Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New poll numbers... scientific and unscientific... important timing...

Now for the final blog before I hop on a flight and head back home with the family for turkey day...

Mr. Sullivan down at Texans for Fiscal Responsibility is running one of those web polls that the campaigns love to hate so much... looks like Rick is running away with it so far (link).

Rick is winning by a lot with the Empower Texans peeps, which is not all that surprising. Medina being high up there is not all that surprising either... Ron Paul's peeps are good at finding and participating in open internet based polls...

That poll is very unscientific and really just shows that Rick has more people who like Michael Q. Sullivan's group and more people who use the internet maybe...

Sullivan also commissioned a real poll... a scientific one... it says that Kay should just stay in the senate and not run for governor (link)...

Texas Republican primary voters believe that Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson should devote herself fulltime to fighting President Obama’s policies for her full term


o We asked the question:

Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statement: I would prefer that Kay Bailey Hutchinson devote her full attention to the United State Senate fighting Obama’s misguided policies until her term expires in 2012 and not run for Governor.


o Seven-in-ten (69%) of Texas Republican primary voters agree with the statement


o Only one quarter (24%) disagree with the statement

Important timing being that it is right before Thanksgiving and it gives Kay a lot to think about before maybe or maybe not filing next week... this is definitely the sentiment I am hearing not just in Texas but where I have been this week as well... people are asking me "why would Kay want to primary Rick?" As if I answer for her just because I am from Texas...

It is a good question though. Kay has never really developed a solid rationale for challenging Rick other than her supporters said it was her job 4 years ago if she just waited until now...

This poll might indicate that Sullivan is on Rick's team but not officially yet... is he perhaps in on "Operation Intervention" as reported by Jason Embry (link)?... and if he is on his team then she will have an even more up hill battle...

What it looks like to me so far is that Empower Texans will remain neutral so as not to anger people who are for Kay or even Medina but they are also pushing to avoid a messy primary battle.

Texans for Fiscal Responsibility is probably one of the most influential remaining groups that could endorse other than perhaps the Texas Association of Business or the National Rifle Association... In fact the NRA would probably be the crown jewel of almost any Republican primary campaign. I don't know many candidates who have won when their opponents have been endorsed by the NRA. I suspect the NRA will stay neutral as well...

I also can't contemplate a scenario in which a candidate has the pro life groups, the NRA, and the pro business/taxpayer watchdog groups and loses in the Republican primary. So far Rick has the pro life groups nailed down... dog bites man... but those other ones may prove elusive with Kay pushing hard to earn their favor... in fact, I would be shocked if those remaining groups ever endorse even if they do have a preference.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am getting settled into my new digs and it is looking like it will be pretty difficult to keep up a nice blogging schedule there... but I am back home this weekend for the holiday so I may have a few last blogs this weekend...

To all my great and loyal readers who send me so many emails pushing your sides and to the ones who have emailed to urge me not to quit... thank you and happy Thanksgiving! I will try my best to get back to my regularly scheduled blogs...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Not going to be blogging for a little while...

That opportunity and temporary change of location in my work situation I wrote about two or three weeks ago is here... it looks like I won't be able to blog very much starting today and lasting for an indefinite period of time... I am not sure how long... until I get settled into my new role and location... just like last summer this probably will come to a nice conclusion back in Texas and hopefully I can get back to blogging on a regular basis before March, but right now for the foreseeable future I just won't have the ability to keep up Rick vs. Kay like I would like to...

Rick vs. Kay twitpic comparison...

Rick and Kay both use twitpic to get their photos out to the masses... Rick's twitter is up near 20,000 people while @TeamKay has a little over 2,000... maybe there is a reason for the disparity... behold the differences in tweets...

Kay's drab and dour twitpic from the underwhelming Cheney event...


vs. Rick's twitpic from the RGA with the two political stars of the hour Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie... they look like he just told them a joke... or maybe they just got a kick out of the fact that he actually does his own twitter... "don't you have people for that?"

Another from TeamKay with Karen Hughes... Kay's body language just radiates defeat as Paul Burka would say...


vs. Rick's twitpic from his Norman fund raiser with J.C. Watts and another OU football great... what Republican doesn't love J.C. FRACKING Watts... that guy is a rock star... I wonder why no Barry Switzer in the pic though?

One of Kay at "neutral posture" in College Station which is ironically named given Kay's lack of a strong stand on much of anything...


vs. Rick's group twitpic from Aggieland which made a bunch of women on twitter get all hot and bothered...


Kay giving a speech with her eyes closed to... maybe nobody?... regarding the Prop 11 vote...
vs. Rick tweeting from the stage at RGA... a pic of John Kasich, Tim Pawlenty, some white haired guy, and Bobby Jindal...

