Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Texas "insiders" think Rick is running for president...

These insiders aren't very bright (link). Excerpt follows...

Our insiders believe that Gov. Rick Perry is running for president in 2012 but don't that believe he should.
The latest Texas Weekly/Texas Tribune Inside Intelligence survey found 58 percent think the governor is in the race. But only 22 percent think he should run, while 70 percent say he shouldn't.
And it doesn't appear that many people think Perry is a real contender. In an open-ended question, his name didn't come up that much. Respondents were asked, "What Republican do you think will have the best shot at the White House in two years, and who do you think will win?"

They came back with a lot of Mitt Romney and John Thune and Sarah Palin but not a lot of Perry. Some of the verbatim responses follow; you can see all of the responses here.
• "I think Mitt Romney will ultimately be the nominee for the party but to win in the general the running mate must be strategic. Perhaps a Haley Barbour or John Thune."
• "John Thune will win Republican nomination and White House."
• "If sanity reins in the land, probably Romney, if insanity reins, Palin. Mitch Daniels is also worth watching."
• "Far too early to tell who has the "best" shot, but Rick Perry, John Kasich, and Chris Christie have good shots should they take the plunge. Dr. Condi Rice is an interesting choice for running mate no matter who takes the nomination."
• "It is way too early to have a clue. 2 years ago at this time we were all ushering in the Age of Aquarius as Obama was being carried to the thrown. It is a different world now and will be in 2 more years."

Romney? Really? He may poll the highest right now, but he couldn't even beat John McCain in 2008... I don't see Romney... nor do I see Rick running... I do see John Thune running but not catching fire when I think of the conversations I have had with grassroots peeps who feel like he is too much of a RINO...

On that last comment... the "thrown" should have obviously been spelled "throne" but that is the only response that really is worth anything...

My interpretation of these results... about a third of the insiders are Rick's peeps... and Rick's peeps in this collection of insiders all responded both that he is not running and he shouldn't run... meanwhile some of the neutral peeps and 100% of the anti Rick peeps responded that they think he is running but also said he shouldn't run...

Some of the responses though just show how Texas insiders should stay inside Texas and not try to be national pundits... although the insiders definitely were right in predicting Rick's win against Bill White a few weeks before the election...

The Economist sees Rick as a moderating influence on the strong majority in the legislature...

This is an intriguing take from the Economist's writer who is based in Texas (link). Excerpt follows...

ONE of the first plays by America’s tea-party tendency came in April 2009 in Austin, the capital of Texas. After speaking at an anti-tax rally, Rick Perry, the governor, intimated that Texas might think about secession “if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people”. Grandstanding like this is normal in Texas. What is more surprising is that, as the tea-party movement surged through the 2010 election cycle, Texas actually turned out to be one of the less incendiary states.
And Mr Perry is now sounding less fiery than some had feared. Earlier this month he easily won re-election to his third full term. He then set off on a short national tour to promote his new book, “Fed Up!” Fighting words, but his prescriptions—“repeal Obamacare”, “adopt certain important structural reforms”—are common enough. Some wonder whether Mr Perry has presidential ambitions for 2012. He says no, and may mean it: last week, in San Diego, he accepted a post as head of the Republican Governors Association. 
 Texas might also feel the force of a resurgent right over immigration. The state takes a fairly balanced view of border issues in general and, for cultural and economic reasons, tends to support immigration more than the country as a whole. When Arizona passed its draconian anti-immigration law, for example, Mr Perry said this was “not the right direction for Texas”. Some legislators, however, disagree, and one has already filed a bill modelled on Arizona’s.
The governor’s view is the more popular. But Democrats are worried that an Arizona-style bill might nonetheless make its way to his desk. In that case, 2011 may be the year that Mr Perry becomes the moderating influence on Texas politics. Stranger things have happened. 

I think it is interesting that this international publication pays so much attention to Texas... more so than many national publications based in New York...

Joe Straus has a new web video...

Professionally done...  looks good... takes you through the speaker's political resume... doesn't necessarily address the criticisms of him though... especially the criticisms in the other videos out there...

Have the holidays stalled the speakers race... frozen it in place?

It seems like things have gotten sort of quiet in the speakers race...

Anyone hearing anything?

One thing I found interesting is that the Paxton peeps seem to have dropped the ball when it comes to blogger out reach (link). Excerpt follows...

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So my hunch was right about Kathleen McKinley not really endorsing Joe Straus, but just providing a forum for him to express his views... Paxton's peeps should send her something and be more proactive...

On the other side Joe Straus' peeps are spending a lot of time courting bloggers... without a lot of payoff since bloggers tend to also be more conservative and tea party minded... they do have David Jennings from Big Jolly on their side out there defending Straus... and the Pondering Penguin was not very happy that a Georgia based national blog Red State was taking a position on the Texas speakers race... but again she didn't actually endorse Straus...

The pro Paxton blogs seem to have arrived at that conclusion of their own accord... without any specific out reach...

Right before Thanksgiving there were a lot of things going on... videos being put out... state reps committing to Paxton... but other than two more freshmen Republicans committing to Paxton (link) it is getting really quiet now... will it heat up again?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Grading Politifact... Gardner Selby gets an F....

Sublime Bloviations blog does a great job fact checking Politifact and finds they are full of it (link). Excerpt follows...

Grading PolitiFact (Texas): Rick Perry and Ponzi schemes
This again?  It's illuminating to find PolitiFact so unrepentant regarding its failures.  PolitiFact has found the comparison between Social Security financing and Ponzi schemes "Barely True," "False" and now "False" again.
Just one problem:  It's true.  A reasonable effort by PolitiFact should find it "Half True" or better.

The key PolitiFact finding is that the "Ponzi scheme" is fraudulent by definition.  And if you can get journalist and non-economist Michell/Mitchell Zuckoff to proclaim that as a fact in his role as expert source then it's mission accomplished, in a manner of speaking.
Michell (sic) Zuckoff, a Boston University journalism professor who has written a book on Ponzi, noted critical dissimilarities between Social Security and a Ponzi scheme, which by definition is both fraudulent and unsustainable.

