Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kay's disjointed messaging...

Kay made a video about Rick's pranks called it the kitchen sink. Rick's peeps turned it around on her.

Now Kay is throwing the kitchen sink at Rick. On the very same day that she renamed her brand of moderate Republicanism as "enlightened" Republicanism and claimed that she wanted to have a big tent for the GOP, she also dispatched her twittering hordes to push the "Rick endorsed Rudy" theme.

Joe Pounder posted a strange YouTube clip on his twitter page of some 1980s looking local news reporter saying that conservatives were baffled by Rick's choice of Rudy in 2010.

Rick Perry continues to baffle conservatives: #rickperry #perryliberal #perrynonsense #baffled

Who cares what some dumb local reporter reads off of her teleprompter?

Isn't Rudy the ultimate big tent candidate? How does Joe Pounder's attack fit with her theme of expanding and growing the party? It seems like he was finally given carte blanche to go and make attacks on the internet, but so far they are not in line with her own positions. I don't think Joe Pounder knows who he works for maybe... or maybe he is not paying attention to what Kay is doing. Attacks also have to maintain credibility, and those tags are just not very believable.

Another thing pointed out to me by a tipster... the Kay campaign seems to create a new channel on YouTube for each video they make. This video is hosted at PerryGiuliani2010 (link). They also have several others, each with one or two videos on it... what is that about... does that mean there are lots of people making rogue videos and uploading them?

The fact of the matter is that Rudy Giuliani is a big endorsement for Rick, and it shows that Kay's appeal to moderates may be very overstated. Are conservatives baffled by Rick's endorsement of Rudy? Maybe at the time, maybe not. I think a lot of us would have rather seen Rudy over the ineffective John McCain. There really was no perfect candidate for Republicans in 2008.

Kay may want to oversee her team's internet activities a little bit more because they don't seem to be on message. Rick's team may not always have the right message, but they are much better than Kay's team at staying on message. When Kay's team makes an attack, they should also make sure she is not vulnerable on that issue. They attacked on Rick not wanting a physical border wall to span the entire border, but he is stronger on border security than she is. They attacked on Rudy Giuliani's support for Rick when she has a lot of chumminess with Hillary and Dianne Feinstein and other liberal Democrats... she also couldn't pick Bush over Clinton when asked who was a better president. I just get the feeling like no matter who Kay brings in, it may be impossible for her to overcome her record.

When she moves to the right it looks like pandering. When she doesn't it looks like she is a RINO. She just can't win. Her staff that I know believe she is a micromanager, but how would a hands off attitude be any better?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Big tent politics... an endorsement bonanza for Rick...

Kay unveiled her Dick Armey endorsement months ago. Karen Hughes was a surprise to some last week although not to people who have been paying close attention. Kay wrote an op ed with Nolan Ryan which I guess makes that an endorsement. Jim Francis put his name on an op ed likely written by the campaign, and his piece appeared side by side with the piece from Tom Hicks who is a big Rick backer. What happened to Chuck Norris? Rick's peeps claim that Norris was not happy to have been listed on Kay's statewide leadership list early in 2009, because although he likes her and she did appear on his show, she is not pro life enough for the man whose tears could cure cancer... if he only ever cried.

Rick is unveiling endorsement after fairly major endorsement almost daily at this point. One wonders if he is going to run out and have nothing "in the bag" to use once January and February come along.

Some of the endorsements are bigger than others. Getting Cathie Adams... a gigantic critic of Rick in the past... really shows what an uphill battle Kay has on her hands. Getting Texas Right to Life was probably a foregone conclusion, but now Rick can bring that up almost constantly and his peeps can say things like... "why was Kay overlooked for the pro life endorsements? Because she is not pro life..."

Being the pro life candidate in a Republican primary in Texas is huge. It is almost a game over move. Being pro choice or insufficiently pro life like Kay is will be a major mountain to overcome.

Usually a pro choice Republican like Kay can overcome the label by saying... "I am more fiscally conservative, so vote for me if you care about economic issues more than social issues."

For Kay, Rick has asserted himself as a Fiscal Conservative champion. It is his entire stump speech... he doesn't even talk about social issues... and he has been talking about economic freedom and prosperity almost to a fault via the "Texas Model" almost 24/7 for months, unless he is giving a more socially oriented speeches to religious groups behind closed doors that are not being reported.

Rick's peeps meanwhile have painted Kay as a pork barrel lovin' bailout votin' big Washington spender. Kay has not done herself many favors in recent years. Nobody can say with a straight face that Kay is more fiscally conservative than Rick.

Kay talks about wanting a big tent according to Ronald Reagan, but Ronald Reagan meant it in an entirely different way. For those of us unfortunate enough to have lived through the Nixon/Ford era of the GOP, there was a time decades ago when being a member of the Christian right who cared about faith and politics together was a good way to get mocked at Republican dominated country club parties and precinct meetings. Being Republican back then was exclusively a narrow sort of patrician mindset, and talking about social issues or national security issues was a good way to get ostracized by the prevailing GOP crowd.

When Reagan talked about wanting a big tent party, he was talking about bringing all three main types of Republicans to the table... and showing socially conservative people some respect for a change. National security Republicans, social conservatives, and economic Republicans... all made up the big Republican tent.

Reagan's tenure was when the so called Christian right first became a force within the Republican party. Carter in 1976 won Southern states because he was believed to be a social conservative and Ford never warmed to those voters. Nixon and Ford loathed social issues voters, especially Nixon. Reagan welcomed them to the Republican tent and ushered in a period of Republican ascendency from 1980 through 2006.

When Kay and some of her supporters speak about big tents, I think they are really saying that we have to minimize the social conservatives to make the country club set happy.

I love golf and tennis as much as anyone, but they alone do not equal a winning electoral coalition for the GOP. It takes all three traditional parts to win. Reagan Democrats were mostly socially conservative blue collar voters, not socially moderate nor socially liberal voters who happened to like Reaganomics. If anything they were suspicious of Reaganomics but connected with him in other ways, then they came around to Reaganomics after it worked.

The Texas GOP primary in 2010 is much different from America in 1980... and the coalitions are topsy turvy, but I think if Kay is going to speak about Ronald Reagan's big tents, she should at least get the political history right.

If Kay wants to prove that she is the big tent candidate, she could start by winning some endorsements outside of ones we all knew about 6 months ago. Surprise us.

Rick has gotten the police, the anti cap and trade industry biggies, the engineers, the Eagle Forum's Cathie Adams, the pro lifers... realtors in Houston.

Kay must try a lot harder to bring people and groups like that into her tent. Having a big tent means getting a diverse set of endorsements... big names, grassroots groups, bloggers, pro life groups, local groups, statewide groups, tea party groups, pro business groups... and lots of them...

Rick is winning the endorsement battle presently. Therefore... Rick has a bigger tent than Kay right now.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kay's Bad Week

This was supposed to be her week. She spent a lot of money. Based on the lag time from her initial announcement to her announcement to announce and then finally her announcement tour, she spent many months crafting her strategy, message, and travel route game plan.

Kay had a bad week. This is hardly up for debate. On the week when she was supposed to be crowned homecoming queen, Rick's peeps played prank after prank... Like something out of Animal House... fun to watch. The new website that relentlessly churns out videos and facts about Kay's less than pristine voting record and her less than consistent... let's face it, less than coherent... public statements.