Kay speaking in an industrial warehouse with a podium made of boxes...

vs. Rick tweeting a "car quiz" and asking people what kind of vehicle this is...
This is night and day folks... and it is symbolic of the entire campaign... Kay is going through the motions, Rick is having fun and really running an efficient campaign machine... I think Rick's embrace of this twitter stuff coincided with his surge... I am not ready to declare that Rick tweeting is why he is up in the polls... no, I think that is because he is generally more conservative and Kay is more moderate... but there does seem to be some connection on the timeline with Rick's campaign winning over former skeptics and his embrace of social media... maybe a coincidence? Probably, but it does make you wonder...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Haley Barbour's comments about Kay staying and not resigning picked up by the Wall Street Journal...

The "Kay should stay and not resign" theme is not just a Rick campaign talking point... it has gone national...

Oh, Kay

A lot of big names are making noise in the brewing Texas GOP gubernatorial primary battle. Former VP Dick Cheney endorsed Kay Bailey Hutchison at a Houston rally Tuesday, saying Texans know "the difference between a real talker and the real deal." Incumbent Gov. Rick Perry, presumably the target of Mr. Cheney's slight, responded by touting his own endorsement earlier this year from Sarah Palin.

But the words that may have echoed the loudest were those of the man that, if they had their druthers, many Republicans see as the most capable leader in the party. That's former party chief and current Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. In response to a question, Mr. Barbour, who happened to be in Austin for the Republican Governors Association annual meeting, said: "I would just hate to lose Kay Bailey in the Senate. She has been a great senator. I would just hate to lose a great senator like that when we have a fine governor."

Many Texas Republicans probably agree. The party has a history of uncontested primaries, and many Republicans like it that way. Ms. Hutchison herself has acknowledged as much, saying she feared "being perceived as hurting the party." That's why, in offering her bona fides months ago, she vowed to resign from the Senate sometime this month to commit herself fulltime to the governor's race. In what's being viewed as a surprise, she reversed herself this week said she will remain in the senate through Texas's March primary vote, then resign regardless of whether she beats Mr. Perry, whom she once led in the polls but now trails.

Her announcement not only unsettles the plans of several Texas Republicans who had expected to contest for her seat in a special election. Many, frankly, suspect she won't resign her senate seat if she loses to Mr. Perry. People like Mr. Barbour and fellow Texas Sen. John Cornyn, head of the party's senate campaign committee, would certainly give her plenty of cover to nix her pledge and remain in the senate.

Mr. Perry, for his part, has been trying to help Ms. Hutchison make up her mind by sending out his spokesman to blast her for missing a vote this week on one of President Obama's liberal judicial nominations. In truth, Ms. Hutchison's vote wouldn't have made a difference in the 70-29 confirmation of David Hamilton to the federal appeals bench. But the attack obviously is meant to underline a larger point: Ms. Hutchison belongs in Washington, not Austin.



@rickperryfacts... rivals Chuck Norris...

The Texas Tribune wrote up one of my favorite twitterers @rickperryfacts (link). Excerpt follows...
"You're in my sights, Walker, Texas Ranger."

RickPerryFacts on Twitter

"You're in my sights, Walker, Texas Ranger."

— Rick Perry once ate three 72 oz. steaks in one hour. He spent the first 45 minutes slaughtering cows indiscriminately.

When Chuck Norris kills a ninja, he only takes its hide and some of the meat. When Rich Perry kills a ninja, he uses every part.

Rick Perry can blow bubbles with beef jerky.

“rickperryfacts” in the Twittersphere offers those and hundreds of other fun "facts" on the Texas governor with the penchant for photo ops with firearms and other tough-man gear. The gag is a takeoff on the popular joke-a-sphere feature on Chuck Norris (and steals some of the Norris jokes verbatim). But I’ll have to say the tweeter — whoever he is, and it’s definitely a “he” — has done a decent job on the send-up.

So does he work for Hutchison’s campaign or Perry’s?

Other rickperryfacts gems:

“Rick Perry once breast-fed an injured flamingo back to health. And then boiled it alive.”

“Rick Perry built this city on rock and roll.”

It’s the sort of gag that makes you want to join in. So here goes:

The roof of the new Cowboys stadium was made of Rick Perry’s hair.

Rick Perry ate Washington, D.C., and didn’t even have to burp.

It is hard to say what to make of this... I doubt it is a Rick staffer or a Kay staffer... this is more pop culture than politics and avoids getting involved in all the back and forth on weekly or daily spats between the campaigns which is probably why I like it so much... it just stays on the jokes 24/7...

I also wouldn't be so sure it is definitely a man doing it... I almost get the sense that the person doing it either is mocking Rick slightly or has a crush on him... maybe a bit of both... I think women are probably capable of playfully mocking Rick's penchant for killing animals and that kind of thing...

Rick vs. Kay dividing and damaging party "for years to come"?

