26 November 2007
Olsen and Shuvalov
Wayne Slater profiles Olsen & Shuvalov, the direct mail firm Todd Olsen and Kevin Shuvalov bought from Karl Rove.
"We're part of a strategic team [for Rudy Giuliani]," Mr. Shuvalov said. "It's basically the mail guys, the TV guys, the pollster and Brent Seaborn, the director of strategy.
"We'll huddle on an issue or the issues of the day, saying this is where we need to go or what we need to do and debate it back and forth," he said. "Now with the primaries and caucuses getting close, it's more on implementation and making sure the trains are running on time."
Mr. Giuliani isn't the firm's only candidate on next year's ballot. Its clients include Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, Texas Supreme Court Justice Dale Wainwright, and candidates in several congressional contests and a number of state representative and judicial races.
Like Karl did, we keep all the process of list building, list development and list and data mining in-house," said Mr. Olsen.
Cornyn for #2 spot in Senate? Kay to move up?
Mississippi Senator Trent Lott is finally retiring from the Senate, something long rumored. The Politico reports that John Cornyn (currently #5 in Senate GOP leadership) may be looking to replace him as Senate Minority Whip. If so, he'll probably face off against Jon Kyl (currently #3 in Senate GOP leadership) and Lamar(!) Alexander. Although the media (and establishment) in Texas seems to have missed it, Cornyn has a chance in the leadership race because he is well respected by his peers. They appreciate the work he has done on issues that no one else wanted to out in front of.
Meanwhile, Kay Bailey Hutchison is looking to move up from #4 to Kyl's #3 slot.
Update: Burka says the most likely scenario is that Kay and Cornyn both move up a notch.
Update: South Dakota Senator John Thune -- widely regarded as a rising star -- is said to be likely to run against either KBH or Cornyn.
25 November 2007
The LATimes political bloggers note the Californians in Texas:
A Houston Chronicle story earlier this week reported that Von Huene has been hired to help Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst improve his public speaking skills.I may be the only one who puts Armstrong running for office under 50%. And the Olsen twins? Hmm.
This new job, of course, doesn't quite involve the challenges Von Huene faced with Schwarzenegger and his still-thick Austrian accent. Instead, Von Huene's work with Dewhurst "has been focused on speech-making and delivery," according to the Texan's director of communications, Mike Wintemute (a transplanted Californian who a few years back was appointed to a mid-level state government job by Schwarzenegger).
Dewhurst, a Republican, was elected lieutenant governor in 2002, was easily reelected last November and appears to be gearing up for a run at the top job (why else hire Von Huene?).
Today, however, the buzz in Texas political circles is about Armstrong, the seven-time winner of the the Tour de France. The Dallas Morning News reports that in the wake of his success in spearheading to passage state cancer research bonds earlier this month, many of his fellow Texans are wondering if Armstrong himself could be on the ballot down the road.
He's got himself a spokeswoman, Katherine McLane, who used to serve the same function for Schwarzenegger. She was appropriately coy in commenting for the Dallas newspaper story, saying, "For the coming year, [Armstrong's] focus is on making cancer a national priority and a front-burner topic in the presidential election. What happens after that, who can say?"
The story also notes that Jeff Danzinger, who had been part of Schwarzenegger's communications staff, "penned Mr. Armstrong's election night remarks, a polished 10-minute speech."
Working for Armstrong is not without its challenges, from a public-relations standpoint. Even as he was stumping for the cancer research bonds, he made news by getting cozy with Ashley Olsen, one of the acting twins (part of the reason for the attention -- he's 36, she's 21).
I'd say something about Californians invading Texas, but that might sound xenophobic.
23 November 2007
"RG #1" Thumps up. *
Wayne Slater writes up our Guv stumping for Rudy in Iowa for the DMN.
Archer was not convinced [by Perry's explanation of Giuliani's position on illegal immigration].
Her reaction was typical during Mr. Perry's first solo voyage this week on behalf of the Giuliani presidential campaign, which hopes the governor's conservative credentials will reassure voters uneasy about the former New York mayor's liberal record on social issues.