Rick's peeps drove Kay crazy. Literally. Their Crazy Train video is hilarious... Very similar to the Blues Brothers car crash web video they made last month... and don't even get me going about that cat playing the keyboard. I doubt many people who vote in Republican primaries will ever see tha web video, let alone understand why a cat playing a keyboard makes any sense, but influential writers... the press... bloggers... people who send signals to their peers... they all see it and get what Rick's peeps are saying. Kay's campaign so far is a joke. A really expensive, bad joke. It is as if Rick's small team of recent YCT graduates and CR alumni are batting down Kay's much more elaborate DC heavy consultant juggernaut by just goofing around. That spells real trouble for Kay if a bunch of amateurs can own these experts.

I am still getting lots of emails from a source who tells me that Kay's campaign staffers do not have high morale right now. If my source is as accurate as usual, Kay has a more colorful vocabulary than I realized.

Rick's peeps have absolutely no qualms about rubbing Kay's sputtering campaign in her face.

Rick's peeps don't need to say any of it, though. This week has been an unmitigated failure for Kay. While she drew miniscule crowds all over the state, the Kay Bailout Express followed her around... and airplanes with banners telling her to release her tax returns.

Kay's team responded with non credible hyperbole about Rick's peeps being the dirtiest in Texas history. Such utterly unbelievable comments just underline that maybe a lot of us overestimated Kay's new A team. Joe Pounder came with undeniable accolades, but of all the statements from Kay's team, his seem the most foreign to the political culture of Texas.

Have these people never heard of Lyndon Baines Johnson? If Kay's skin is really this thin, and her staff are really going to waste all credibility on playing the victim card after a few harmless hijinks, I don't want to see what the reaction will be when Rick's infamously battle hardened squadron decides to stop letting their interns make their videos and instead gets David Weeks and that crew to put something professionally together. Rick's team can and will make a great 30 second ad about Kay's apparent conflict of interest with her husband. Rick's team could get really nasty if they wanted... and they could base it all on her own votes.

Kay and her team have been passive aggressively attacking Rick for 9 months or more, with occasional direct assaults... usually on non central issues like fight clubs at state facilities for mentally ill people. Then Kay goes on Greta this week and tries to play the victim. Greta wasn't buying it.

Rick and his team have kept their powder dry for months, except to return a few "Kay Bailout" volleys. It seems obvious to me that Rick basically said to his peeps last week, "It is go time... have fun, don't get too nasty."

To top it off, Kay just won't leave the unemployment insurance issue alone. Again in Odessa this week she waded into that muck. I think she thinks she can convince people if she keeps blathering about how Rick should have taken the 550 million dollars he turned down from the federal government due to long term entanglements and obligations.

Kay, YOU CAN NOT WIN THIS ISSUE no matter how well your tiny crowds may respond when you mislead them and tell them Rick is raising taxes. Nobody buys that, and I know that this issue... which should have been a tiny issue... is why Rick will earn the endorsements of most of the major conservative groups, business groups, and even a few other pro Republican groups. We who consider ourselves members of some of those groups all discussed this issue ad nauseum earlier this year with one another. We debated it amongst ourselves. We came to a pretty firm consensus that a little pain in the short run is a lot better than continued pain over perpetuity. Kay was not questioning just Rick, she was second guessing the Texas Association of Business, she was contradicting the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and she was slapping the Texas wing of the National Federation of Independent Business right in the face. Texas Association of Manufacturers, Texas Conservative Coalition, Texas Chemical Council... all supported Rick's decision with gusto. Each time Kay rips Rick, she is ripping the Texas conservative braintrust.

This is the issue that really moved me from 50/50 to much more pro Rick back earlier this year. To me and many others on the periphery of the Austin Rick/Kay political bubble, Kay's disagreement was mainly just her being disagreeable for the sake of disagreeing with Rick on something...

Speaking of this bubble and the periphery, I am a couple weeks into a pretty exciting time in a large city in a big blue state, and oh how I miss Texas. Let me just remind those of you back in God's Country that nobody is paying attention to Rick vs. Kay outside of Texas or outside of Kay's office inside the beltway...

This may be a good thing for Kay, because if enough peeps with influence outside of Texas realized what a train wreck Kay's campaign has become, you might be seeing more high level calls for her to just drop this quixotic quest and instead stay and fight liberal Democrats in DC, not muck up the good thing Texas Republicans still have going.

Honestly, Republicans I talk to up here don't understand why anyone would want to run against Rick in the primary. He is even getting far more 2012 attention here than back in Texas. People have heard that Texas sucks less than it does here and every other big state. Here the unemployment rate is much higher than it is back home in Texas. People seem to understand that Rick is standing up to President Obama, a guy who is still worshipped here like he is Paul McCartney circa 1965. Rick gets EXTRA credit for standing up to Obama here, because that seems extraordinarily brave and gutsy. Back in Texas, it is expected, so people may take his anti Obama voice for granted. Here, he is like John Wayne plus Ronald Reagan amongst the rare few Republicans I work with.

I have come close a few times to an outright endorsement of Rick, especially after some of Kay's attacks from the left on a few different issues. Today, I will go ahead and make it official. I have made up my mind. I am officially in the tank for Rick. Kay has squandered a lot of good will I once had toward her, and I anticipate that once others see what I have seen since early this year Kay's poll numbers will drop further compared to Rick. He is a tested, solid leader with results. Kay is unknown quantity at the state level except for her terrible performances so far this year. Rick is varsity... playing in the big leagues... getting national attention. Kay by comparison is junior league. Her slogan quite frankly is inverted. She is all politics. What real results does she have to show for herself? Meanwhile... again when she criticises Rick for no results, she is really criticizing the collective wisdom of we conservatives who have fought for decades and finally got the chance to prove ourselves in 2003. We are pretty proud of our results. We are proud of Texas, and although we all have some occasional bones to pick with Rick he is still the guy who was right there with us on those fights. Kay was nowhere to be found, and now she only diminishes our movement's accomplishments like some Monday morning second string QB or some backseat driver.

Kay's boat is sinking before it has left the port. Rick now has as good a chance as any to be the voice of opposition to a liberal administration running amok. Kay's challenge in some ways is a blessing in disguise for Rick. When he wins it will be the frosting on top of an already sweet legacy. If he has ambitions beyond Texas... and I know he always says he doesn't... beating the Kay juggernaut would propel him to immediate top five 2012 status.

I know I am not alone in my assesment of this race. I know a lot of what I have written today has already been written by Kronberg or Burka or Embry or Herman... I have just been chomping at the bit and this is my first chance to really get my thoughts down about something other than work.

OPEN THREAD MANIA-- who is winning so far?

Rick and Kay have been in "official" campaign mode for only a short while... before official campaign mode kicked off I would have said Rick was getting the best of Kay... now Kay's team seems a little more on their game but Rick's peeps have also stepped up their action... who is winning?



Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another OPEN THREAD-- Rick's first big attack on Kay...

Rick's team has been pretty silent on Kay except to respond to volleys and calling her Kay Bailout... they have stepped it up a big notch with this new site called It is getting heated. Rick and Kay will really hate each other after this race if they didn't already.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Holy cow! Open comment blog...

