Friday, June 26, 2009

Douglas Luippold of the Daily Texan says what I am thinking...

Doug Luippold at UT's college newspaper writes about the Rick and Kay race and says exactly what I am thinking (link). Excerpt follows...

The same type of internal strife and power struggle that ruined the Cowboys’ season has recently emerged between Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Unless their gubernatorial campaigns become more conciliatory and less abrasive, they will have the same level of success (or lack thereof) as the Cowboys.

On June 10, the Austin American-Statesman reported that “Gov. Rick Perry… plans to call the legislature back for a special session” to address funding issues for several state agencies. Shortly after the governor’s announcement, Hutchison told Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News that if she had been governor, a special session would not be needed.

She told reporters that she would be “working hard through the session and I would be working with the legislature, which is what I think the governor should do.”

The special session was not caused by Perry’s apathy. The arcane Texas Constitution is in drastic need of reform and only mandates 140 days for a legislative session. There is no amount of work and no level of involvement that any governor could engage in that would give the legislature adequate time to tend to the state’s business.

While I am very fond of hypothetical accomplishments, Hutchison’s critique is counterproductive. It is bad for the Texas Republican Party and ultimately the entire state.

The senator gave Perry an opportunity. He could have demonstrated a quality of executive leadership and collaboration by inviting her to contribute ideas for the special session. It would have been a smart political move, because Hutchinson could not accept the invitation.

This session’s lack of legislative leadership is going to be a major campaign issue for Hutchison. As the Dallas Morning News reported on June 2, “the fractious 140-day session that ended Monday without tackling some high-profile problems gives her [Hutchison] plenty with which to target Gov. Rick Perry in the coming Republican primary.”

If Perry reached out to her and she accepted, she would lose the issue, and declining his offer would make her look hypocritical.

Fortunately, Hutchison does not need to worry because Perry simply responded to her attack with his own.

“It’s easy to criticize when you’re in Washington and have nothing constructive to offer,” the governor said.

Texans deserve better than this type of back-and-forth from two of their most senior and influential public servants.

The practice of primary candidates whacking away at each other is an American institution. Just ask Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.

However, the race has already become contentious, and the primary is still about nine months away. This is not only irritating, it also represents a serious problem for the Republican Party.

Given how Rick has surged and she has fallen in the polls, I wonder if Kay is reconsidering her run for governor. I wonder how many of Kay's supporters are having second thoughts about fueling this multi million dollar suicide mission the Texas GOP is embarking on right now.

Is Rick the new GOP front runner for 2012...

Bernie thinks so (link). Excerpt follows...
Yesterday, there might have been three people articulating these themes in the 2012 race; Sanford, Perry and Sarah Palin. Now there will likely be two; Perry and Palin.

Rick Perry is a very agreeable man. When things get said they sound better when they come from him than when they come from others, including Sanford. In that he is like Obama. Now as they head to 2012, whatever has worked its way in the creative mind of Sanford will come in the package of Perry. Unfortunate for Sanford, but this is good for conservatives, as it brings a creative new direction in an attractive new package and this is the most important new direction of politics in America today.
Later in his blog Bernie endorses Rudy... but still has his eye on Rick. Always interesting. I don't always agree, but always interesting. Thanks, Bernie.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How will Kay vote on Sotomayor?

The speculation is rising that Kay might vote in favor of Sotomayor (link). If she votes for Sotomayor, she might as well resign in shame, therefore I don't think she has any choice but to vote against...
But other Republicans are up for grabs. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who's facing a tough gubernatorial primary next year against the incumbent Republican governor (or president, if Texas secedes), Rick Perry, might ponder the implications of her vote in a state where Latinos make up about 20 percent of the vote and African Americans around 10 percent.
One of the sources of the very liberal Huffington Post says that Kay will vote against Sotomayor and deny her 70 votes (link)... I agree. There is no way Kay can vote for Sotomayor and expect to win a Republican primary in Texas.

Kay pushes for high speed rail...

Kay is touting a big high speed rail plan (link)...

Bravo to her... high speed rail would be good... but...

Isn't this something Kay should be keeping quieter if he wants to win the anti TTC vote? Isn't that her main hope against Rick, and doesn't this undercut that?

While we are on the subject of polls...

A few weeks ago I strongly praised Kay for breaking ranks from the so called conservative thing to do and voting to heavily regulate tobacco further (link)...

I felt some backlash after that blog, and I can see why now that I see the Gallup survey poll about it... 52% of all Americans disapprove of the new laws (link)...

Republicans are even more upset by the new law...
More than 60% of Republicans and 51% of independents disapprove of that vote nationwide. I bet it is stronger in Texas with our libertine streak we have.