"First, in the case of Social Security, no one is being misled," Zuckoff's January 2009 article in Fortune magazine says. "...Social Security is exactly what it claims to be: A mandatory transfer payment system under which current workers are taxed on their incomes to pay benefits, with no promises of huge returns."
(bold emphasis added)
The problem for Zuckoff and PolitiFact is that economists don't see it that way:
A Ponzi scheme is a strategy of rolling over a debt forever and thereby never paying it back.
Kevin X. Huang and Jan Werner are not alone:
To Kindelberger and other writers on financial scams, the essential feature of Ponzi's activities was 'misrepresentation or the violation of an implicit or explicit trust' (1978: 79-80).  In economic theory, however, the label 'Ponzi' survives largely stripped of its connotation of fraud.
(The New Palgrave Dictionary of Money & Finance)
What gives Mitchell Zuckoff (and PolitiFact) the right to discount the definition of "Ponzi scheme" as understood by economists?
Nothing.  Nothing at all.
Zuckoff and PolitiFact make the claim of exclusive definition out of apparent ignorance, though I have evidence that staffers at the Providence Journal(source of PolitiFact Rhode Island) took note of the criticism and didn't care enough to change the story.
When three teams of journalists successively flub a similar fact check it starts to resemble a pattern.
The grades:
W. Gardner Selby:  F
Brenda Bell:  F
Perhaps there's a tendency to trust their colleagues at PolitiFact.  Regardless, it's unacceptable and appalling that PolitiFact got this fact check wrong on three consecutive tries.

Really a great read... even Paul Krugman has called Social Security a Ponzi scheme... Politifact is awful... period...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Erick Erickson of Red State escalated the rhetoric and called the hearing on Bryan Hughes' allegation about Larry Phillips threatening members with redistricting if they didn't support Straus "Corruption" (link). Excerpt follows...

I know some of you are a bit perplexed about why I, a guy in Georgia, keep writing about Joe Straus, a liberal elitist in Texas.
It is very simple really. Texas is going to make big gains in the census and pick up some congressional districts. Conservatives across the country must be concerned that the man who will have the heaviest hand in drawing those lines is 100% NARAL supported and ridiculously corrupt.
We must fight at the state level here to help the conservative cause nationally in the 2012 elections.
And what happened late yesterday should concern everyone — really concern everyone, not to mention embarrass all the Texans.
As I previously mentioned, Straus sent out his loyal lieutenant Larry Phillips to tell a number of Republican State House members that if they did not vote for Straus, Straus would draw them out of their districts.

When the accusation was made, Straus referred the matter to the House Ethics Committee. Larry Phillips just so happens to be Vice Chair of that committee.
Here is where it gets fun.
Phillips did not recuse himself until after he was named as the man making the threats for Straus.
Rep. Bryan Hughes testified under oath that Phillips had made the threats.
Phillips was then called to testify and would not testify under oath. Phillips denied everything.
In other words, Hughes was willing to swear an oath and risk jail if he lied. Phillips refused to swear an oath so that, because he lied, nothing could happen to him.
And then the Speaker’s investigative committee declined to take any action.
It’s like suddenly Louisiana politicians have taken over Texas.

Why wouldn't Phillips just testify under oath? And why wouldn't Hopson recuse himself? The Straus team needs to be much less antagonistic and secretive and old boys insider esque here because they are just giving tea party peeps and bloggers something to write about... the more peeps write about it the more chance there is that Straus is booted... it is really that simple.

I don't know if there was corruption... I really have no idea what happened or if Bryan Hughes was taking something out of context or exaggerating but I doubt he out right made it up... Larry Phillips is saying that Hughes is lying under oath... but Phillips won't go under oath to say so? It doesn't pass the smell test...

Ken Herman... a Jewish journalist... argues it is okay to let religion play a role in a political choice...

Ken Herman certainly has some humorous moments, but he tackled a pretty serious issue this week (link). Excerpt follows...

Let's see if with a collective deep breath we can think our way through an ugly little political undercurrent that might hyperventilate into an ugly big overcurrent.
Some Christian conservatives in Texas are urging other Christian conservatives to help oust Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, who is Jewish.
Is the anti-Straus movement anti-Semitic? Could be, but what I've seen seems to be more pro-Christian.
I may be naive, but I'm going to try to make the case that there's nothing wrong with allowing your religion to inform your politics, and there is nothing wrong with siding with politicians who share your religion-informed politics.

A really interesting take on this race and the controversy that somehow got ginned up... take a step back from the ledge peeps... take a deep breath... and focus on the issues and leadership...

David Barton weighs in on the Speakers race with a video...

The influential social conservative leader doesn't endorse Paxton per se but does oppose Joe Straus... but is that picture really Harvey Kronberg?

My junk just got felt...

As someone traveling on one of the busiest travel days in America... I got my junk felt... it was a lot more invasive than I expected...

Rick has an idea that might help. He wants to take the TSA peeps who feel your junk and put them on the border (link). Excerpt follows...

The incoming chairman of the Republican Governors Association suggested Friday that TSA screeners would be more help securing the nation's border with Mexico.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday on Fox Business Network that states need to "push Washington back into that box that we call the United States constitution," but said the federal government needs to follow through on its responsibility of securing the U.S. border. 
"Just in the last two weeks, I've had five of my citizens who've lost their lives on that border with Mexico, and that is an irresponsible lack of focus by our federal government," Perry said, calling the federal security an "abject failure."
When asked if, in the wake of the TSA invasive pat-down controversy, he'd replace TSA screeners as states are allowed under federal law, Perry had an idea.
"How about we take all those TSA agents and put them on the border with Mexico where they can do some security there?" Perry said. "That's where we need security substantially more than in our airports and what we're seeing out of this bunch."

Frankly I don't mind the full body scan that much but if you are scanning my body there better be a medical reason for it... I don't need all of that extra radiation in my body... you better be checking out to see how I am doing in there...

You really have to give it to Rick... he is in tune with the populist grass roots when it comes to issues like this... he was basically the first politician to come out against these junk feelers... and he pulled off the double whammy by suggesting they should also go help secure the border... he just gets it doesn't he?

More anti Straus web sites and videos...

This is a very well put together video...




There is also an Oust Straus Facebook page... and a lot of other grassroots activity...

Straus as I have mentioned has a strong presence too... with a growing Facebook community... his peeps have also gotten a couple of bloggers on his team... although the anti Straus bloggers far out number the pro Straus bloggers.

The teams are revealing themselves...

Who will succeed Ed Kuempel?

After Representative Kuempel passed away there was an immediate scramble to fill his seat (link). Excerpt follows...

Ten, count 'em, 10, candidates are in the running to replace the late Rep. Ed Kuempel (R-Seguin) in a special election.
Kuempel died two days following the general election, following a bout of heart complications. Gov. Rick Perry announced Dec. 14 (a Tuesday) as the date of the special election for HD 44 (Guadalupe, Gonzales, and Wilson counties), and the filing deadline was 5 p.m. Monday.
They are, according to the Texas Secretary of State's office:
• Daniel Rodriguez Andrade (D), 45, of Seguin, a real estate business owner.
• Ron Avery (R), 63, of Seguin, an architect.
• Chris Burchell (R), 46, of Adkins, a law enforcement officer.
• Jim Fish (R), 53, of Cibolo, an entrepreneur.
• Tony Gergely (L), 51, of Seguin, a chemist who owns a laboratory which produces chemicals for commercial fishermen.
• Gary W. Inmon (R), 43, of Schertz, a private practice attorney and president-elect of the Texas Association of School Boards.
• John Kuempel (R), 40, of Seguin, a salesman and son of Rep. Kuempel.
• Myrna McLeroy (R), 72, of Gonzales, an oil and gas landman, a former State Republican Executive Committeewoman.
• Cheryl Dees Patterson (D), 44, of Seguin, a real estate agent.
• Robin R. Walker (R), 58, of Seguin, a self-employed business manager who challenged Rep. Kuempel in the GOP primary, drawing 25 percent.

