Friday, July 31, 2009

Kay's new website gets banned from google search...

The Austinist has been staying on top of Kay's gay rumor thing (link). Excerpts follow...
UPDATE: The site has indeed been removed from Google's search results. As Matt Cutts, the head of Google's webspam team, explained via Twitter: "Hidden text is a violation of our quality guidelines. We've removed the site from our index, and tried to contact the site maintainers by email to explain that the hidden text was the cause for the site's removal from index." The site doesn't appear in the results for a search for "standbykay" at the Bing or Yahoo search sites, either. Removal of the hidden text would allow the site to appear in search results again.

The Statesman reported this morning that Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's new website for her gubernatorial campaign contained a list of more than 2,000 hidden keywords, including "rick perry gay".

Campaign spokesman Jeff Sadosky said later that the "gay" statements would be removed, but indicated the rest would remain. Current phrases include "the african american in texas" and "death of frank madla". (You can see the list by going to the site and then selecting "View Source" from your browser's menu.)

That might not be enough to get Hutchison out of the woods on the Web, however. Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land and one of the leading authorities in the field of search-engine optimization, said that no matter the purpose of the hidden text, the practice went against standard webpage building procedure.

"My opinion is that regardless of the exact word, the campaign web site is in violation of the major search engine guidelines that prohibit the use of hidden text as she’s doing," Sullivan said.

The technique of loading up a page with hidden words and phrases is no longer an accepted or effective way of driving web traffic, and could even have the opposite effect.

"Sounds like someone fairly unsophisticated about SEO decided that shoving all these words into the page was a good thing. It’s a technique, however, that could get the site banned on Google and other search engines," Sullivan said.

Dirty tricks will come back to bite you.

Kay has crossed a major line, gone dirty against Rick.

Kay and her new A team campaign staff are off to a poor start. They really owe Rick a big apology about this, but instead they issue statements trying to make it sound like hundreds of thousands of Texans are searching "Rick Perry gay."

Some experts on Search Engine Optimization give Kay some free advice (link). Excerpt follows...

Hidden text is also frustrating for the users you’re trying to attract and may cause them to get irritated at your site and leave. Let’s say, for instance, the site does indeed rank for “what is a keg”, as it apparently is trying to do. What exactly do they expect searchers who reach the site to do? The site doesn’t actually answer the question of what a keg is. Do they think that all these keg definition-seekers are going to get distracted and decide to abandon their beer research efforts and become political activists?What other searches are they apparently targeting?

  • texas bbq pit texas smokehouse
  • chicken fried steak recipe
  • debachary [sic] definition
  • gambling addiction
  • houston rockets
  • why do we have knees

Why do we have knees?!!!

It is one thing to do this, but calling Rick Perry gay? That crosses every line of campaigning...

Kay was supposed to be the friendly candidate with a smile in this race. It was supposed to be a coronation. Instead, she fell behind and now finds herself desperate to catch up. To that end, she and her campaign have been on the attack more and more...

I find this to be a serious breach of trust. Kay and her campaign have lost all ability to say that Rick is sending "vicious attack dogs" against little old Kay, when she is the aggressor, she is the one attacking almost constantly, and she is the one employing dirty tricks.

Kay is asking Rick to apologize... get this... because Kay accused Rick of breaking the law... which he did not... and so now she is calling Rick's response an attack?

What world is this lady living in?

Kay has lost all credibility.

I set out on this project to report back on this race in an objective manner, but my objectivity has been more and more compromised by Kay's strange attacks on things like unemployment benefits... and now this stuff. She is running a smear campaign. Kay should be ashamed. She has embarrassed Texas and herself.

Rick shooting big guns...

A cool bbs forum with lots of pictures like the one above of Rick shooting off large weapons (link)... Bet our Texas Governor can outshoot y'alls Governor

Lynn Woolley on what is at stake in the Rick vs. Kay race...

Lynn Woolley is a Texas-based talk show host, and he wrote an opinion story about the Rick vs. Kay race (link). Excerpt follows...

If Rick Perry sails to another term, the GOP would see that as an indication that true conservatism is still viable. If Hutchison becomes governor, the party then might think a more moderate approach is better.

This is all the more important in the wake of Barack Obama's ascension to the White House and his signature programs – health care reform and his cap-and-trade energy bill, both of which would expand the government. Liberalism is "in" in Washington right now, and that puts the Republicans in a jam. Do they roll with the current tide and simply seek to apply some conservative principles to Obama's Big Government programs? Or do they go back to their roots, standing up for lower taxes and smaller government?

An interesting take...

Rick and Kay on gambling...

Where do Rick and Kay stand on gambling?

Last week the pokerati blog paid a visit to Kay's senate staff (link). Excerpt follows...

It was clear that KBH’s office hadn’t yet given any consideration to poker nor online gambling … so we got to lead out, and counteract the opposition arguments before they were even made. One noted positive — her staff has already been hit by a mini flood of letters supporting all our anti-UIGEA initiatives, so they know it’s an issue that matters to a sizable enough constituency to make it matter to elected officials, who apparently are very aware of any issue that potentially leaves them losing voters in bulk.

With that said, it also became clear that Hutchison (R-TX) will not be leading the way on this bill. Her staff was most interested in where Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) currently stands. Now while we know him as a previous bad guy, he and other UIGEA strongmen are apparently “coming around”. That’s not to say they’re suddenly going to switch teams, but Howard Lederer specifically made some persuasive arguments that made him far less likely to vehemently oppose us. The estimated $3 billion a year (which doesn’t even count the corporate taxes American-based online poker companies would pay) is resonating loud and clear, particularly this week as those wanting to position themselves as fiscal conservatives are trying to come up with a way to support health care despite its $200 billion shortfall. And being pegged as people who turned down tax revenue generated on behalf of protecting citizens and internet freedoms alike, they know may not sit well with voters.