The liberal Houston Press makes a good point or two in this lengthy article about Rick and Kay (link). Excerpt follows...
"We now have two reasonably popular Republicans in a bloodbath with each other," publisher Kronberg says. "Everybody who is an active Republican understands the loser's supporters are going to be put into exile; they won't be able to play in politics anymore. So it's going to divide the fund-raising base, it's going to divide the supporter base and it's going to damage the party for years to come."
I think this is partially true, but I also have seen an emerging consensus in recent weeks behind Rick over Kay. People who were on the fence are beginning to choose sides in the hopes of really tearing the party apart in Texas. Look for some big Texas names to back Rick over the next two or three weeks to try to send Kay a signal to quit the race and focus on her job in the senate...

Is this a hint at Kay's money situation? We'll know in January...

Gardner Selby reports on some comments by John Nau's who is Kay's chief fundraiser (link). Excerpt follows...

Houston beer distributor John Nau, a chief fundraiser for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's gubernatorial campaign, says the sagging economy is affecting both beer sales and how much people donate to causes (though he said Hutchison remains on target to raise what she needs).


Matt Rourke/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
John Nau

"The economy is definitely impacting all aspects of American life," Nau said.

Under the Dome confirmed that less beer has flowed to distributors responsible for stocking Texas retailers.

Through September, total shipments from breweries to distributors were down 0.5 percent compared to the same date a year earlier, according to data analyzed by the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas.

In contrast, total beer shipments increased more than 4 percent by the end of September 2008 compared with a year earlier. Key factor this year: Shipments of popular "premium" beers like Bud Light and Miller Lite — which accounted for 8.7 million of 14.2 million barrels shipped — were down nearly 1.5 percent.

Mike McKinney of the wholesalers' group said he didn't know why there's been a drop, nor did he sob in his soda.

"I wouldn't cry and doom and gloom," he said. "The industry is down slightly."

Kay bombs on Meet The Press...

Kay went on Meet the Press this morning, and she just really did not excel...




Trailblazers blogs on the show (link). Excerpt follows...

The Brady/Geithner confrontation has been replayed repeatedly on cable news shows.

"I think what Kevin Brady did in challenging him in talking about this economy was the right thing to do... A jobless recovery is not a recovery," Hutchison said when Meet the Press host David Gregory showed the clip this morning and asked if she agreed.

When Gregory pressed for a direct answer -- should Geithner resign, as Brady suggested - Hutchison basically said he should not.

With three other senators at Gregory's table (Lieberman, Durbin and Feinstein), Hutchison argued that if everyone who shares some blame for the country's economic problems should be sacked, "then we shouldn't keep our jobs either.... The president, Mr. Geithner and the Congress are all responsible."

Rick's spokesman responded (link)...

"Senator Hutchison finally admitted that she is part of the problem with the out-of-control spending in Washington," said Perry spokesman Mark Miner. "After supporting record deficits, bailouts and earmarks during her more than 16 years in Washington, most Texans would agree with the Senator's statement, 'We shouldn't keep our jobs either.'"

Hmmm. Doesn't that contradict Perry's old standby that Texas is better off if Hutchison stays in Washington? Admittedly, Perry has said she has fallen down on the job in many ways. And Miner is playing directly off the senator's own words. But while Hutchison's entire premise is that Perry should lose office, this may be a turning point, with Perry arguing that she should lose her job.

I think Rick and his peeps will pounce all over this with more than their piddly press release... she basically lobs a softball to him when she failed to strongly condemn Secretary Geithner. That issue had to be uncomfortable for her in total because bailouts are so problematic to her run for office in Texas. There was no good answer for Kay on that...

More than that she just did not come off as in command of the situation... her tone of voice at times sounded like a child complaining about curfew more than someone who is the sole spokesman for Republicans on this issue on this once very influential show...

There is no way Kay won any Texas votes on this show, nor did she advance the Republican agenda effectively at the national level. It was yet another misstep in recent weeks that has shown her to be undisciplined at staying on message and ineffective at looking like a fighter... in these clips Kay just looks like a Washington insider...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Farouk Shami has a TV ad too...

Farouk Shami's new ad...
I will make a bold prediction... if the Democratic nominee is Shami the Republican will win 60-40 or better...

Rick correctly calls Kay out for missing cloture vote...

A double whammy on Kay for missing votes (link). Excerpt follows...

Perry served notice that wasn't going to let the issue go. In an interview during a Republican governors meeting near Austin, Perry noted that Hutchison missed a procedural vote Tuesday - called cloture - aimed at blocking consideration of the appointment in the first place. Hutchison skipped that vote because she was in Houston for a campaign rally and fundraiser with Dick Cheney. Her vote wouldn't have made any difference, but Perry took the opportunity to ding Hutchison anyway:

"Look, missing votes is missing votes. And the people of the state of
Texas understand that if you're not at work on Thursday but you're there on Friday, you were absent. You weren't getting your vote done."

People don't like big bonuses, and they don't like their elected officials being lazy... this will keep being a gift that keeps on giving for Rick and his peeps unless Kay stops missing votes...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Debra Medina's Spanish TV ad...

Kind of a weird ad... maybe it will play with Hispanics, maybe it won't.