Early voting is scheduled from Nov. 29-Dec. 10. Candidates from all parties will appear on the same ballot. If no candidate receives a majority, a runoff will follow about a month later.

I have heard that John Kuempel and Robin Walker are the top candidates, but why wouldn't some of these other candidates be formidable too?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Larry Phillips... vice chairman of the panel investigating... Larry Phillips... recuses himself...

This is strange. Bryan Hughes is alleging that Larry Phillips is the person who reached out to him on behalf of Straus and suggested that there would be consequences in redistricting if Hughes didn't go along (link). Excerpt follows...

Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, the vice chairman of the House committee charged with investigating ethics complaints, was identified today as the House leadership member who allegedly warned a colleague that lawmakers who fail to support Speaker Joe Straus for re-election could face retribution through redistricting.
Rep. Charles L. "Chuck" Hopson, chairman of the House General Investigating and Ethics Committee, made the disclosure before the committee went into closed executive session to discuss the allegation.  Phillips recused himself as vice chairman of the panel and was participating in the closed session. He was not immediately available for comment.
Hopson ordered the inquiry after Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, released a statement saying that a member of Straus' leadership team warned him that members who fail to support Straus in the speaker's race could be punished when lawmakers redraw legislative districts next year.
This is really amazing stuff... however my belief is that nobody is paying attention at all... this is all insider gamesmanship until perhaps after the new year when there will be a stretch of about 10 days of fast and furious campaigning by insiders and outsiders alike. For now both sides would be smart to build their armies and if you are Straus avoid embarrassments like this...
I had suggested that Phillips should recuse himself because he took money from Straus this year, but he had to recuse himself because he is the one being accused of threatening Hughes... Hopson should also recuse himself because of the enormous amount of money Straus gave his campaign this year... just to prove this is not a sham hearing...

Hughes played that whole thing very smartly... and depending on what happens now he should probably give more details...

On the one hand threatening redistricting someone out of their seat is likely unethical and possibly illegal... on the other hand we don't know what actually happened... it could have been an innocent remark by Phillips that Hughes blew up into something bigger we really don't know... except Hughes testified under oath and Phillips did not testify under oath and they disagreed on what was said... which is a little bit suspicious...

If Paxton keeps picking up 2 or 3 new pledges each day it has the possibility to snow ball but I think everyone can count, and Straus still has many many more pledges than he needs... it will take a critical mass of an opposition... many of whom got burned 2 years ago opposing Straus and do not want to get burned again now... before Straus is truly threatened...

Speakers race in pictures...

The Texas Tribune did a good job on this although in some ways it is more dizzying than it needs to be (link)...

Their version is interactive... you can click on faces and see details over at the Texas Tribune web page...

I think they could have made it a lot easier to follow... but maybe they wanted it to seem confusing to convey reality.

Peeps committing to Paxton...

There has been a small drip drop of peeps in the Texas House unpledging from Straus and committing to Paxton... and other freshmen committing to Paxton... it is still a fairly small number though. Does anyone see this trend continuing through the holidays? Or is the task too much of an up hill climb for Straus' foes...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ken Paxton has a web site now too...

Straus had a web site called http://www.conservatives4joestraus.com/

They messed up because if you go to http://www.conservativesforjoestraus.com/ it actually takes you to http://no2joestraus.com/ which is obviously an anti Straus web site...

Now there is also http://www.paxtonforspeaker.com/

There also seems to be some serious action at Side Line Bomb Thrower http://sidelinebombthrower.com/ which is now permanently listed over there on the side of Rick vs. Kay...

They wrote a few blogs supporting Rick in the gubernatorial race... and also bashed Michael Sullivan a little bit... now they seem to be the main blog out there supporting Joe Straus...

Meanwhile Red State keeps chugging along bashing Straus... and Texas bloggers are printing guest blogs from Joe Straus... not necessarily endorsing Straus it seems but putting their takes on the situation...

Texas Sparkle at the Houston Chronicle just prints the guest blog without any commentary (link)... does that mean she is endorsing Straus? It doesn't seem like she has weighed in at all on either side...

The Pondering Penguin is staying neutral but seems to be leaning toward Straus and at least doesn't like that a Georgia blogger is having such an influence on the Texas speakers race (link). Excerpt follows...

Why has the founder of a conservative blog, in Georgia, become so heavily invested in the race for Speaker of the House in the Texas state legislature? Why would this city council member from Macon, Georgia and professional blogger, as well as a newly popular conservative commentator on talking head cable shows and radio star wanna be (he all but begs Rush to allow him to guest host) decide to make a stand on his choice for this particular election?
I dared to make a comment on his Facebook page as he weighed in on the race - encouraging his Texas readers to call House members and asking them to "burn up some phone lines". I did so because I just think his involvement is strange. Maybe it's me. Maybe not. I have no way of knowing. He, however, responded, making references to 'stuck pigs' so there you have that, for whatever it's worth.

I am not taking a position either and I do like Red State but I also want to see Texans decide the Texas speakers race... not Mike Huckabee who has endorsed Paxton... Dick Armey has also endorsed Paxton but at least he is a Texan... Armey endorsed Kay over Rick though so he is not necessarily the best barometer in intraparty fights...

How will all of this play out? Is any of this getting through the clutter?

About Joe Straus and that 100% NARAL rating... how fair is that anyway?

The anti Straus peeps have a video out that makes the case pretty succinctly why Straus should not be speaker... and it includes a link about Straus' 100% rating from NARAL the pro abortion group (link)...

It is a tough video... to be sure...

The untrustworthy Dallas Morning News gave that claim about NARAL 3 peppers on its hotness scale (link). Excerpt follows...

In 2007, Straus voted 100 percent of the time with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. However, he only voted on one of nine votes the group considered crucial that session. Straus voted "aye" on an unsuccessful amendment to the state budget that would have shifted to child-abuse prevention efforts $5 million previously allotted to "pregnancy crisis centers," which advise women and girls about alternatives to abortions.
Sara Cleveland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said Straus favors helping women obtain family-planning services and birth control but is hardly in lockstep with her group. In the 2005 session, his first, it rated him a 45. That year, he voted on 11 of the group's 14 key roll calls - and against them on six of them. (As speaker, he doesn't cast votes so he had no score last year.) The 2009 session's biggest abortion-related issue was an unsuccesful bill that would have mandated sonograms for women seeking abortions. Texans for Life president Kyleen Wright of Mansfield has said Straus worked with her "consistently and in good faith" on that measure.


