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.