Rick Perry vs World
03 January 2016
Perry says he thought it'd be Rick v Jeb in fall 2015
Perry, who had run a disastrous race for president in 2012 and had spent two years preparing for a second campaign, already could see the landscape ahead — a nomination contest that ultimately would come down to a competition between two men who had led two of the biggest states in the country.
“I full well thought that by the fall of 2015, Jeb Bush, Rick Perry were going to be on the stage having a thoughtful conversation about each of our competing visions for America and us comparing our records of success,” Perry said in a December interview.
Perry judged himself and Bush to be “two of the most successful Republican governors maybe in the history of the country.” Surely, he believed, “the American people would distill down which of these individuals had the best vision for America. . . . It was going to be me and Jeb."
Does. not. compute.
Either Perry's consultants served him fantastically poorly or he picked consultants who were telling him what he wanted to hear.
You almost think Perry must be trying to spin his candidacy post-mortem, because at no point would this have ever been a possibility for how the campaign would have gone.
As governor, many folks have told me that Perry was often on his laptop at night surfing blogs -- including this one. Not sure how he could have lost touch with the mood of the median Republican primary voter so drastically if he had continued that habit in his life after 1010 Colorado.
02 January 2016
Jeb Bush's plan
Jeb Bush and his allies have been trying to spin the media for awhile now -- remember when he was begging reporters to be the first to write his "comeback narrative"? -- that he was going to pull off a McCain-style comeback. Here's the current plan from the New York Times:
1. Attack Trump
2. 5th place in Iowa
3. 3rd place in NH
4. Get Lindsey Graham's endorsement
5. Bring in George W Bush for South Carolina
6. Super PAC money raised a year ago
Reading that list, it's impossible to ignore the feeling that some of Jeb's consultants want to keep the paycheck alive. It might be their best shot, but even doing all the things on that list probably won't win the nomination.
At its core, they are betting they can somehow get third in NH which will make them relevant enough to do well enough in South Carolina so they can get to Super Tuesday and hope no one else has raised enough Super PAC money to compete.
Any advantage from Jeb's Super PAC money doesn't become terribly useful until we get to Super Tuesday. Since Super PACs are paying inflated rates for early state ad buys compared (9x more than what a campaign pays!), they've already spent tens of millions and gotten nothing out of it.
So for Jeb to have a chance they have to hope they can get to some states where a financial advantage would make a difference. Of course, by the time they get to Super Tuesday, it's quite possible that other candidates will have been able to raise enough Super PAC money to wipe out that difference.
Plus the other obvious problem with any Super PAC money advantage: Mike Murphy's ads so far haven't moved the needle for Jeb at all. Some of that is Murphy's ads, but some is just due to the fact that Republican primary voters think they know Jeb Bush.
Jeb's larger problem is one of message.
At the core of McCain's 2008 comeback was a risky bet that none of his competitors were willing to make. McCain went all-in for the Iraq surge at a time when everyone else -- even the Republicans -- equivocated. When the surge worked, McCain got a second look in a rather weak field.
Attacking Trump isn't a message. It's a tactic - one that hasn't worked at all so far.
I don't know why Jeb is still in the race.
01 January 2016
Ted Cruz says his campaign is "dead in the water"
I just got an email from Ted Cruz telling me that his campaign is "dead in the water." I was quite surprised, as I've been telling people for months that Ted Cruz would win the Iowa caucuses, possibly by double digits.
Apparently they've been mismanaging the millions rolling in, because the financial reports are devastating:
Ted Cruz's message has been that it's "a time for truth" and that he's different from other politicians. So surely these wouldn't just be ordinary fundraising appeals of a politician?
Yet just a few hours later, Ted told me that he is "out of options."
Apparently the campaign is doing so poorly that Heidi Cruz is "worried sick."
Literally this seems to indicate that Ted Cruz's iPhone is named Hillary. Will Republican primary voters vote for someone who named their iPhone Hillary?
Then, after getting 15 emails in three days, the final email before the midnight deadline on December 31st was to appeal to my sense of loyalty to my... zip code?
11 December 2015
An allegory of Cruz as senator then presidential candidate
When I worked so hard to put Ted Cruz in the Senate, this is not what I imagined:
Toward the end of the roll call, Cruz strode onto the Senate floor, studied how his colleagues had voted, then voted against restoring the crop insurance.