Rick probably won't bring it up, because being seen as pro smoking is not helpful politically. I know for me it isn't at least. I stand by my praise of Kay for her vote. It was a big important step in the right direction in getting smoking out of our lives. So sue me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tom Schieffer thinks Texas is headed for disaster....

Democrat Tom Schieffer... brother of Bob Schieffer and friend of George W. Bush... is running for governor and has some off the wall things to say about Texas (link). Excerpts follow...
AUSTIN – Fort Worth lawyer Tom Schieffer, who says Texas is “literally on the road to disaster” after more than eight years under GOP Gov. Rick Perry, formally launches his bid Wednesday to replace him.

After a rally in front of the Fort Worth elementary school he attended, Schieffer plans stops in Houston and Austin as he seeks the Democratic nomination for governor. He’ll be in San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley Thursday.

“People know there is something wrong – they know that Texas is falling behind. They are worried about it,” Schieffer said in an interview last week with the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle.


If that continues, he said, “no level of taxes ... will support the services that you have to have in this state, and I’m afraid we’re literally on the road to disaster.”
Schieffer is running on raising taxes? What a dolt. More proof that the winner of the GOP primary is the winner of the general election. Democrats cannot win with a candidate like this guy. He is awful.

Debra Medina has some sway on internet polls...

This is not scientific but Debra Medina leads Rick and Kay in an online poll on Lone Star Times (link)...
Who do you support at this early stage in the Republican primary for governor of Texas in 2010?

* Debra Medina (62%, 615 Votes)
* None of the above - still waiting for Chuck Norris to enter. (23%, 231 Votes)
* Gov. Rick Perry (12%, 118 Votes)
* Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (3%, 30 Votes)
This is a very unscientific poll that obviously got bombarded by the Medina grassroots team, but Lone Star Times has a good following of hardcore Republican activists. If you take just Rick's votes and Kay's votes you are looking at 118 to 30, which translates to an 80/20 split in Rick's favor. Also very unscientific and should be taken with a grain of salt. It is definitely a group of very active and very angry conservative bloggers on Lone Star Times. They hate everybody just about.

It does show though that people in the far right wing blog-o-sphere really don't trust Kay. To them, she is hardly an option. She is the Dennis Kucinich of the race, to far right bloggers. She'll get a few percent just by accident but she is not even really truly a choice in their minds.

Ron Paul had similar success on internet polls. He also raised a lot of money online. He didn't go very far beyond his core group though when it came time to actually vote.

A Medina supporter blogs about the poll (link). Excerpt follows...
I can tell you that she is out working hard, speaking at any event she can find to discuss her vision of the future of Texas. Traditionally, we would dismiss a candidate such as Ms. Medina because of a lack of funding. But recall that we are coming off an election in which Ron Paul supporters were able to impact several Republican precincts around Texas. Will she be able to build from that and peel away some of Gov. Perry’s votes?
I am still dismissive. Raise a few million dollars first and then get back to me.

Heard Wayne Slater had a heart attack, surgery, is recovering...

Hang in there Wayner. Get well soon.

Leo Berman closer to endorsing Rick?

The staunchly anti immigration Republican Leo Berman threw his name in the hat earlier this year and said he would announce a run for governor on July 4. Now he looks like he is getting close to endorsing Rick (link). Excerpt follows...

“When I announced that I was going to run for governor, it was mainly to deal with that illegal alien issue,” he said. “And if I can get it dealt with by him accepting it as governor of Texas and doing it, I’m very happy with that.”

“I didn’t ask him to do a heck of a lot,” Berman added.

He said he requested that Perry issue an order to agency heads that would “ask them to purge their [benefit] rolls of illegal aliens and save millions of dollars … and he said he’d do that.”

Berman also said he asked that Perry accelerate the training of state and local law enforcement officers in how to enforce federal immigration laws.

And he said he asked the governor to have Texas join other states in preparing to challenge federal laws that usurp states’ rights and to personally file a friend of the court brief in an expected Montana challenge to federal firearms regulation of guns made and marketed entirely within that Western state.

“All the votes that I would get running for governor would come from Rick Perry’s side,” Berman said. “He’s far to the right of Kay Bailey Hutchison and so am I.”

Amarillo also had a story on the Berman decision (link). Excerpt follows...

But it should be noted that even though Berman declared his candidacy last year we won't know until early next month whether he is in the race for the long stretch. Berman, best known for his tough stand on illegal immigration, said this week that if Perry endorses four key issues he is pushing for - including two that would help the state crackdown on illegal immigrants - he will withdraw from the race on July 1 and endorse the governor.

Berman's decision could have a huge impact on the race because a recent poll showed Perry and Hutchison running neck and neck. In a three-way race in the Republican primary, Berman could take more votes from the governor than from the senator.

Berman said he would support Hutchison.