Straus isn't a fervent social conservative, but it's misleading to cast him as a staunch abortion-rights advocate.

While the Dallas Morning News is known for bad fact checks just like all the rest of the MSM, this one resonates. It does seem to be a little bit misleading to say he is strictly pro abortion or to use his rabbi's affiliation with Planned Parenthood as proof of what he believes on the issue, but you can't blame anyone for saying he had a 100% rating from NARAL... because that's the rating NARAL gave him... I think Straus should come out more forcefully on this issue if he wants to prove he is really pro life...

This did help... pro life advocate Kyleen Wright endorsed Straus (link). The letter follows...

Kyleen Wright, President of Texans for Life Coalition, wrote this letter in support of Speaker Joe Straus’ strong Pro-Life position. Please take a moment to read:
A charge has been leveled that Speaker Straus and his lieutenants killed the sonogram bill last session. This is categorically false, and I am disappointed about this and other claims, as well as the tenor of this race.
Speaker Straus’s office and lieutenants, in particular Chairman Charlie Geren and Chairman Todd Smith, worked consistently and in good faith with Texans for Life to pass the popular pro- life measure. Chairman Geren, as a member of the State Affairs Committee, worked to ensure an April hearing and to strengthen the weaker senate version of the bill at my request. Chairman Smith also pushed for hearings on the bill and a stronger version.
What finally killed the sonogram bill was the same thing that killed so many bills: the filibuster of the Voter ID bill, as the clock simply ran out. Even so, had former Speaker Craddick not missed the formal hearing called by Chairman Solomons on April 30th, the bill would have been voted out and ahead of Voter ID on the calendar, sailing to victory. A final Hail Mary Pass was played when Chairman Geren again intervened to secure the #2 spot on the Major State Calendar for the bill at the end of the session.
Furthermore, it was the Speaker’s team who rallied to my aid to defeat the Planned Parenthood sex ed bills.
Texans for Life and I are very grateful for the help of Speaker Straus and his team.
I have been taken to task for my assertions that Speaker Straus and his lieutenants helped pro- life efforts in the last session, and that there were all kind of other shenanigans we were up against. A quick review is in order.
First, it was a Craddick lieutenant who, on April 17th, pulled down all the budget amendments that pro-­lifers had put forth after months of research and the establishment of an elaborate on- site support system to assist members debating them. Pro- life leaders were devastated to see Rep. Phil King announce a deal had been struck with liberal Democrat and abortion advocate, Jessica Farrar. Without talking to a single stakeholder, this lieutenant, according to another pro- life leader, “gave up a lot, including a potentially devastating blow against Planned Parenthood…and got very little.” What we “got” was a weak and unsustainable embryo destruction rider.
As for the hearing on the sonogram bill, it was established that no controversial bills would be heard before the budget passed, the single legislative requirement for the session. This was a very tense, closely divided house after all. Nevertheless, the first week after the budget passed, the sonogram bill was heard in State Affairs. For the first time in the collective institutional memory of pro- life leaders, Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro- Choice Texas gave no public testimony against a pro-life bill. This did not bode well for us, and brought to mind rumors that there were members determined to ensure nothing pro- life would pass on Straus’ watch.
The significance of Craddick walking the vote on April 30th, is that he told the bill author ahead  of  time that he would not be there and did not want us to know. Clearly, arrangements could have been made as he and we were aware of the need to get this bill moving through the process before voter ID exploded in the house. Subsequent  delays in getting the bill out of committee were the result of  in- fighting among members and pro- life leaders about the substance of the bill. The Senate version was very weak and there was confusion over  whether or not Senator Dan Patrick had promised senators that the bill would not be strengthened in the House. Straus lieutenant Rep. Charlie Geren, at my urging, fought for a stronger version which eventually did pass out of committee.
Meanwhile, the Planned Parenthood sex ed bills were working their way through Public Education, and it was Craddick supporters we had to peel off the bill. It’s not a great leap in logic to suspect that those working against pro- life victories for the Straus team would just as soon hang a Planned Parenthood bill around his neck. Finally, in the midst of the chubbing, my colleagues and I wrote the members of the Republican Caucus to urge them to end the chubbing  because the sonogram bill was still in play. We reminded them that in the previous session Speaker Craddick had pulled the sonogram bill down to prevent the Democrats from chubbing, and suggesting it was our turn to benefit from a little horse- trading.
I attach for you the response I received from a Craddick lieutenant responding frankly that they could not because there were other bills just ahead on the calendar that they did not want to vote on. The member’s name has been redacted, and an unredacted copy has been provided to media for corroboration. Click here to read the e-mail response.
There are other emails I am not releasing, including one from a pro- life leader noting with surprise that certain Straus lieutenants had been our best help on the sonogram bill, and another detailing how Charlie Geren “could not have been more gracious and assured me he wanted us to work together.”
My loyalty is to the Life issue, and will not be clouded by personal loyalties. People will draw their own conclusions, but reasonable people will not find it unbelievable that members and others who lost power and influence in the sea change of leadership had an ax to grind against Straus. The continued demonization of Speaker Straus and distortion of his record is just more of the same.
Kyleen Wright

Those are all important points that can't be ignored...

Straus probably needs to be articulating some of this a little bit more forcefully... because you see and hear 100% NARAL enough times and it becomes a rallying point...

Kay's move...

The Texas Tribune has a sort of rambling blog on Kay's future but it makes a few good points (link). Excerpt follows...

What will happen this time around is anyone’s guess. Candidates file for office in the first days of the year in which they’ll be running. Hutchison’s office isn’t on the ballot until 2012, so it’ll be in the first week of January — not this one, but the next one — when she actually, legally, has to state her intentions. Only White has said he’s not interested this time. You can add Lt. Gov.David Dewhurst to the possible candidates on the Republican side (not saying yes, not saying no, so keep him listed). U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, got beat on Election Day but has lots of friends in the political money class and is the subject of much speculation. If you actually ask him, which risks spoiling the speculation, he says he hasn’t thought about future political races.
When she ran for governor, Hutchison signaled her seriousness not by resigning from one job to run for the other, but by nearly emptying her federal campaign finance treasury into her state political account. Texas, with more than a dozen and a half media markets, is a notoriously expensive place to campaign; a statewide Senate race usually costs upward of $10 million, more if it’s a real competition. At the end of September — the date of the latest report Hutchison filed with the Federal Election Commission — she had $52,053 in her federal campaign account. 
Want to know what she’s up to? Ignore the pronouncements and the parsing of her statements. Watch the money. If she wants voters to give her another term in 2012, she’ll have to convince the political financiers first.