Gambling is a powerful lobby in Texas, but I doubt they have a trusted friend in either Rick or Kay.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Kay's possible resignation causing a waiting game...

So is Dewhurst's (link). Excerpt follows...
When it comes to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s (R-Texas) expected retirement from the Senate, the question is moving from “Will she or won’t she?” to “Will he or won’t he?”

As Hutchison appears to come closer to calling it quits to focus on running for governor, the emerging question in the Lone Star State is, when she does, whether Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will throw himself and his hundreds of millions of dollars into the race.

Without Dewhurst, there doesn’t appear to be a Republican front-runner, and the GOP field has been badly outraised by a pair of Democrats. With Dewhurst, there wouldn’t exactly be a clear GOP field, but he would give the party a sense of clarity and a near-lock on gaining at least half of a two-person runoff.

A lot at stake right now in this race... a lot of chairs will musically change...

Kay spreading "Rick is gay" rumors...

Kay's website has references to Rick Perry being gay? What? Seriously, they were actually that stupid? (link) Excerpts follow...

This morning, I came across a Web site for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s gubernatorial campaign.

A provocative twist: The site may have been juiced with the intent of drawing visitors with the help of more than 2,200 hidden phrases—including “rick perry gay.” (See the phrases here.)

I have noticed this rumor surfacing lately on comment sections of blogs, and it is offensive. Kay's campaign is just not having very good luck staying on track, are they? The dirty tricks label never goes away once a candidate has it. Kay may have just earned that distinction... dirty trick Kay, although I am waiting for all the facts before jumping to conclusions.

What do you bet that Rick has a similar set of search terms for his website?

Kay's new campaign manager...

The Palmetto scoop has what seems like an unhealthy obsession with Kay's new campaign manager (link). Excerpt follows...


South Carolina became a slightly more pleasant state Tuesday as news hit the web that one of its most despicable political operatives would be leaving for Texas.

Terry Sullivan, 12, will reportedly be managing the gubernatorial campaign of U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Most experts agree that Sullivan’s injection into Texas politics will be a devastating curse on the people of the Lone Star State.

And in a sign of the respectful demeanor that South Carolinians have come to associate with Sullivan, he used his first public statement to childishly bash Hutchison’s his opponent.

“It’s going to be fun to kick Rick Perry’s record around for the next seven months,” Sullivan said.

Unfortunately for Sullivan, who ran Mitt Romney’s sub-par 2008 Palmetto State presidential campaign, there’s a pretty good chance Perry’s team might have a little “fun” themselves and “kick around” his less-than-stellar record.

For instance, this, this, this, this and this.

Also a potential problem for Sullivan is that he has absolutely no gubernatorial campaign experience. Beyond that, the last time he tried to run a campaign in state outside South Carolina — a 2006 U.S. Senate race in Michigan for Mike Brouchard — he had his ass handed to him.

Best of all, though, is that his middle name is “Seed.” True story.

Heath Thompson, a fellow shady Palmetto State politico, will also be working on Hutchison’s campaign.

I have no idea what is going on with this guy and this blogger Adam Fogle back in South Carolina... some very insider hostility toward Sullivan from Fogle. I think this does remind me a lot of the South Carolina politics of Lee Atwater... very personal, very good ole boy get drunk and yell at people, very dirty tricks, very get your hands dirty and let the insults fly...

I am not saying all of those are bad things, but it might not fit well in this race in Texas. Dirty tricks work best when you can drive the entire length of the state in a couple of hours, as you can in South Carolina. I think Texas has more of a hands off the other side's staff mentality. In South Carolina it seems like the candidates almost take a back seat to the staff.

It also looks like Terry Sullivan may have had some involvement in the scandal, where the Romney campaign had to take down the inflammatory site after only a few hours.

It will be interesting to watch the new Kay staffers find their way into the Texas scene since so many of them are not from Texas... but face it, who is there to pick up inside of Texas? There is not a whole lot of seasoned political talent in the state who would be willing to take a pay cut and work for Kay, so Kay's choice of outside help makes a lot of sense.

Another of Kay's new staffers sounds a lot like former Kay staffer with the anti Palin rhetoric (link). Excerpt follows...

"I am of the strong opinion that, at present day, she is not ready to be the leading voice of the GOP," said Todd Harris, a party strategist who likened Palin to the hopelessly dated "Miami Vice" -- something once cool that people regard years later with puzzlement and laughter. "It's not even that she hasn't paid her dues. I personally don't think she's ready to be commander in chief."

The anti Palin stuff has already gotten Kay in trouble before, and it looks like their new team member is another proud anti Palin advocate. Just make sure Todd keeps that opinion to himself...

How much does Texas get back for every dollar it puts into the transportation system?

A story from last Thursday overlooked until now. There is a lot of friction in the Rick and Kay race about transportation, Texas dollars, federal dollars, and the like.

There seems to be a difference of opinion on just how much Texas gets back from the feds (link).

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison reluctantly voted to extend the federal highway trust fund this week while complaining that Texas could lose $408 million because Congress refuses to adopt a more comprehensive transportation program.

