Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rick to speak in Bastrop County...

Rick will be the keynote in Bastrop County next month. Anyone think Kay's team might be there with video camera in hand? (link)...

Texas Governor Perry Keynote Speaker in Bastrop

April 21, 2009

Our Texas Governor Rick Perry will be our Keynote Speaker at the Bastrop County Lincoln Bicentennial Dinner hosted by the Bastrop County Republican Party on May 12th at the Lost Pines Hyatt Resort & Spa.







Please visit

for more information and to purchase tickets using a credit card online. You can also call the Bastrop Republican office at 512-303-1844.

Rick's trip to San Angelo...

Rick was in San Angelo last night to raise money for the Tom Green County GOP (link). Excerpt follows...

Movements such as the recent TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party protests over government spending aren't going away, the Texas governor said.

It's part of a national movement that he said is gaining popular support as people stand up against the Obama administration's overreaching policies, Gov. Rick Perry told a crowd of more than 200 people Wednesday night.

"For me, the TEA Parties were about the 10th Amendment," Perry said. "The 10th Amendment says the federal government was created by the state to be an agent by the states. Not the other way around.

"The federal government - with no regard to what it's doing to our country - is mortgaging our kids' future. The money that they are pouring out the door is going to have to be paid back one day."

Perry's 20-minute message was a popular one at the LeGrand Alumni Center at Angelo State University, where he spoke to help raise money for the operation of the local GOP headquarters, 1201 S. Abe St., for the next two years.

The San Angelo newspaper carried a second article about Rick vs. Kay (link). Excerpts follow...

Rick Perry is running on his record, and says that West Texas knows what he believes in.

While he said Wednesday night in San Angelo he was not focused on a campaign, he added that he should be familiar to local residents and the issues that are important here.

"They know what I believe in, and they know what I've accomplished," Perry said. "That will be the basis for standing up in front of the people in September and saying, 'This is why I want to be your governor.'"


In an e-mail to the Standard-Times, Hutchison spokesman Hans Klingler said, "Over the course of the coming months, (Hutchison) will have a discussion with Texas voters regarding important issues facing our state, issues such as access to education, lowering property taxes, stimulating the Texas economy and private-property rights.

"Kay Bailey Hutchison believes, as most Texans do, if the needs continue to go unaddressed, our children and grandchildren will be the ones who inherit the problems tomorrow that could have been fixed today."

Perry said that right now, his focus is the remaining 35 days of the legislative session.

"I'm a big believer good policy makes good politics," Perry said.

Rick tweeted after the event (link)...

Just back from Tom Green Co Reagan Day Dinner. Tenth Amendment supporters out in force in West Texas!!! Keep the heat on Washington!!
Rick is very popular in West Texas, since that is where he is from. Kay might be more popular in parts of Dallas, where she is from. Who will be more popular in the rest of the state in a Republican primary? That's the real question.

Kay attends swanky party for the Nature Conservancy...

Pegasus news has the scoop on Kay's visit to a Nature Conservancy event (link). Excerpt follows...
On Friday night the Nature Conservancy of Texas hosted the 2009 Dallas Spring Party at Arlington Hall at Lee Park. The honorary speakers were Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and lead scientist Dr. M.A. Sanjayan of the Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest and most respected conservation organization. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison gave a moving speech that ranged from Texas history leading up to the United States to the importance of future protections of our water ways, grasslands, beaches, hills, and forests. After her brief speech the Senator introduced Dr. Sanjayan who charismatically ignited the crowd with energy as he discussed his passions of conservation and told stories of his observations from traveling the world.
Some snapshots from the event, everyone is all dressed up in light colored clothes...

Dr. Sanjayan, Laura Huffman, and Senator Hutchison.

Dr. Sanjayan, Laura Huffman, and Senator Hutchison.
Dr. Sanjayan, Laura Huffman, and Senator Hutchison.
Looks like a nice event.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kay's recent spokesman blasts Rick...

Dog bites man.

Matt Mackowiak, Kay's former and recent staffer, is bashing Rick (link). Excerpt follows...

After speaking at three Tax Day tea parties in Texas, Perry told The Associated Press, "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that." The inference was that Texas was once a republic and it might want to be again.

His original comments, and his repeated refusal to back away or clarify them, display his stubbornness, cynicism and smallness.

Pretty par for the course for the liberal mainstream media. I just don't think this op-ed really advanced any new ideas or broke any new ground. It was sort of a re-hash of what has been said on a bunch of liberal blogs and liberal MSM editorial pages around the country over the past two weeks. It commits two major sins in my book... 1) pretending that Rick actually said he wanted Texas to secede and 2) using that non story to build the rest of the op-ed.

Lots of liberals around the country have done this. Look at every major newspaper. They all got it wrong, and Kay's former staffer just seems to echo their arguments. He's better than that. He knows he is better than that. I think he's got to be better than the personal insults about "smallness" as well. It is one thing to support your lady or guy, but Republicans don't like it when other Republicans attack Republicans using liberal Dem talking points. Be critical, be a watchdog, but don't help the other side in the process.

Does one of Rick's former spokesmen now get a free turn to hack away at Kay? I doubt any of them would want do that so early in the game. Maybe next January.

Kay's big move on transportation...

Kay coauthored an op-ed with Jeff Flake on keeping transportation tax dollars within the state (link). Excerpts follow...
To ensure interstate equity and allow states to most efficiently maintain and improve their highways, we have introduced the Highway Fairness and Reform Act of 2009. This bill would give states the choice to opt out of the federal highway program and instead be rebated federal fuel taxes collected within their borders. Our proposal would cut the overwhelming majority of attached federal strings but would require that rebated taxes be spent on surface transportation projects. This option would allow Texas, for example, finally to see its fair share of gas-tax dollars and would ensure that all of our funds could be directed toward improving transportation in high-growth areas of our states.
The Dallas Morning News says that her push faces long odds (link). Excerpt follows...

"It doesn't strike me as something that might be of real interest," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., chairman of a Senate subcommittee on surface transportation. "How do we unite if each state is carving out its piece regardless of how it connects to the airways, to the highways or otherwise?"

Hutchison said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the West Virginia Democrat who chairs the full committee, would also be unlikely to support her legislation. West Virginia receives more than it sends to Washington, according to Federal Highway Administration data. Texas receives about 92 cents for each $1 in fuel taxes that it sends.

Kay's former staffer James Bernsen delivers some interesting commentary on the decision, calling it Kay's version of secession (link) and adding this graphic as well...

The Overhead Wire blog echoes Bernsen's feelings that this is Kay's version of secession (link). Excerpt follows...
While in theory it would keep money from places like Alaska, in practice the State DOT (read road building) would likely keep it all for itself. Personally, this smells of the same secession talk that Gov Hair discussed only a week ago.
Obviously there is something to this states' rights stuff. It has people fired up, and Kay wants in on the action.

The Dallas Morning News has an extensive blog on the subject as well (link), and the Austin American Statesman has another blog on the subject (link) that also agrees it may be a good idea but it is not likely to pass.

Will Kay follow Specter to the Dems? Not likely...

CQ Politics picks up on Paul Burka's suggestion that Kay follow Arlen Specter and join the Democratic Party (link). Excerpt follows...

Burka's argument, in a nutshell: Hutchison would be welcomed by the state's Democrats as their nominee for governor against incumbent Republican Rick Perry, and -- as a more moderate Republican in a state where conservative Christians dominate her party -- she'd find beating Perry a far-sight easier in a general election than she would in a Republican primary election.

Despite the overpowering logic of his argument, even Burka recognizes that Hutchison's departure from the GOP is not imminent, and it's clear Burka was writing with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

The very conservative and Republican Texas Fred echoes Paul Burka on his well read blog, but not in a tongue in cheek way (link). Excerpts follow...