Kay may have a difficult time raising money with as much ease as she once did... having lost so soundly to Rick a lot of her fund raising base has probably dried up and a lot of people will be hesitant to throw good money after bad... it is also a lot more effort and time intensive to raise money at the federal level... she can't just get a few big checks as in state politics...

Crushing free speech? What is the story here?

Texan Raz Shafer who works for American Majority and writes blogs for Red State has a blog up arguing that Joe Straus wants to crush free speech for bloggers (link). Excerpt follows...

Freedom of speech is under attack courtesy of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. He is effectively trying to stuff as much speech as possible into the definition of “political advertising,” hassling average Texans out of the conversation. In his interim charge to the General Investigating & Ethics Committee Straus commanded the following:
Review the definition of “political advertising” and determine whether the definition should be expanded to include content contained in blogs and other types of Internet communications.(For the complete list of interim charges click here.)
By changing the definition of “political advertising” in this way, Straus would effectively quash the ability of ordinary citizens to discuss politics online. All of a sudden your tweet about supporting a candidate would be a political advertisement instead of free speech and you’d have to file an ethics report with the State of Texas. There would have to be monetary values tied to blog posts, tweets, facebook statuses, etc. and the burden of that reporting would be on you!
When I first read the charge I had to do a double-take. The very idea of making citizens file ethics reports over personal tweets and blog posts seems like something we might expect from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, not a REPUBLICAN Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives! What should startle Texans is that Joe Straus, leader in the race for Speaker of the a Texas House with 99-51 Republican advantage, is pushing this issue from the wrong side.

Straus needs to clarify this asap or he is going to spark a blogger mutiny... if there is one thing bloggers on all sides of the political spectrum agree on it is that rules preventing them from expressing themselves freely should be quashed... and peeps proposing such rules should be crushed.

Team Straus has done some obvious blogger out reach and it is probably paying off... but they need to explain this in a hurry or there will be a big grass roots revolt against him... nothing quite angers Republican activists like the threat of losing even a part of their free speech....

The committee chairman investigating Bryan Hughes' allegations against Joe Straus got 42 thousand dollars from Straus this year...

At the very least this doesn't look good (link). Excerpt follows...

The chairman of an internal investigating committee meeting Tuesday to discuss allegations of intimidation and retribution by House Speaker Joe Straus received campaign donations totaling $42,000 from Straus and a political action committee he helped found.
The Joe R. Straus III campaign account and the Texas House Leadership Fund made four donations between February and September to the campaign of Chuck Hopson, R-Jacksonville, who Straus appointed in February of 2009 to chair the House General Investigating and Ethics Committee, according to records kept by the Texas Ethics Commission. The Straus and Leadership funds also made two donations totaling $5,000 to the vice-chairman of the committee, Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, the Ethics Commission records showed.

If Straus wants this to be a credible investigation, Hopson should recuse himself and let an objective member of the House look at what happened or didn't happen. Larry Phillips the vice chairman who also got money from Straus should also recuse himself for these proceedings to have any credibility...

Was Hughes exaggerating? Was there actual intimidation with redistricting being held up as the stick? I think it is in the best interests of everyone involved... especially Straus... to have the investigation be looked at as fair and honest and not tainted by donations or favors owed. It is entirely possible that nothing unethical happened, or it could have been the case of a rogue operator who didn't speak for Straus going overboard in the heat of the moment when talking to Hughes. Whatever the case, the process should not be clouded by a team member for one side also serving as a referee.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kay swearing off earmarks? I guess she is running in 2012....

The "earmark queen" is giving up earmarks after Mitch McConnell relented on the issue (link). Excerpt follows...

  WASHINGTON – Bowing to tea party pressure, Senate Republicans adopted a two-year moratorium on earmarks Tuesday night after Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and other resisters jumped on the bandwagon.

ALEX BRANDON/The Associated Press
ALEX BRANDON/The Associated Press

From left: Sens. Mitch McConnell , Lamar Alexander and John Cornyn talk about the earmark ban, which covers only Republicans in the Senate and is not enforceable.
The self-imposed ban mirrors an anti-earmark vow by the incoming House GOP majority. And it could have a significant effect on Texas, which has long relied on lawmakers in both parties to secure billions for hospitals, levees, bridges and military installations.
Hutchison has been an ardent purveyor of earmarks throughout her Senate career, directing at least $10 billion in federal spending in the last five years alone – mostly to Texas military bases, transit projects, universities and researchers. She said she decided to support the moratorium "as a way to the start the process of reform that is essential to address the crushing debt our country has accumulated."
But like other latecomers to the cause, she seemed less than enthusiastic about the move targeting earmarks, provisions tucked into legislation that specify funding for a particular project.     

The article goes on to say how terrible ending earmarks will be for Texas but fails to mention that Texas gets back a small fraction of earmarks relative to its size and what we pay to the federal government... if projects are truly worthy they will go through the normal appropriations process and not be secretly added by individual members... people need to get off the addiction to earmarks because in the end Texas ends up being a subsidy state for other states even if Texas does receive earmarks... the other thing that Kay sometimes sez is that Texas earmarks are all legitimate projects which may be true... but in order to get those we are all sacrificing our dollars and our principles to pay for frivolous projects in other states... Rick's peeps pointed out things like butterfly museums and indoor rain forests in other states... and again if Kay's earmarks are so valid she will be able to fight for them in normal channels... out in the open...

What Kay relenting on an earmark ban means to me is that she is running again in 2012 and wants to take this issue off the table... is also seems like her best friend in Washington Mitch McConnell changing his mind almost immediately changed her mind...

It is early in the game yet... lessons from 2009... in the speakers race...

Michael Sullivan has some interesting points here (link). Excerpt follows...

Two years is an eternity in politics, which might explain the forgetfulness surrounding the speakership. In November 2008, there were nine members of the Texas House vying to be Speaker. And not one of them was named Joe Straus.
In fact, State Rep. Joe Straus was pledged to the incumbent Republican Speaker, Tom Craddick of Midland.
O, how a month changes everything.
Consider this. Challenging Mr. Craddick for the gavel in November '08 were Pete Gallego (D-Alpine), Scott Hochberg (D-Houston), Alan Ritter (D-Nederland), Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), Sylvester Turner (D-Houston), Delwin Jones (R-Lubbock), Jim Keffer (R-Eastland), and Tommy Merritt (R-Longview). See a particular name missing?