"She is not conservative," he said. "Rick Perry is."

Is Debra Medina the next pick off target for Rick? Is it just me or is there a lot more news about Rick and Kay these days... I may need to bring on a coblogger just to keep pace... any takers? Email me at

Rick up by double digits over Kay in latest public poll.

Rick just keeps going up, and Kay just keeps going down... after being up by about two dozen points earlier this year, Kay is now down by a dozen...

The San Antonio paper has the numbers (link).

Excerpt follows...
AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry leads U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison by double digits in their race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, according to a new statewide poll by the Texas Lyceum.

But a large group of Texans remain undecided in the expected showdown between the state’s top two Republicans in the GOP primary next March.

“With nine months to go before the election, it is clear that the majority of Texans remain undecided,” said Daron Shaw, University of Texas at Austin government professor, who, with James Henson, conducted the poll. “Although Governor Perry enjoys a lead with those who intend to participate in the Republican primary for governor, the fact that 45 percent of those polled have yet to choose a candidate shows that this is still anyone’s race.”

The poll, released Wednesday morning, shows Perry with a 33-21 percent lead over the state’s senior senator.

When it comes to job performance, Texans give high marks to President Barack Obama, Hutchison and Perry — with Hutchison and Obama almost tied and both slightly outpacing the governor.

The Texas Lyceum, a nonpartisan, nonprofit statewide leadership organization, conducted the poll June 5–12, surveying nearly 1,000 Texans via telephone. Participants who indicated they were "certain" or "probably going" to vote in the Republican or Democratic primary were asked candidate preference questions. The margin of error is plus or minus three percent.
Rick does seem to have the momentum, however there are a lot of undecided people out there.

Kay goes on Chris Matthews... Chris gets tinkle up his leg...

Kay went on with Chris Matthews yesterday to play Hardball (link). She seems to be at home there on MSNBC, and she sure received high praise from Chris as he bashed Rick...

Seems like Rick does Fox News a lot, Kay does MSNBC. Does Kay realize what that says about her? MSNBC is the enemy to Republican voters, what is she doing trying to buddy up to them?

Burka on the Lyceum poll... good news for Rick?

Paul Burka has a blog up about the Texas Lyceum poll, and he says it is good news for Rick in his fight against Kay (link). Excerpt follows...
To link to the executive summary of the poll, click here.

There’s a lot of meat here, but the issues that I found most interesting were:

Perry’s decision to reject unemployment stimulus funds:
58% agree
34% disagree

Bank bailouts
25% favor
64% oppose

Automobile company bailouts
31% favor
64% oppose

Federal government is spending too much money
2/3 agree
1/3 disagree

These numbers are great for Rick Perry, bad for Hutchison. She voted for the bank bailout, which was the program of the Bush administration. It was the responsible thing to do, and it will probably turn out well. But it is very unpopular. I presume that tomorrow’s poll will have a Perry-Hutchison head-to-head, and, based on these numbers, I would expect it to be favorable to Perry.
From what I can tell, Kay not only voted for the Wall Street bailout but also votes with the Democrats for one of the auto bailouts two months ago unless I am seeing this link wrong... (link). Do any of Kay's staffers want to set me straight on that vote?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

UH attaining first tier status in education..

Several university presidents are excited about a bill to create more first tier colleges in Texas...

One is UH president, who said (link)...

There has been talk for nearly two decades about the University of Houston attaining Tier One status. Now, thanks to the Texas Legislature, that talk has resulted in bold and decisive action.

With the recent passage of legislation that provides a pathway for the University of Houston (and six other institutions) to achieve Tier One status, we have now taken an all-important first step.

This is a major victory — not just for UH but for Houston and the state of Texas as well. It is the result of countless hours of hard work and commitment by our Harris County legislative delegation, led by the dean of the Texas Senate, John Whitmire, and our six public university partners. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst was deeply engaged every step along the way. Gov. Rick Perry and Speaker of the House Joe Straus were also very supportive.

Most would agree that shepherding such legislation through the recent session was a major, if not miraculous, accomplishment, particularly given the current economic climate.

First tier public universities seems like a big issue that Kay was going to hit Rick on, but this takes away a lot of that ammo... Rick can go into the Houston and Dallas suburbs and tell all those mom voters that their kids will have an opportunity to go to a top flight college. Will the moms buy it?

Another week, another missed Senate vote by Kay...

Kay is turning into Senator MIA. She missed another vote today (link).

People bag on Mark Sanford for taking a fishing trip, but Kay is missing votes with alarming regularity nowadays (link). Does that mean she is quitting the Senate soon? Has she just mentally quit already?

Does it also mean she is going to be punished for hypocrisy for bagging on Rick for not being active enough in the legislative process as governor? Seems fair enough.