America is in a dangerous position. We have no discernable differences in the parties running this nation. Other than their given names, it’s often impossible to identify the players without a game card. We have 2 U.S. Senators from Texas that have an (R) behind their names, that (R) stands for RINO. Our U.S. Senators voted FOR the socialization of America, they both voted FOR the 1st bailout, doing so against the express wishes of their constituents.

One of those Senators, Kay bailey Hutchison, is retiring from the Senate to come home and run for Texas Governor. Many of us here in Texas are planning on making sure that Hutchison enjoys a nice, quiet retirement, OUT of public office. There is a great candidate vying for the Hutchison seat, Michael Williams, and hopefully, when John Cornyn comes up for reelection again in 2014, we can replace his RINO/Socialist self with a REAL Conservative! If there’s still a USA worth working with that is!

I am hoping the American people send a message to D.C. in 2010, and again in 2012, but NOT by sending more RINOs! We need real Conservatives serving this nation, in local, state and federal positions, not Repubs, not RINOs and not Dem hacks, Conservative American patriots!

There is a lot of anger out there in the GOP base, and there is a real willingness to turn that anger against incumbent "RINO" Republicans.

While Kay may not be the clear favorite among hardcore Republicans, she does remain rather popular overall. Burka's blog created some buzz in political circles, but I just can't see Kay switching to the Democrats.

Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News posted a blog about this (link). Excerpt follows...

So will Hutchison quit? No, she's staying, says Hutchison adviser Todd Olsen. "There's always a two to six-vote swing, some Republicans and some Democrats. The pressure to stay remains constant."

Hutchison will face Perry in next March's GOP primary. So far, the incumbent governor has been busy trumpeting himself as the more conservative in the race - support for a "Choose Life" license plate, meeting with politically involved evangelical pastors, extolling state's rights, bashing Washington and expressing sympathy for Texans who want to secede. Look for Hutchison's team to reinforce the idea that Washington needs all the conservatives it can get. Olsen notes her 89 percent ranking by the American Conservative Union.

UPDATE: Hutchison campaign manager Rick Wiley clarified in a subsequent conversation that Specter's actions don't change the senator's intention to decide on her own about resigning. "Senator Hutchison has said she will decide when she will leave the Senate, but that decision won't come until later this year."

The "UPDATE:" is interesting. It looks like one of Kay's spokesmen was saying one thing... namely, that Kay is staying put because there is a swing of 2 to 6 votes in the Senate, while another spokesman said that the first spokesman misspoke. The clarification from Rick Wiley was important for Kay, because she doesn't want to be boxed in one way or the other.

A source close to Kay's team sends along some information about Kay's voting record in the American Conservative Union over the years, information that undermines Paul Burka's argument. Kay has a solid B+ rating from the ACU for her career...

American Conservative Union (ACU) Lifetime Ratings of Members of U.S. Senate at the end of 2008 (includes votes of members that seved in U.S. House)

Rnk Member Rating YOS

1. DeMint(R-SC) 98.40 10

2. Barrasso(R-UT) 98.00 2

3. Coburn(R-OK) 97.80 10

4. Inhofe (R-OK) 97.55 22

5. Kyl (R-AZ) 96.96 22

6. Sessions (R-AL) 95.00 12

7. Allard (R-CO) 94.95 18

8. Bunning (R-KY) 94.47 22

9. Ensign (R-NV) 93.77 14

10. Vitter (R-LA) 93.20 10

11. Chambliss (R-GA) 92.89 14

12. Brownback (R-KS) 92.82 14

13. Craig (R-ID) 92.77 28

14. Crapo (R-ID) 92.29 16

15. Enzi (R-WY) 92.22 12

16. Cornyn (R-TX) 92.00 6

17. Wicker (R-MS) 91.00 14

18. Sununu (R-NH) 90.89 12

19. Burr (R-NC) 90.36 14

20. Graham (R-SC) 89.79 14

21. McConnell (R-KY) 89.40 24

22. Hutchison (R-TX) 89.38 16

23. Hatch (R-UT) 89.18 32

24. Isakson (R-GA) 88.40 10

25. Thune (R-SD) 86.77 10

26. Roberts (R-KS) 86.54 28

27. Dole (R-NC) 85.00 6

28. Hagel (R-NE) 83.70 12

29. Bennett (R-UT) 83.60 16

30. Grassley (R-IA) 83.13 34

31. Corker (R-TN) 83.00 2

32. McCain (R-AZ) 81.43 26

33. Bond (R-MO) 82.16 22

34. Alexander (R-TN) 80.83 6

35. Cochran (R-MS) 80.03 36

36. Martinez (R-FL) 80.00 4

37. Warner (R-VA) 79.19 30

38. Gregg (R-NH) 78.59 24

39. Lugar (R-IN) 77.55 32

40. Shelby (R-AL) 75.01 30

41. Domenici (R-NM) 74.12 36

42. Murkowski (R-AK) 70.56 6

43. Voinovich (R-OH) 69.71 10

44. Smith (R-OR) 68.83 12

45. Coleman (R-MN) 68.83 6

46. Stevens (R-AK) 64.07 38

47. Collins (R-ME) 49.55 12

48. Snowe (R-ME) 47.88 30

49. Nelson (D-NE) 47.26 8

50. Specter (R-PA) 44.47 28

51. Nelson (D-FL) 37.28 18

52. Byrd (D-WV) 28.26 38

53. Landrieu (D-LA) 23.20 12

54. Bayh (D-IN) 20.70 10

55. Conrad (D-ND) 19.57 22

56. Reid (D-NV) 18.96 26

57. Lincoln (D-AR) 18.70 16

58. Johnson (D-SD) 18.36 22

59. Pryor (D-AR) 18.33 6

60. Dorgan (D-ND) 16.57 22

61. Tester (D-MT) 16.00 2

62. Lieberman (D-CT) 15.96 20

63. Salazar (D-CO) 14.25 4

64. Baucus (D-MT) 14.04 34

65. McCaskill (D-MO) 14.00 2

66. Kohl (D-WI) 13.63 20

67. Carper (D-DE) 13.25 8

68. Biden (D-DE) 12.67 36

69. Feingold (D-WI) 12.04 16

70. Webb (D-VA) 12.00 2

71. Bingaman (D-NM) 11.71 26

72. Stabenow (D-MI) 10.50 8

73. Cantwell (D-WA) 10.38 8

74. Obama (D-IL) 10.00 4

75. Klobuchar (D-MN) 10.00 2

76. Wyden (D-OR) 9.32 28

77. Rockefeller (D-WV) 9.11 24

78. Feinstein (D-CA) 9.06 16

79. Brown (D-OH) 8.74 16

80. Menendez (D-NJ) 8.63 16

81. Harkin (D-IA) 8.46 34

82. Clinton (D-NY) 8.13 8

83. Casey (D-PA) 8.00 2

84. Dodd (D-CT) 7.89 34

85. Akaka (D-HA) 6.98 32

86. Innoye (D-HA) 6.85 38

87. Levin (D-MI) 6.80 30

88. Reed (D-RI) 6.65 18

89. Sanders (I-VT) 6.44 18

90. Durbin (D-IL) 6.35 26

91. Mikulski (D-MD) 5.93 32

92. Schumer (D-NY) 5.92 28

93. Leahy (D-VT) 5.82 34

94. Cardin (D-MD) 5.74 8

95. Kerry (D-MD) 5.50 24

96. Lautenberg (D-NJ) 4.96 24

97. Whitehouse (D-RI) 4.00 2

98. Boxer (D-CA) 3.07 26

99. Murray (D-WA) 2.91 16

100.Kennedy (D-MA) 2.33 38

KBH has a higher lifetime ACU voting record than both of the Utah Senators. Utah is the reddest state.