Where is she even getting the money to buy ads? I didn't see much money on her last report. I wonder if she has received any big donations since then?

Here is her other ad which implies she will end the property tax in Texas...

Here is the audio of Rick's new radio ad with the Jeopardy theme....

Wayne Slater now has the audio to the Jeopardy ad (link).

Rick uses Jeopardy theme for negative radio ad...

Rick is playing hard ball right off the bat with Kay. Wayne Slater has the text of the ad but not the audio (link). Excerpt follows...

In the spot, an announcer says it's time to play Taxpayer Jeopardy and the contestant picks the category. The ad has two goals: One is to paint Hutchison as part of a spendthrift Washington. But the second goal is more subtle. Hutchison wants to frame her votes on federal earmarks in terms of popular Texas projects that she's helped bring to the state. Perry wants to counter that message by describing earmarks as part of the political process in which Washington politicians trade favors - I'll vote for your earmark if you vote for mine. Hence, the reference in the ad to the infamous bridge to nowhere. Here's the script:

Contestant: "I'll start with Washington D.C. bailouts for 300."

Announcer: "She voted for the 700 billion dollar Wall Street bailout just one
day after she told a group of Texas Taxpayers she was against it."

Contestant: "Who is Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison?"

Announcer: "Correct. Pick another category."

Contestant: "Wasteful pork for 500."

Announcer: "This U.S. senator voted to spend 223 million on the infamous bridge to nowhere in Alaska."

Contestant: "Who is Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison?"

Announcer: "Right again. Choose another category."

Contestant: "Obscene federal spending for 1000."

Announcer: "This senator campaigned on eliminating the deficit but has since voted for over 95% of all federal spending bills increasing our national debt to over $12 trillion."

Contestant: "Uh, who is Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison?"

Announcer: "You are correct. And here is your final question. She is the only Texas senator to have earned a pork barrel spender award three times from Citizens Against Government Waste."

Contestant: "Who is Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison?"
Announcer: "Congratulations, you win Taxpayer Jeopardy.

Contestant: "No, with so much wasteful spending by Kay Bailey Hutchison, we all lose."

Does anyone have the actual ad? If so, send it to me and I will blog it.

Burka's reviews of the Rick and Kay TV ads...

Paul Burka posted two blogs this morning reviewing the commercials of Rick and Kay.

Rick...
Paul Burka's review of Rick's ad (link). Excerpt follows...
This is a very effective spot. I give it 9 out of 10. It may be a little too busy in places. It is both positive and negative, positive in setting up Perry’s record, negative in its unspoken but obvious attempt to link Hutchison to Washington. It’s obvious where this is headed. Step one is “Washington is broken.” Step one, the seeds of which have already been planted, is that Kay Bailey Hutchison is the candidate of Washington values. We saw them in the beginning of the commercial: DEFICITS, BAILOUTS, PORK BARREL SPENDING. Step two is probably going to be very unfair — I think a lot of that so-called pork was very important to Texas –but this is a war that is going to be fought in 30-second skirmishes, and so far the Perry campaign has a clear grasp of what its message needs to be and the Hutchison campaign has neither grasp nor message.
Burka was more positive on this ad than I was. I don't see it moving the dial too much. It is solid, but I'd give it a 6 or 7, not a 9.

Kay...

Paul Burka's review of Kay's ad (link). Excerpt follows...
What can I say? This is what we have been waiting for? Everything about this spot is dreadful. I can’t even give it a positive grade. It is going to lose votes. She has no energy. Her body language radiates defeat. The fighting words have no defiance in them. The subject matter is wrong. The message is wrong. And where was an editor when somebody wrote a script that raised the red herring of a state takeover of health care? That’s from outer space. Anyone who is backing her and sees this spot is going to be not just disappointed, but dismayed. Even horrified.

[SNIP]

Maybe George Strake Jr. is right. If this is the best she can do, she ought to quit the race.
That is harsher than I would have been. I would have given her ad a 3 or a 4.

Still, I think he has some good points, and I am puzzled as to why Kay would run a statewide ad about why she is not resigning...

Rick is a "tweet head"

Several months ago Rick sent a tweet to a reporter telling her he was a "tweet head." Rick has been showing off his toy to his fellow Republican governors this week (link). Excerpt follows...

Texas Gov. Rick Perry tweeted Thursday that he was busted using Twitter by a fellow state executive duing a speech Republican Governors Association (RGA).

Perry said that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal caught him tweeting during his remarks at the conference being held in Austin, Texas this week.

Perry tweeted some effusive praise for the potential 2012 presidential candidate in exchange for placing his attention elsewhere during the speech:

Bobbie [sic] Jindal just busted me for tweeting his remarks at our lunch @ RGA...he is a star in a galaxy of talent in the governor's universe!!

Wow was Rick drinking? Maybe just too much coffee? Or a nicotine patch? That is some effusive praise all right...

Rick is definitely using twitter tools well... but is anyone reading twitter? Compared to radio and television, is twitter making a dent?