Holy cow is there a lot going on in the Rick vs. Kay race... a few emailers have asked for it so here it is... an open comment thread. Play nice everyone...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Taking some blog time off...

I started writing blogs here as a way to channel some of my political and media junkie energies... and as a way to sort through the Rick vs. Kay mess and choose a side.

When I started Rick vs. Kay, I was undecided and possibly even slightly pro Kay, but as the months have gone by, I have become strongly on Rick's side, and that has become obvious to anyone with a brain. Rick just has a better record, better rhetoric, more upside, and Kay has rubbed me the wrong way too many times on issues and ethics.

Opportunities are knocking, and I have to answer.... the next 45 days will have me working with an out of state client... who knows whether I will be able to write blogs during that time. I will definitely still follow the news about this race, and I might probably write from time to time, but not several blogs per day like I have been.

This is a huge opportunity for me and at the end of the 45 days I could end up with a meaningful stake in a really exciting company with a lot of upside. Wish me the best of luck. I'll send you a postcard or two. The best part is I get to stay in a really fancy hotel completely expensed for the full 45 days, plus 15 more for a final negotiation if the first 45 go well.

They better have a big comfy robe in my room laid out on my bed is all I am saying.

Barton may run for Kay's seat?

Add yet another GOP name to the ring (link). Excerpt follows...

No one seems to be mentioning U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington, as a candidate to replace outgoing Sen.Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.

Turns out that Barton — who came in third in the 1993 special election that Hutchison won in a runoff — is indeed thinking about running.

"Congressman Barton continues to watch the developments in Texas politics with an interested eye," spokesman Sean Brown said. "He believes serving the entire state of Texas as their next senator would be an honor. If and when an opportunity presents itself, he will discuss it with his wife, family and supporters before making any decision."

If he runs, Barton, a congressman since 1985, will not have to give up his seat, but he will have to do something pretty quickly about an awkward situation.

His longtime campaign consultant and spokesman,Craig Murphy, is also the spokesman for . . . Roger Williams, the Weatherford auto dealer and former secretary of state who — oops — is running for Senate.

Joe Barton, yet another intriguing name to a crowded field of Republicans. I think if and when Kay resigns, it will be a feeding frenzy... and Democrats will be smart to field as few candidates as possible so as not to split their votes.

Kay and husband Ray... power couple, or symbiotic conflict of interest?

R.G. Ratcliffe did a little investigation and found that the conflict of interest story Jay Root uncovered goes a little bit deeper (link). Excerpt follows...

Dallas area voters in August 2000, approved $2.9 billion in bonds for the expansion of DART light rail lines.

The first of those bonds -- $400 million -- were issued in July 2001 under the direction of Ray Hutchison and his team of bond lawyers at Vinson & Elkins. The bonds were for the construction of the North Central Expressway light rail line, known as the Red Line.

That same month, Sen. Hutchison won Senate Appropriations Committee approval of $70 million to help DART with the construction of the same rail line. "Not a bad day's work, senator," said the congratulatory Dallas Morning News editorial.

Critics would cite such a connection as a conflict of interest for Ray Hutchison's law firm to be making money off of government agencies that his senatorial wife is obtaining federal money on behalf of. And if that is a conflict, there are many, including some in Houston.

Hutchison's aides counter by saying there was nothing illegal in the Hutchisons' action, nor was it a violation of Senate rules. As evidence, they provided a letter exchange Ray Hutchison had with the Senate Ethics Committee in 1995:

Has Kay had to answer for any of this personally, or just her campaign? This all sounds very technical and hard to understand to a layman or even a Texas based political and news junkie, but it also looks very bad if there is some sort of system where Kay secures earmarks for projects her husband Ray makes money on. At the very least, it highlights Kay's status as a pork delivery champ.

I don't know a whole lot about Ray and his ethical compass, but these things look really bad for him as well as for Kay, from an outsider appearance standpoint. Erin Brockovich might pop her head out any moment and say "BOO!"

Rick is conservative... not like Bush...

Wayne Slater rehashes an old Rick quote from 2007 that got him a few hundred hits on YouTube (link). Excerpt follows...

Rick Perry has made anti-Washington conservatism the heart of his reelection. Critics say he's just doing it because he faces a challenge from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. But the roots of Perry's anti-Washington message go back several years - even if it meant throwing George W. Bush under the bus.

Sonya N. Herbert/StaffBill Waugh/Special

Back in 2007, while stumping for Rudy Giuliani in Iowa, Perry touted the former New York mayor as a "real fiscal conservative" (not like his predecessor in Austin). Here's what he said at the Thunder Bay Grille in Davenport, Iowa:

"George Bush was never a fiscal conservative, never was -- wasn't when he was in Texas. When I inherited the place in 2001, the session of 2001, our resources started going down. We had a little bit of a depressed economy. But they had spent money - '95, '97, '99 - George Bush was spending money. George has never, ever been a fiscal conservative."

And Perry said in running for president, Bush hid his record on spending and overstated his record on tort reform.

"Karl Rove did a good job of going up there. But they never talked about the spending. They talked about what he did on tort reform. It was okay, I mean they did some things in '97 that were better than what we had. It wasn't anything like what we did in 2003."

Rick has praised George W. Bush recently too though... I know I saw him on tape recently saying "God Bless George Bush" although I can't find it now... I think there has to be a distinction between saying "Bush is not a fiscal conservative" and flat out disavowing Bush. Lots of Bush fans like Bush because he kept us safe from terrorism, because he gave us tax cuts, and because he was a man who understood faith. Those same Bush fans are none too happy with bailouts, big spending, and big deficits.

I think if Rick had had trouble choosing between Bush and Ann Richards or between Bush and Obama he might be in hot water, but the people who would be boiling the water all agree with what Rick was saying about Bush not being fiscally conservative.

I think Rick's comments also show that he is aiming for the fiscal wing of the Republican base more than he sometimes gets credit for. The easy thing to do is to say Rick is getting the social conservatives therefore Kay must be getting the fiscal conservatives. I think Rick is trying to get both, maybe even fiscal conservatives more than social conservatives. I wish someone like Wayne would ask him flat out about that. Same with Kay. Make them personally tell us how they view this race shaping up.

Rick and faith... driving liberals crazy...

I am a sucker for photoshops, even liberal ones, and the really bitter cynical Progressive Puppy has a good one of Rick as Moses (link)...

Excerpt follows...

From The Guv's self-righteous lips: "Faith is both a private thing and a very public thing for me - private in the sense that every morning I get up and read a little Scripture. You'll appreciate that I get a daily Scripture lesson off the Internet... The Scripture talks about praying incessantly. It's not out of the ordinary for me to have a word of prayer in the midst of a meeting." ("'Scuse me, sir, did you hear what we just said about the teen pregnancy rate in Texas?" "Shhh. Quiet. The governor is worshipping God.")

There's a reason why progressives here refer to Rick Perry as the Taliban in a Ten-Gallon Hat. It's because if he had his druthers, the King James Bible would overrule the Constitution and we'd all be forced to embrace his noxious religious beliefs. As a proud liberal Texan, I'd sooner dine on cow patties.