Voting open in Texas Association of Business online poll...

A good publicity stunt, but the Texas Association of Business is running a poll about Rick, Kay, and the Democrats... go vote now (link)...

Rick has a small lead, but it is close so far. Very unscientific poll, but fun still and a good way for TAB to get more friends on twitter.

Expectations game on raising dollars...

Kay has been busy raising money since December, while Rick has been banned from raising dollars due to the legislative session for the past six months.

I am hearing that Kay is going to show 20 million dollars on hand, and Rick will only have a few million dollars because he can only raise money for one week this entire reporting cycle. Rick will have to really bust his tail to raise money to play catch up. It seems like a really dumb law, but maybe a good anti incumbent measure.

Debra Medina...

I don't really get why Debra Medina is running, but she will definitely be the candidate that disgruntled voters gravitate to in the GOP primary. If they don't like Rick because of the TTC, they will probably not like Kay either, so Debra is their alternative candidate. I am not sure what qualifications she has other than showing up at rallies and speaking. There is a lot more to running for governor than that...

The strangest thing about this video to me is the listing of races, with pictures of those races on the screen. African American Hispanic Asian American Anglo.... sort of an amateur mistake there.

I don't think Debra will be much of a force in this race, but if she is I am not sure if she pulls more votes from Rick or Kay. Probably not much from either one.

Rick chalks up Texas cultural soundness to bbq, beer, and live music...

Ken Herman caught up with Rick and posted this video (link)....

This is a very strange video, Ken Herman was definitely trying to catch Rick's new chief of staff saying something inflammatory, but he just would not take the bait.

From the looks of it, Rick had no idea what this quote was even about, but his version of cultural soundness sounds about right to me...
Governor, what does culturally sound mean?

"I guess that means that we got great barbecue and beer," he said, "and live music."

Who would have guessed that when it comes to cultural soundness you get points for alcohol?
Rick just has a way of getting out of situations doesn't he?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Red Lobster

Call me red lobster, I am back and in need of aloe. No swine flu that I know of... didn't drink the water either so I am good there too. Glad to be back, what did I miss?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pray I don't get swine flu....

Heading to the airport... 4 in the morning is way too early to be awake.

I may or may not be out of the country for the next few days, drinking and sitting on the beach doing nothing. Hope and pray I don't get swine flu. You campaign characters be good. I probably won't have good internet access, and even if I did, I need a break. Any special session can wait on me.

Rick, we're good right? No special session this week? Thanks.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kay's Senate disclosure...

Senators released their financial disclosures on Friday, and Kay has been included in the wire articles...

She got (link) some money for a seat license at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth...
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texas Republican, reported that she received between $1,000 and $15,000 for her seat licenses for the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
She is also being criticized by bloggers for bailout out her own bank holdings (link)...
As if no one would ever notice that members of the Senate Banking Committee that oversees TARP funds actually hold stocks in the government-assisted companies they bailed out - while bailing out their own investments. Skunks!
Senatus lists all the information that is available so far (link)...

Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX):

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) still owns small amounts of stock in Regions Bank, based in Alabama, and Zions Bancorporation, a Salt Lake City company. Both have received TARP money, according to a Treasury Department report.

Props to people who still do real journalism and find these things and publish them for people to see. The Hill was the source that uncovered the TARP bailout angle in the first place (link)...

Senators who oversee the $700 billion Wall Street rescue package held stocks in many of the banks bailed out towards the end of last year, according to financial disclosure reports released Friday.

According to the reports detailing senators’ finances in 2008, nearly half of the members of the Senate Banking Committee had holdings in financial institutions that have taken funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The panel has jurisdiction over the bailout fund and other relief efforts directed by federal regulators to save the nation’s financial system.

Kay also has interests in the firms she oversees in her role as a Senator (link)...

Hutchison Holdings

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, the top Republican on the Commerce Committee, owns $152,000 to $380,000 in stock in companies with communications interests regulated by the panel, according to the Texas lawmaker’s disclosure form. Reported holdings include $50,000 to $100,000 in AT&T Inc. and $101,000 to $250,000 in General Electric Co., which owns 80 percent of the television, film and amusement park company NBC Universal.

“She is in complete compliance with every law and every Senate rule relating to financial interests,” said Lisette Mondello, a spokeswoman for Hutchison. “This year, as in every other year, she always fully discloses her interests.”

Disclosure is good, but it is meaningless without proper public awareness. As far as I am concerned public officials should not have to put their holdings into blind trusts they have no control over, but the disclosure of how they might benefit publicly should be widely available for public consumption.

I am also against campaign finance limitations. I think anyone should be able to take whatever amount from anyone they want, as long as it is fully disclosed and widely available to the public. This would serve the public interest better than the labyrinthine rules in place now. All the current rules do is help keep finance staff and campaign finance lawyers employed, while stifling free speech.