Hutchison said the federal transportation program — in which Texas gets back about 92 cents of every $1 in federal gasoline taxes, making it a "donor" state — needs to be reformed, possibly allowing Texas to opt out.


In Austin, Perry agreed that federal highway policy needs to be fixed but said Hutchison’s proposal to allow states to opt out is flawed, spokeswoman Allison Castle said.

"The current system isn’t working," she said, adding that Texas actually gets back 84.7 cents per $1 sent to Washington. "We would rather Congress rewrite the federal authorization bill than extend the current broken one."

What is the real rate that Texas gets back? 92 cents or 84.7 cents? Either way Texas is sending more money to other states than we get back. Seems like dirty money laundering somehow.

Rick's op ed yesterday...

Rick's op ed yesterday got a lot of heat on blogs... here is the link if you missed it (link). Excerpt follows...

Austin, Texas, and Washington are a little more than 1,500 miles apart, but the differences in governing philosophy could be measured in light years.

Both towns feature well-intentioned public servants and impressive capitol domes, but they seem to represent the polar opposites in the ongoing debate over the benefits of limited government.

In Texas, we have long based our approach on individual liberty and initiative, believing that families, entrepreneurs and individual citizens deserve the opportunity to strive and succeed -- with minimal government interference. After regular, 140-day legislative sessions every two years, Texas lawmakers go home to live under the laws they pass.

Limited time at the Capitol not only requires state leaders to focus on the essentials, it also reduces the mischief unrestrained government can do. Limiting state government in Texas has led to balanced budgets, low taxes, a predictable regulatory climate and a fair legal system.

For example, our just-concluded legislative session yielded a balanced state budget, tax relief for 40,000 small businesses, and it left $9 billion unspent for future state needs.

States that have overspent, overtaxed and overregulated have seen greater deficits, job losses and even population loss. Texas proves that fiscal discipline, lawsuit reforms and prioritizing accountable public education can create huge dividends for citizens, taxpayers, employers and government.

Washington clearly marches to a different drummer, with Congress meeting in seemingly endless session. It seems the majority view inside the Beltway is that a benevolent, all-knowing government can expand, decide and encroach without limit because individual Americans simply cannot be trusted to make right choices. I believe this mind-set is driving the explosive growth of the federal government's size, spending and intrusiveness.

America's Founders would be appalled at the way their federal successors are riding roughshod over individual liberties, contemplating even more tax increases and intruding further into private enterprise.

Who among them could have imagined federal appointees calling the shots at banks and manufacturers, a budget deficit topping $1.7 trillion and an army of federal auditors descending on nearly every community in America to rifle through the drawers of anyone using stimulus dollars? Who today thinks that Congress and the Obama administration's big-government plans are the best choice for our personal health care decisions?

In this era of unprecedented, unfettered government expansion, those of us in "flyover country" have little recourse other than exercising our First Amendment rights by speaking up. That spirit is the guiding force behind the "tea parties" that have sprung up all over America on tax day and on Independence Day, as well as the growing passion for state sovereignty.

That spirit led me to stand with a bipartisan group of Texas legislators earlier this year to support a resolution honoring the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The resolution simply restated the Constitution's principle of federalism: Powers not granted to the national government nor prohibited to the states are reserved to the states or the people.

Given its traditional passion for the Bill of Rights, I was surprised at the left's angry reaction when we called to affirm its vital 10th Amendment. Since its founding, our nation and its citizens have been well-served by the principles of federalism, including the premise found on Page 123 of the Federalist Papers: "The State governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority."

Washington's current fiscal excesses and unprecedented expansion have placed the protections and powers embodied in the 10th Amendment at risk. As the federal government expands before our very eyes, those of us who value freedom are simply sounding the alarm with every means available. We cannot remain silent while the powers-that-be in Washington methodically dismantle the system that has allowed Americans to determine their own destiny, compete on their own merits and enjoy the fruits of their labors.

I sincerely hope that our nation's durable principles prevail and keep our states and local communities from becoming mere functionaries of a bloated federal government. Together, citizens across the nation - regardless of political party - can remind this administration and Congress that the Framers of the Constitution deliberately limited the powers of the federal government.

When Washington's power to tax, regulate, mandate and meddle is restrained, American families are free to enjoy the liberty upon which our nation was founded. Limited government works.

Rick Perry has served as governor of Texas since 2000.

Good bully effort.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It is Kay's prerogative to change her mind... on the same day... about resigning...



Kay was winning today's media cycle with her news on the Mark Davis show that she was resigning. I posted the audio earlier today.

Later today Kay changed her mind about resigning? This is too weird.

CQ Politics blogs (link). Excerpt follows...

She's quitting. She's not quitting. She might be quitting. No, she wants the governor to be the quitter -- and quit thinking about re-election.

If Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is trying to keep the rival camp in Texas' gubernatorial primary -- and all of Washington -- guessing about how long she'll keep her current job, she's a success.

Over the course of just a few hours on Wednesday, she sent nothing but mixed signals.

First, she told a Texas radio interviewer that she intends to resign her seat in the Senate.

In Washington a short time later, Hutchison said she might stay in the Senate through next year's gubernatorial race and really didn't intend to indicate a change in her anticipated timetable.

"I did not realize this was going to be something that would be construed as different from what I've been saying," Hutchison told reporters. "I had said that I would be leaving probably some time toward the end of the year, late fall. And that's what I said in this interview."

This is what I have been saying... Kay's staff has not been the problem, it is Kay herself who cannot stay on message. I agree with Embry (link). Excerpt follows...

