In addition to both Texas Senators (John Cornyn, who should have known better, and the retiring Kay Baily Hutchison, who came in like a lion and is going out like a RINO; thank God Ted Cruz is replacing her), four Republican Texas congressmen voted for the “Fiscal Cliff” tax hike deal:
Kay Bailey Hutchison tries to walk back her comments, unsuccessfully. She says she opposes abortion, but supports taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. That’s like saying you support the Second Amendment, but also support the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. You can believe one or the other, but not both at the same time.
Even The New York Times has noticed the absurdity of the Obama Administration’s position on ObamaCare: “The Justice Department is essentially arguing that the penalty is not a tax, except when the government says it is one.”
Proving that she’s become part of the problem, Kay Bailey Hutchison took Planned Parenthood’s side in the current funding dispute. It’s an object lesson in why, even if she hadn’t retired, Hutchison was no longer going to be a Senator after January 3, 2013. As Texas has gotten more conservative, Hutchison has gotten more liberal. And her argument that Planned Parenthood is vital to the Texas’ Women’s Health Program is bunk.
Not only should the U.S. government not be providing taxpayer funded abortions, they shouldn’t be subsidizing family planning services period, because it’s not the proper function of the federal government. The idea that Uncle Sam should dispense abortions and condoms is a recent one, and panders not only to big government feminism, but also (speaking of debunked) neo-Malthusian thinking and religious environmentalism. Defunding Planned Parenthood and its ilk should be an easy decision for both economic and religious conservatives. The fact that Hutchison is far more concerned with hoovering up federal dollars just goes to prove Rick Perry’s assertion in the 2010 gubernatorial race that “Washington changed Kay.”
There has long been grumbling about Hutchison not being conservative enough, but only in her last term did it become loud enough to ensure that somebody would launch a primary challenge against her; her suicidal attempt to bring down Perry in 2010 just hastened the process. (Why both she and another moderate Republican woman, Carole Keeton McClellan Rylander Strayhorn, both felt such burning animus toward Perry that each destroyed their careers in futile attempts to take him out is an interesting topic I don’t have enough insight on to address.)
Both Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann have proven that it’s possible to be elected as a strong conservative woman. It’s just a shame that Texas doesn’t have one as a U.S. senator.
Since that piece came out December 19, it’s hardly cutting edge news. But I’ve been ruminating on it for a while to try and figure out if I have anything more to add. I think I do. And with the Iowa Caucuses looming, I probably should.
I haven’t covered much of the 2012 Presidential race, mainly because I’ve been focusing on the Texas Senate Race and everyone and their dog was blogging every twist in the POTUSA race.
OMG! Ron Paul is up 3 points!
Plus I don’t have cable, so I wouldn’t be able to watch the interminable numerous debates.
Finally, a baseball team the Astros can beat
Which is why I didn’t see Perry commit his brain freezes, of which there were many. (My theory is that he was still hopped up on goofballs from his back operation.)
Percocet makes me see tiny little Jim Hightowers, and I have to grab and crush each and every one of them
Having lived in Texas for the entirety of Rick Perry’s tenure as governor, I can attest that he is not a perfect candidate. There have been times (Gardasil, the Trans-Texas Corridor) when he’s strayed from conservative principles. And he’s not as polished as Mitt Romney or as articulate as Newt Gingrich.
But Perry isn’t running against the second coming of Ronald Reagan, or even Sarah Palin. Every other major Republican contender is not only at least as flawed, they’re considerably more so.
Despite cheer-leading from the likes of Kathryn Jean Lopez and Jennifer Rubin, Mitt Romney has always struck me as a phony without any real core convictions except that he should be in charge; sort of the Republican answer to Bill Clinton, without the charm or adultery. Pick an issue and Romney’s been on both sides of it at one time or another. He seems the most likely of all the major candidates to be praised by The New York Times and The Washington Post for “growing” in office. Romney is most likely to disappoint me in caving in to D.C.’s usual free-spending, pork-barrel log-rolling.