Rick working his fellow govs to push against Washington...

Rick gathered headlines at the RGA conference this week (link). Excerpt follows...

CEDAR CREEK, Texas -- Hosting more than 20 of his colleagues outside the state capital tonight, Gov. Rick Perry said that Republican governors are the ones carrying the torch for the GOP in opposing an overreaching Democratic administration in Washington, as the RGA made a strong case for the philosophical leadership of the party.

Just as Senate Democrats were unveiling legislation to reform the nation's health care system, Texas' governor called for a simpler approach to governance that emphasized tax cuts, lower spending and less obtrusive regulation.

"By and large, it's been those Republican governors who have had the courage and the will and the discipline to push those types of changes through," Perry said at the opening public session of the Republican Governors Association Conference here tonight. "We have a federal government today that is wanting to ... create one-sized fits all policy for all of the states. I happen to think it's time for a substantial number of governors to have the courage to stand up and push back on Washington, DC."

It was the strongest message of the featured speakers tonight, but one that could define the gathering as Republican state leaders celebrate double wins in New Jersey and Virginia. Perry, as well as Govs. Tim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal and Mitch Daniels, emphasized the idea of states driving policy and competing with one another, rather than the federal government implementing one universal policy on all 50.

A bunch of chiefs, all together.... I wonder how the dynamic is different from the Congress. Egos flying? People vying for national attention. Staffs mingling and having rivalries? That would be something else to see up close...


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Virginia is for lovers... Texas is for jobs...

POLITICO has a quote of the day, and it goes to Rick (link). Excerpt follows...


Oh those governors...they're just so darn funny.

At Wednesday's Republican Governors Association meeting, the top one-liner went to Texas Governor Rick Perry.

After being introduced by newly elected Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Perry took a friendly swipe at his colleague's state.

"Virginia is for lovers. Texas is for jobs."

That is actually pretty funny...

Haley Barbour hoping Kay remains in the senate....

Haley Barbour endorsed Rick but he also did a favor for Rick in his official capacity as the chairman of the Republican Governors Association (link). Excerpt follows...

Given that this year's Republican Governors Association meeting is taking place here in Texas, reporters today asked RGA ChairmanHaley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, to weigh in on the Rick Perry-vs.-Kay Bailey Hutchison GOP primary for Texas governor.

Barbour said that the RGA doesn't take sides in primaries, but that he was personally backing Perry. "I personally think Gov. Perry should be re-elected," he said.

And then he added this: "I hope Sen. Hutchison will stay in the United States Senate for the rest of my life."

Asked why he supported Perry over Hutchison, Barbour replied, "I thought he deserved re-election." He then went on to say: "I would hate to lose Kay Bailey in the Senate."

I think Barbour is reflecting what a lot of Republican party officials are thinking... why spend so much money on this battle when we could all devote our efforts to beating down liberals. The country is craving that right now. Internecine warfare is no good, but then again it could help bring new voters and new energy like the Obama vs. Hillary race did.

Rick and Kay airing TV commercials...

Rick...

vs.

Kay...

Let the quibbling start and the fact checking begin. Positive ads usually go on for a period of time before negative ads hit... I think both sides will be building up their credentials before the hits come next year.

Will either of these ads move the dial? I doubt it. This was a game of chicken or mutually assured destruction...

It looks like Kay's team blinked first, and Rick's peeps were ready to fire back so they did. Will Rick go up on the radio as Kay did today? Her radio spot can be heard over at Texas Politics blog (link) thanks to Mr. Ratcliffe. Again these are nice first spots... nothing ground breaking... nothing that will move the dial too much... but the checkers game has just barely started...

Hysterical Raisins does another photoshop...


Hysterical Raisins is a liberal blog that does photoshops constantly (link). Why don't we have something like this for conservatives? Is it because liberals are more artistic?

Twists ahead in Rick vs. Kay...

Gardner Selby has some thoughts on the governor's race (link). Excerpt follows...

But here's something known: Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison won't quit her U.S. Senate seat until after the Democratic-majority Congress acts, probably next year, on health care and climate-change legislation.

That's what she revealed last week — for once not airing her resignation thoughts solely on a radio show.

Early next month, look for her to submit the paperwork needed to appear on the March GOP primary ballot.

Why then? She needs to dispel doubts about her commitment to challenging Gov. Rick Perry, against whom she chose not to run in 2002 and 2006. The move also will give her an excuse to launch TV ads before end-of-year holidays divert attention from politics.

Some in Perry's camp think her latest resignation update unsettled supporters who've long waited for her to focus on the race.

Hutchison advisers, including Jim Francis of Dallas and John Nau of Houston, insist Hutchison staying in the Senate reflects both her courage and home-state loyalty. Besides, Francis said, "if she left the Senate on the eve of one of the great political fights of the century, Republican primary voters would not have appreciated it."

Interesting... we'll see what happens. I think Kay can save hassle by just filing early in December, but she might be wanting to wait and see how the latest polls and money totals are looking in January before making the decision...