Burnt Orange Report adds that Kay won't switch parties, but that she might be willing to resign sooner rather than later (link). Excerpt follows...

But it does mean that the past rationale for her staying in the Senate is no longer so cut and dry. Rick Perry has been able to consolidate and inspire more support among the most conservative of Texas Republicans, the exact group he will need huge support from to win next March's Republican Primary.

Now that Specter has flipped, could Hutchison resign her Senate seat later this year to come home to Texas to focus on reclaiming the once solid lead she held in the polls?

Kay did seem to have a pretty good lead a few months back, but now the numbers have narrowed and the momentum just feels to be with Rick. Kay might therefore be resigning from the Senate in the next couple of months.

Another Burnt Orange blog opines that Kay may already be running out of time (link). Excerpt follows...
Kay Baily won't beat Rick Perry in a GOP primary because she hasn't flown down from her perch in Washington DC to start building a whole new Republican Party in order to defeat Good Hair and his secessionist followers. Hutchison has to build a new Texas GOP if she has a snowballs chance in hell of beating Perry and last time I checked it takes more than a year to build a political party. Now that Kay, as BOR writer David Mauro rightly points out, doesn't have the pressure to stay in the senate to prevent a filibuster proof, Democratically controlled senate from coming to fruition, she might swoop back to Texas and get to work sooner rather than later.
Politico adds, however that Norm Coleman is not out of it yet, and the GOP is redoubling efforts to help him in his court case (link)...
Another dynamic Dems are watching closely: how Specter’s decision will affect Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is leaning heavily toward a gubernatorial run back home.

The sense, according to one senior Democratic aide, is that Specter’s status as the possible filibuster-proof 60th vote makes it easier for her to brush aside arguments she’s needed in Washington.

Still, if Coleman scores an unexpected legal victory — or drags the process out long enough — Hutchison may come under additional pressure to take one for the team.

And Specter’s claim that he’ll never be an “automatic” No. 60 could keep the pressure on Hutchison too.
As Todd Olsen explained initially, there is a magic number of 60, but whether there are 58, 59, 60, 61, or 62 Senators, those swing votes are all important.

Florida the bizarro Texas on unemployment insurance...

Big props to the liberal Phillip Martin of Burnt Orange with the nice catch on Florida being Texas in reverse on the stimulus money issue (link)...

In Texas, the Legislature wants to pull down the unemployment insurance funds -- over the objections of Governor Rick Perry.

In Florida, apparently, they've got the opposite problem: the Republican-controlled legislature there won't pass legislation to change the law to allow the unemployment insurance funds to be collected, despite the Governor's desire to do so.

In Florida the unemployment rate is 9.7%, a point above the national average, and it's likely to go above 10% by next month. Texas has seen higher unemployment than it had a year ago, but it's still 2 percent lower than the national average. That might color some of the discussions.


Rick and Kay are both talking about swine flu.

Kay sent out this video from earlier this week through her Texans for Kay website...

Rick is just now going to give his second or third press conference on this issue in the past few days, and you can view it "LIVE" on the net (link).

The Ft. Worth Star Telegram has a nice read on what is being done to keep the probably overblown swine flu at bay (link). Excerpts follow...

Texas officials say they are doing their best to guard the border and protect residents.

The solution to protecting against swine flu is the same as protecting against smuggling or any other illegal activity.

"Secure the border between the ports of entry so no one can cross" without being cleared, said Steven McCraw, director of homeland security in Perry’s office. "You do this with boots on the ground, leveraging technology and making sure that people trying to get into Texas do so at ports of entry."

Then, U.S. Homeland Security officials work to ensure that those who enter Texas are legal and healthy.

"Obviously Texas is mindful, and the governor clearly understands . . . the importance of securing the Texas-Mexico border from all threats," McCraw said.

Massa, a member of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, has asked for immediate action. "The public needs to be aware of the serious threat of the swine flu, and we need to close our borders to Mexico immediately and completely until this is resolved," he said.

Burgess has urged federal officials to not "underestimate the seriousness of this outbreak." And Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington, has said he is worried that President Barack Obama hasn’t named top health officials who would handle this outbreak.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, questioned health officials during a hearing Tuesday, expressing worries that infected people may come into the U.S. through Texas’ airports and other ports of entry. "I feel we can more aggressively fight against the spread of the disease."

Closing the border entirely seems pretty drastic. Doesn't the regular ole flu kill a lot more people than this swine flu? I guess I just view this as mainstream media sensationalism, but I could be wrong.

More about the Specter party switch fallout and Kay...

Gromer Jeffers Jr. thinks Kay's vote is less important than it once was (link). Excerpt follows...

Republicans, however, are concerned that a special election for Senate would give a Democrat a better chance than a regular contest at winning Hutchison's seat.

At this point, though, Hutchison could feel like her best political move is to get back to Texas as soon as possbile.

Paul Burka is urging Kay to drop out of the Republican Primary and run as a Democrat (link). Excerpt follows...
You can attack Perry’s record a lot more easily in a general election than in a Republican primary, where voters actually think secession is a good idea. In fact, I think you’d be unbeatable. And you would have the last laugh at people like me who think you might still get out of the race. You are getting out–of a primary you may not be able to win for a general election you will win by at least 60-40.

Here’s another advantage to switching parties: You will be able to govern. Even if you defeat Perry in the Republican primary and win the general election, you won’t be able to govern. Republicans in the Legislature don’t want to govern. They want to pander to their primary voters. They want to do Voter ID, guns in schools, ultrasound images, no sex ed, no stem cell research, no new money for schools, run immigrants out of the state, and all the rest of the stuff you have had to cope with for years as a moderate Republican. But if you switch parties, you will elect bring into power with you a Democratic majority in the House and probable pickups in the Senate and a chance to influence redistricting in 2011. You can govern.

Think about it.

Is that how Carole got suckered into running as an independent? The siren song of Paul Burka, with his tempting love letters?

Don't fall for it, Kay. We still need you on our team.

What this does open up the possibility of is an earlier resignation for Kay from the Senate. Maybe this summer even?

The Hill reports that Specter's flip may impact Kay's decision (link). Excerpt follows...

Should Franken eventually be seated, the situation also changes in Texas, where the prospect of 60 Democratic Senate seats is the main thing preventing Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) from retiring to run for governor.

If Hutchison resigns now, her successor will be decided in a primary-less free-for-all special election in which anything can happen.

That prospect has led GOP colleagues to pressure Hutchison to remain in her seat. National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman John Cornyn (Texas), in an interview with The Hill last week, suggested a special election would give Democrats a good opportunity to reach 60 before the 2010 election.

And Gov. Rick Perry (R), whom Hutchison would challenge in a primary, signaled recently that he would make the prospect of 60 Democratic Senate seats a campaign issue, adding to the pressure Hutchison is under.

If Democrats are already at 60, though, the pressure on Hutchison would subside.

The Trailblazers blog adds Kay's thoughts on the subject (link). Excerpt follows...
Texas' senior senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison, had this to say when one of our DC reporters, Laura Isensee, caught up with her a few minutes ago: "I didn't see it coming. I certainly was surprised, and of course I'm disappointed."
The pressure is probably there whether it's 58, 59, 60, or 61, but if Democrats already have 60 shouldn't we, as Clayton Williams once so eloquently said about rape, just sit back, relax and enjoy it?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kay at a women's luncheon stays mum on gov plans...

Kay spoke last night to a State Department dinner for emerging female leaders from around the world (link). Excerpt follows...

Hutchison did not respond to mention of talk that she will run for governor of Texas in 2010-- though the mention did get an interested "ooooh" from the crowd of about 200 women seated in the elegant Benjamin Franklin room at the department.