Cruz was immediately collared by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), and the two talked for a minute or so as Cruz listened intently. He turned to Republican Secretary of the Senate Laura Dove and gave the “just a minute” signal before walking to the cloakroom.
Two minutes later, Cruz approached the clerk and changed his vote.
09 December 2015
Wendy Davis lies so much that she even lies about lying
Wendy Davis is a liar.
Even Wendy Davis says Wendy Davis is a liar. In fact, she just wrote an article admitting how she lied to Texans when she said she supported open carry.
That article begins:
I am a lifelong Democrat. I proudly boast an “F” rating from the NRA. And, yet during my 2014 gubernatorial campaign in Texas, I supported the open carry of handguns in my state. (emphasis mine)
Lying seems to be a habit for Wendy Davis.
Let's review the evidence:
1. Wendy Davis donated to George W. Bush for President right after she was elected to the Fort Worth City Council.
Until about April 2007 when she started thinking about running as a Democrat for state senate, David had made a variety of political donations, but she'd donated more to Republicans than to Democrats. She was particularly fond of Kay Granger, the Republican congresswoman from Fort Worth.
2. Davis voted in Republican primaries in 1996, 1998, and 2006.
3. The Davis campaign used to happily plant stories in left-leaning media about how Wendy Davis used to be a Republican. Here's one example:
Except… Before she emerged as “a feminist folk hero” and culture warrior extraordinaire, Davis served nine years as a member of the Fort Worth city council. There, in the unglamorous trenches of pothole politics, she earned a reputation as passionate and aggressive—“She’ll bite you if you’re not careful,” chuckles former council colleague Jim Lane—but also as a pragmatic, pro-business moderate with bipartisan appeal. Far from some lefty bomb-thrower, Davis was, in fact, a Republican voter and occasional [sic] donor before she ran for state senate, at which point many local Dems complained that she was not liberal enough.
Davis’s party switch wasn’t some grand political drama...
Davis has said that she registered Republican to have a say in local races.
There's also Robert Draper's hagiography:
It’s true that Davis has voted for and given money to Republicans, that she speaks supportively of the Second Amendment (while conceding that she’s a lousy shot) and the death penalty, and that, as she told me, she regarded George W. Bush as a “unifier” during his tenure as governor who “definitely viewed things as a Texan, and I like that.”
Let's review: Wendy Davis voted in multiple Republican primaries, gave the majority of her political donations to the GOP until she started running for partisan office, and even a few years ago was quite happy to be called a former Republican.
Some "lifelong Democrat."
03 December 2015
If Bill King doesn't win, it would be a surprise
On election night I tweeted:
A brief look at recent Houston mayoral elections might make that tweet seem crazy given that the Democratic machine dominates Houston municipal politics.
A couple days later, I started writing a version of this post. I never did finish it, in part because momentum kept shifting to Bill King.
This tweet steals the thunder from the post I keep procrastinating on finishing https://t.co/NDiSuIH9Os— Perry vs World blog (@PerryVsWorld) November 26, 2015
Aside: Rice prof @MarkPJonesTX is definitely worth a follow on Twitter:
A few thoughts:
1. Turner has never shown that he can move beyond his base of voters...and the number of votes he's getting is moving in the wrong direction.
That's definitely not going the right way for Turner, especially considering how much population the city of Houston continues to add every year.
Have we seen anything in this runoff that would convince a voter to switch from repeated votes against Turner to voting for him, despite Sylvester Turner's ethical baggage?
If so, I missed it. King is getting endorsements and fundraising help from Democrats. Heck, Sylvester Turner couldn't even keep Chris Bell neutral!
2. Nationalize and demonize
What worked for Democrats in the last 2 close mayoral elections between R and D was to make it a partisan election where they could nationalize the election and demonize the opposition.
It was easy to do it to Mosbacher - he was a national Republican figure. And Orlando Sanchez willingly brought in national Republican endorsements from George W Bush and Rudy Giuliani. But Democrats scored a nice blow there when Sanchez's campaign couldn't say that Sanchez and Giuliani had ever met.
They haven't been able to make the runoff a partisan election.
Is Bill King even a Republican? I'm not sure - maybe? His writing over the years suggested he was quite willing to criticize both parties. King calls himself an independent.