Ouch... even liberals having a feeding frenzy...

There is almost nobody Texas liberals hate more than Rick, so seeing him lose would be a real treat for them. Kay is doing so poorly though that even they are calling her out for running an uninspired campaign (link). Excerpt follows...

Kay Bailey Hutchison’s campaign is falling apart. Her heart is clearly not in it. Yesterday’s Houston ”event“ with Dick Cheney was only the latest in a desultory series. Two-hour delay? Five-minute speech? A crowd of 150?

A FrontBurnerian emails:

Ugh. She shaved her legs for that? Call me old fashioned, but I’d envisioned a ballroom fundraiser with hundreds of fat cat contributors, anxious to hobnob with the former veep and delivering bundles of checks, regardless of whether she attended or not.

Say what you will about Rick Perry (and I tend to say a lot, most of it unflattering), the man is in tune with the temper of the times. Tea parties, secession, Obama is a socialist — it all fits with the mood of his party, especially with the energized base of his party. Hutchison’s only choice was to appeal to the broader public and bring them back into the GOP primary. Instead, she’s tried to endrun Perry on the right (see Monday’s attack on the gas tax). She brings no credibility to that effort — and no passion either. It’s purely a ploy. And against the master of ploys himself, not a very good one.
Ouch... then there was the Burnt Orange peeps (link). Excerpt follows...
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has played her Charlie Brown’s Lucy-and-the-football trick one more time. Nope, she’s not resigning from the Senate. “AAARGH!” shout Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Attorney General Greg Abbott, and various other would-be GOP placekickers who are now forced to cool their heels.
Even the Houston Press, which takes shots at both Rick and Kay in its latest article... which is typical since they are trying to help whichever Democrat might be the nominee eventually, seems to take more shots at Kay for her poor campaign performance than Rick for his own problems (link). Excerpt follows...
Never much of a spellbinder, Hutchison fails to stir the audience or, for that matter, articulate a compelling message as to why, by waging a primary battle against a sitting governor, she is forcing Republicans to choose sides and risking the implosion of the party.
I think Kay still has a chance to turn things around, but she is rapidly running out of time, and her weak showings in her own biggest events has become a source of puzzlement for everyone following this campaign. Her announcement tour was plagued by small crowds. Her Cheney event was the same way... all the while Rick's campaign is running like a well oiled machine... not just a candidacy but a political movement.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rick dings Kay for missing another vote...

In order to make her campaign event with Dick Cheney, Kay missed a cloture vote yesterday on David Hamilton's confirmation. Wayne Slater picked up the story (link). Excerpt follows...

"Less than 72 hours after promising to put Texas' interests ahead of her campaign, Senator Hutchison missed a key vote on a liberal judicial nomination," said Perry spokesman Mark Miner. "Senator Hutchison has once again put her own interests above those of the Texans she represents."

Shortly after the vote, Hutchison critics - exactly reflecting the talking points of Perry operatives - began posting comments on news web sites saying Hutchison was the only senator to miss the vote. Conservatives say Hamilton is liberal on abortion and public prayer.

[SNIP]

There was no way the GOP was going to stop the Obama appointment. And Hutchison has pledged to be in Washington when votes are important. But the Perry campaign's criticism underscores its strategy to convince voters Hutchison can't serve effectively as a senator in Washington while running against him for governor here in Texas.

A missed vote is a missed vote... I think people are beginning to grumble more and more that for every vote Kay misses, she is probably also not there twisting arms, fighting with every fiber and every bone in her body, and all that other stuff she has been saying...

A missed vote is the tip of the iceberg of inaction... she might have been able to get some of her colleagues to bring over to her side... she might have been able to introduce some legislation or amendments or do something procedurally with her seniority to actually make a difference...

I have been told by a few people associated with senate campaigns who say their candidates are personally and emotionally offended at Kay's assertion that no freshman could do her job as well as she could, when she is barely there for votes and definitely not there for the "real work."

One candidate with considerable energy experience apparently has been telling small crowds in recent days that he thinks he could be a better senator than Kay especially on cap and trade, since he actually knows something about cap and trade "unlike her"... I am paraphrasing what I was told. He might have been more measured with his words than that.

Another candidate with considerable business experience has apparently been fired up this week and telling private groups that... again I am paraphrasing... a senator with actual business experience would be a lot more helpful than someone who "has been absent so much she probably forgot where Harry Reid's office even is..."

Seeing her weakness against Rick in the polls, one of these candidates is already telling some of his top money peeps "bleep her" if she tries to back out of resignation and tries to run again in 2012. A fair emotional reaction... probably something that will die down as time passes however.

Kay sends out a robo call state wide...

Kay did a robo call, and Jason Embry blogged it (link). Go listen and tell me what you think. Why robo call? Why now? Will it be effective?

Ken Herman puts his video touch on the Kay/Cheney event in Houston...