Lesson 1. When Mr. Straus' team brags about their pledge cards, remember that Mr. Straus was pledged in November to Mr. Craddick. So what Straus signer might right now be in the wings, unaware she or he might be the next speaker?
Lesson 2. When folks compare the pledges of Mr. Straus' challengers to Mr. Straus, consider the list of opponents to Mr. Craddick and their pledges. Mr. Paxton and Mr. Chisum have more pledges and support today than Mr. Straus did two years ago today.
Lesson 3. Demands that pledge cards be considered binding must be met with a chuckle. Apparently even Mr. Straus did not consider his pledge to be of any consequence.
Welcome to the future. Something remarkable is happening, historically: the people aren't going away as some insiders had hoped. The backroom dealings have had its day, but that day is hopefully nearly done. 
No longer will Texans be content with a speaker chosen behind the scenes in a feudal system of pledges to a manor-lord. The speakership is a high office of public trust, and the people must be part of the discussion. That only happens through full political transparency, open debate and public dialogue.

This seems like a new tact from Michael Sullivan... to argue that the speakership is a high office of public trust... it is somewhat of a populist argument but an argument that even the liberal editorial boards will find hard to ignore... shouldn't the people be part of the process and shouldn't the process be transparent rather than behind closed doors?

At the same time though I think there were a lot more cracks in the Craddick control on the House two years ago after so many of his peeps lost left and right in the anti Bush wave of 2006 and the Obama wave of 2008... right now there are only two declared opponents to Joe Straus... and the Democrats aren't showing any cracks either in their support because they know the more moderate Straus is a better bet for them than someone like Ken Paxton...

I still think there is a speakers race... I wouldn't say it's over... but more reps will need to begin peeling off from Straus... and I do see his support as a bit soft with a lot of members but they aren't willing to speak out if it means they will lose their assignments or be targeted for redistricting... and redistricting will involve a lot of infighting within the GOP this year...

Joe Straus doing guest blog posts now...

In an attempt to bolster his conservative credentials Joe Straus is now doing guest blogs on blogs such as Big Jolly Politics (link). Excerpt follows...

First, I want to thank Big Jolly Politics for the hard work you do. You give Texans a conservative, hard-hitting outlook on the important issues being decided up in Austin.
Texas is looking at a major budget challenge when the Legislature convenes next year and I have already taken steps to balance our budget without raising taxes or fees. Along with Gov. Perry and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, I have told state agencies they must decrease their upcoming budget requests by 10 percent.
These requests are a continuation of efforts to meet our constitutional duty to balance the state budget.  We take our responsibility to Texas taxpayers very seriously, and I believe, together, we can make the necessary choices to help the Texas economy rebound and grow stronger.
I am committed to cutting government and making Austin live within its means, and I hope you will get behind my conservative leadership now.
After being elected Speaker, I guided the House through a difficult session plagued by tough economic times. We passed a budget that reduced state general revenue spending by more than two percent a year, invested close to $2 billion more in public education, increased college financial aid by $250 million, provided seed funding for the expansion of the number of Tier One institutions in Texas, and allowed the state’s “Rainy Day Fund” to grow to $9 billion to address future budgetary challenges.
That just proves that with the right leadership, we can make the hard decisions and still keep Texas strong.
The House passed its version of the budget with a unanimous vote. Similarly, legislators passed major school accountability reforms out of the House without a single dissenting vote.
I’m proud of the steps the House has taken since I became Speaker. We Republicans are working together and now with 99 GOP members, I look forward to the kind of budget reforms that our state needs.
You can learn more at www.conservatives4joestraus.com

This is an interesting tactic... will any other bloggers follow suit?

Michael Q. Sullivan talks with Red State peeps about the speakers race...

This is definitely worth listening to (link). Sullivan's perspective is that the Texas speakers race mirrors the national debate between establishment figures in the Republican Party and insurgent conservatives... is he right? You can listen and think for yourself...

Why would Mike Huckabee weigh in on the Texas speakers race... and why should anyone listen to him?

Mike Huckabee has endorsed Ken Paxton... that was the news yesterday... he opposes Joe Straus (link)...

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee today waded into the Texas House speaker’s race, endorsing Ken Paxton. Paxton, a McKinney Republican, is challenging House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio.
“While Republicans across Texas and across the nation had many great victories on November 2nd, the battle for true conservatism is not over,” says a statement from Huckabee and his political action committee, HuckPAC. “Now, as the majority Party in many State Houses, and the U.S. House, Republicans have the duty and ability to select strong conservatives to be new Speakers of the House. That position should be filled by one who has the knowledge, ability and relationships to create and push a strong conservative agenda. In Texas, that’s Ken Paxton.”

So what?

What does that mean?

Is Huckabee trying to prove himself as some kind of king maker? How does a Texas speakers race help him in New Hampshire and Iowa? What am I missing here?

Does Huckabee have that much sway in Texas?

Jason Embry thinks Republicans choosing the next speaker in Texas is a Washington idea...

I am not pro Straus or anti Straus but...

Again... the more of this kind of drivel I read in the liberal press, the more I am leaning against Straus. The best thing Straus could do right now is get the newspaper writers to stop writing nice things about him and bad things about his critics...

From Jason Embry's column (link). Excerpt follows...

Certain Republican lawmakers and activists don't like that it was mostly Democrats who gave Straus the early support he needed to beat Craddick. They want to prevent Democrats from again having the dominant vote in the speaker's race, even though dozens of Republicans who backed Craddick two years ago now want Straus to stay.
So the alternative they favor is to gather all GOP lawmakers in a caucus and choose a speaker from among their ranks. All of the Republicans would then agree to support that candidate when the formal vote for speaker arrives, and those who didn't would risk, at the very least, defeat in the next GOP primary.
The thinking here is that voters loudly and clearly spoke in favor of Republican rule when they gave the GOP a 99-51 House majority on election night, and those voters deserve a speaker who has the support of most Republican lawmakers.
Seems reasonable enough, but let's be clear: This is the Washington way of doing things.
Whichever party has the majority in the U.S. House chooses the House speaker from among its own membership. That person then functions as the leader of his or her partisan team, instead of trying to be the leader of the entire House, as Straus has.
Would Nancy Pelosi have been elected speaker if she had to campaign in front of the entire House, instead of just the Democrats?
This approach would prevent, say, 46 Republicans from joining with 30 Democrats to elect a speaker, because 53 other Republicans wanted someone else. A majority in the Republican caucus would become more important than a majority in the full House.
OK, but I have this nagging memory that I can't quite shake. I swear I remember hearing over the past several years that Washington was a broken, poisonous, corrupting place that had lost touch with the American people, and that the Texas way was always superior to the Washington way.
But now some proud Texans want to take a major step toward Washington-style governance?
My memory of this whole anti-Washington fervor really does seem pretty clear. I'm almost certain it happened. But maybe it was all in my head.
How weird.

This is just stupid.