It's unclear how many Iowa Republicans the Texas governor won over. But if they were skeptical about the message, they seemed to like the messenger.
"He's impressive; he's charismatic," Ms. Archer said after Mr. Perry's visit to the Scott County Republican Women's Club luncheon, where he made his way around the tables in a dark suit and blue tie, greeting members.
At the Kiwanis noon meeting in Waterloo, GOP activist Charles Wheeland said he liked Mr. Perry's style.
"He is a politician, but he doesn't sound like a politician," said Mr. Wheeland.
And then there was the Perry and Bush nugget:
At Giuliani headquarters in Cedar Rapids, he recalled how Mr. Bush was so confident that a year before the 2000 presidential election he told Mr. Perry, "You're going to love being governor."At one point, Giuliani was supposed to be ignoring Iowa, although I don't think many people took that idea seriously. It sounds like Perry's role as surrogate in chief is key to their Iowa strategy. They probably figure that Perry's combination of agricultural background, social conservatism, and Texas is the best way to reach Iowans for Giuliani.
After being elected president, Mr. Bush called one day from the Oval Office.
"Laura was in Crawford. He talked for 30 minutes. I think he was a bit lonely," Mr. Perry recalled. "He said, 'You remember that conversation we had about governor of Texas being the best job in the world?' "
Mr. Perry said he did.
"Well," said the president, "it is."
Is Perry's endorsement and frequent Iowa stumping a sign that he won't seek re-election? While this doesn't hurt him with the Pat Oxfords of the state, it would seem like an odd move for a governor likely to run for re-election.
* If you don't get the reference, click the link to Slater's story.
22 November 2007
New CD22 blog up
Thought I'd note the birth of a new blog watching CD22.
They have a post up with their own early prognostications (compare to my own conventional wisdom). They think that the race comes down to Olson, Shelley, and Hrbacek. I didn't make it clear in my post, but I agree that Hrbacek is the 3rd most likely to make the runoff. Talton will pick up some social conservatives, and he could make it if the field fractures enough for his base to put him in the runoffs. Still, you'd have to think he's fourth and quite a bit behind Hrbacek (who is a bit behind Olson and Shelley, though Olson could fail to get traction).
On that Chris Bell lawsuit...
Why exactly would the Perry campaign knowingly violate state law when there was absolutely no possibility of defeat? I know politicians often do crazy things under the stress of an election, but there was no rational reason to think defeat was possible. [Remember Chris Bell's quote that "You could be a corpse and get 31 percent as the Democratic nominee..." Bell got 29.8% of the vote.]
Therefore, I find it awfully hard to believe that Perry's campaign would've intentionally violated state law.
Adman Roy Spence walking across America
Apparently taking a spiritual journey is the burgeoning trend among Austin politicos. The Lege must be out of session or something...
You can check out Spence's blog of his travels.
2010 isn't far away...
If Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst sounds new and improved the next time he steps before a political audience, chalk it up to some public speaking lessons.
The former CIA officer-turned-businessman-turned- politician has taken several public speaking lessons from a Californian speech trainer to improve his communication skills.
Dewhurst is meeting with the same speech trainer who provides speaking tips to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Because everyone wins when the leaders feud...
FWST's The Insider:
A student asked Craddick about getting members to propose legislation he wanted. Craddick denied ever doing that.
"The speaker's job isn't to ask members to introduce a bill," Craddick said.
Dewhurst, meanwhile, had no trouble boasting of bills he maneuvered, though they didn't have his name on them.
And while Craddick never publicly discusses his favorite backstage tactics, Dewhurst happily recounted how he forced the House to pass a water bill he helped write.
Dewhurst picked six bills Craddick wanted to see made into law and claimed he was too busy to bring them up in the Senate.
Once the water bill passed, Dewhurst said, his schedule miraculously cleared up.
The French love Hillary
I can't think of anything better than the French coming over to campaign for Hillary.
U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won surprise backing from the wife of former French President Jacques Chirac on Thursday, together with a pledge to join her on the campaign trail.
The Chiracs' political affiliations are at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Clintons', but the former French first lady said she had always thought Democratic candidate Clinton had the makings of a U.S. president.