Ken Herman of the Austin American Statesman has another humorous video based on Kay's Cheney event last night (link)...
Cheney is a huge name, but he is not a crowd gatherer apparently... I was surprised by that more than anything else...

200? 150? 125? 100? How many people attended the Cheney event with Kay?

Initial reports put the number at 200 (link). Talking to someone who was there, I have been told 125 were at the airport and 50-60 people were at her fund raiser later in the evening... needless to say this person is a strong Kay supporter who is feeling a little down in the dumps.

Jason Embry pegged the rally number at "over 100" (link). Excerpt follows...

The Republican primary is open to any registered Texas voter, but Hutchison's campaign is convinced that Democrats won't participate. Instead, they hope Cheney will cut into Perry's strength among Republican stalwarts.

"I wasn't too sure about him when he was in office, but I like the fight he has shown since he left," said Jim Springer, a Houston retiree who was among more than 100 supporters at Hutchison's event Tuesday. "I wish he would run (for president) in 2012."

Embry also had these observations (link)...

• Houston radio host Edd Hendee warmed up the crowd, and he’s still angry about the margiins tax that Perry pushed in 2006 to cover part of the cost of property tax cuts. Before the event started, the DJ played, among others, the Toby Keith song and “Right Now” by Van Halen. Ken Herman tells me “Right Now” is very popular at political events.

• Cheney spoke for about five minutes and Hutchison for about 10. The only other person on stage was Ray Hutchison, the senator’s husband. “Mercy,” Cheney said as he took the stage to a very warm reception, a crowd of about 150 instructed not to wave their signs too high so that they wouldn’t obstruct the view of the half-dozen television cameras behind them. He made only a couple of passing references to Perry, never mentioning him by name. The closest thing he said to a direct hit was this: “Texas needs a true conservative champion in the governor’s office. We westerners know the difference between a real talker and the real deal. And when it comes to being conservative, Kay Bailey Hutchison is the real deal.”

• Hutchison and Cheney worked the short rope line, such as it was, after their brief speeches. There weren’t supposed to be any questions from the press, but Herman got one in that you’ll have to watch in the video below.

Other media reports put the number at Houston Hobby at 150 (link). Excerpt follows...
Cheney and Hutchison stood before a spray of American and Texas flags on a makeshift stage in an art deco building that was Hobby Airport's original terminal. About 150 Hutchison supporters showed up.
[SNIP]

The Cheney appearance was a major moment for Hutchison's campaign. In show business, corralling a big name is called a "get." And in the constellation of conservative Republicanism, Cheney is a get – a former vice president and prodigious critic of the Obama administration.

Perry has his own "get" – former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is expected to campaign with him before next March's GOP primary. Perry is focused on his party's right wing, a constituency expected to show up in force in the primary. And Palin plays exceptionally well to that crowd.

As for Cheney, while his favorable ratings among Americans overall remain low, he's popular among the GOP faithful. Still, Hutchison needs to bring November Republicans who do not usually vote in the primary to the ballot in March, and it's not clear whether bringing Cheney to Texas helps woo that crowd.

"He adds nothing," said Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Legal Institute, a leading social conservative activist and a Perry supporter.

Clearly, the Hutchison people hope otherwise. Cheney delivered a five-minute speech, citing Hutchison's record of supporting tax cuts in Washington and, he said, leading the fight to kill the income tax in Texas.

I think Kelly Shackelford is overstating the case. Cheney definitely adds something... he was a huge name to get, and his endorsement had to have been a jolt for Kay and her campaign. At the same time if Kay and Dick Cheney can only draw 150 people then his big positives with conservatives might only slightly outweigh the negatives with liberals and moderates who may now view her with suspicion.

While Kelly Shackelford and other highly tuned in people are paying attention to this race closely and have already made up their minds I think there are still some people out there who have not paid any attention yet... we are getting closer and closer to the finish line though, and it will come up fast.

If Kay's number one event of her entire campaign can only draw in 150 people then there is a serious enthusiasm gap. Kay needed this event to spark some momentum. If anything it had to have been a disappointment. Enthusiasm is the same as turnout. Enthusiasm is what wins primaries. Kay doesn't have it on her side right now, and time is ticking on ways to get it.

Wall Street Journal calls Kay's challenge of Rick an uphill battle...

The Wall Street Journal suggests that Cheney's visit may not be the game changer Kay needed it to be (link). Excerpt follows...

Ms. Hutchison, one of the Lone Star State's most popular politicians, was expected to mount a formidable challenge to Mr. Perry in one of the long-anticipated GOP primary battles of next year's elections. The GOP winner is an overwhelming favorite to be the next governor in this Republican state.

But Mr. Perry has built a large lead in polls with less than four months to go to the March 2 primary. In part, he has scored points using what's shaping up as a popular strategy for many candidates during this election cycle, with rhetoric portraying Ms. Hutchison as a Washington insider out of touch with down-home Texans. He also has accused her of waffling on a pledge to resign from her Senate seat, which she had initially said she would do in October or November.