Get the information out there and let the people decide for themselves if it is corruption or personal benefit... or not.

Republican Governor Bill Clements predicts... Rick vs. Kay will tear GOP apart and open opportunity for Dems...

Wayne Slater offers some 2006 thoughts from William Clements, a Republican Governor in Texas in the 1970s who benefited from a bloody Democrat primary (link). Excerpt follows...
In 1978, Democratic upstart John Hill upended incumbent Gov. Dolph Briscoe in the primary -- only to fall to Clements in the general election. Clements attributed part of this 1978 victory to the fact that the party in power -- the the Democrats -- had become sharply divided. The party out of power -- in this case, the GOP -- won. It was something that the former GOP governor warned against amid the prospects of a KBH-Perry matchup in 2006. Said Clements, in an op-ed piece in The Dallas Morning News:

"Make no mistake, if Texas Republicans have a blood bath in a primary battle between Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Gov. Rick Perry, we are providing the
Democrats an opening to make a speedy comeback to political
prominence. We risk dividing our party for decades to come. This is
serious business, and Republicans should take heed."

"I've been there when we were the minority party and when the
majority party turned its guns on itself. When the smoke cleared,
the political world in Texas was turned upside down."
Are these thoughts still operative? I don't know. The Dems are licking their chops about it though if Burnt Orange is any indication (link).

I believe people certainly have the right to run against incumbents in primaries, and doing so can be great at times. There are a lot of Republicans In Name Only out there who need that treatment. A lot of times primaries from a conservative challenger to a moderate/liberal are discouraged by the party establishment because it will open up the general election to the Democrats. Bush supported Specter in 2004 in order to keep that Senate seat in GOP hands.

In Texas right now, we have the opposite in many ways... an effective conservative governor being challenged by a more moderate Senator, and the end result would be to open up the general election to the Democrats.

I think I speak for a lot of Republicans in Texas when I say it would be great if we could avoid a bloody and expensive primary in our party this year. We have a chance to take back a lot of Texas and United States House seats alike in our party. We have a chance to win back a few Senate seats and governorships around the country. I wish we could spend our time, money, and effort on getting more Republicans elected and weakening the Obama administration's push for liberalism, not on tearing each other apart with tens of millions of dollars of petty negative advertisements.

Former Kay flack gets called out for stretching his involvement with Williams for Senate camp...

I have written a little bit about one of Kay's former staffers who is the go to guy for msm anti Rick quotes (link and link) and op eds (link) and negative Palin comments (link)... but this guy just seems to keep himself in the news and injected into the Rick and Kay race... is he trying to get hired by Kay as a consultant? I haven't seen any evidence of other former staffers going out of their way so much to get quoted about this race.

Last week, The Hill blogged about his new consulting firm, and in it they listed him as an advisor to Senate candidate and current Railroad commissioner Michael Williams.

The Michael Williams campaign corrected the record (link)...
Corbin Casteel, campaign manager of the Michael Williams campaign for U.S. Senate Committee, told National Journal that "Matt does not have any affiliation with our campaign, nor will he."

Matt Mackowiak responded that "I am proud to be supporting Michael Williams campaign and I hosted a young professionals event for him in Austin in May. I am willing to help in any way that I can." Mackowiak declined to directly address for the record the campaign's statment about him.
Ouch. Again.

Not a good start for the new firm. I think that's what happen when you go out of your way to step on toes. From what I can tell, Matt Mackowiak is the most persistent anti Rick individual on all of Twitter and possibly all of the msm, and that includes all those MSNBC talking heads like Keith Olbermann. More than any Democrat. More than any anti toll road guy. He is literally the most anti Rick person on all of Twitter.

Based on the really vicious and mean comments on the Statesman (link), this guy must have burned a lot of bridges. No doubt Rick's people are partially behind the Michael Williams campaign disavowing him... since Williams is seeking a potential appointment from Rick if Kay resigns... but still that is a pretty strong depantsing and a big embarrassment. I have not seen anything quite like this, and I have been around the game for a while.

Just a word to the wise... people hire consultants and lobbyists based on their positive connections to powerful people, not based on how many powerful people they can alienate and get to disown them and say nasty things about them in comment sections of newspaper blogs. "Any press is good press" doesn't always work in this business.

hat tip to "Burka's Tupperware Party Consultant" for sending The Hill update my way.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Kay defending about not supporting Reagan in 1976? Rick a Democrat? Who cares on both counts..

I don't get it. Why would anyone be upset that Kay supported the incumbent Gerald Ford instead of Ronald Reagan in 1976? In just the past several days, there have been two articles about this in the Dallas Morning News (link). Excerpt follows...
WASHINGTON – Ronald Reagan isn't on Mount Rushmore. But lots of Republicans think he should be. Thus, it is no small matter for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison when doubts are raised about her commitment to the party's hero.