The reality for Hutchison is that, for the second time in less than a month, she has stepped on her own message.

Kay is why people are moving to Kay. Kay's staff may have always been superior to Rick's staff, no offense to my friends over at Rick's camp, but Kay has always had top notch talent. Rick has just been outdoing Kay. McCain could have had all the great talent in the world, but you can't save him from himself against a more charismatic and on message Barack Obama. The same thing is holding true here.

This was a big deal, and I think Kay totally bungled it. Every time the spotlight is on her lately, she not her staff messes up. Rick may say some inflammatory stuff, but his messes only help him. I am pretty sure his messes... like saying he would stand up to Obama and reject his health care plan if it passed based on 10th amendment grounds or saying something a little wild at a tea party... are actually well choreographed.

Kay running for president? nah....

One rumor I have heard is that Rick and Kay are both running because they want to be president. I don't buy it. Rick hates Washington too much, and Kay is probably looking at getting out of Washington and toward a more relaxing life in Texas.

Chris Cillizza sez no to Kay being the first woman president (link).

A quick glance at the roster of women currently serving in the Senate or as governor -- the ranks from which presidential candidates typically emerge -- turns up 17 senators and six governors.

Of that group, just one -- Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) -- has ever been seriously mentioned as a national candidate. But, Hutchison seems set on returning to the Lone Star State full time with her 2010 primary challenge to Gov. Rick Perry (R). If she wins that race, Hutchison would theoretically be in position to run but she would be 69 years old on election day 2012 and putting together a national campaign would be hard to imagine.

I don't think a woman's age is as big of a deal as it is for men. McCain was too old in 2008, and although Kay would be nearly McCain's age by 2012, women just age better than men. Kay is still in pretty good shape and doesn't show any signs of slowing her down due to her age.

Kay on the Mark Davis show... full audio...

UTMB opening back up...

Will Rick take credit for UTMB opening back up? The Houston Chronicle shows his involvement was important (link). Excerpt follows...

The UTMB complex suffered more than $1 billion in damages from Ike and insurance covered only about $100 million.

The hospital reopened earlier this year with about 370 beds, compared to 550 beds prior to Ike.

Gov. Rick Perry on June 19 signed into law bills to provide financial help to areas still struggling to recover from 2008 hurricanes.

The funding includes $150 million for the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Perry also signed a bill that would allow $150 million in bonds to help UTMB build a new 200-bed hospital. That money will be matched by a $200 million contribution from the Sealy Smith Foundation.

Probably any governor would have done the same thing...

Transcript from Kay's appearance on Mark Davis show...

A tipster sends in this via email with an audio clip I can't get to play...

Davis: What are your thoughts on when and whether to step down from the Senate and devote one hundred percent to the Texas Governor’s race?

Kay: Well I am trying to do everything that I can while I am in office to responsibly serve as a Senator. But it is hard because my heart is in Texas. There are so many things that I think we have not done in Texas that we need to do. I think we need new leadership in Texas, so I am trying to determine when is the time when I have done everything I can do to stop this healthcare takeover, cap and trade which is the next thing coming down that I think is going to be so bad for Texas. I am trying to finish those things in a responsible way and then I am coming home to try to give leadership to Texas.

Davis: Is there no possibility because you don’t have to step down to run-- but you surely will at some point-- there no possibility that you will remain a Senator while running for Governor throughout?

Kay: I just can’t – as long as Governor Perry stays in the race.

Davis: (mocking laugh)

Kay: I had hoped that he wouldn’t. You know, no one expected him to run again. And I thought, you know I stepped back last time, Mark. I tried to give him a, really a free ride with no primary because I thought it was right for Texas. But, for him to try to stay on for 15 years is too long.

Davis: So you’ll be coming out at some point. When do you think its decision time for you? When would you like when might we know?

Kay: I’m going to announce in August. Formal announcement I am in. Then the actual leaving of the Senate will be sometime – October/November – that-- in that time frame.

I guess that makes it official?

Bud Kennedy thinks Rick sounds like Ron Paul these days...

Bud writes about how Rick is sounding a lot like Ron Paul these days (link). Excerpt follows...

Maybe I’m confused.

I thought the governor of Texas was Rick Perry.

But he’s starting to sound like another R.P.: Ron Paul.

The more Perry talks about tea parties, states’ rights, limited government and defying Washington, the more he seems to be playing for the 70,000 Texas voters who backed Paul, a Republican U.S. representative, for president.


State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, a former gubernatorial candidate who recently endorsed Perry, said the governor is going after both Republicans and independents.

"He was criticized for talking about secession, but then he went up in the polls 15 or 20 points," Berman said Friday by phone. The more Perry talks about bucking Washington, Berman said, "it’ll help him."

In recent weeks, Perry lined up key endorsements from Berman, an immigration-enforcement advocate, and from pro-life radio host and state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston.

Then there’s Perry’s speeches at TEA ("Taxed Enough Already") rallies.

"Those are the people who are going to vote in the next election," Berman said. "They’re looking for somebody to carry their movement forward. And most of these people are anti-anything-coming-out-of-Washington."

Rick is cornering the market on hardcore Leo Berman type conservatives in the race, but I think it is wrong for people to assume that bourgeois suburban Republicans don't go for this anti Washington stuff too. Kay's strategy of going after Democrats and independents is not especially smart.

She is all for Hispanic judges but...

Kay brings up a good point about Hispanic judges... I can't believe Democrats were not punished more for blocking Miguel Estrada (link). Excerpt follows...