I could get behind voting for the Newt Gingrich of 1994, the one whose laser-like focus on the holding the Democrats accountable for their misdeed and promoting the Contract With America helped Republicans take the House and Senate, set the stage for a welfare reform and helped (temporarily) balance the budget. Sadly, that Gingrich is not up on offer. We have to deal with the idea-a-minute-and-many-of-them-bad, ex-lobbyist, “Big Government Conservative” Newt Gingrich of 2012, the one so devastatingly and accurately skewered by Mark Steyn in this week’s National Review. (As Bruce Sterling once said at a Turkey City Writer’s Workshop, “Cruel, but fair!”) No matter how many times he tries to sound like Reagan, there are all those other times when he sounds like everyone from Al Gore to Faith Popcorn. I imagine that I would be disappointed many times in a Gingrich Presidency. Unlike Romney, I’m sure Gingrich would find entirely new and innovative ways to disappoint me.
I could almost get behind Ron Paul, based on his absolute, rock-steady position on the biggest problem facing America: out-of-control government spending and ever-increasing size and power of the federal government. The debt bomb is an existential threat to American prosperity, and If we don’t shrink government and get the deficit under control, none of the other issues really matter. And I lean heavily on the libertarian side of the spectrum. But even given that, there’s just too much weirdness (what Kevin Williamson called “his Ronness”) about the rest of Paul’s policies: the newsletters, the footsie with racism, the conspiracy theories, the weirdness about gays and wishing Israel didn’t exist, the running against Reagan. Being just one of 435 House members was a great place for Paul to be, since he could bring up conservative and Libertarian issues without any chance that his wackier ideas would ever end up in legislation, but the Presidency is a different kettle of fish. Plus there’s the problem of his electability, or rather lack thereof. With all his diverse baggage, I believe that Paul is the GOP candidate Obama would have the best chance of defeating. Ignore all the hard-left liberals talking up Paul as a better choice than Obama; it’s just a smokescreen that would evaporate at the first excuse to jump back on the Obama bandwagon. William F. Buckley always said conservative should support the right-most viable candidate. I don’t think Paul is a viable candidate.
Michelle Bachmann’s star has faded even more than Perry’s, and she doesn’t have Perry’s executive experience or record on job creation. The fact she’s neither dumb nor crazy doesn’t mean the MSM won’t pull the Full Sarah Palin Treatment on her (Andrew Sullivan womb-diving optional) were she to get the nod.
Rick Santorum: Too little, too late, he lost his last election, and his strengths don’t lie in the economy and job creation.
Jon Huntsman: Which part of “Republican” was unclear?
By process of elimination, that leaves Perry. As I said before, Perry isn’t perfect, but he has a record on holding the line on government spending and enabling job creation that puts Romney to shame. One again, let’s go to the charts that the indispensable Will Franklin of Willisms has provided on Texas job creation:
And the case for Perry over Romney (again thanks to WILLisms) is even more stark:
While I have criticized Perry’s campaign budget proposals for being too timid, Perry insisted on balancing the Texas budget without tax hikes. I assure you that California would love to have Texas’ budget. Indeed, adjusted for inflation, population growth, and federally-mandated spending, the Texas state budget has actually gone down under Perry. His guiding principle has been “don’t spend all the money,” and it’s one that Washington desperately needs.
One final, very big reason to support Perry: He can win. Perry’s never lost a race, because he’s a tough and tenacious campaigner who’s not afraid to hit his opponent\s hard. Everyone thought Kay Bailey Hutchison was going to cream Perry in the 2010 governor’s race, and he beat her like a rented mule.
Or maybe a rented donkey.
In the general election against Bill White, he ran an ad featuring a police widow talking about how her husband had been killed by a multi-arrested illegal alien while White was touting Houston as a “sanctuary city.”
Even professional MSM Perry hater Paul Burka says that Perry is a hard man. “He is the kind of politician who would rather be feared than loved.” Perry will have absolutely no fear of taking the fight to Obama and going negative early and often, and he won’t let political correctness cow him into treating Obama with kid gloves.
Will the media savage Rick Perry for his flubs? Of course they will. But, as Ace noted, they’ll always find a way to crucify any Republican candidate to make Obama look better. They’ll use the same “he’s an idiot” line of attack they used on Reagan and Bush43…and you so how far that got them.
If you’re still undecided on Perry, this video should at least give you a more rounded picture of him:
For those who think Perry is already out of the race, remember that at this point in 2004, the consensus was that Howard Dean was going to be the nominee. There’s a reason Americans actually get to vote, and they frequently prove the pundits wrong.