The Texas way is whatever Texans say the Texas way is. Republicans getting together and agreeing to take a vote as a caucus and abide by that vote isn't the Washington way or the Texas way. It's called listening to the voice of the people in Texas who overwhelmingly expressed that they wanted the state to become more conservative... if Joe Straus is willing to make that happen then maybe he would be a fine speaker... if he is going to lead the way he did 2 years ago with lots of Democrats in committee chairmanships and a lackluster agenda then he should probably be replaced because that is not what Texans chose just two weeks ago. I don't know which Joe Straus we will get. I don't know that he has yet adequately indicated which Joe Straus he intends to be... I think he needs to do that with greater specificity and more firmness if he wants to reassure peeps getting heat from constituents.

What I do know is that if 99 Republicans allow 51 Democrats to dictate who the speaker is even though Republicans absolutely have the capacity to make their own choice... and even though the victors choosing the speaker is not unusual at all in Texas or any other system... just because some msm newspaper guy uses a sardonic writing style that belongs in a 1998 episode of Friends to make a tortured point about victors choosing being the Washington way... well... that is not leadership...

Texans didn't vote for bipartisanship or getting along or some mythical Bob Bullock Pete Laney let's all be friends thing (which is incredibly overblown, believe me I was there... it wasn't as friendly and happy go lucky as certain peeps try to make you think). Texans voted for a conservative agenda and to send a message to Obama.

I am not anti Straus or pro Straus and I really don't have an endorsement to make but again these sorts of msm articles and editorials are making me inch away from Straus...

Again I think Straus would do well to stop promoting these really faulty msm ideas and start telling us how he intends to lead if chosen as speaker again... he could end up being a great speaker in 2011 and even perhaps beyond, but not if he lets the editorial boards run his agenda...

Editorial boards going for Straus...

Given what Rick's peeps taught us about how Republicans view editorial board endorsements I am not sure this is the best strategy, but Straus has basically received the blessing of some big newspapers around the state (link). Excerpt follows...

       Chisum too strongly echoes the rural, right-wing Craddick years, but Paxton has tea party street cred and metro-area sensibilities. Normally, this newspaper would lean toward a North Texan, and there's much about the fiscally conservative Paxton to like. Unfortunately, he also opposes the revised franchise tax to help fund public schools and local-option revenue ideas to expand mass transit. He also strays too far toward the punitive in his immigration ideas.
The coming Legislature will require thoughtful solutions on a number of major issues, including a massive budget shortfall estimated at $21 billion or more. Republicans certainly have the numbers in the House to force through a conservative-only agenda, but is that ultimately wise for an entire state? Does one party – or one faction of that party – own a monopoly on good ideas?
We think not. Straus has shown he's a man of his word on giving members a far greater say in how the House operates, and, coming from San Antonio, he's urban in an increasingly urban state. Unquestionably, the House's political center has moved right, just not all the way to the edge.
Straus recognizes this and says he would manage a 99-51 House differently than a 76-74 House. He deserves the chance to prove that.
His critics should remember how it felt to see one ideology dominate Congress the last few years. Texas, thankfully, isn't Washington.     

The more of these "Paxton opposes higher taxes, therefore he is not qualified to be speaker" type editorials I read in the newspapers, the more I am inclined to oppose Straus.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mark Davis on the speakers race in Texas...

Conservative radio personality Mark Davis is endorsing Ken Paxton (link). Excerpt follows...

  Incumbent Joe Straus, the San Antonio Republican, earned the post in 2009 with a small percentage of actual Republican votes, bolstered by wide support from House Democrats, the minority party by a scant two seats.
A centrist speaker can be an expected by-product of a nearly evenly divided body. But the recent election shifted the House makeup to a nearly 2-to-1 GOP majority.
This has led some to call for a more conservative speaker. It also has led Joe Straus to redefine himself.Straus does not seek to redefine his conservatism, which he continues to assert as a follower of icons from Ronald Reagan to John Tower. The change he wants people to notice is his predilection for being a "members' speaker," there to serve broadly astride whatever ideological pie the electorate slices up.
Thus, a Speaker Joe Straus would lead differently with a 99-51 majority than with a 76-74 split.
To some people, this makes solid management sense. To others, it reveals grossly insufficient devotion to core beliefs.

       Chisum and Paxton hope for a caucus among the 99 incoming House Republicans, with the goal of uniting behind a single speaker candidate – and preventing Democrats from dominating the vote as they did in 2009.
With sparse Republican support back then, one might expect Straus to oppose that idea. He told me he does not and expects to receive a majority of Republican support, in addition to "the support of the whole House." (Translation: Nearly every Democrat.)
Is that overconfidence? Can Chisum or Paxton sway enough votes from an incumbent speaker? It may boil down to management styles. Should a speaker be an arbiter and steward reflecting the entire complexion of the House, or a quarterback for his political team, marching its agenda down the field?
I choose B, and I'd say the same if Democrats were in charge. I have spoken to Chisum, and his life story and conservative spine are inspiring. But I have been around Paxton since he won his seat, and I have seen him take to Austin with an energy and commitment that seem like a superb fit for a House teeming with fresh conservative passions.
Straus' detractors occasionally have been too harsh. But it may well be that it's time for a speaker who will assert the will of the majority party, rather than the aggregate tastes of every district.
Haven't we heard endlessly that elections have consequences? 

Mark Davis in these things always takes an entire column to get to his point... by the time he endorses Paxton you've almost come to accept that Straus will be speaker again... he did that same thing in the Rick vs. Kay race... sort of praising Kay for several paragraphs then endorsing Rick...

Erick Erickson and RedState keep weighing in on the Texas speakers race...

RedState is not a fan of Joe Straus (link)...

It is nauseating to hear people tell me over the past 48 hours that Joe Straus, the Democrat backed Speaker of the Texas House, is a “conservative.” With redistricting at stake in a state the size of Texas, we need to come to terms with why Straus is not a conservative and should be defeated. Likewise, Republicans who vote for him will all need to be challenged in primaries.
Yes this is that big of an issue. And yes it is worth taking to the front page of a national political blog to focus on this one man in one state.
The people saying Joe Straus is conservative are the same people who’ve spent the past year trying repeatedly to shut out conservatives in the election and dress up moderates and liberals as conservatives.
It is not going to work.
Anyone who says Joe Straus is a conservative is either a fool or a liar.
I hate to be that blunt, but the truth sometimes must be.

Does a guy in Georgia have sway in Texas legislative politics? Probably somewhat... he is on CNN all the time and does command a Texas presence...

Peter Morrison on Straus...

Peter Morrison is a conservative activist who I believe was supportive of Debra Medina in the Republican primary... he is kind of out there in some ways but does brag that he has a large email list... I found this email in my spam folder...