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to have guns. But in a case earlier this year, Sotomayor threw out a challenge to a New York state law regulating martial arts sticks. She argued the high court's opinion stopped short of saying that the Second Amendment bans state regulation of weaponry. Sotomayor wasn't alone in her view: A panel on the more conservative Chicago-based federal appeals court issued a similar ruling.

The National Rifle Association cited Sotomayor's ruling in announcing its opposition to her. The powerful gun rights organization also has put senators on notice that their vote on Sotomayor will be used in calculating their annual NRA favorability rating -- something that many lawmakers like to tout in their campaigns.

"We believe any individual who does not agree that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right and who does not respect our God-given right of self defense should not serve on any court, much less the highest court in the land," the NRA said in a statement.

Was this vote retaliation for Miguel Estrada. I hope so. He deserved to be confirmed.

Good podcast with Embry about Kay's staff changes...

Another Embry podcast with Chris Bell's former campaign manager (link). Excerpt follows...
I still plan on having a Friday podcast, but decided to do a quick one on Tuesday in reaction to the news of staff shakeups on the Hutchison team. My guest is Democratic consultant Jason Stanford. Since so much of the Republican talent in town either has a stake in the governor’s race or is afraid to talk candidly to the press, I’m turning to the campaign manager of the last Democratic campaign for governor. If there comes a time when I’m talking about a Democratic primary matchup between, say, Tom Schieffer and Kirk Watson, I’ll probably have on a Republican to provide the same service. Politics is politics, and these folks are pros.
Good listen, as usual.

Kay's team continues to suggest that Rick raised money during session...

Rick met with supporters during session, and Kay's team wants it to be a scandal (link). Excerpt follows...

Hans Klingler, a spokesman for Hutchison, said he is not surprised in the explanation.

"Perry was trying to cash in during the session by playing the old 'I can't ask you for a donation just yet, wink wink, but I look forward to seeing you in a few weeks, wink wink,' " Klingler said.


Meetings Gov. Rick Perry held during the 2009 legislative session with business leaders and supporters:

Feb. 26: Paesanos restaurant, San Antonio

March 3: The Crescent, Dallas

March 12: Willy G's, Houston

March 24: Cobblestone Court, Brownsville

March 25: Lubbock Club, Lubbock

April 2: Brennan's, Houston

April 7: The Crescent, Dallas

April 14: Café Annie, Houston

April 30: Willow Brook Country Club, Tyler

May 12: Club Giraud, San Antonio

May 21: La Griglia, Houston

SOURCE: Perry campaign

Insinuations abound, but having political meetings with supporters is nothing new. Not having any events with supporters would have meant Rick was not running again.

Gulf War research and Kay

Kay teamed up with Chet Edwards to bring funds for Gulf War Syndrome research to Texas (link). Excerpts follow...

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and UT-Southwestern researchers had bumped heads so often that the VA's inspector general recently recommended that it cut off funding to the Dallas school's research into the causes of Gulf War illnesses.

Gulf War illnesses

What caused them?
No one knows for sure, but researchers are pursing various possibilities from parasites to toxins on the battlefield. Other scientists contend the illnesses are related to war stress.

What are the symptoms?
They include aching muscles, neurological problems, irritability, thick saliva, weight loss, rashes, memory loss, chronic fevers, labored breathing and headaches. Patients may have some, none or different ones.

What are the treatments?
There is no overall treatment, just various treatments for specific symptoms.

Thankfully, cooler heads seem to have prevailed due to the intervention of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards of Waco. They say both sides are making reasonable concessions to keep this vital research project alive.

A sad disease for a lot of people.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kay's voting no on Sotomayor.

Kay saw what I saw and said no to Sotomayor (link). Kay has voted for liberal Clinton justices in the past, but she felt this vote was the only way she could win a primary in Texas right now.

Kay will oppose Sotomayor on the 2nd amendment.

Kay brings in Pounder...

I don't know him personally, but Joe Pounder is a legend at sending lots of emails. He has the ability to be a game changer for Kay.

POLITICO tells the story (link). Excerpt follows...

Joe Pounder’s closes

t competition on theInternetis probably black-market Viagra.

Few communications staffers on or off the Hill dominate inboxes the way the strategic communications director for Republican whip Eric Cantor does. From the daily “Morning Whip-Up” — a news roundup topped with a punchy, agenda-steering note that pingsBlackBerrysat around 9 a.m. — to newsy blasts addressed simply to “ALL,” Pounder, 26, spends his days pushing his boss into the news cycle and, well, pounding his party’s agenda.

The Weekly Standard sez (link)...

One-man RNC Joe Pounder, whose releases frequently appear on this blog, is leaving the Whip's office to join Kay Bailey Hutchison's campaign along with Jeff Sadosky, another McCain alum, who now works for KBH's Senate office. It's a testament to Cantor having a good team that other Republicans are going fishing for talent in his office, but Pounder's departure isn't exactly good news for Republicans. "Few communications staffers on or off the Hill dominate inboxes the way" Pounder does, said Politico in a recent profile. Hopefully Cantor's office continues to fill that role.

Huge hire for Kay. This might be the catch that turns her communications team around, especially if he can get down and dirty. Kay's new team may be from Washington, but they are varsity players. Rick's team has to be somewhat worried right now... they were already getting outdone on a lot of things by Kay's so called B Team, so how they will deal with guys like Sullivan and Pounder remains to be seen.

Where are they?

Gromer posts some details of where Rick and Kay will be coming up soon.