Setting aside of the question of why you would want to move from the Railroad Commission to the State Senate (which seems like a slight downgrade to me), the Senate District 25 race already had one Tea Party challenger to Wentworth in Donna Campbell, who may find herself financially outgunned if Jones transfers her U.S. Senate race money. (Naturally, Wenworth wants Jones to return the money.) There have been mutterings in some quarters (at least stretching back to last decade’s redistricting fight) that Wentworth is too liberal for his district. Should all three stay in, this should prove to be a very interesting primary fight.
Clearly Jones was overdue to get out of the Senate race, and had been for some time. Not only were David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz firmly established as the top two candidates, but they and Tom Leppert were all clearly outperforming Jones in every phase of the campaign. From all that I could see, Jones performed poorly at the the various candidate debates and forums and fell woefully behind in the fundraising race. I think there was a much greater possibility that Jones could have come in behind long-shot Glenn Addison in the March primary than that she could overtake Cruz or Dewhurst.
Jones was the very first candidate to declare for the U.S. Senate race, filing her paperwork way back on November 3, 2008, but never seemed to gain any traction once additional candidates jumped in after Kay Baily Hutchison announced she was retiring.
This is good news for the Ted Cruz campaign, and bad news for David Dewhurst, since it gives Cruz a clearer shot at him. Dewhurst clearly has no desire to debate Cruz one-on-one, and the more candidates in the race, the less likely it is for conservative voters to coalesce around Cruz as the anti-Dewhurst campaign.
Now that Jones is out, will Leppert bow out as well? I doubt it. Though he clearly hasn’t caught fire, Leppert has (thanks to a generous measure of self-funding) stayed on pace with the front-runners in the fundraising derby, and he’s clearly a better campaigner, and has a much better organization, than Jones. My hunch says that he stays in until March, and then comes in a distant third. But there’s still an awful lot of campaign left…
And here’s part two of the Ted Cruz interview. Some interesting thoughts on Victor Carrillo’s loss in 2010, Republican acceptance of Hispanic candidates, and his record studying the Tenth Amendment, among others.
Now that half the fundraising year has passed, I wanted to take a look at how the funds raised this year compare to this point in years past.
Unfortunately, it’s been so long since there’s been a competitive regular Republican Senate primary in Texas (I’m discounting the special election of 1993 because it’s difficult to compare special elections to regular elections) that it’s hard to find a precedent for that side of the race. John Cornyn had no serious competition in 2002. Indeed, you’d have to go back to Beau Boulter vs. Wes Gilbreath in 1988 for a truly competitive regular Texas Republican senatorial primary. And the main FEC page doesn’t go back before 1999.
So let’s look at the Democratic side of the race, where there’s a lot more precedent for an open race. While my initial assessment of Ricardo Snachez’s $160,000 was it was about what you’d expect given his late start, it seems disappointing in light of what previous Democratic senatorial candidates were able to raise.
“This court is comprised of six justices, all of whom are good Democrats,” Watts wrote. “The Chief Justice, Hon. Rogelio Valdez, was recently elected with our firm’s heavy support, and is a man who believes in the sanctity of jury verdicts.”
The letter goes on to name Justices Errlinda Castillo, Nelda Rodriguez, J. Bonner Dorsey, Federico Hinojosa and Linda Yanez, and says his firm also has financially supported them.
Eventual Democratic nominee Ron Kirk didn’t even file his first campaign report until December 7, 2001, and still managed to raise over $9 million for the race. Kirk was part of the Democratic Party’s 2002 “Dream Team” along with Tony Sanchez and John Sharp: One black, one Hispanic, and one white all running serious, well-funded, top of the ticket campaigns in a year in which the party out of the White House usually does well. They all lost.Kirk did better than Sanchez (losing to Rick Perry), but worse than John Sharp (losing to David Dewhurst).
By the way, Tony Sanchez spent $60 million of his own money for the privilege of getting creamed by Rick Perry, who took over 60% of the vote, thus disproving two theories beloved by political consultants (money is everything, and the Hispanic vote will make Democrats in Texas competitive Real Soon Now) in one fell swoop.