Dust off those clippings from 1976, a seminal year for Texas Republicans. Reagan's challenge brought legions of enthusiastic newcomers to the party – and some friction between them and the traditionalists who had labored years to break the Democrats' grip on Texas.

President Gerald Ford had named Hutchison vice chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, and she sided with him against the insurgent, naturally.

"But after that, certainly I was very pro-Reagan," Hutchison said last week. "Loved Ronald Reagan. Supported him, was chairman of his Women for Reagan committee in Texas [in 1980]. I've got a lot of Reagan supporters supporting me for governor right now.
Two people have sent me this article and asked me to blog it. Sure, but I don't really see what these minor things 20 or 30 years ago have to do with today or the next four years.

Kay also took a shot at Rick for being a Democrat, but considering that so many Texas Republican voters became that way in the early to mid 1990s I just don't see this as a credible attack. Heck there are still pockets of East Texas that are strongly pro Democrat but in a conservative way. Phil Gramm was a Democrat, too, and look at him. If you look at news articles from the 1980's and even early 1990's you will often times see labels "conservative Democrat" and "liberal Democrat" in the Dallas Morning News and other newspapers.

A lot of conservative Texas Democrats became Republicans not out of political convenience but because the party moved to the left and left them. In the meantime, the Republican Party moved to the right especially on issues like abortion and guns which helped facilitate the transition for conservative Democrats... who never fit in well with the country club Rockefeller Republican crowd... into the GOP. I certainly have family members who fit that description... they were diehard Democrats and now are diehard Republicans, and the issues have not changed all that much.

In 1990, Rick beat Democrat incumbent Jim Hightower as Ag Commissioner in a surprising victory, Kay won a statewide position which does not exist today... state treasurer... against a weak Democrat opponent... and Big John won a supreme court slot. Both Rick and Kay were at the forefront of the modern Republican realignment in Texas.

Kay not supporting Ronald Reagan in 1976 is just not a big deal. Rick being a Democrat in the 1980s is not a big deal either. Tell me what you've done for me lately. Since the 1990's. Preferably since 2000.

Official DPS Report from Rick's bicycle accident made public...

The DPS has made public their official incident report of Rick's mishap on the mountain bike. Check it out (link)....
If you still had not caught on, it is satire and pretty funny satire at that. The gay thing gets old after a while, but liberals seem to like to make gay jokes. Other than that it is a pretty hilarious and creative thing.

Leo Berman swayed by Rick to not run?

Is Leo Berman having second thoughts about running for Governor, and will he saddle up on Rick's team if he chooses to stay on the sidelines? Gardner Selby has been on top of the story (link).

Leo is a bit out there to say the least, so his endorsement is not necessarily a positive, but keeping him from siphoning off votes is probably a priority for Rick, who is aiming to earn the votes of hardcore right wingers. Those Leo voters are not going to vote for Kay. They may go to Larry Kilgore or Debra Medina, but not Kay. Likely they will go to Rick if they see it as a true two person race.

Leo has to convince people that he got his way, while Rick has to convince people he is not compromising his principles just to get Leo out of the race. I am waiting to see how it plays out before casting judgment.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Kay trying to ride the change train...

Politicians all saw that Obama's non message message was very very powerful. Hope and change and pixie dust.

Kay is trying to cash in on that same strain of people who want change (link). She announced yet again in a fundraising piece that she was running for governor, but still no formal announcement. Excerpt follows...
While she has not yet formally announced her candidacy, in an email sent to supporters Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison states that she is, in fact, running for the governor's seat in Austin.

Her email states that people she's encountering around Texas have expressed frustration with current governor Rick Perry's leadership, and goes on to state that "people from all parts of Texas feel it is time for a change in Austin."
CHANGE! What would Kay change about Rick's policies though is the real question? Or is it more of a style change with the same substance?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bravo to Kay and Big John... sticking it to big tobacco...

There was a big Senate vote on tobacco laws, and Kay and Big John both broke from a lot of members of their own party and came down on the side of sanity and good health (link). Excerpt follows...
WASHINGTON - “Miracles still happen,” declared Sen. Edward Kennedy. “The United States Senate has finally said ‘no’ to Big Tobacco.”

The Senate struck a historic blow against smoking in America on Thursday, voting overwhelmingly for legislation Kennedy has been promoting for years. It would give regulators new power to limit nicotine in the cigarettes that kill nearly a half-million people a year, to drastically curtail ads that glorify tobacco and to ban flavored products aimed at spreading the habit to young people.