Rick will be the key speaker in Dallas Thursday (link). Excerpt follows...

Gov. Rick Perry must be in a charitable mood.

At a time when he's in a fund-raising battle with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Perry has agreed to be the guest at fund-raising event where all the money is going to the Dallas County Republican Party.

The "intimate" luncheon is scheduled for Thursday at Edison's in Dallas.

Perry is being challenged by Hutchison for the GOP nomination for governor.

The Republican Primary is in March.

Gomer also thinks Kay might announce she is resigning on August 17 (link). Excerpt follows...

The buzz among North Texas Republicans is that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will formally announce her campaign for governor on Aug. 17. She is also expected to embark on a major bus tour throughout the state.

Kay always does a big bus tour in summertime, so this would fit into that schedule anyway.

Advice to Kay... just shut up.

Kay just keeps digging this hole she is in on accepting or not accepting stimulus money (link). Excerpts follow...

Nothing better encapsulates our leadership problems in Austin than Gov. Rick Perry's refusal to accept $550 million from the federal government for unemployment assistance.

To make a political statement, Perry instead turned a huge and unnecessary debt over to the state's employers, including small business owners, during a tough economic climate.

There's no doubt the fight he picked with Washington was positive politically for the governor. It got him on TV. And talk radio. And it started him hinting about secession from the union, leaving most Texans and most Americans scratching their heads.

But was all this show business good for Texas?

Which prompted an influential conservative think tank chieftain to retort that Kay is doing a big government re-write (link)...

Perhaps after 16 years our senator has spent too much time listening to the arguments of the grow-government left in the District of Columbia.

It would have been irresponsible to take those federal UI dollars. Frankly, it represents a lack of leadership to have voted against in the Senate what she now demands Texas to have accepted. And it is always poor judgment to cede the state's clear authority over such matters to Washington, and certainly to the Obama Administration.

As one who has long admired Sen. Hutchison, her original silence on matters concerning the state was far preferable to this sudden cheerleading for what is clearly the most fiscally irresponsible position.

Kay, please, stop flogging this issue. You are just making a complete arse of yourself now. You are on the side of Jim Dunnam, Obama, and liberal newspaper writers. Rick is on the side of the tea parties, all the pro business groups, the legislature, and all the conservative think tanks.

Move on to something else, Kay. The more you criticize Rick on this issue, the more you drive fiscal conservatives away from you. You are losing any chance of earning my vote... we all debated this issue passionately in March, and we came to this conclusion. At the time you sort of agreed but sort of did not agree... who really knows.

Your Monday morning quarterbacking is not doing anyone any good... especially yourself.

My advice... Kay... just shut up!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kay's campaign changes horses in mid stream...

Gardner Selby confirms what one of my Rick loving sources has been sending me for many days now... that Kay was firing a lot of people and bringing new people in. I was skeptical because that just seemed like mind games, but this really boosts his credibility. Gardner has a long run down of the changes (link). Excerpts follow...

Just weeks before formally declaring for governor, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has changed campaign managers and enlisted additional senior advisers and consultants, though the departing manager and his replacement said Monday the changes aren’t a sign of shakiness in her effort.

The departure of manager Rick Wiley for a senior role in a Wisconsin campaign is to be announced shortly along with the hiring of Terry Sullivan of South Carolina as his replacement.

Wiley and Sullivan said the change in leadership, finalized last week, was not in reaction to Hutchison losing ground to GOP Gov. Rick Perry in recent polls. Instead, the two said, the addition of new staff and consultants reflected timely growth in a campaign intent on making history.


Hutchison’s campaign, which already exceeded the size of Perry’s operation, is also set to reveal other hires, which Wiley and Sullivan characterized as signs of a promising build-up rather than a troubling shake-up.

Two individuals will focus on communication with reporters and a third will be handling rapid response to incidents and sallies from Perry’s campaign.

Jeff Sadosky’s arrival as press secretary amounts to no surprise considering Hutchison’s campaign earlier this year retained Hans Klingler, formerly with the Republican Party of Texas, as communications director but didn’t immediately designate a press secretary entrusted with day-to-day reporter contacts. Sadosky took the campaign job this week after joining Hutchison’s Washington staff as communications director earlier this year.

The campaign’s new senior communications adviser, Jennifer Coxe-Baker, previously helped Mel Martinez of Florida win a Senate seat. She also was a spokeswoman for the Bush administration’s Secretary of Labor.

Joe Pounder, designated the deputy communications director, will focus on rapid response. He has worked for U.S. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the Republican Whip, for whom he composed this blog today, and Romney’s presidential campaign.

Sullivan said two Dallas-based consultants—already affiliated with Scott Howell, who’s handling Hutchison’s TV advertising—will play significant roles going forward. Heath Thompson, who was a regional political director in the Bush-Cheney campaign of 2004, will focus on strategy, while Todd Harris, who’s been a spokesman for Florida’s Jeb Bush, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. John McCain, will be a point person on communications. Harris was once called a “spinner extraordinaire” by “Roll Call,” the Washington newspaper.

I don't think you would be seeing this level of wholesale changes if Kay and her team really believed that she was winning.

These are big shake ups. Campaign staffs can play a role but I wouldn't hold my breath about this changing the entire board. The candidates themselves are the real drivers though. Rick has been outdoing Kay, not his staff.

Kay on Obamacare...