Ricardo Sanchez’s military background gives him several distinct advantages other Democratic candidates have not had, but quick access to significant campaign funds is not among them. Certainly the pay for Lieutenant (three star) General in the united States Army isn’t chickenfeed (about $143,000 a year), but it’s far short of what he would need to self-finance his campaign. Financially, Sanchez’s campaign is going to suffer from him not being a trial lawyer, or, well, Ron Kirk, who was (and presumably still is) amazingly well-connected in both business and Democratic political circles.
Ricardo Sanchez is already behind where most recent Texas Democratic senatorial candidates were during this part of the fundraising cycle. And all of them lost.
Mickey Kaus: “Why do these Democrats tell pollsters that immigrants are a burden because they ‘take our jobs’? Maybe because they do. Just a thought.”
The New York Times gets the Texas Senate Race, well, not quite right. “So far, only Republicans have declared in the Senate race.” False. Political neophyte Sean Hubbard has declared for the Democratic nomination, and has been filing his campaign financing reports with the FEC. “At least seven Republicans are vying for the seat being vacated by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.” Technically true but incomplete; there are five declared major candidates (Ted Cruz, Tom Leppert, Michael Williams, Roger Williams, and Elizabeth Ames Jones), three declared longshot candidates (Glenn Addison, Andrew Castanuela, and Lela Pettinger), one withdrawn candidate who filed her wind-down report with the FEC (Florence Shapiro) and one undeclared potential frontrunner (David Dewhurst). Saying “At least seven” makes me wonder exactly who you’re counting…
The Race to Replace KBH on Senate candidate Twitter antagonists. “Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite them/And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so on ad infinitum…”
More on Leppert’s SEIU support from the horse-mouth, SEIU Texas political coordinator Shannon Perez in the lefty Dallas Observer:
“The Republican primary voters of the state of Texas need to know the truth about Tom Leppert.
When he first ran for Mayor, as a moderate and a supporter of working men and women, he was pro-SEIU, pro-public employees organizing, pro-collective bargaining.
So committed to these ideals was Tom, that he vigorously pursued SEIU’s endorsement.
So committed to these ideals was Tom, that he came to our union organizing launch in the Water Department — encouraging folks to join SEIU. So committed to these ideals was Tom, he frequently threw on an SEIU T-shirt and came to our union hall…Tom even signed an SEIU membership card!
Tom, Tom, Tom, it makes it hard to take your Second-Coming-of-Ronald-Reagan rhetoric seriously when stuff like this keeps tumbling out of your closet. Is it too late for you to switch to the Democratic Primary? You’ve already got a huge lead over Sean Hubbard…
Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbot is rumored to to be considering a run. Current Senator John Cornyn made the same jump in 2002.
Roger Williams, former Texas Secretary of State (not the theologian the Rhode Island university is named for), has picked up a serious endorsement from former President George H. W. Bush. Williams worked on both the Bush41 and Bush43 campaigns and headed the Texas Republican Victory 2008 Coordinated Campaign. It’s a big jump from Secretary of State (which is an appointed, not elected office) to the Senate, but the Bush Machine excels at fund-raising, and if it really throws its weight behind Williams he won’t have any trouble raising money. (Edited to add: I didn’t realize that Williams had already announced his candidacy all the way back in December 2008.)
A different Williams, Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, gets some serious love from South Carolina Senator (and Senate Conservatives Fund head honcho) Jim DeMint. But the Railroad Commission, while quite powerful, doesn’t have nearly the public profile of Lt. Governor.
And that’s just the first batch of names to be floated, and says nothing of random billionaires or old Republican warhorses jumping into the race.
The Democratic names being floated are a far less imposing bunch: San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, ex-Congressman Chet Edwards, and former Comptroller John Sharp. Edwards got trounced in the most recent election, while Sharp was defeated by Dewhurst in his run for Lieutenant Governor in 2002, and it’s hard to treat someone as a serious candidate who haven’t updated their twitter feed in almost a year and who let his campaign website (http://www.johnsharp.com/) lapse.
In related news, Democratic Senator Kent Conrad, of deeply red North Dakota, announced he was declining to run in 2012 as well, which means Democratic chances to hold onto the seat probably just went from slim to none.