustration is that the men and women in Washington aren't listening. If you talk to the man and woman on the street, that is the message you hear over and over again: Why don't they listen to me? Why don't they hear what we have to say? They aren't listening to the millions of people, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, across the spectrum who say our elected officials get to Washington and they stop listening to the people.
FRANK LUNTZ: That was the best political soundbite of 2013. Regardless of whether you support or oppose his tactics and his techniques that language about Washington not listening did better than anything we tested from any senator, any congressman or the president. That is the number one rhetoric, and I'll tell you something: Congress and the White House need to pay attention to those words and listen.
If you watch the clip, 95% of Republicans reacted favorably and 75% of Democrats also reacted favorably.
01 January 2014
Prediction for 2014
Wendy Davis will learn that Texans don't approve of an Obama liberal who goes to New York to bash Texas.
30 December 2013
Latino Republicans win primaries; media says they don't
Someone please explain to me how it is possible to write an article about how "Hispanic candidates struggle to win statewide [Texas] Republican primaries" after Ted Cruz.
It's like writing an article about how African-Americans with funny names can't be elected president of the US, and at the end just glossing over some guy named Barack Obama. It's prima facie absurd. For the rest of this post, the blockquotes are from that article.
Fighting the perception that Hispanic candidates struggle to win statewide Republican primaries, many party officials have pointed to the 2014 land commissioner's race, which features George P. Bush, the odds-on favorite, whose mother was born in Mexico.
What perception? I've heard of the myth that Democrats repeat because they believe their own spin. Victor Carrillo's poor campaign (to the extent that you can even call it a campaign) for Railroad Commissioner aside, there is no evidence.
But many political observers in Texas say that Mr. Bush, the grandson of former President George H. W. Bush and son of former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, should not be seen as the start of a trend. After all, Mr. Bush has a famous -- and non-Hispanic -- name. Candidates with Hispanic surnames are still expected to face challenges in Republican primaries in Texas.
Boy, what a stroke of luck for George P. Bush that his last name doesn't end in an s or even worse a z, because then he'd never have a chance with those crazy Texas Republicans. Right?
Must've been my imagination.
Mike Baselice, a longtime pollster for Republicans in Texas, said that Mr. Bush would probably poll 5 to 10 points lower than his opponent if he had a Hispanic surname...
Baselice....me suena, me suena. Claro, ya me acuerdo, he was the pollster for David Dewhurst...¡y que encuestas! He's been consistently wrong about Latino Republicans in Texas. Baselice's polls consistently put Ted Cruz at least 5-10 points under Dewhurst. Remember how Baselice said Dewhurst was ahead by 5 points right before the runoff when the Dew was behind by 10? Remember when Baselice said Dewhurst was up 8 a few weeks before the runoff?
To put it bluntly, Baselice's polls lack credibility. He already screwed up on this exact question once before.
And now, 6 paragraphs and 337 words into the article, we get to the elephant in the room:
Steve Munisteri, the chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, dismissed the idea that Hispanic candidates were handicapped in the primaries by their surnames, citing Ted Cruz's victory in the 2012 race for the United States Senate and recent legislative wins by other Hispanic Republicans. In fact, Mr. Munisteri said, Hispanic candidates could "have a slight advantage, given the party’s awareness of the need to attract Hispanics."
6 paragraphs and 337 words before an article on Latino Republicans running for office mentioned Ted Cruz's victory. Hyperbole fails me. You. Can't. Make. This. Stuff. Up.
To even begin to think that Hispanic candidates "struggle" in Republican primaries, you'd have to be convinced that Texas Republicans are prejudiced. Otherwise, it doesn't make sense. The evidence says that Latinos do quite well in Texas Republican primaries.
29 December 2013
As of yesterday, December was the highest trafficked month for 2013. Thanks to the several thousand of you who visited and special thanks to those of you who linked. Feliz Año Nuevo.
26 December 2013
The year of Ted Cruz?
"Celebrate the year of Ted Cruz with 74 of his best quotes."
The news has just come out that Cruz will speak at the Gridiron Dinner. Last year, Obama elevated Cruz by taking a jab at his pointed Hagel questioning.
Cruz's performance will determine how much money is there for the nascent Cruz 16 campaign.
21 December 2013
John Cornyn, Steve Stockman and Facebook likes
I was going to get rid of the Facebook like buttons that currently occupy the bottom of individual posts. No one uses them, which doesn't really surprise me.
But then I saw that the post "Will Cornyn get a primary challenger?" got 42 likes.
The energy for a race against Cornyn was real. It was there, waiting to be harnessed if the right candidate came along.
But Steve Stockman has underwhelmed even my very low expectations. Despite columns suggesting that Stockman is a test of the Tea Party's potency, I don't see evidence that Tea Parties are backing Stockman.
20 December 2013
The sun will rise tomorrow
Blogger lobbyist Robert Miller has a very strange boast topping his blog right now:
I got it right in the City of Houston mayor's race from start to finish, correctly predicting that Mayor Parker would win without a runoff. I was correct when I stated that Sen. Davis would run for Governor. I fist pump these successes, because it is time to screw up my courage and climb back out on the trapeze.
In the ranks of political prognostication, this...doesn't rank at all. Ben Hall hired John Weaver, whose reputation involves cashing in, not winning campaigns. John Weaver proved true to his reputation. And Wendy Davis was obviously going to run for governor after getting so much love from Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. She thought she was a star.
Just for the record:
19 December 2013
UTexas admissions favoritism
Jon Cassidy has been doing some impressive investigative journalism lately. His latest researches the favoritism shown to the children of legislators:
Children of three Texas lawmakers who graduated from the University of Texas School of Law repeatedly failed the state's bar exam, highly unusual for the prestigious school where almost every graduate passes the bar exam on the first try.
Jeffrey Steven Carona, Carlos Manuel Zaffirini Jr. and James Ryan Pitts have taken the Texas bar exam 10 times between them, and passed it just twice. Pitts will get another chance in February.
Out of nearly 2,700 UT law school grads in that period, we found only 197 who had to retake the bar exam. Only four UT grads in that time failed the test more times than Zaffirini and Carona.
Despite the Hollywood mythology around the bar exam, it is simply a matter of putting in hard work over a brief period. Show up for BarBri, memorize, show up on time for the exam. As a friend of mine said before she took* the bar, "Trained monkeys could pass the bar exam."
Or as a different friend said while he was waiting for his bar results**, "Taking the bar is really more like fraternity hazing than it is an exam. You have to fail yourself out."
So if the children of our #txlege legislators are failing the bar exam, the most likely two possibilities are
1. There is a massive amount of favoritism being shown in UTexas law admissions
2. They can't be bothered to do the work that every other lawyer does.
While Chancellor Cigarroa says he is probing UT admissions favoritism, I'll bet they don't touch the recommendations made by regents and former regents. Hint, hint.
* It goes without saying that she passed.
** He passed. I hope the suspense wasn't killing you.
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