That is the sort of exaggeration and anti religion fervor from the Progressive Puppy that makes moderately social conservative people like me repulsed from the hardcore atheist political realm. I grew up in a church that runs away from fire and brimstone and in your face missionary evangelism... and I understand where some of the anti religion people are coming from... but this kind of venom makes me want to defend people like Rick who have the nerve to not hide their religion entirely...

Mocking faith or people of faith is no way to win peeps to your side.

Medina a weather vane...

Bruce Davidson has a story about an alternative to Rick and Kay (link). Excerpts follow...

Medina probably won't raise a lot of money compared to her opponents, but she is striving to tap into the deep unrest marked by the “tea party” movement.

In fact, she organized campaign teams to spread the word about her candidacy at 45 tea parties around the state on April 15.

And she is campaigning across the state full time as the schedule on her Web site indicates.

Of course, the odds that either Perry or Hutchison will be the GOP gubernatorial nominee in 2010 are overwhelming. They have money and long-entrenched political machinery.

But Medina's candidacy will provide valuable information about the modern Texas GOP.

How many GOP voters are fed up with veteran politicians in general? How deep is the overall discontent among grass-roots conservatives?

Does the maverick network that supported Paul have real muscle in Texas? If Medina were to crack double-digits, what would that say about party leadership?

Medina may have trouble breaking into the headlines, but her candidacy is well worth watching.

I have spoken to Rick and Kay peeps over the past few weeks and they go back and forth on whether Medina is a true threat, who she takes votes from more, and all of that. One Rick person thinks she is a non entity as her fundraising reports showed... another thinks Medina actually may siphon off votes from Kay. Another Rick person and a Kay person both echoed each other and said that Medina cuts into Rick's anti Washington base.

I think this is too hot of a race with too much meaning... if people come out to vote for Medina or anyone else other than Rick or Kay in the Republican primary they are people who would have stayed home otherwise.

Rick and health care in Texas...

Jason Embry and Corrie MacLaggan have a long story about Rick, Texas, and health care (link). There is the predictable stuff about Texas having a high rate of uninsured... but it also adds a hint of an endorsement from a State Representative. Excerpt follows...

Others find signs of progress, however, including a sharp increase in the number of doctors receiving licenses, widely attributed to "tort reform," restrictions the state imposed on lawsuits. In addition, Perry-supported efforts have made it easier for small businesses to join together to buy insurance and reduce costs.

"Under Governor Perry's leadership, we have continued to address in a reasonable way the ever-increasing health care needs that Texas has," said state Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, who is an anesthesiologist.

That almost makes it sound like Zerwas is a spokesman for Rick. I expected to hear a slew of endorsements come out for Kay after the legislative session ended... but that never did materialize.

Another excerpt...

Texas has seen an increase in the number of doctors in the state, which Perry and many doctors attribute to the 2003 approval of a constitutional amendment limiting jury awards in medical malpractice cases. The Texas Medical Board issued 2,088 physician licenses in 2001. In 2008, it issued 3,621 licenses.

In his 2005 State of the State address, Perry touted the impact of the constitutional amendment. "Doctors are returning to areas once deemed high-risk, hospitals are seeing double-digit declines in their insurance costs, and patient access is improving because the personal injury trial lawyers are no longer calling the shots when it comes to Texas' health care," Perry's prepared remarks said.

More doctors due to tort reform was a bold thing Rick did, and even his biggest detractors who support Kay or libertarians are usually willing to give him props for it.

The article is pretty good in terms of talking about the health care issue, but I think it left a little to be desired in terms of explaining what Rick wants to do at the state level versus the federal level...

Serious academic discussion about Texas secession...

It never fails to amaze me... Texans love our state. No matter how hot and humid it is, no matter how ugly the drought plagued soil is, no matter how many annoying yankees move here every year... no matter how many bugs crawl all over us when we are outside... we love our Texas.

Whether Rick was right or wrong about secession... although he did not use that word himself back when this controversy stirred... if you grew up in Texas at a certain time in our history, you learned in school that secession was our unique right. Most of us are extremely loyal to our country, but ask a Texan if he is an American or a Texan first, and a majority of them will say Texan.

It never fails to amaze me when people discuss secession in a very cold and calculated sense... this blogger Pavel Podolyak from New York blogs that Texas secession makes total sense... and he is not just mocking (link). Excerpts follow...
The entire state is a vast transport hub and a heart that pumps goods and supplies to other regions. It is more interconnected than even the northeastern Boston-NYC-DC transport axis. Without Texas, the country's regions would be virtually cut off from each other bringing economy to a standstill. As such, the state government in Austin has a bigger political leverage on Washington DC than Kiev or Minsk did over Moscow during Soviet times. The loss of the region larger than that of France (269,000 sq miles vs. 260,000 sq miles) would leave a lot of United States cut off not just from itself but from Central American supply feeds that Texas straddles.
Texas is one of only 6 states that is not currently running a budget deficit. Since national news are filled with tales of sorrow from California and New York state budgets, it's easy to think the whole country is in the same boat. Texas is in a totally separate boat. It has consistently run trade and budget surpluses and is even equipped with a multi-billion dollar fund for a rainy day. By being part of the American federal union, Texas is actually losing money by contributing more than it receives in return (94 cents back for every dollar it gives). The average national GDP growth has lagged behind Texan for years and is now showing negative growth as the depression takes hold. Austin government is trapped in an increasingly impoverished political union that has sharply escalated the printing of money for survival.
I remember having some of these debates as a child decades ago... how "far out" it would be for Texas to become its own country... but how we don't really want that... but we like being able to hold it out there as an option... but we don't like to remember the Civil War. It was always interesting, but we always went right back to our games all around the neighborhood and forgot all about it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Confusion on Cash 4 Clunkers...

Kay put out a very well produced web ad this week about Cash for Clunkers...

Looks like they brought in some big guns to put this video together... Kay's new staffers are definitely talented, because the Sanford and Son music really just ties the whole video together... some of the video effects are definitely beyond what a one of Rick's interns messing around on the computer can do.

It is also a good hit, but I am not sure that many people will see it. I am also very sure it is not fair to compare the federal program right now to the state program earlier this decade.

TX... Drive a Clean Machine
DC... Cash for Clunkers

TX... to achieve clean air attainment, to avoid DC penalties for nonattainment of the Clean Air Act in major metropolitan areas. Texas was given an "unfunded mandate" in the form of the Clean Air Act yet was prohibited by the feds against regulating emissions on cars, so this was a solution Texas came up with.
DC... to bail out car manufacturers and dealers.

TX... fully funded by inspection sticker fees in the Dallas, Houston and Austin areas by the legislature.
DC... funded by debt.

TX... cars must be older than 10 years and fail an emissions test, the Drive a Clean Machine program helps people making under a certain amount who are buying a <$25 thousand car either buy a new car or repair their current car.
DC... you basically just go in and then the dealer has to smash your car and put it into scrap, and the dealer does the paperwork for you.

TX... geographically targeted, means tested, limited, so it has gradually helped take tens of thousands of failing cars on their emissions tests off the roads.
DC... ran out of money after a few days because it was so broadly applicable.