Hutchison did tell a few jokes, on behalf of the sisterhood of the Senate. Like how at a fitness program on Capitol Hill, an instructor told the group to raise their arms and bend at the waist and one Senator, then Congresswoman, responded that if she had a waist she wouldn't be there.

"The women in the Senate do have some light times. We don't agree on issues many, many of the times. But we do come together on supporting women's issues in other countries," Hutchison told the group, citing women's health issues as an example.

Hutchison, the only woman ever elected to represent Texas in the Senate and one of 17 women members there, also mentioned work in Congress for girls' education in Afghanistan.

Why would Kay not respond? Surely she is not having second thoughts about running, right?

Channel 9 in East Texas adds (link)...

"I am certainly in the planning stages to run for Governor, very excited about it. Really so much support and I feel like it's going to be a go," Hutchison said.

She said hopefully this summer they will be able to make the final formal announcement.

Rick running right? Or is Kay catching on and running right too?

The Dallas Morning News has a good read on political strategy for the 2010 GOP primary (link). Excerpts follow...

An homage to states' rights, a fleeting reference to secession and a private gathering with evangelicals place Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the far right edge of the Republican Party.

And it seems that's exactly where he wants to be.

The two-term governor is lately offering fiery remarks that appeal to highly conservative voters as he gears up for a rough, expensive re-election race against U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison for the GOP nomination.


Hutchison has considered running against Perry twice before, but didn't. In 2006, Perry warned that if Hutchison entered it would be a bruising, divisive race. This time she says she won't be dissuaded.

Another Republican who sized up Perry and opted not to run against him in a GOP primary is former Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who ran instead — and lost — as an independent in 2006.

"I'll give the governor credit — he and his team know how to win elections," Sanders said. "Whip up the right and you don't have to worry about anything else."

What do you think, is Rick suddenly running right, or does he merely seem more right wing these days compared to the more moderate Kay?

KBMT has more details (link). Excerpt follows...

Whoever survives is favored to win the November general election in 2010 because Texas is reliably a Republican state.

Hutchison's camp says there is still a long ways to go -- and many issues to explore -- before the 2010 vote.

Either Rick or Kay would win in a general election, which is why only second tier candidates have thus far stepped forward for the Democrats. For Republican primary voters, then, there's less calculation about who is more electable. McCain was "electable." Arlen Specter was "electable." Joe Straus was "electable" (link). None of them were the real favorite of the party faithful, all three are or have been darlings of the liberal media, but hey they were electable.

Both Rick and Kay are electable, so there's no holding your nose and voting for the "person with the best chance in November," it's really just a matter of who the GOP primary voters choose.

Kay might be warming up to the demographics of Republican primary voters, if her latest gas tax bill is any indication (link). Namely, she is throwing a bone to the states' rights conservatives with her latest effort. Excerpt follows...

About 30 "donor" states send more gasoline tax revenue to Washington than they receive for road projects.

Texas receives about 92 cents per $1 in fuel tax paid by drivers in the state. Lawmakers in both parties have long demanded a bigger share, and Hutchison aides note that it was closer to 72 cents when she became a senator 15 years ago.

With Hutchison trying to topple Gov. Rick Perry in next year's Republican primary, the proposal positions her as a states' rights advocate against a rival whose sympathy for pushing back against the federal government has won conservative hearts lately.

And it could help defuse Perry's long-standing criticism that she hasn't been effective enough at bringing home federal money, though her aides deny any such motives.

Will she actually get it passed is another issue entirely.

The liberal Pete's Place blogs that Kay's move is just cynical political posturing (link). Excerpt follows...

But, like I said, earlier, this legislation is not about solving Texas' transportation woes -- it's about positioning Sen. Hutchison against criticism from her probable GOP gubernatorial foe, Gov. Hair, who has accused the state's senior senator of not looking out for the best interests of Texas (as though Gov. Hair had looked out for the interests of anyone but the rich fringe right wing of the Republican Party).

Eye on Williamson, another liberal blog that frequently attacks Rick, goes after Kay on this one (link). Excerpts follow...

In the full article, (linked above), it becomes apparent that this is little more than a political ploy, that’s almost guaranteed not to pass and wouldn’t fix the problem of neglect of our transportation infrastructure. It probably won’t gain her much, if any support, from the far-right in Texas either.


It doubtful Sen. Hutchison can out “wing-nut” Perry, not sure why she’s even trying.

Kay may have noticed that Rick is driving hard for what the liberals call the "wing-nut" wing of the GOP and decided it is time to throw those crazy people a bone.

This primary may drive both Rick and Kay toward the right, which to me is not a terrible thing. Competition makes Republicans stronger, and it should weed out the Arlen Specters from the party from here on out.

Rick and the gaming community...

Last week Rick signed the movie and gamer tax breaks to lure filmmakers and game developers to Texas. There is a lot of buzz in the gaming world about his move.

VG247 has a post praising Rick for the move (link). On, there is a long string of comments about the move. A Californian on that site gets swamped by a bunch of pro Rick Texan lovers. They even made the anti Rick Californian's comments look faded, probably through some sort of voting process. A sampling of the "pwnage" follows...

First, a couple of the comments from the Californian...

N-zero @ Apr 25th 2009 4:23PM

Who the hell takes Texans seriously any ways I mean everyone knows their shit compared to Californians. Its cause were the shit lol


N-zero @ Apr 25th 2009 5:12PM

You clearly don't know anything about economics if your citing California's economy. Sure California's economy might not be fairing well but so is the rest of the United States. Also just to inform you California is one of the top economies in the World, if it was its' own country than California would be marked tenth worldwide but that number might be different now since that was in 2007 but Texas doesn't even come close to that lol. I think Texas was marked at 15 still good but not as good as California lol

Then the onslaught begins...

Matt_M @ Apr 25th 2009 5:16PM

Yeah, and the Titanic was one of the top ships in the world, but it still sunk. If your state's on the verge of bankruptcy, STFU.

MariusElijah (Only on PlayStation 3) @ Apr 25th 2009 5:17PM

yeah that was 2007, our state isn't going bankrupt like yours

LaughingTarget @ Apr 25th 2009 7:30PM

California used to be called the 5th largest economy in the world. It's slipped to the 10th. The key advantage of this is California's population, based on a per-capita calculation, California is somewhere in the middle of the pack of US states. It may produce a lot, but only because it's a big state, not because there's something special about doing business in California. Cali used to have a good business environment, but through major tax increases to cover all the social services the state wants to offer, it is no longer considered a business friendly environment and is losing businesses. California has gone from a tax donor state (a state that pays more Federal taxes than recieves in benefits) to a tax recipient state over this timeframe as well as has a 10.1% unemployment rate.

Texas, on the other hand, has had an economy that has grown faster than California's and during this economic "crisis", seems to be weathering quite well. Texas is still a tax donor state and has a low unemployment rate of 6.7%.

Of course Texas is angry. States like California, which burden themselves and by proxy, the nation, with stupid laws, regulations, taxes and "services", are making it hard for Texas to function. Since TX isn't getting hammered like everyone else, they'll be bound to foot a greater and greater percentage of the budget, which predominantly goes to states that are not called Texas but are called New York or California.

California was a great place, 30 years ago. Today it's a huge mess and a prime example of what not to do on a national level but what America is going to do anyway.

Prodigy @ Apr 25th 2009 5:17PM

I love it, people come in here thinking they're better than Texans yet they themselves post barbaric comments. Oh the irony...

kaiserin @ Apr 25th 2009 7:33PM

Hello 11.2% unemployment rate as of March 09,

How is Nancy Pelosi doing?

6.7% unemployment rate as of March 09.

PS. Keep your California refugees out of Austin / SA / DFW / Houston.

PPS. Earthquakes, can you has them?

haryo @ Apr 25th 2009 7:28PM

Here is a Governor that is actually promoting and even SUPPORTING the game industry and most of the posts here are actually attacking him!