Kay was in Houston today with Representative Kevin Brady to express her opposition to Obama's health care proposals (link). Excerpt follows...
HOUSTON - Leaders in the Texas Medical Center join together to show strong opposition to the health care legislation proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. The group was joined by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Representative Kevin Brady who say that health care reform needs much more careful consideration.

There were many concerns raised about the current health care reform bill.

Representative Brady says the bill would result in the closing of 40 hospitals in Texas and the loss of 15,000 jobs.

Senator Hutchison says the bill would take away the quality and choice of health care that Americans have come to expect.

Kudos to Kay for opposing this Obama health care plan, but I do have trouble with her pretty consistent record in favor of expanding other big government insurance plans. I doubt her support for expanded CHIP coverage will lose her many votes, but it is an important policy difference between Rick and Kay and it does trouble a lot of people with right wing leanings that she sides with expanded government programs so much.

Kay calls out illegal immigrants for health care costs...

Last week at a hospital in Dallas, Kay called out illegal immigrants for being the main reason for the Texas uninsured (link). Excerpt follows...

At a Dallas press conference, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison blamed illegal immigrants for making Texas the national leader in uninsured residents. But hospital officials and state statistics don't back her up. KERA's Bill Zeeble has more.

At the trauma center in Dallas' Parkland Hospital, Senator Hutchison was joined by local hospital executives in denouncing President Obama's health care reform plans before Congress.

Texas leads the nation in the number of uninsured. When asked how she would solve that problem, Senator Hutchison blamed illegal immigrants.

Hutchison: We have the highest number of uninsured mostly because of the illegal immigrant population.
Some strong language from the usually mild mannered Kay about illegal immigrants...

Kay's Friday afternoon attack on Rick.

On Friday afternoon, Kay attacked Rick for his rejection of a relatively small portion of the Obama stimulus package (link).

Excerpt follows...

AUSTIN – Kay Bailey Hutchison slammed Rick Perry's decision four months ago to reject $555 million in economic stimulus money to help the unemployed, saying Friday that it was "reckless" and showed a lack of both leadership and judgment.

"This is yet another Rick Perry disaster," Hutchison said in a written statement.

So shrill and mean spirited, not the Kay that so many Texans such as me thought they knew and loved.

Rick did of course accept the overwhelming majority of the stimulus as Kay's campaign is always eager to point out.

Rick did reject a portion that would have required Texas to permanently expand a government insurance program, saying no to somewhere around 550 million dollars worth of stimulus.

There possibly were more strings attached to other stimulus money, but in Rick's estimation it was not worth it to accept the strings and the money on this program expansion.

I agreed with him strongly back when he made the decision, and I still agree with him. There is no such thing as a free lunch and taking that money would have been a long term policy change for the worse and not much of a short term gain.

I am also confused about where Kay was back then on this issue. Did Kay agree or disagree with Rick back a few months ago? I seem to recall her confusing other people pretty strongly too, but the impression I was left with was that she favored the strings attached stimulus dollars because she did not really view it as strings, she viewed it as a good thing to grow that portion of government.

In this video from March she said she sort of agreed with Rick but not really...

In this video she said she said she did not agree...

What I got from Kay's criticism back a few months ago was that she disagreed with Rick but didn't really have a good explanation as to why. Some people are saying that Kay is flip flopping on this issue, but others are saying this was a reminder of why they believe Kay is not conservative enough to win a GOP primary. Whether it is a flip flop or not, she is basically siding with arch liberals Olbermann, Maddow, and Jim Dunnam over all the business groups like NFIB and TAB, all the conservative think tanks like Empower Texans, the Texas Conservative Coalition, and TPPF, and strong majorities of Texas voters (link).

Either way it was a strange attack by Kay with over the top vitriolic language made late on a Friday afternoon. I don't get it. In January Kay was neck and neck with Rick in my internal polling... of me. As I have blogged and become somewhat of an expert on these two candidates, she now is hanging on by a thread.

After Kay made her comments in the videos linked here, Rick responded...

As a political communications junkie, that off the cuff response by Rick is almost flawless. The stuff on Friday just brought back all of these memories which are not good for Kay. I have no idea what she is thinking here attacking from the liberal side yet again.

It is probably obvious to most readers that my blogs have become increasingly pro Rick here month by month. Really it was this issue back in March that first pushed me strongly away from Kay. After so many of these comments from Kay, she is losing me more and more. I prefer to make my decision late in the game most times, but after Friday's whopper from Kay I will be hard pressed to pick her next March.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Kay and Rick take donors from each other...

People keep writing stories and headlines about Kay taking Rick's donors, but Gardner has one of the most comprehensive to date (link). Excerpt follows...

Kay Bailey Hutchison, gearing up to run against Gov. Rick Perry next year, has chipped into Perry's rich donor base, taking in 21 percent of $6.7 million she raised from December through June from 35 of Perry's historically staunchest backers, a review shows.

All told, the big benefactors — most of whom previously gave to Hutchison's Senate campaigns — accounted for nearly $3.8 million of about $27.6 million Perry raised from givers of $25,000 or more from 2003 through 2008.

3.8 out of 27.6 means that 13.7 percent of Rick's big dollars went to Kay... and "most" according to Gardner had a history with Kay already... that seems pretty low really. Am I reading that wrong? The 21% number also seems way too low to warrant the headlines about Kay taking so many of Rick's donors. I would almost expect it to be closer to 50/50, since almost all of the donors gave to both candidates in the past.

This part was interesting as well...

But Perry, who raised $4.2 million in the nine June days that donors were permitted to give to state officeholders, retained a strong stake in high-dollar donors. They included individuals who have given to Hutchison's past campaigns and might be expected to consider her over him.