TX... allegedly taken tens of thousands of failing vehicles off the roadways in urban areas where ozone is a problem, helped Texas avoid punitive regulatory regimes on heavy industry and commerce, helped Texas urban air get cleaner without disrupting the economic base. The Texas program is cited as a success story not necessarily for Rick but for the TCEQ as an innovative way to clean up the air with the least amount of burden. The Drive a Clean Machine program has been going in Texas for several years now and it has never been controversial because most acknowledge it has worked well to achieve its narrowly tailored purpose.
DC... helped people unload their cars and get new cars, possibly helped the economy in some far fetched way, possibly helped the environment in some way. Added a lot of debt and expanded the deficit even further.

TX... We still have problems because of our growth keeping ozone and other pollutants down in big cities, but I always drive around and see old cars and think that there has to be some way to incentivize those people to get Camrys and Civics and stop pumping out soot all over me.
DC... We may need to just scrap the whole place and start over.

The Texas program in some ways resembles the DC program, but it is not the same thing at all. Burnt Orange and Maroon sometimes look similar on TV, but they could hardly be more different. Salt water and fresh water look the same, but they really are completely different.

The other thing about this video that weakens the message a little is that the federal program dovetails on the end of this whole Obama owns GM thing... in some ways this program seems like an extension of auto bailouts and government ownership... the Texas program was so limited in scope and Texas never bailed out car companies, so if Kay's team was looking for a reason why this did not really catch fire and go viral those might be some of the reasons...

Kay is also playing with fire on this issue, because she did vote in favor of a taxpayer funded auto company bailout a few months ago (link). List of votes follows...

Alphabetical by Senator Name
Akaka (D-HI), Nay
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Yea
Baucus (D-MT), Nay
Bayh (D-IN), Nay
Begich (D-AK), Nay
Bennet (D-CO), Nay
Bennett (R-UT), Nay
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Bond (R-MO), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Nay
Brown (D-OH), Nay
Brownback (R-KS), Nay
Bunning (R-KY), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Yea
Burris (D-IL), Nay
Byrd (D-WV), Not Voting
Cantwell (D-WA), Nay
Cardin (D-MD), Nay
Carper (D-DE), Nay
Casey (D-PA), Nay
Chambliss (R-GA), Yea
Coburn (R-OK), Yea
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Nay
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Yea
DeMint (R-SC), Yea
Dodd (D-CT), Nay
Dorgan (D-ND), Nay
Durbin (D-IL), Nay
Ensign (R-NV), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Feingold (D-WI), Nay
Feinstein (D-CA), Nay
Gillibrand (D-NY), Nay
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagan (D-NC), Nay
Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Inouye (D-HI), Nay
Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Johanns (R-NE), Yea
Johnson (D-SD), Nay
Kaufman (D-DE), Nay
Kennedy (D-MA), Not Voting
Kerry (D-MA), Nay
Klobuchar (D-MN), Nay
Kohl (D-WI), Nay
Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Nay
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Nay
Leahy (D-VT), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Nay
Lieberman (ID-CT), Nay
Lincoln (D-AR), Nay
Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Martinez (R-FL), Nay
McCain (R-AZ), Yea
McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Menendez (D-NJ), Nay
Merkley (D-OR), Nay
Mikulski (D-MD), Nay
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Nay
Nelson (D-FL), Nay
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Nay
Reed (D-RI), Nay
Reid (D-NV), Nay
Risch (R-ID), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Schumer (D-NY), Nay
Sessions (R-AL), Yea
Shaheen (D-NH), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Nay
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Tester (D-MT), Nay
Thune (R-SD), Yea
Udall (D-CO), Nay
Udall (D-NM), Nay
Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Warner (D-VA), Nay
Webb (D-VA), Nay
Whitehouse (D-RI), Nay
Wicker (R-MS), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Nay

A yea vote is anti bailout. A nay vote is pro bailout.

Kay's vote was pro bailout.

I have seen peeps also try to make a big deal out of Kay saying her decision was "terrible" but I think that has to be taken out of context (link). Excerpt follows...

In a brief interview today, she called it a "terrible" decision to have to oppose the program.

"I do sympathize with the dealers and did successfully help the ones that were closed," she said. "It seems like we have got to have a responsible stop to this debt creation that I think is going to hurt the economic recovery."

Without the full quote, we can't speculate what she was talking about.

That doesn't mean that she was calling her decision terrible, she just meant that she wanted to help the dealerships keep their torrid sales pace... the program is definitely popular, definitely stimulative at some level, and definitely a favorite of auto dealerships and a lot of consumers... but not very popular with angry conservative Republicans.

An anonymous tipster who sez "You missed this story-- here are two sides to work from." and also sez "Why don't you ever talk about Debra Medina??" sent in both Kay's video attacking Rick's program and the information about Kay voting for the auto bailout earlier this year... which I had seen already but did not get to look at thoroughly until this afternoon. Thanks to him or her for the tip. If you have a tip send it to I do read every email my readers send in...

Ken Herman refreshes our memories on special elections...

Good job by Ken Herman with a refresher course on Texas political history (link). Excerpt follows...

Texas then rocked along with no Senate deaths or resignations until 1993, when Democrat Lloyd Bentsen quit to become President Bill Clinton's Treasury secretary.

The interim appointment power fell to Gov. Ann Richards, then trying to hold off the GOP surge that would overrun the state in coming years. She picked former Railroad Commissioner Bob Krueger, an ex-U.S. House member and a loser in a 1978 Senate race against Tower.

Krueger's appointment touched off a special-election scramble for the rest of Bentsen's term, which ended in January 1995. The field of 24 included Krueger, Hutchison (then the state treasurer, an office later abolished as unnecessary), Republican U.S. Reps. Joe Barton and Jack Fields and Democrat Richard Fisher (now the president of the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas) as the top-tier candidates.

And then there was an entertaining assortment of unknown or little-known others.

Billy Brown of Santa Rosa, then in his seventh bid for a Senate seat, wore a white uniform — he called it a "war suit" — that made him look like an officer in a fourth-world nation's coast guard or, perhaps, a high-ranking ice cream salesman. At a Dallas debate featuring 15 of the lesser-knowns, Brown indicated he was making post-election plans.

"If I'm given a landslide victory, I may even abolish the Republican and Democratic parties," he said.

There were 2,187 Texans who, by their votes, said the uniformed Brown should have been a U.S. senator.

Anti-abortion advocate Stephen Hopkins of Marble Falls liked to run for public office because it allowed him to run ads with photos of aborted fetuses. He got 14,753 votes.

Perpetual candidate Gene Kelly of San Antonio was in the field. There were 11,331 Texans who wanted him in the Senate.

Also in the contest was Charles Ben Howell of Dallas, a judge who made five unsuccessful bids for the Texas Supreme Court and who once showed up at a debate wearing a "Judge Kook" sign around his neck. At the Dallas debate of the lesser-knowns, Howell complained about being grouped with "freaks."

On election day, there were 3,866 Texans who wanted him to be Sen.Kook.

Hutchison and Krueger ran a close one-two in the race, separated by only 99 votes among more than 2 million. The runoff featured an ad showing Krueger, a Shakespeare-quoting academic type, in Terminator-like leather jacket and sunglasses poking fun at himself by saying, "Was it Shakespeare who said, 'Hasta la vista, baby?' "

The Hutchison campaign replied with a "Hasta la vista, Bobby" ad. The runoff was no contest. Hutchison got 67 percent of the votes.