Contrast this Texas Gov to those attempts to tax or regulate content in the games from Rep. Robert Billiot in Louisiana,to the Seirra Club in New Mexico, to Steve Samuelson in Pennsylvania, to Hillary Clinton's taxing campaign, to those Bureaucrats in the UK that want to turn games into eco-edu-tainment... I'd think you people would be happy...

Did I miss something?

Diskoboy7 @ Apr 25th 2009 8:03PM

Let's see... He's a Republican "space cadet" Governor.

And let's see - you're just a retarded liberal on a website about video games, with a bad picture, to match...


Who knew video game people were such fiscal conservatives?

How does the Specter party flip change the Rick vs. Kay dynamics?

As GOP 12 has noted (link), Rick has already been making the case that it makes no sense for Kay to resign from the Senate and potentially give Democrats a filibuster proof majority...
"I still tell people I don't understand why we would want to spend $40 million in a primary and give (Republicans) a chance of losing a Senate seat in Washington when it's on the verge of being filibuster-proof. So what sense does that make?"
Does Arlen Specter's resignation undercut that argument, or does it underscore it? Do Big John Cornyn and other GOP movers and shakers now go to Kay and tell her that she has to stay in the Senate for the good of America?

How will the Franken/Coleman recount play into all of this? With 60 seats Democrats will be able to cram socialism down our throats and there is almost nothing we can do about it. The urgency level just went way up for Republicans.

Legislature looking to cut Rick's border security efforts?

The El Paso Times reports (link). Excerpt follows...
AUSTIN -- Gov. Rick Perry would lose control of the state-led border security program he has worked to build since 2005 under bills a panel of House lawmakers reviewed Wednesday.

"I'm concerned that we're spending a great deal of money on a matter that is not yielding significant results," said state Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, who wrote the measures.

Farrar's two bills, which she said were designed to stop Perry from using the money as political patronage, would take away the governor's ability to award grants for border-security operations and give that responsibility to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The governor's homeland security director, a key decision-maker in border security operations, would become an appointed position subject to approval by the Senate.

Katherine Cesinger, a Perry spokeswoman, said the border money had not been used to curry political favor. The operations, she said, have helped reduce crime.

"Texas has a proven homeland security strategy that should be a model for the nation," Cesinger said.

Since 2005, Perry has sent sheriff's and police departments across the state more than $30 million to participate in state-led border security operations. He has asked lawmakers for millions more this year.

Rick is probably telling the legislature to try and see how much voters like cuts to border security come election time. Then again, the legislature might be thinking cutting border security will hurt Rick more than themselves.

Meanwhile, Rick has joined Bill Richardson, Arnold, and Arizona's new governor in calling on the Obama administration to send more federal border security forces, something getting totally ignored in Texas but covered far more extensively in Arizona (link). They even have the original letter you can read for yourself in Adobe format. Why is the Texas media so AWOL on this issue? I have not even seen about this except from out of state media.

Rick takes on Obama's first 100 days with radio talk show hosts...

A roundup of media coverage of the event Rick did up in the Dallas area last night with some conservative talk radio hosts. It is noteworthy how the coverage varied from outlet to outlet.
  • The Dallas Morning News (link) pegged the crowd at 1,500 people and took note of some of the praise the panel gave Obama, as well as criticism. Excerpts follow...

There was some praise.

Hewitt said Obama was correct to back the "Bush policy of victory" in Afghanistan.

Obama also got credit for giving the order this month to U.S. forces that led to the liberation of an American cargo-ship captain held captive by Somalia pirates. And they agreed he was right to push for a college football playoff.

But for most of the night, Perry and the talk show hosts lambasted the president's first 100 days and called for conservatives to join the "loyal opposition."

The conservative crowd was laid back for most of the night.

They gave Perry a standing ovation when he took the stage.

"It's not politically correct, but it's gutsy," said Tom Hulsey, a 50-year-old Fort Worth man who said Obama should steer the country back toward a biblical, Christian foundation. "I'm glad he did it."

  • Bud Kennedy of the Ft. Worth Star Telegram said the crowd was "light" and more like 1200. He also focused on the Christian aspect, and said the radio station hosting the event was ranked #43 in the market (link). Who crapped in his Cheerios? He also focused on one of the sponsors of the event who doesn't think Obama is an American citizen (link). Fair and balanced reporting, right there. Several people in the comment section lash out at the always unfair and always unbalanced Bud for his typically sour story. Excerpts follow...

So who is the carpet cleaning company? Definitely don't want to use them.

Perry, you posturing fool.

He may have drawn a bigger crown had it been promoted as an "anti-Obama" event. The crowd doesn't look too sparse in the picture. Remember, this wasn't a free event. These people paid to come here.

What a Bogus Bogus headline. I was there, and there were easily 1600 people there. Since when is 1600 people a light crowd? Your pro-Obama bias is showing. It also wasn't a "religious" forum, although K-SKY does have a somewhat religious bent. Did you guys even pay attention? It was an awesome energizing event, and you are just frustrated they actually were objective and pointed out good things and bad things about Obama's first 100 days.

Nice unbiased reporting....right!

The forum had little to do with "religion", btw...and everything to do with freedom and liberty. We didn't pray, but we talked about prayer some. We didn't talk about Christianity, but we talked about Judeo-Christian ethics some. You definitely minimized this event and by your condescending "quotes", I believe you didn't have a clue to what it was about.

What a horrible belittling biased story. No wonder the Star Telegram is losing readership with such bad reporters as Bud Kennedy.

Really, were you at the event? I listen to 660 from time to time and to say they are a religious station only tells me you have not. But to say the event was a religious forum tells me that you went to this event with some preconceived idea of what it was about and that is what you reported. It is sad that the Star Telegram has lost its ability to report the facts, only the opinion of its reporters.

Ouch, Bud. Try harder next time.
  • The much more fair and more more balanced Jason Embry has a more fair and more balanced take on the event (link). He also pegged the crowd at 1500 people, but he did throw in the item about Rick taking money from the Republican Governors Association and a comment about scant applause during one of Rick's answers despite a friendly reception overall.
  • Also from the Austin American Statesman (I hope they carpooled up on I-35), Ken Herman took his video camera and got some shots (link and link)...

And he also did another "Rick or Kay?" segment, which again mostly favored Rick but not as overwhelmingly as at the Texas Republican Women club lunch a few weeks ago...

I liked Embry's comment on First Reading this morning about the Kay supporter doing her best Susan Combs impression. If you don't get that inside joke, it refers to the first "Rick or Kay" video where Susan Combs froze like a deer in the headlights when asked which candidate she supported.
  • The Dallas Observer thinks Rick sounds like Matthew McConaughey at the 30 second mark of this KXAS Channel 5 footage (link).

View more news videos at:

My take is this... from what I can tell, a decent number of people from Garland showed up to listen and vent a little bit. Whether the number was 500, 1200, 1500, or 2000, that's a lot of people who paid 20... or more than 100 dollars each for VIP seats... to attend. Does Rick's campaign get a cut of that money, or does it all go to the radio station?

More than that, Kay needs to start showing up at these types of events. Right now her absence at these red meat events is becoming mildly conspicuous to political junkies and the chattering classes. Eventually it will be obvious to regular voters... to the rank and file Republican primary likelies... as well.

The Libertarian Republican makes a good point...

A lot of people keep talking about the secession thing as part of some veiled racist Southern throwback. This totally misreads Texas. Not a whole lot of Texans really consider Texas to be part of the Old South.

The fun Texans have with the secession issue is based mostly on Texas' status as an independent Republican for roughly a decade. Yes, for those who still don't get it, Texas was its own country. And whether pinhead liberal professors agree or not, it is taught in schools across Texas that Texas entered the United States of its own accord. Texas went in willingly, but reserved the right to break apart if things went awry. People can argue whether that is right all day long, but that's what native Texans believe to be the case.

