Today, looking through Google News, Rick's decision to reject the expansion of unemployment insurance money in the "spendulus" bill is thoroughly dominating the news cycle. Full disclosure before I go any further: I think Rick made the right move here on the policy, and maybe even on the politics. Okay, back to what's out in the news cycle.
There are denunciations. There are analyses of the politics behind the decision. There are some uninformed pontifications and some well-informed ones. There are some screeching, hysterical liberals on comment sections, and there are some dead comment sections. There are a handful of supportive articles.
One of the items on the Google News feed was a site called the Libertarian Republican [how is that on Google News?!!?! WTF?] Notwithstanding how wrong it is that a blog site on Google News, I found it to have a far more relevant discussion than almost any other article out there (link). By relevant, I mean that the 2010 Governor's race will be determined in March of 2010. It is a race between Rick and Kay. It is a race that hardcore Republicans will decide. We know that Rick has a slight upper hand with social conservatives despite the unfortunate HPV incident (link), so Kay will need the libertarian conservatives to win.
Kay comes out looking like a real chump and a zero on this issue with the fiscal conservative crowd, while Rick looks like a "hero" according to the blogs. I can't really disagree too much with this general assessment. The very fringey liberal Burnt Orange Report obviously criticized Rick for his decision, which was a given, but even though Kay and Burnt Orange are on the same page, they also attacked her for her mushy and limp-wristed statement yesterday (link). They even posted this photo of Kay for being such a weakling and failing to take a serious stand:
Even when Kay tries to suck up to this crowd, she still gets reamed.
Maybe next time Kay shouldn't put out such a terrible statement. If you had forgotten how bad it was, it follows here again in its entirety:
“I hope that the Governor has carefully thought through the potential outcomes of today’s decision. With the state unemployment fund dangerously close to falling below the legal threshold, it is imperative that the Governor does nothing that potentially burdens small businesses with higher taxes in tough economic times or pushes those who have recently become unemployed and their families into further economic peril.” –I don't really know Jeffrey, and I am sure he is a good guy, but as someone who has held a similar position Washington, this statement looks like Kay had not told Jeffrey what her position was, so he sort of wrote a paragraph trying to appease the press without taking an actual stand one way or another.
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) U.S.Jeffrey C. Sadosky
U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
Kay was much less equivocal on the David Gregory Happy Fun Sabbath Morning Show a few weeks ago with John Forbes Kerry (link). On that show, she clearly took a stand contrary to what Rick has now done. She was far more forceful in favor of changing state law and expanding unemployment insurance.
I am still trying to wrap my head around Kay's position here [AND THIS POSITION IS A BIG DEAL FOR ME AND A LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE STILL ON THE FENCE]... Kay supports the money, but she voted against the bill, but she thinks that Rick is making a bad choice. Where is my migraine medication?
Consider me another inch or three closer to the Rick camp after this very serious Kay debacle.