Go read Herman's whole article... lots of information that some of the Republican wannabes for Kay's seat might find important...

Should Republicans be worried about Rick vs. Kay creating an opening?

I think there is some legitimate concern out there... what if Rick and Kay beat each other to a bloody pulp... it could drive negatives up, positives down, and create a lot of ill will (link).

Excerpt follows...

The Republican primary dogfight between Gov. Rick Perry and principal challenger, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is already on the national political front burner.

Not often does a sitting United States senator challenge a governor of the same party, in the nation’s second most populous state.

Republican pollsters say Texas is still solidly Republican. Democrat Barack Obama got less than 44 percent in Texas in 2008.

But the governor’s general election race in November of 2010, regardless of who the GOP nominee is, could also draw a lot of attention. Texas might become a player in presidential elections again.

The only serious announced candidate for the Democratic nomination is Tom Schieffer of Fort Worth, former President George W. Bush’s ambassador to Australia and then Japan. Humorist/songwriter Kinky Friedman also might seek the nomination.

But if the Perry-Hutchison mudfight keeps intensifying, other Democrats may run.

That's just it though... quantity is not the issue, it is quality. No Democrat can take down either of these mega stars in the GOP. Only each other can take each other down. The worst thing would be the loser gets desperate and starts smearing the other before losing, only to weaken the other candidate... that would be the big problem.

How does Bob Ray Sanders have a column?

He somehow compares Rick to George C. Wallace, says he respected George C. Wallace, yet he hopes to be able to respect Rick one day. He also bashes Kay for swinging toward the right (link). Excerpt follows...

Perry has a tough election ahead next year with popular U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison coming home from Washington to oppose him.

The governor is saying things he surely does not believe.

He is telling the anti-Washington, anti-Barack Obama conservative base what it wants to hear in hopes of turning it out in the Republican primary where he feels the election will be won, just like the Democratic primary in Alabama 47 years ago.

Perry has entertained his would-be supporters at anti-federal government "tea parties," laughingly understood their ideas of Texas seceding from the union (again) and has repeatedly invoked the language of the 10th Amendment to oppose the president’s stimulus package and healthcare reform.

This is Texas, by gawd, and the Guv ain’t gonna let none of them no-count, filthy Washington outside agitators mess with it.

Praise the Lord, and pass the spittoon.

I had thought that Hutchison’s decision to enter the race might force Perry to come to his senses to run a credible race with broader appeal, one which would not be a further embarrassment to the state.

Sadly, Hutchison has felt it necessary to take a sharp turn to the right as she, too, tries to court the right wing of the party.

Last month, in denouncing the president’s healthcare plan, the senator explained Texas’ large number of uninsured residents by blaming — guess who?

"We have the highest number of uninsured mostly because of the illegal immigrant population," she said.

When no other issue (or excuse) is handy in a campaign, just say the two magic words: "illegal immigrants."

On the same day last week, before the Senate left for its August recess, Hutchison voted against extending the "cash for clunkers" program and she voted against the nation’s first Hispanic (and third female) justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hutchison earlier announced she would oppose Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination because of the senator’s concerns about gun rights.

Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition.

Actually, she was afraid of being opposed by the National Rifle Association in the important primary campaign.

I’m disappointed in Hutchison, but I understand.

Huh? That is what passes for analysis these days? Kay's old spokesman was eager to send a link to this to his twitter account, I guess forgetting the anti Kay part...

Suffice it to say, Sanders doesn't like Republicans very much and does like Obama could have been the title of his column.

Some discussion about yellow dogs and blue dogs...

A lot of people on Kay's side make hay about Rick being a Democrat in the 1980s... how could anyone be a Democrat in the 1980s?

Some of you younger peeps and Yanks might not realize this, but we were almost all Democrats in Texas. You had conservative ones and liberal ones. Phil Gramm was a Democrat. Rick was too...

A tipster sent in this blog which sums up what a lot of Texans think about Republicans and Democrats...

If you wanted to get elected in Texas you had to be a Democrat. Then miracle of Miracles happened. A history professor from a small college in Wichita Falls took his conservative thoughts to the people of Texas. There was a special election and John Tower, all 5 foot 7 inches of him, won the election. We had a Republican in Washington. He was followed by Phil Gramm, another professor. Phil was teaching at Texas A&M and very conservative. The yeller dawg wall was pulled down. I’m not sure but I think President George W. Bush was our first Republican Governor in ages. We had sterling governors like Ann Richards, Mark White, Dolph Brisco and the farmer from west Texas whose name slips me. I should remember his name, he just donated 13 million dollars to the University of Texas.

There was a time in Texas you had to be a closet Republican. Admit you cross-dressed, but never that you were a conservative Republican. Now days it’s sorta cool. We have two semi-conservative Senators…I guess I shouldn’t complain, they are better than most of you have. I do like our governor Rick Perry.

In some ways Texas has always been a one party state... we were all Democrats, then we were all Republicans. What really matters is the governing philosophy... Rick may have been a Democrat at one time, but he was always a conservative... Kay may have always been a Republican, but she has mostly been a moderate.

Just like the old days... but with a new label.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Rick sez Kay is being irresponsible by resigning...

Rick calls out Kay... at an event last week (link). Video follows...

View more news videos at:

Rick and Kay... this is fixing to get nasty...

Victoria Advocate posts two videos of Rick...

The state's second oldest newspaper covered Rick's event down in Victoria this week...

Rick answers two questions here...

Rick flubs the name of University of Houston Victoria but everyone laughs it off...

Got any good videos of Rick or Kay? Send them to or send me a private message on twitter. Be one of my tipsters.

Texas still the number one primary race in the nation...

Still champion, according to Chris Cillizza (link). Excerpt follows...

1. Texas Governor (R): The race that Texas Republicans have been waiting years to see now (finally) appears as though it will actually come to pass. Hutchison's announcement that she will resign her Senate seat to focus full time on the Perry primary means she is "all in" for this governor's race. National operatives -- particularly on Hutchison's side -- are already descending on the state in expectation of a primary for the ages. This race has everything: big stakes, two candidates who don't like each other personally, lots of money and good barbecue. The Fix will have to do a lot of on-the-ground reporting on this one over the next year! (Previous ranking: 1)

National operatives... maybe they can learn a thing or two and apply it to other races where the Republicans have lagged...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Kay rebuffed in her attempts to modify hurricanes...

Back in March, I was one of the only bloggers to uncover that Kay was trying to spend a bunch of money to change the weather (link). She is still playing Don Quixote about it, and someone probably needs to sternly tell her that trying to control hurricanes is a huge boondoggle and waste of money. Please. Let's not spend money on this right now.

Kay wants to spend 125 million dollars to study whether we can change the weather enough to stop hurricanes (link). Excerpt follows...

Is this the last word? Maybe not. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) recently introduced The Weather Mitigation Research and Development Policy Authorization Act of 2009. The legislation proposes appropriations of $25,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2010 through 2014 to the National Science Foundation. Of this, 34 percent is to be divided and transferred to NASA and, yes, NOAA.