The Libertarian Republican takes note of one inside the beltway writer who seems to "get it" (link). Excerpt follows...

Smith, a diehard liberal, seems to have done his homework on the matter. He admits that the sovereignty supporters could be on to something. From his column, "Half of Texans favor Independence":

It's worth keeping in mind that Texas has an anomalous tradition as a free country that isn't entirely part of the Civil War-era question of secession.
This is an absolutely stunning statement to come out of the lips of a liberal mainstream media figure.
Exactly. The reaction from the liberal media shows just how little they understand about history. The people yelling "secede" at the Austin teaparty were likely not racist rednecks who want to see the South rise again. Instead, they were probably post racial (youthful) Ron Paul supporters who philosophically oppose big government and have a bit of state pride at the same time.

Big, big difference.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Kay cuts ribbon at library in Diboll...

The Diboll library is expanding, and Kay was on hand to oversee it (link). Excerpt follows...

Hutchison said she attended the event because of her respect for Arthur Temple and how he gave back to his community.

"I think that honoring him and the Temple family and what they're doing with this library is, it's really a treasure for Angelina County," Hutchison said.

She said books can help change our world.

More from the Lufkin newspaper (link), Kay didn't want to be outdone by Rick on the pro-Texas sentiment...
"From our earliest days Texans have loved to read," said U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas). "It started when settlers moving to the West saw a sign at the Red River that read 'Texas this way.' All of those who could read headed toward Texas and the rest went up to Oklahoma."

Sen. Hutchison made a dedication of her own, contributing a copy of her book "American Heroines: The Spirited Women Who Shaped Our Country," to the library shelves.

"Libraries are an important part of our country, our state, and each individual community," she said. "Reading books helps educate our youth and can help change our perception of the world. It is our responsibility to give that to the next generation of young people."

Pretty funny joke, but it is really striking how Rick is making inroads into the conservative base of the GOP by moderating a high profile event with a thousand+ people including prominent conservative radio talk show hosts, while Kay is dedicating a new wing of the library in Diboll, Texas? That's mayoral stuff. Eventually, Kay is going to have to start doing more events that create buzz, because Rick's people seem to be scheduling a lot more aggressively than her people are.

Rick courting conservative talk radio hosts...

The Houston Chronicle editorializes (link). Excerpt follows...

With activists and observers still opining on whether his remarks on secession and his advocacy of states’ rights enhanced or harmed his reputation, or whether he even has a national reputation, Perry will moderate a forum Monday on President Barack Obama’s first 100 days.

Expect more talk about out-of-control Washington spending, says spokesman Mark Miner, with much time spent listening to people at the Dallas-area stop on a tour by three conservative radio talk-show hosts.


To those who might poke fun at Texas or call it backward, he says, they are “most likely jealous of this state’s position ... economically.”


But Perry’s Tea Party appearance had two benefits, especially to taxpayer activists and conservatives: “To have spoken at one of the rallies means the locals trust you and like you,” said Perry ally Grover Norquist. “To have said something that irritated the establishment press is an additional benefit.”
The dynamic duo of Ken Herman and Jason Embry add some details on Rick's wooing of conservative radio talk show hosts (link). Excerpt follows...

Perry's strategy is twofold: Curry early and solid support from conservatives to scare Hutchison out of the race (filing doesn't begin until December) or, failing that, force Hutchison to try to pass him on the left, a potentially precarious path in what will be the Texas GOP's most high-profile primary since it sealed its dominance in the mid-1990s.

"I still tell people I don't understand why we would want to spend $40 million in a primary and give (Republicans) a chance of losing a Senate seat in Washington when it's on the verge of being filibuster-proof" for Democrats, Perry told the American-Statesman recently. "So what sense does that make?"


In Garland tonight, Perry will make opening comments before posing questions to the talk show hosts. In addition to the expected anti-Obama tone, the evening could contain a healthy heaping of anti-Washington sentiment.

Read the entire Herman/Embry piece. It has a good back and forth between Rick's team and Kay's team.

Tonight, Rick will "moderate" a townhall discussion about Obama's first 100 days with conservative talk show hosts Michael Medved, Mike Gallagher, and Hugh Hewitt, who is almost better known in the blog-o-sphere than on the radio (link).

Rick is seriously on fire with these events. He is endearing himself not just to conservative talk radio (Hannity endorsed him, Rush defended him, Boortz wants to have his babies, Laura Ingraham loved all over him.... the list goes on and on) but to the types of conservatives who actually vote in GOP primaries.

Kay is meanwhile choosing to visit libraries and open hospitals. There are only 10 months left in this race. When things heat up, Kay better be ready to rumble, or Rick is going to pull the upset not by a percentage point but by a big margin.

Evan Smith, Paul Burka, and Patricia Kilday Hart Rick all seem to agree with me in their podcast from Friday (link). They say Rick's numbers are firming up because he has been so visible in recent weeks.

Lefty bloggers trying to have it both ways...

Rob at SayAnything Blog has a blog up that summarizes what I was thinking about this whole swine flu dilemma (link). Blogs on the left have been quick to pounce, saying, "ha, I thought you wanted to secede, and now you're asking the federal government for help! ha!"

Okay, lefties, secession was your fantasy all along, and requesting part of Texas allotment of vaccine units is sort of like asking the dry cleaners for your clothes back after a week. The clothes are yours. You've already paid. Now you're just picking them up. Texas is just picking up the dry cleaning in this case, not begging for the feds to save us. Excerpt from the SayAnything blog follows...

People who desire a return to this country’s federalist roots understand that there are some things the federal government is supposed to do and some things the federal government is not supposed to do. People such as Governor Perry (and myself, because I feel as he does on this issue) don’t want to abolish the federal government altogether. There are certain things the federal government is supposed to do. Our founding fathers recognized this too, which is why they created the federal government and tasked it with certain powers per the Constitution.

And one of the things the federal government is supposed to be involved in is responding to national emergencies. This includes international disease epidemics that cross not only state boarders but international boarders as well.

Believing that the federal government should allow states to decide issues such as gay marriage, abortion, gun control, commerce issues and the like for themselves does not necessarily mean believing that the federal government has a role in responding to an international health threat such as swine flu.

But, once again, obfuscating Perry’s position on these issues (and by extension the positions of the state’s rights movement in general) is much easier than having an honest, logical, straight-forward debate about the issue.

Rick's official state website has a good explanation of what's going on (link). Excerpt follows...

AUSTIN – As a precautionary measure, Gov. Rick Perry today increased his request of antiviral medication to 25 percent (850,000 courses) of the Texas allotment from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Strategic National Stockpile to be prepositioned in the state. This request will augment the more than 840,000 courses of antiviral medication on hand in Texas following a purchase authorized by the 80th Legislature and Gov. Perry in 2007.

In other words, Texas has an allotment reserved at the CDC. Rick is just asking for it.

The teeth grinding on the lefty blogs is telling though... it shows a worldview that believes the states are merely administrative districts within an all powerful national government. Most of us on the right believe the federal government should be an agent of the states. The CDC is Texas' agent. We give them resources. They give us back our antiviral medication when appropriate. An international outbreak is appropriate. I would assume the CDC is assisting in Mexico as well right now, just like it assisted in Canada when another type of flu was raging.

I also find it interesting and important that Texas took it upon itself 2 years ago to buy 840 thousand courses of antiviral medication that would stop a big outbreak in its tracks. In other words, the CDC is not really swooping in to save the day here like the lefties want you to believe. It is merely supplementing the efforts Texas has going on already.