The 79-17 Senate vote sent the measure back to the House, which in April passed a similar but not identical version. House acceptance of the Senate bill would send it directly to Obama, who said Thursday that final passage “will make history by giving the scientists and medical experts at the FDA the power to take sensible steps.”

Both Texas senators, Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, voted for the Senate bill.

Could this mean a national smoking ban is on its way? I am excited that we might have the fun cigarette packaging they have in Europe...

I bet this will have big implications for the way smokers are treated in society. Smoking will become even less socially acceptable, which is a great thing.

Way to go Kay and Big John.

Dallas suburbs the hot spot for Rick and Kay.

Gromer has a good story (link). Excerpts follow...

The main attraction for Saturday's D-Day celebration in Denison was Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the hero of US Airways flight 1549 who in January saved 155 lives by successfully landing a crippled plane in the Hudson River.

But it was Gov. Rick Perry who got two standing ovations, along with the admiration of a schoolteacher who didn't recognize him at first, but then eagerly snapped photos of the governor.

"I've got to show these to my kids," she was overheard saying, while others in the crowd, in between peeks at the nearby parade, buzzed about the upcoming campaign between Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

The senator was also in North Texas, and both she and Perry ended up in Arlington on Saturday night for the opening of Cowboys Stadium.

You can expect to see much more of Hutchison and Perry in the Dallas area between now and the March 2010 primary for governor.


On Saturday, Perry was trying to win any vote he could get.

He skipped the planned parade and instead shook hands with Boy Scouts and war veterans. Then he posed for pictures with anyone with a camera.

"I'm always about the retail politics," he said afterward.

Even though the primary is less than a year away, many voters remain undecided.

In a race that could cost more than $50 million between them, the scramble for suburban voters could be intense.

For now, Collin County precinct chairman David Burson is torn between two candidates he "would be happy with."

"Both are strong," said Burson, who is from Allen. "I like Governor Perry because Texas is in good shape financially, and he's been a good fiscal conservative. Kay Bailey Hutchison has been an excellent senator.

"I just don't know."

Good article. I think a lot of people are still up in the air, and a lot of people won't saddle up with a side until January of 2010.

Rick signs legislation to end state school abuse problems...

Yesterday Rick signed his name... I guess with his left hand?... to legislation that will clean up the state schools in Texas.

GOP12 has a good blog about it (link).
Today Texas Gov. Rick Perry took a big step toward addressing the problem by signing legislation which includes new video surveillance, criminal background checks for employees (they didn't have this before?), as well as more on-the-job training.


Let's hope this doesn't turn into a campaign issue in the upcoming primary between Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison, which will likely be the costliest in the state's history.
Exactly... as far as a battle between Rick and Kay goes, I think most of us just want to flesh out who is the more conservative candidate, who is the better leader, who has a better record, and who has a better vision for the future. If the campaign gets into a tit for tat blame game with lots of negative ads about state schools or shady bond deals I could easily see turnout being well below the anticipated 1.4 million plus people and closer to 800 or 900 thousand. Negative campaigning will just turn people off, especially if it is about things like this.

That is not the campaign the GOP needs. We need an Obama/Hillary style race where the two are cordial and mostly offer positives about themselves. That is what drew so many people to the Democrats last year. Both candidates were great, as far as most Democrats were concerned. I fear that the upcoming Rick and Kay race will be full of pettiness and attacks that will force Republicans to choose sides and begin to hate the other side. I hope I am wrong.

The aftermath of Rick's offroad bike tumble...

Rick told his bicycle accident story to the press yesterday (link)... he managed to keep a sense of humor about it all...
"It would have been a great-looking video," Perry told reporters at a law enforcement awards ceremony.
I am almost surprised he didn't pick up his blackberry and tweet about it before walking his bike back up the hill... or take a picture of the scrape on his elbow and send it out to everyone. That might have been TMI. Too much information.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Texas GOP primary to be costliest in state history...

This just kills me to think about.... the upcoming primary will be the costliest in state history (link). Excerpt follows...

AUSTIN — The theatrics of the 81st Texas Legislature may be over, but Texans are now gearing up for the state’s next feature attraction — a roiling political season topped by a marquee race for governor.

The unfolding Republican primary race between Gov. Rick Perry and his challenger, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, is expected to become the costliest — if not the most vitriolic — primary battle in state history.

A lot of money will be spent tearing the party apart. I wish we didn't have to go through this mess.

Kay spends more for taxpayer funded travel than all but 7 Senators, has third largest total budget of all Senators...

Politico has a story about taxpayer funded travel costs for United States Senators.

Big John and Chuck Schumer make sense, because they are the heads of their Senate fundraising committees, but why is Kay so high on the list?