More than 40 previous donors to Hutchison's Senate campaigns stuck with Perry for governor in June; they'd given more than $5 million to his campaigns from 2003 through 2008, compared to less than $180,000 to hers since 1993. The gulf partly reflects that there are legal limits on donations to candidates for federal office but no caps for those aspiring to state offices in Texas..

Five big donors to Hutchison (including Houston Texans' owner Bob McNair) also gave to Perry, perhaps hedging or demonstrating fondness for both. For many Republicans, even discussing donations to the political powerhouses can prove ticklish.

Centerville rancher-businessman Richard Wallrath gave $10,000 to Hutchison and $12,500 to Perry, whom he gave nearly $160,000 from 2003 through 2008.

"Both these people are my friends, OK?" Wallrath said.

Rick took 40 huge donors from Kay, Kay took 35 huge donors from Rick. 5 huge donors gave to both. Is that what this article is saying?

Someone really needs to graph this out and show it visually. It is not an apples to apples comparision in terms of straight dollars, because federal candidates are capped while state candidates can take big checks.

This is all not very informative without that sort of visual. How many on each side got brand new donors? How many gave to only Rick in the past but now only gave to Kay? How many only gave to Kay in the past but only gave to Rick this time? How many people gave to both in the past but now chose only one side? To me it seems pretty normal for people to saddle up on one side or the other.

I would also love to see when some of the biggest checks came in chronologically speaking... did Kay's drop in the polls do anything to her fundraising... either spurring people to give more to boost her at the end, or causing people to drop off... or did she gradually receive large checks over the entire six month period? The reason why I ask is because I think if candidates had to disclose their campaign cash on a weekly basis it might have helped Kay... she would have had this relentless flow of cash coming in while Rick could not raise money... it would have created more of a bandwagon effect.

These paragraphs are also interesting...

Perry's campaign noted that nearly 60 of his donors doubled their previous contributions to him, arguably an indication of intensified support.

And as of July, most of Perry's traditionally most generous donors — more than 300 individuals or groups that have given $25,000 or more since 2003 — hadn't written a check to Hutchison for governor.

300 worth upwards of 7.5 million may still be up for grabs. Knowing nothing about them, I would just guesstimate that a large number will probably sit out the entire time, and maybe only 100 are truly up for grabs... maybe 2 or 3 million dollars worth of cash.

To me these numbers just show that both campaigns are going to have a lot of money to spend on negative ads against each other. If Kay had gotten 12 or 15 million dollars like her finance chair had predicted back in December, it would have meant something and might have made the impact she needed. If Rick had only raised a million or two in 9 days, it would have meant something and would have deflated his hopes. Rick raising 4.2 million in 9 days and Kay raising 6.7 million in 6 months does not mean all that much, other than Rick slightly outperformed expectations and Kay underperformed slightly.

Rick taking 40 high dollar Kay donors, Kay taking 35 high dollar Rick donors, and 5 of the high dollar donors still donating to both, does not strike me as out of the ordinary. Dogs bite men...

The blogs are going crazy over Rick's 10th amendment stance against Obama...

Both sides are fired up about Rick's comment that he would reject Obamacare if it passed based on 10th amendment grounds.

The another black conservative blog sez (link). Excerpts follow...
To say I like the way Rick Perry stands firm on his state’s 10th Amendment rights would be an understatement. When you think about how Washington is hell-bent on bankrupting the nation, why should states sleep walk right into disaster?

Texas is in far better financial shape than Washington to begin with, clearly Texas’ policies are working and Washington’s is not, so why accept a massive program that will hurt the state’s economy?

Freedom's Lighthouse made a video of Rick's comments (link). Excerpts follow...

Alamo City Pundit sez (link). Excerpt follows...
As he edges closer and closer to calling for outright secession of Texas, Governor rick perry just won the vote of every Conservative in Texas for re-election. Meanwhile, Kay Bailey Hutchinson (his presumed opponent for the Governorship in 2012) can’t make up her mind on her health care stance.
The Prairie Pundit thinks Kay made an error in her attack (link). Excerpts follow...
I think Hutchison is making a mistake by not addressing the concerns that motivated Perry to reject this portion of the stimulus and by doing so she probably plays into his argument about being more connected to Washington than the concerns of people in Texas.
While her position might have some appeal to Democrat voters, it is hard to see how it will help her in a Republican primary.

The Conservative for Change sez (link)...
This could be an interesting development in the fight against socialism, and will be watched with great attention. He might have an argument of encroachment by the Federal Government, but I am sure this will be fought in court big time.
Say Anything sez (link)...

Federal money is the root of federal encroachment upon states rights. Our local politicians - from municipal leaders to the the state legislators to the governors - have less power every single year because every year we accept more federal money on the local level. And with that federal moneycomes control.

First we become dependent on the funding, then the feds use that dependency as control.

Of course Texas is not really dependent on federal funding... we are actually one of the rare red states to pay more than we get back.

Rachel Maddow bashes Rick.

The liberal blogs are having a hissy fit about Rick's strong anti Obama words on government health care. The right wing blogs are eating it up.

Rachel Maddow got into the act and did her whole smug pseudo journalism thing about it...

Every time Olbermann or Rachel Maddow says something nasty about Rick, his poll numbers go up another point or two.

Rick has become the source of about 10% of all content on MSNBC. 40% is BHO worship. The other 50% is anti Rush Limbaugh.