Thanks to Rob at SayAnything blog for blogging all the way from North Dakota but making 100% more sense than all the lefty blogs combined. I guess this is all part of Rick's strategy, to make people like me rally around him when he and Texas are being attacked by liberals from outside of the state. If it is his strategy, it's definitely working on people like me with deep Texas roots and a lot of state pride. People who have just moved here maybe not quite as much.

Wayne Slater takes aim at Rick's fundraising over the years...

Wayne Slater must have felt that he owed Kay's team one to make up for his article about Kay's exaggerated income tax claims a few weeks back. Today in the Dallas Morning News, there is a peculiar article with a headline readymade for a Kay attack ad...

[Texas Gov. Rick Perry takes Washington money - when it's for his campaign]

...about Rick's fundraising (link). Excerpt follows...
Perry has collected $2.7 million from Washington since becoming governor – four times more than Hutchison's $670,000 from Washington during the same period, a Dallas Morning News analysis finds.


Hutchison campaign manager Rick Wiley said it's more evidence that Perry likes to bash Washington but has no problem taking its money – except for $555 million in federal unemployment money, which the governor says has strings attached.

"One has to wonder what kind of strings he's attached to the fundraising haul he had from Washington, D.C.," said Wiley.

Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner said the governor's critique of Washington is limited to political spending, not political contributors.

"He's talking about elected officials who vote for earmarks, bailouts and out-of-control spending – that's what he's referring to when he talks about the problems of Washington," Miner said.

What is sort of strange about the article is that the headline screams about Rick taking Washington money for his campaign, but then it explains that Kay has taken more Washington dollars as a proportion of her overall fundraising (link). More excerpts follow...

Texas is the source of more than 90 percent of both candidates' campaign contributions.

Their Washington money, as a share of their totals, was comparable – 4 percent of Perry's donations and 5.7 percent of Hutchison's.

Perry has raised $66 million since 1991, fueled by two contested races in Texas. The Republican senator raised $11.6 million during the period in which she had re-election race.

Perry's totals include large contributions from Washington-based Republican committees in his 2002 and 2006 elections.

In his last race, the governor got $1 million from the Republican Governors Association in two checks, the second one a few days before the election when he traveled to Washington to receive it personally.

So Rick took 4% of his money from Washington, and the overwhelming bulk of that "Washington money" came from two national GOP groups: 1) a million from the Republican Governor's Association, an organization he headed up and raised millions of dollars for, and 2) 750K from the Republican National State Elections Committee. Hardly "Washington insider" groups there.

Also, are the fundraising figures for Rick and Kay even an apples to apples comparison? Kay never had a supercharged and heated campaign race, while Rick had more than one of them. Rick as a candidate in a state race in Texas was not limited by federal contribution limits, which is why he could take a million dollars from the Republican Governor's Association, while Kay was limited per contribution which is why she took much smaller amounts from many more interest groups.

GOP 12 agrees that the article is "deceptive" (link). Excerpt follows...

Expect the Kay Bailey Hutchison camp to run with the line.

But it's a bit deceptive.

Yes, in an absolute sense, Texas Gov. Rick Perry's raised more money from Washington than Kay Bailey Hutchison -- $2.7 million since becoming governor vs. Hutchison's $670,000 in that same time frame.

But that number's a bit deceptive when considering Texas state campaigns don't have limits on individual donations, while federal campaigns do. Additionally, Hutchison's share of donations from D.C. was 5.7%, while Perry's was 4%.

I have to say, the whole article is not Wayne Slater's best work, nor the most credible work from the headline writer. It's just not really an apples to apples comparison, so saying one has more dollars than the other (Rick over Kay), or one has a higher number of donations from Washington insiders than the other (Kay over Rick), or one has a higher percentage of donations from Washington (Kay over Rick) is not really very informative. Moreover, the headline writer is obviously trying to sell newspapers, because Rick's 4% of money raised coming from Washington almost sounds like a margin of error in a poll. It's pretty tiny. The other thing about this article that seems odd... it was not an analysis of any new information. There has been no new fundraising information released for months now. I guess this is a good, or bad, example of what happens when newspaper staffs get slashed...

Kay's leaving the Senate giving Democrats 60th seat?

Is Kay's departure from the Senate opening a vulnerability for Republicans? Assuming Al Franken takes office, a special election in Texas that goes the wrong way could mean Democrats taking a filibuster free super majority.

The Washington Post blogs about it (link). Excerpt follows...
New Texas Senate Polling: Either state Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) or Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) would be favored to claim the seat being vacated by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), according to a new poll conducted by Research 2000 for the liberal Daily Kos site. In general election matchups, Abbott leads Houston Mayor Bill White (D) by a 42 percent to 36 margin and has a similar 43 percent to 36 percent edge over former state Comptroller John Sharp (D). Dewhurst led Sharp by seven points and White by six points in the polling. It's not clear when (or if) there will even be a special election to replace Hutchison. She was initially expected to resign her seat early this year to focus full time on her race against Perry but the current thinking has her staying in the Senate at least through the fall. Democrats believe they have a real chance to score an upset in a special election scenario and both Sharp and White have already raised better than two million dollars for their respective Senate campaigns.
John Sharp and Bill White are both stout figures, and a special election could end up being extremely expensive for Republicans. Obama will be gunning for that 60th Senate seat, and how happy would he be if it came from Texas?

The liberal blogs are all slobbering over this possibility. They really think that Kay's departure is going to mean the seat flips to the Democrats. Burnt Orange Report is included in this list (link). Commenters on Talking Points Memo are excited about the possibility of Bill White taking on a non incumbent Republican (link).

Rick Casey of the Houston Chronicle also adds his two cents (link). Excerpts follow...

Nobody, with the possible exception of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, knows when or if she will vacate her seat in her quest to replace Gov. Rick Perry.

It could be at the end of this year. It could be after next spring’s Republican primary, in which she hopes to make Perry a lame duck. Or, if she is successful, she could resign from the Senate on Jan. 1, 2011, the day she is sworn in as governor.

Or she may decide to stay in the Senate and seek re-election in 2012. That’s what happened three years ago.


But these are strange times, and this would be a strange election — potentially dozens of candidates running without a primary, with the top two facing each other in a runoff.

That’s why Sen. John Cornyn expressed concern this week to The Hill, a respected Washington political paper.

Noting that Cornyn chairs the committee charged with recruiting and helping Republican senate candidates, the paper said “the one race Cornyn brought up unprompted in a lengthy interview with the Hill was Texas.”

“I don’t want this to turn into a situation where we elect a Democrat in Texas and further erode our possibilities,” he said.

Not to worry, John. For Texas to give President Barack Obama a filibuster-proof Senate would be as unlikely as Dallas electing a Latina lesbian sheriff.

It just couldn’t happen.

For those of you who don't live in Dallas, Dallas did elect a Latina lesbian sheriff. This is why liberals are so excited and a lot of GOP money guys and activists are hoping Kay changes her mind. She would not lose to Bill White in a general election, and neither would the top Republicans being named, but Kay vacating her seat early would open up a tricky special election, and there are seemingly countless Republicans running. They may split the vote and open up a very low turnout runoff a month later. If that happens, sometimes it is just the side that wants it more, and Democrats just might be more hungry.

It is a scary possibility.

Jim Hightower, still bitter about 1990, lashes out at Rick...

A little history lesson for the Rick vs. Kay crowd.

Rick and Kay were both some of the earliest Republicans to hold statewide office in Texas. Yes, there was Senator Tower and a handful of others, but in terms of the modern and current Republican dominance of the state, Rick and Kay were two of the early adopters. In 1990, both Rick and Kay were elected to statewide office.

Rick beat incumbent Democrat Jim Hightower for Agriculture Commissioner. In Rick's 1990 race, Hightower was, according to an old school GOP insider, "up by 20 or 30 points right after the primary, but ended up losing to [Rick] by a slim margin." Jim Hightower was popular in the agricultural community... sort of a populist progressive type of politician with the power of incumbency behind him, so Rick's victory was a definite upset.