In total Kay has the third highest office budget among all United States Senators (link). Excerpt follows...
On average, transportation costs account for less than 5 percent of a senator’s office expense budget; in most cases, the remainder of the funds is consumed almost entirely by staff payroll. In the first half of the fiscal year, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein spent a total of $2.1 million out of her office account, more than any other senator. Rounding out the top five were Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Hutchison, Cornyn and Schumer.
Again Big John and Chuck Schumer make sense given their roles, and the Californians make sense because they are Californians and they are like that out there, but Kay being in the top 3 is surprising for a Republican.

See the list here (link)...

Senate offices spent dramatically different amounts on transportation costs during the first half of the 2009 fiscal year.

SenatorTransportation Costs
John Cornyn (R-Texas)$152,766.63
Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)$144,014.22
Patty Murray (D-Wash.)$122,355.49
Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)$119,046.52
Kit Bond (R-Mo.)$100,558.04
Mel Martinez (R-Fla.)$88,552.62
Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)$87,771.00
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)$87,651.69
John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)$83,981.46
Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.)$81,926.76
Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.)$77,890.82
Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)$73,714.12
Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)$72,472.81
Harry Reid (D-Nev.)$70,108.35
Jon Tester (D-Mont.)$67,710.21
David Vitter (R-La.)$67,190.57
Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)$66,399.62
Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)$64,922.11
Evan Bayh (D-Ind.)$64,066.80
Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)$63,559.61
James Inhofe (R-Okla.)$62,696.42
John Ensign (R-Nev.)$61,889.85
Sam Brownback (R-Kan.)$60,890.66
John Thune (R-S.D.)$60,659.12
Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)$59,244.48
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)$59,171.34
John Rockefeller (D-W.Va)$58,806.81
Susan Collins (R-Maine)$58,426.70
Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)$58,298.93
Mary Landrieu (D-La.)$58,118.53
Max Baucus (D-Mont.)$51,715.98
Jim Bunning (R-Ky.)$50,161.04
Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)$49,496.80
Jack Reed (D-R.I.)$49,358.88
Arlen Specter (D-Pa.)$47,754.73
Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)$47,076.25
Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)$46,409.77
Richard Burr (R-N.C.)$45,742.31
Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)$44,077.54
Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)$42,535.55
Bob Bennett (R-Utah)$41,827.70
Tim Johnson (D-S.D.)$41,597.90
Mark L. Pryor (D-Ark.)$40,703.69
Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)$39,787.72
Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)$38,668.41
Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)$38,575.00
Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)$38,067.84
Bob Casey (D-Pa.)$38,064.91
Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.)$37,952.71
Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)$36,142.30
Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.)$34,641.27
Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)$34,067.14
Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)$33,623.86
Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)$31,999.31
Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii)$31,914.71
George Voinovich (R-Ohio)$31,197.00
Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)$30,279.74
Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)$29,916.85
Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)$29,688.60
Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)$29,374.87
Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)$29,079.64
Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.)$28,965.64
Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)$28,789.33
Chris Dodd (D-Conn.)$28,023.35
Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.)$27,935.50
Carl Levin (D-Mich.)$26,789.61
Russ Feingold (D-Wis)$26,662.85
Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)$25,846.28
Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)$24,414.91
Tom Carper (D-Del.)$23,806.65
Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)$23,607.36
Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)$23,040.33
Dick Lugar (R-Ind.)$22,944.70
Jim Risch (R-Idaho)*$22,669.07
Jim Webb (D-Va.)$19,535.45
Pat Leahy (D-Vt.)$19,197.68
Herb Kohl (D-Wis.)$18,655.67
Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)$17,332.09
Mark Udall (D-Colo.)*$16,106.56
Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)$15,992.45
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)$15,047.68
Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)*$14,658.72
Mike Johanns (R-Neb.)*$12,631.89
John Kerry (D-Mass.)$11,750.83
Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)$11,313.36
Roland Burris (D-Ill.)*$9,482.28
Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.)$9,038.99
Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)$8,521.97
Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)*$8,230.98
Ted Kaufman (D-Del.)*$8,134.19
John McCain (R-Ariz.)$7,577.40
Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va)$7,568.35
Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)*$7,403.62
Mark Begich (D-Alaska)*$6,834.71
Ben Cardin (D-Md.)$5,888.48
Tom Udall (D-N.M.)*$4,224.15
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)*$2,448.67
Mark R. Warner (D-Va.)*$2,360.67
Kay Hagan (D-N.C.)*$1,066.05
I guess she is spending a lot more time in Texas raising money for her campaign. Insiders tell me that Kay will need to show a dynamite number next month on her fundraising report, because she has been able to raise money for six or seven months while Rick has been prohibited from raising money entirely from December through the end of this month as a state office holder during a legislative session.

What those numbers are, I don't know. I am already hearing some spin from both camps about what is a good number or a bad number for each candidate. Since it is not an apples to apples comparison it will be hard to judge.