She even expressed interest in attending the Democratic convention in Denver in August. "And if I can be of any use to her somewhere in the campaign, I'm available. I'd like to go with her and I'm going to suggest it to her."
21 November 2007
What I've read so far this week
I often intend to do mini-book reviews, but never quite get around to it. Here's what I read the last couple days:
Bob Novak's The Prince of Darkness and Bob Shrum's No Excuses. For Washington memoirs, both are abnormally honest. I liked Novak's slightly more, but was surprisingly charmed by both.
Steven Landsburg's More Sex is Safer Sex -- my political beliefs might be closer to Landsburg than Shrum or Novak, but I really didn't like this Freakonomics clone. He tried to hard to do be counter-intuitive, and occasionally bordered on the facile. At times provoking, the book wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. Read Tyler Cowen's book instead.
15 November 2007
LAT likes Dowd
The LATimes glows over Matt Dowd.
14 November 2007
I heart what?
Anyone else noticed that Mike Huckabee of 2008 is the John McCain of 2000?
Republican presidential primary campaigns predicated on mainstream media support -- especially when wholly failing to establish critical campaign infrastructure -- inevitably fail.
...is possibly the least stable operating system I have ever used. Supposedly it's all hardware compatibility issues, but I don't particularly care. It crashes. Daily. At. Least.
On Hillary's strategic calculations
The Professors are obviously right.
Troy McCullough in today’s Wall Street Journal notes that many conservatives have pinned their hopes on Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic nomination, expecting it to reunite their political ranks and motivate enough disillusioned Republican voters to head to the polls next November to secure victory.
But according to David Weigel in the American Conservative, this is a profound miscalculation. We wholeheartedly agree.
One thing people don't understand about the Clintons is that they think in terms of grand strategy. People talk about Bill Clinton's tactical brilliance, but it was his foresight in grand strategy that allowed him to overcome his personal foibles and become president. Hillary is the same way -- the Clintons have had success because they are willing to compromise in order to be elected.
Republicans -- such as Bush adviser Dan Bartlett, who's back in Austin telling people that the GOP has a chance if Hillary is nominated -- don't seem to understand this. Hillary has softened and is continuing to soften her edges. Even though many in the media have mocked Hillary and Bill playing the gender card, the fact is that Hillary can afford to play it because one of her edges is that she is...not feminine. Going feminine humanizes her in a way that she's not comfortable doing herself.
If Republicans expect Hillary to motivate a depressed base, they are likely to find themselves disappointed.
Conventional wisdom on the 22nd
On the Republican side, there's a few serious contenders right now: Pete Olson, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, John Manlove, Robert Talton, Dean Hrbacek.
Right now, I'd say most people think it's going to end up in a runoff between Pete Olson and Shelley. Olson will probably raise the most money, and find the most endorsements, while Shelley has some residual support from running in 2006 for 2008 [no one is going to find that joke funny. -- ed.]. Manlove and Talton will split the Pasadena vote enough that neither make the runoff, and Hrbacek probably won't raise enough money. Most assume that Olson will take Shelley in the runoff, if he's a competent enough candidate to make the runoff.
Barring a landslide Democratic year in 08, it's tough to see Nick Lampson surviving. Back to Beaumont, Nick.
Paul Burka's article on John Cornyn -- available in the new Texas Monthly -- is now temporarily available online.
* Double bonus points if you catch the reference in the title. For once, it isn't a Jay-Z reference.
The Ashby Highrise
Over the past couple months, it's been amusing to watch the uproar over the tower of condos planned for the corner of Ashby and Bissonnet. It's made the national news and such. I've more or less lived in the neighborhood for 3 years, although I only rent the cheapest housing, so maybe I'm not much of a resident anyway. It's impressive that nearly every house in Southampton has those ugly anti-high rise lawn signs.
My position on the tower can best be described thus:
Nothing unites the very rich like keeping down the merely rich.It's also amusing watching Bill White kowtow to his wealthy establishment constituents. Now that's something he's good at; too bad he doesn't spend as much time on the crime rate in southwest Houston.