Ironically, Kay beat a woman named Nikki Von Hightower (no relation to Jim, as far as I know) for state treasurer, a position that no longer exists, that same year. Nikki was an unpopular radical feminist with a history of being fired from jobs (link), so Kay's victory was not as hard fought as Rick's. The opening for the now nonexistent position emerged because the previous incumbent Ann Richards was in a race for governor in 1990.

Back to Jim Hightower. He's still around, writing books and columns, and he is taking out some of his 1990 frustration on Rick (link). He's calling Rick a "goober," which is sad, considering that his political career ended due to Rick. Excerpt follows...
Perry's gooberness has gone viral. He's a YouTube phenomenon and a new darling of the GOP kingmaker, Rush Limbaugh.

He broke into national consciousness on April 15, when he spoke at one of the many "teabag" rallies that Republican operatives set up around the country to protest Barack Obama's deficit spending. Appearing in Austin before a boisterous crowd of about a thousand people who were fuming about everything from gun control to the Wall Street bailout, the governor opened with this shot: "I'm sure you're not just a bunch of right-wing extremists. But if you are, I'm with you."

It's hard to take someone seriously when they criticize someone who beat them in a political campaign. It's kind of like John Kerry criticizing George W. Bush. It's just sort of "you lost, get over it."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Newspapers want to know all about Rick's security details...

Newspapers are seeking to make public information about Rick's security (link). Excerpt follows...

The Texas Senate tentatively approved a bill Friday that could end a lawsuit over the release of travel vouchers of Gov. Rick Perry's security guards.

Senate Bill 2154, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, would exclude from Texas' open records law the travel vouchers filed by an elected official's security detail. The vouchers can include information such as the number of officers on a trip and the names of hotels stayed in and airlines used.

"The idea made sense to me," Wentworth said. "I don't think it makes sense to divulge the governor's security detail. All that seems like potentially sensitive information."

It seems like the information is already mostly public. The costs are already known. Some of the sensitive details are just omitted. Maybe they should have a system where people can "check out" the information to review but not make copies of it, and they would also have to sign a confidentiality agreement. That way, there would be a record of who is looking at the information and not just any crazy nutjob could read about security details in the newspaper or on the internet and exploit them to cause a real tragedy. There definitely needs to be a balance between public information and safety of elected officials. Texas is ranked #1 in online transparency (link), so the reporters looking for this information are probably used to getting any information at any time for any reason.

Kay continues to get media hits from cancer bill with Ted Kennedy...

Kay is mentioned in this touching CNN commentary (link). Excerpts follow...

Thus I was inspired to hear our new president call for reigniting our nation's war on cancer. And it didn't take long for a bipartisan group of senators to answer that challenge. The group, led by Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, and Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who have been working together and in close consultation and collaboration with the cancer community for more than a year, introduced the 21st Century Cancer ALERT (access to life-saving early detection, research and treatment) Act.

This bill is an effort to address our shortcomings and renew our commitment to discovering and delivering the cures to cancer.

In a period where Democrats control both the Congress and the White House and true bipartisanship is a rare and precious commodity, I am grateful to both senators, particularly Hutchison, for ensuring that this was a true partnership, and that everyone had a seat at the table. For Kennedy, this is obviously a personal issue. Hutchison has been with us in this fight since our early days, and this would not have happened without her leadership.

As I have blogged before, cancer is an issue that Rick had some ownership over. He could take credit for being the anti-cancer governor. Kay has strategically taken away and neutralized that advantage.

Laughing off Rick's secession comments...

Congressmen in Washington, D.C. are laughing off Rick's secession comments (link). Excerpt follows...
U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, is all but certain to challenge Perry in the 2010 gubernatorial primary, and political analysts say that the governor is playing to the party's conservative base with his anti-government stance. Perry is one of a handful of Republican governors who have refused part of the federal stimulus money; specifically $555 million for Texas in additional unemployment funds.
Read the whole thing. Lots of interesting quotes from politicians.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Kay's op-ed on border security...

The Orange Leader carries Kay's op-ed on border security (link). The entire thing follows...

Secure borders necessary for safe and prosperous Texas communities

Kay Bailey Hutchison
The Orange Leader
Over 1,200 miles of international border snakes along the Rio Grande through Texas, giving our state the distinction of holding more international boundary than all other states on the Mexican border combined. While this position grants Texas unmatched access to the economic benefits of international commerce and has deeply enriched our state’s culture and heritage, our shared border also leaves us particularly vulnerable to the challenges associated with illegal immigration and Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

On a typical day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials arrest 73 criminals at ports of entry, seize 7,621 pounds of narcotics, and apprehend roughly 2,796 individuals who have illegally entered the U.S. Compounding these challenges are the increasingly brazen and sophisticated threats from Mexican drug trafficking organizations. Mexican drug gangs have extended their operations into all areas of Texas and the nation. They control most of the U.S. drug market and have established ties with street gangs in American cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, and New York. And as crime and violence surge along the Mexican border, Texas communities are on the front lines of this escalating threat.

More must be done at every level of government to secure our borders and ensure the continued safety and prosperity of communities in Texas and across the nation. This can only be accomplished through a balanced strategy that includes expansive and well-trained border patrol forces, substantial infrastructure, and adequate resources for local law enforcement officials. This has been an important legislative priority for me, and our efforts on this front have improved exponentially over the past 15 years. But we must continue to emphasize border security to keep up with mounting challenges.

In 1993, when I first arrived in the Senate, I was alarmed to learn that there were fewer than 3,600 Border Patrol agents assigned to the entire southern boundary of the U.S. For the next several years, I worked with my colleagues in the Senate to strengthen these forces, and, by 2000, the number of agents defending the southern border reached 8,580. We have worked to match the growing pressures on the border by continuing to expand the presence of border patrol agents. With the most recent addition of 2,200 agents this year, we have raised the total number of agents assigned to the southern border to more than 17,600. This represents an increase of nearly 500 percent since I began to serve in the Senate.

Our agents along the border are most effective when they have the resources and equipment they need to do their jobs. This year, Congress increased funding for CBP over $10.5 billion, including $875 million for border security fencing, infrastructure, and technology. We have also worked to increase funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigators, and detention officers. Additionally, $1 billion has been dedicated to removing deportable criminal aliens, and we have increased our capacity to detain up to 33,400 individuals daily.

As well as providing for federal law enforcement activities, we must also support the important efforts led by state and local law enforcement agencies in southern border states. I recently secured resources to aid local law enforcement in their struggle to combat criminal narcotics activity stemming from the border.

The defense provided by well-equipped border forces must be bolstered by infrastructure, which can provide an additional deterrent to breaking the law by entering our country illegally. I have consistently supported legislation to require and to fund the construction of 700 miles of fencing along the southern border. Although most of the fence is now constructed, I recently supported an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget to ensure that future appropriations bills will fully fund construction of the remaining portions of the fence.

To help address the problem of violence in Mexico and along the border, I am a strong proponent of specialized initiatives, like Project Gunrunner, that target criminal arms smuggling organizations who are directing the illegal flow of weapons from the U.S. into the hands of the cartels in Mexico. I have cosponsored this initiative with Senator Jeff Bingaman from New Mexico.

These improvements in border protection have mitigated the flow of illegal drugs and, thus far, violence spilling over into Texas communities. But we can never declare our borders unassailable or adopt a complacent attitude toward the security of our homeland. We must vigilantly secure our borders, while working with our international partners toward the common good of our citizens.

Kay Bailey Hutchison is the senior U.S. Senator from Texas.
Border security will probably always remain a big issue in the GOP primary, but it probably won't be as big of a deal as it was a couple years ago. Who knows, though, things could change.