3. Turner's campaign looks and sounds desperate
Not quantitative by any means, but Turner's campaign looks desperate. Their messaging is all over the place. They are throwing stuff at the wall and hoping something will finally stick.
Turner's campaign has always been very light on policy, but in the runoff it's just all-out personal attacks.
Early in the runoff, Turner seemed to be trying to turn this into a partisan race, but it wasn't working, so he just decided to try slandering King instead. But the attacks so far are weaksauce. They don't like the name of the boat that he sold years ago?
All of this adds up to one thing: an unhappy Democratic machine on election night. Maybe they can pull the rabbit out of the turnout hat, but at this point I would bet against it.
02 December 2015
Houston Chronicle: Vote for Sylvester Turner because he'll raise your taxes
We've also yet to see a solid proposal that sets Houston on a fiscally sustainable path without raising the revenue cap, which restricts property tax collection combined rates of inflation and population growth. Moody's Investors Service specifically pointed to the trifecta of rising pension obligations, spiking debt payments and the city's revenue cap as threats to Houston's financial well-being. Turner wants to address all three of those issues. King instead continues to falsely equate lifting the revenue cap with a tax hike.
Raising the revenue cap = raising our property taxes. At least the Chron is honest about the fact that Sylvester Turner will raise our taxes.
27 November 2015
Donald Trump takes credit for Ted Cruz's flipflops
"Well, I like him," Trump said on "The Laura Ingraham Show," when he was asked about Cruz as a potential running mate. "He's backed everything I've said."
"Ted Cruz is now agreeing with me 100 percent," he added.
Trump isn't wrong. He's engineered the Cruz flipflops on free trade, legalization for illegal immigrants, and even whether America should have more legal immigration for highly educated technical workers.
12 November 2015
FBN debate gets libertarians back on board with Rand?
Did the FBN debate push libertarians back to Rand from Cruz?
One thing I haven't seen anyone mention anywhere from the Fox Business Network debate: the intriguing subplot between Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.
Rand Paul attacked Marco Rubio on military spending. He had to know he was going to lose -- not only is Rubio a better debater than Rand Paul, but substantially more of the Republican primary voters agree with Rubio.
So what was Paul doing?
It sure looked like a planned gambit to get libertarians back on board.
Paul's campaign has been flagging so much that even libertarians have started jumping ship or sniping at Rand through the media. Just like he did in his 2012 primary, Ted Cruz has been pushing hard for Rand's libertarian vote.
But calling for shrinking our military helps Rand with most self-identified libertarians.
And then Ted Cruz fervently argued that illegal immigration hurts the economy -- definitely not popular among libertarians.
Pundits panned Rand's debate performances, but I bet he got good reviews from the people he needs to stay in the race.
09 November 2015
Winner and losers: Houston municipal elections
Let's do losers first, since that's more fun.
Adrian Garcia -- Sheriff Selfie got just 17% of the vote in a race that he was expected him to win.
But that's not the worst part. The worst part is that now all the attacks on his record are out there, mostly put forth by Democrats. That's going to make a partisan run for office much, much harder.
Annise Parker -- She hasn't seemed very interested in being mayor for quite awhile now, particularly when it comes to making sure that core city services are functioning well.
The defeat of HER Ordinance was just as much about Houstonians telling Parker how much they disapproved as it was about whether a broke city should add another layer of bureaucracy to deal with complaints about who urinated where.
Sylvester Turner -- At times this race felt like a coronation. But despite finishing first to make the runoff, he didn't get any more votes than anyone thought he would. In fact, his vote totals have actually declined in each mayoral election.
Bill White -- His unendorsement endorsement of Adrian Garcia didn't swing any votes. All the fundraising help he gave Garcia was wasted.
Bill King -- As someone who spent a decade telling Houstonians how moderate he was and criticizing both parties, it wasn't really clear if King could even muster enough votes to make it to the runoff. He needed Republican votes to make it happen, and while it took awhile, he got there.
King looks like he is in a good position for the runoff.
Pastors hit with subpoenas -- They won by more than anyone expected, despite Bob McNair flip-flopping on them and only Ben Hall carrying their banner in the mayoral race.
Imagine if Ben Hall had been smart enough to hire someone other than John Weaver?
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