"It really does appear that it is slipping away for her," said Calvin Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

It does seem that way... that she is running such a poor race that she may not even end up going through with it in order to salvage her legacy from defeat at the end of her career...

Another excerpt follows...

Ms. Hutchison has accused Mr. Perry of not understanding the suffering of many Texans in the recession, among other charges. But political observers say the 16-year Senate veteran, initially elected on an outsider platform in 1993, has found herself swimming against an anti-Washington sentiment among conservative activists that is particularly strong in Texas.

Splitting her time between Texas and Washington has been "a deadly mistake," said Royal Masset, a GOP political consultant in Austin who is not working for either side.

"This could not have been more perfectly set up for Rick Perry," Mr. Masset said. "This election is coming at just the right time for him, when there is this fear of socialism among some Republicans based on what is happening in Washington, and she is seen, fairly or not, as part of that Washington establishment."

Ms. Hutchison initially said she would resign her Senate seat to run. But she also pledged to stay in Washington to cast critical votes against President Barack Obama's health-care and cap-and-trade energy legislation, both of which are unpopular with conservative Texans.

Ms. Hutchison said again last week she would resign -- but not until after the March primary. Mr. Perry's campaign jumped on the comment, suggesting she would not step down at all if she lost. Ms. Hutchison denied that.

"Rick Perry can crow all he wants about standing up to Washington, but there is only one candidate who is fighting against President Obama and his policies," said Hutchison campaign spokesman Joe Pounder.

Kay is not actively engaged in Washington... she missed another vote yesterday. I just think her "I will fight for you" routine is not her, it is not believable, and it is not even happening... she is just missing too many days in the senate to make that theme work for her...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Online poll on Cheney's impact...


Right now in this unscientific poll people are reacting negatively against Cheney's endorsement of Kay (link). Excerpt follows...

James Henson, the director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, said support from a staunch conservative such as Cheney helps Hutchison combat claims from the Perry campaign that she is not a true conservative.

"A lot of this is clearly about trying to burnish her conservative credentials," he said. "It's hard not to read it that way when you come right down to it." During Tuesday night's endorsement in Houston, Hutchison campaign staffers tweeted updates with pictures of the two and quotes from Cheney hailing Hutchison as a true conservative.

"We westerners know the difference between a real talker and the real deal," Cheney said in Houston. "When it comes to being conservative, Kay Bailey Hutchison is the real deal." Some El Paso Republicans, though, said the endorsement would not sway votes in the Republican primary.

Republican Party chairman Michael Moore said Cheney does not live in Texas or understand the state's issues.

He said Cheney is respected in El Paso but his endorsement does not carry as much clout as that of other Texans like former president George W. Bush.

Bush has not endorsed either candidate.

"It just has no bearing on the issue of who should be governor of Texas," Moore said about Cheney's endorsement. "He is obviously supporting her based on his knowledge of her and her work in the senate but that doesn't necessarily transfer to the governorship."

Cal Jillson was not all that impressed with Cheney's visit (link). Excerpt follows...

Cheney's blessing represents the highest profile endorsement Hutchison has gotten so far. Support from the former vice president, who remains popular with many conservative activists, could help Hutchison shore up her right flank.

Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, said Cheney may feel more comfortable about Hutchison's knowledge of national security issues — an area that continues to provoke passionate speeches from the former vice president.

Jillson said the nod could help Hutchison with some social conservatives who view her with suspicion, but only a little.

"You'd rather have it than not, but it's not a game-changer," Jillson said.

True... if anything it might scare off some of Kay's natural constituency, the moderates and liberals...

Cheney not the magic bullet for Kay... draws 200...

It is increasingly obvious that Dick Cheney is not the game changer the Kay team or even I thought he might be... I had figured he was close to Sarah Palin in terms of a big draw and a momentum changer. Sarah Palin undoubtedly helped Rick's campaign. Dick Cheney may have helped Kay somewhat, but not to the level Kay needs right now being down by so many points in the polls...

Wayne Slater is reporting that 200 people showed up to wave signs at the Dick Cheney rally for Kay (link). Excerpt follows...

Dick Cheney told a crowd of Kay Bailey Hutchison supporters tonight that Texans know "the difference between a real talker and the real deal." And he said Hutchison "is the real deal." The former vice president traveled to Houston for a rally and fundraiser for Hutchison. About 200 sign-waving supporters gathered in the lobby of an airport museum that was once the original termal at Hobby airport.

Cheney never mentioned Hutchison's rival, Rick Perry, by name. But he did recall something that Perry once said about Hutchison when they weren't rivals in the same race. Said Cheney, "It's no wonder her opponent called her a true champion for Texas. I couldn't agree more."

200 people... is that a typo missing a zero?... and he didn't even play the role of attack dog against Rick.

200 people is pathetic for an event of this magnitude, and there is no other way to put it.

Here is the video...


Compare this with the event that Rick's peeps will put on with Sarah Palin...