The legislation speaks only of weather modification in general without specifically mentioning hurricanes. However, this press release makes clear Hutchison's intentions to "mitigate the impact of severe climate and weather events, particularly hurricanes and storm surges." At a recent Senate hearing (which I attended) on Weathering the Storm: The Need for a National Hurricane Initiative, Hutchison reinforced her intentions but left no hint that she was aware of the DHS program and NOAA's rebuff (watch Hutchison speak).

Spinrad testified at the hearing, but deftly avoided answering direct questions about his thoughts on hurricane modification.

Kay on video...

I have not watched this video, but it is the one linked in the Washington Post article.

Rick to hang with Jamie Foxx?

The Terrell Daily Photo seems to think so (link)...
Mr. Foxx will travel in a motorcade from Terrell City Hall, west on Moore Ave. to Memorial Stadium. Confirmed to be attending is Texas Governor Rick Perry, State Senator Bob Duell and State Representative Betty Brown. Terrell Mayor Hal Richards will present Mr. Foxx with a key to the city. This isn't a concert, this is the City's opportunity to thank Mr. Foxx for the years we have enjoyed watching him perform.
Sounds fun. I wonder if Rick will say anything to him about the tattoo on the back of his head.

Kay is MIA and people are not happy about it...

Conservative bloggers at are not happy with Kay's missed committee meetings (link). Excerpt follows...
The problem is she isn’t even participating while in Washington. As I noted before, Senator Hutchison is making an issue the length of time Rick Perry has served saying “for him to try to stay on for 15 years is too long" despite he fact she herself has been in the Senate for 16 years. KBH supporters, however, will tell you that Senate Seniority is important, and those in who come in front of her committee agree:

"It's very helpful and in the interest of consumers when the chairman and ranking member are able to be there, because it gives us a perspective on what both sides of the aisle are concerned about," said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League, who testified at two of the consumer hearings.

But she isn’t even showing up to her own committee meetings. More from the Dallas Morning News:

“Hutchison missed all four Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearings that explored problems with health insurers, including one that showed insurers "purge" small-business beneficiaries if their claims exceed underwriters' expectations.”

So why is she missing these meetings? ... Because apparently she can’t use it to her benefit in the race against Perry.
One of my biggest pet peeves is United States senators missing a bunch of votes. The House votes a lot more often, so they can get away with it slightly easier, but the Senate votes such a small number of times, and they almost never vote on Mondays or Fridays, so senators just don't have a very good excuse for missing those votes.

Missing committee meetings while ranking member... that is just really bad form... especially because she criticized Rick for a good week or two for not taking a more active role in the legislature earlier this year. She basically blamed Democrat obstructionism on Rick... which makes no sense coming from the perspective of someone who was working on behalf of certain legislation down there at the Capitol.

Meanwhile she is not even doing her own dayjob...

Paul Burka sez Kay should not resign...

Paul Burka has been missing over the past couple of weeks, but he appears to be back and caught up (link). So Paul... should Kay resign? Excerpt follows...
The answer is: No, no, and hell no. What is the upside of resigning? The only advantage is that it gives her more time to campaign in Texas. That is worth something. But the upside of staying is far greater. Perry set out to define the race as Texas (him) versus Washington (her). So far, it has worked. But the flow of events has presented Hutchison with an opportunity to separate herself from what is going on in D.C. When the August recess is over, the Senate will be taking up Obama’s two main policy initiatives, the cap-and-trade legislation and health care reform. As a United States senator, she can take the offensive against those bills every day. She can be on TV, on the nightly cable news shows. The moment that she resigns, she loses that platform.
I sort of agree with Paul... she should have resigned a LONG TIME ago if she planned to ever resign. Now it does not really help her much to resign.

Harvey Kronberg makes no sense most of the time...

Most Republican lobbyists, news people, campaign consultants, and media strategists have a love hate relationship with Harvey Kronberg. The guy holds grudges. He always is a fanboy of Jim Dunnam and that crowd. He is just terrible.

Kronberg put out a commentary this week that makes absolutely no logical sense (link).

I am not even going to excerpt it... it is that bad.

I will give you my summary instead.
Kay fell all over her face, her campaign was embarrassed by the hidden search terms on their page, she botched her resignation comments... yet she is really showing signs of life and things are looking up. Plus, Rick was mean to Tony Sanchez 7 years ago. The End.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Is Ray's involvement with toll roads cause for concern for the anti toll road activists?

Kay has tried to fashion herself as the anti toll road candidate sort of the same way Strayhorn did in her losing campaign in 2006. Rick has championed privatization as a way to keep up with the rapid growth in Texas.

The Dallas blog sez (link)...

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price had castigated the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) last Tuesday over allegations that this agency pursues "racist" policies by awarding over 95% of its contracts to white-owned-and-operated contractors. The Dallas Blog exclusively asked for his opinion on this disparity and he responded that the NTTA runs a "Good Ol' Boys' Club."

Apparently, Ray Hutchison, husband of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R.-Tx.), plays a vital role for this "Good Ol' Boys' Club."


Mr. Hutchison works full-time for Vinson & Elkins earning a substantial salary there. TxDOT and NTTA coordinate to build toll roads in the North Texas region. Yet, the NTTA recently earned notoriety for flagrantly hiring very few minority contractors.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that, "the report on the authority's contracting prepared by Mason Tilman Associates found significant disparities in the dollars awarded to contractors owned by women, African-Americans and Hispanics, particularly for contracts less than $500,000. It covered contracts awarded for architecture, construction, engineering and other professional services.

Somehow this all seems to blend together with Ray Hutchison's work for V&E and the story that the Associated Press ran earlier this week... this stuff is getting pretty down in the muck.

According to the Collin County document linked there Kay's husband Ray has his name all over the pro toll road papers (link)...

The super liberal Burnt Orange peeps beat me to the punch on this but have some somewhat valid things to say about what this means for the Rick vs. Kay race (link). Excerpt follows...

I actually want to go one step farther and question Senator Hutchison's sincerity on being anti-toll. Her husband defends the practice of toll privatization on behalf of the NTTA, an agency that doesn't believe minorities are up to the task of building roads as much as Anglos, but meanwhile Kay Bailey has the audacity to slam Rick Perry on allowing the building of privatized toll roads across Texas?

How can you be anti-privatization of roads when your husband brings home paychecks due to work where he advises pursuing bonds that allow private entities to build toll roads?

It looks like to me we have another case of Senator Hutchison sticking her finger in her mouth and pointing toward the sky to figure out which way the political winds are blowing on a particular issue. It is politically convenient to say you are against privatizing toll roads because that is popular, but as long as your husband gets paid to promote doing just that it's rather easy to turn the other way and play dumb. What voters don't know, won't hurt them, I suppose is what Kay Bailey is thinking.

I absolutely question Kay's sincerity on toll roads. Kay is sort of a Bailey Come Lately on toll roads... where was she back in the day about this issue? I never heard her speak out against them, and that is a good thing, because I actually think toll roads are the best way to fund new road construction. Private entities usually do things better than the government. Let companies compete for contracts is all I ask, and don't get into all that "foreign companies are evil" BS. Let the free market build the roads... they will do it faster, safer, more efficiently, and the roads will be nicer and have higher speed limits... then take the money you get from the private companies and pump it back into taxpayer funded roads. All Republicans should be for privatized roads. This should be something we convince the base about, not pander and run from.

When it turns out that the people in charge of the toll roads (Kay's husband being one of them) are not divvying the contracts correctly there is a big PR mess. Toll roads and privatization should be an open and fair process where competition reigns, not the good ole boy network.

There seems to be an emerging media pattern... checking out how Kay's status interacts with her husband's status, and how they end up wealthier as a result.

I would really be interested in seeing a chart of Rick and Kay net work over the years while in office... I bet both have gone up quite a bit, but if one of them shot upward and the other just sort of went up I think there might be a story there. Does anyone know where to find that information?

Bicylists keep flogging Rick for vetoing bill...

The Dallas Morning News gives further voice to the few thousand really active activist bikers (link). Basically, a bunch of cyclists wrote letters in an organized campaign, then did an open records request of the correspondence sent to the governor's office... among the correspondence in the public record was some Perry supporter idiot whose son killed a biker with an SUV. He wrote a really dumb letter, which the cyclist community has used to bring this issue up all over again. Excerpt follows...

Despite overwhelming support in the House and Senate, Perry vetoed SB 488 in June. The measure would have required motorists to give cyclists and other vulnerable road users at least 3 feet when passing.

"We kind of think of him as our guy," said Robin Stallings of Texas Bicycle Coalition. "Frankly, we're still mystified."

Perry's office said that there are already laws that protect cyclists and others on the roadways.

This is a story that a tiny fraction of people probably care about, and most Republican primary voters are probably not especially fond of the thought of being at fault almost no matter what, if your car strikes a bike. Even bike riders mostly know that it will take cordoned off bike lanes with barriers and additional extra wide shoulders to make riding bikes truly safe. Passing another law that says "be nice to bikes" is not going to accomplish anything. Another excerpt...

"As a vehicular cyclist with close to twenty years of daily experience dealing with traffic in the Dallas area, I can assure you additional legislation is not the answer to this solution ...," May wrote.

"At its core, the primary result of this proposed legislation will be to convey a false sense of security to uneducated cyclists."

Seems like Rick's peeps need to get Rick in touch with some of these cyclists to tamp their concerns down... especially since he is such a well known cyclist himself... why don't they just invite a few into his office and bury the hatchet... or make a creative video about it... they really need to do something, even though it is a small segment of the population.

Kay and Jay (Rockefeller) block Obama nominee...

Kay is working with Democrat Jay Rockefeller to put a hold on a nominee for having suspicious union connections (link). Excerpt follows...
After President Obama nominated United Transportation Union (UTU) General Counsel Daniel Elliot to become a member of the three-person Surface Transportation Board, UTU International President Mike Futhey said in a statement: "The selection by President Obama of Dan Elliot and [former UTU official] Joe Szabo to head major transportation regulatory agencies is tribute to the political influence of the UTU, which flows from the UTU [political action committee (PAC)]. We have good reason to expect President Obama to reach into the UTU ranks for other appointments in the near future."

Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and ranking member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) strongly criticized the UTU during a panel meeting on Wednesday.

Rockefeller called the UTU statement "embarrassing, ridiculous, self-aggrandizing, inappropriate and harmful." Hutchison labeled it "troubling."

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) said Elliot "seems to be highly qualified," adding that it was Futhey -- not Elliot -- who made the controversial statement. Isakson called Futhey's comment "totally inappropriate."
Good to see a little bipartisan venting about this... anyone have video of Kay venting about it? Sounds like Democrat Rockefeller, who has a lot of union members in his state, really went out on a limb by calling it "embarrassing, ridiculous, self-aggrandizing, inappropriate and harmful." Kay's "troubling" comment is pretty good I guess, but it seems flipped... usually the Republican would be ranting about union wrongdoing, which the Democrat would be tepidly criticizing the union.

I wonder what exactly got Rockefeller so fired up...

Kay missing meetings and votes... gets called out...

The Dallas Morning News is talking about Kay's focus at her dayjob... she just passed a cell phone jamming bill for prisons... but she has been mostly absent on the big issues that Republican primary voters care about (link). Excerpt follows...

WASHINGTON – Legislation to permit law enforcement to jam prisoners' cellphone calls easily cleared a Senate committee on Wednesday, the latest example of how Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has used her seniority to push Texas-centric issues that translate directly to her run for governor.

Yet Hutchison has been absent from the committee's work on two top priorities of Congress: health care legislation and consumer protection. When she recently announced her departure from the Senate in the fall, she said she'd stay in Washington long enough to participate in the health legislation.

Hutchison missed all four Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearings that explored problems with health insurers, including one that showed insurers "purge" small-business beneficiaries if their claims exceed underwriters' expectations.

Hutchison, who became the top Republican on the Commerce Committee last year, also missed three meetings that took on bogus advertising claims and sought to expand the Federal Trade Commission's power over them.

Kay's missed votes have been one of the driving factors that have pushed me away from her over the past few months of blogging. She has missed at least 10 votes of the entire body of the Senate while running for governor, and this is one of my big pet peeves... Kay claims she was busy fighting for us, but she has been checked out of her real job for many months already. She should have resigned back in December...

The Drudge Report picks up on Kay's webpage being banned from google...

Drudge links to a new ABC News article about it (link). Excerpt follows...

When it comes to Google, you'd better not try any mischief.

The Internet giant has very specific guidelines for Web sites that want to be found with its search engine. But when those sites don't comply, it isn't long before they get a slap on the wrist or worse.

"If a site has been penalized, it may no longer show up in results on or on any of Google's partner sites," Google says on a page devoted to Webmaster guidelines.

And don't think they aren't serious. Web sites belonging to corporations, individuals and political campaigns have been buried or banned altogether because of tactics that game or disrupt Google's system.

Hutchison's Campaign Site Gets the Boot

In the latest search engine showdown, Google blocked the Web site of Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's gubernatorial campaign last week after it found hidden text in the Web site's source code.

To the average visitor, looked like any other political site. But those who could pull back the layers of the Web found something else.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, the source code for the site included more than 2,200 hidden phrases, including word combinations with Hutchison's name and Rick Perry, the name of the incumbent. The newspaper said it also included the phrase "rick perry gay."

A spokesman for Hutchison's campaign told that its Web technology company, ElectionMall Technologies was informed by Google last week that the site had violated its guidelines. He also said that they had dismissed the firm.

When contacted by, ElectionMall declined to give a comment.

The URL has been discontinued and directs to But when it was still alive, aides for the senator said the phrases were computer-generated based on campaign-related terms that Internet users would likely search for and were intended to help target online banner advertising, the Statesman reported.

But hiding text in source code is a giant Google no-no.

Violating Google Guidelines Results in Removal

"Google did take action on this site for hidden text. Hidden text is a violation of our quality guidelines," a company spokesman said in a statement, adding that it had removed the site from its index.

But Hutchison's campaign site isn't the only one to have found itself on the wrong side of Google. Here are five other sites that have been banned or buried.

I would like to hear what ElectionMall has to say. They probably should put out a statement either accepting responsibility or defending themselves, one or the other... right now they have been thrown under the bus, possibly rightfully so?

As for Kay's campaign... what a royal disaster. She will forever be associated with dirty campaign tricks after this debacle.