Summary of this week's report:

Joe Straus, the liberal Republican Speaker of the Texas House of
Representatives, is on the ropes, lashing out at the grassroots and
bullying conservative Texas State House members in a desperate bid
to hold onto power.  Your representative needs to hear from you
today, demanding they support a conservative like Rep. Warren
Chisum or Rep. Ken Paxton for Speaker.  Please go to this site and
call or email your member today:


Just enter your address and call your member of the Texas House of
Representatives.  This is not your Congressman, but your Texas
State Representative.  Then, please visit this site and sign the
petition supporting a conservative Speaker:


The full report:

In the history of The Peter Morrison Report, this may be the most
important message I've ever sent you.  After Election Day's
historic Republican gains in Texas, Republicans now hold 99 seats
out of 150 in the Texas House.  We can now push to remove Joe
Straus, the liberal, pro-abortion Speaker of the House, and replace
him with a true conservative.

Just as a reminder, here's why Joe Straus needs to go:

* As Speaker, Straus appointed liberal committee chairs Burt
Solomons and Brian McCall who effectively killed all immigration
enforcement legislation in the 2009 session.  Because the
Legislature only meets every two years, this means the ongoing
invasion of our state cannot be addressed until 2011 at the

* Joe Straus is pro-abortion.  In fact, his rabbi sits on the board
of San Antonio Planned Parenthood.  I can tell you what I would do
if my pastor supported Planned Parenthood: I would find a new
church.  Joe Straus clearly lacks the moral compass to be Speaker,
the third most powerful office in the state.

* According to Heritage Alliance, in the last legislative session
in which he voted, Joe Straus voted with conservatives only 52% of
the time, which was the second worst voting record among
Republicans.  In fact, five Democrats were more conservative than
Straus!  His claim to be a conservative leader is laughable.  He
was elected in 2009 because of a coalition of turncoat Republicans
and every Democrat in the Texas House.

Both Rep. Warren Chisum and Rep. Ken Paxton, who are Christians and
true conservatives, have risen to the occasion to challenge Joe
Straus for leadership.

Now I'm about to tell you breaking news about Joe Straus that
should infuriate you.  He just released a letter yesterday
attacking Rep. Chisum.  I'm going to share the last paragraph with

"If you truly believe that the Texas House of Representatives
should be protected from the kind of scorched earth campaign
unleashed by your allies, then I call on you to put a stop to it
for the sake of the membership. Stop the threatening letters,
mean-spirited emails, and angry phone calls. Let each member of the
House, elected to represent the views of their constituents, decide
this election free of such divisive hostility."

Let me translate for you: the election's over.  The grassroots
needs to sit down at the back of the bus while the insiders decide
who's in charge.  Straus has nothing but contempt for the thousands
of conservative Texans communicating with their legislator to try
and elect a conservative speaker.  You see, in Joe Straus' world,
legislators are supposed to represent their constituents' views,
but if a constituent actually shares their views then that's "mean

Right now I believe the Republicans in the Texas House are ready
for a new Speaker.  However, they're also scared.  They know if
they come out for a conservative Speaker and Straus somehow
survives, they will be punished in the 2011 session.

In fact, one of Straus' bullying tactics just came to light as I
write this.  Rep. Brian Hughes released a letter saying he will not
support Straus, and among his reasons why: Straus' staff threatened
him with redistricting if he didn't cooperate.

Think about this: a Republican Speaker, threatening a Republican
member with the prospect of a gerrymandered district that would
disenfranchise his conservative constituents.  This tactic reveals
that Straus is truly a traitor, a man who would hurt conservatives
in order to hold on to power.

I think there is great hope right now, but you need to take action.
 Joe Straus has played "Mr. Nice Guy" for the last two years, but
cracks are starting to appear in that facade.  His contemptuous
dismissal of the grassroots and his bullying tactics reveal
desperation in a man who feels threatened by the conservative
victory of Election Day.

Now is the time to apply pressure.  Now is the time to demand your
representative support a true conservative for Speaker.

Your representative needs to hear from you today, demanding they
support a conservative like Warren Chisum or Ken Paxton for
Speaker.  Please go to this site and call or email your member


Just enter your address and call your member of the Texas House of
Representatives.  This is not your Congressman, but your state
representative.  Then, please visit this site and sign the petition
supporting a conservative Speaker:


The Peter Morrison Report















PO Box 8742, Lumberton, TX 77657, USA

The Dallas Morning News took issue with Morrison using the concept of Paxton and Chisum being Christians (link). Excerpt follows...

  AUSTIN – Some conservative Republican activists working to unseat House Speaker Joe Straus are circulating e-mails that emphasize his Judaism.
Several e-mails have surfaced in recent days that mention Straus' rabbi and underscore the Christian faith of his leading critics in the House Republican Caucus.
"Straus is going down in Jesus' name," said one, whose origins were unclear.
Straus, R-San Antonio , "clearly lacks the moral compass to be speaker," said another, written by Southeast Texas conservative activist Peter Morrison.
"Both Rep. Warren Chisum and Rep. Ken Paxton, who are Christians and true conservatives, have risen to the occasion to challenge Joe Straus for leadership," Morrison wrote in his newsletter last Thursday, referring to two Republicans who are running against Straus for speaker.
Morrison, asked Tuesday if he intended to signal that Straus is unfit because he is Jewish, replied in an e-mail, "I was simply making factual statements about Rep. Chisum and Rep. Paxton."
Morrison said his opposition to Straus is driven by issues, not religion.     

  The Quorum Report, an online newsletter, reported extensively late Monday on e-mails that mentioned Straus' Judaism, his rabbi and the Christian faith of his House critics, who include Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola.
Kaufman County Tea Party Chairman Ray Myers, a homebuilder and retired high school principal, sent an e-mail last week praising Hughes as "a Christian Conservative who decided not to be pushed around by the Joe Straus thugs."
On Tuesday, Myers said that "it never crossed my mind" that Straus is Jewish when he wrote the e-mail. Myers said many tea party supporters consider Straus a Republican in name only, or RINO.
"We're going after the RINOs," he said.     

I think if people are injecting religion in this race they are just giving newspapers something to write about and help people rally around Straus... and I think looking at the actual email the Morrison Report probably did in fact mean to inject Straus' Jewish faith as a negative... and I reject and denounce him and his attempt to be divisive there... but is the Morrison Report really that influential? If anything the Morrison report is so strident about so many things that he doesn't really have a lot of allies... he sort of alienates his own "friends" and "allies" by attacking first and asking questons later... I never hear people talking about the Morrison Report... oh no... the Morrison Report said something... we should react... nope... nobody does that...

As for Ray Myers, he did nothing wrong as I see it, and people are really stretching if they are trying to see anti-semitism in his comments... it is just a fact that Bryan Hughes is a well known Christian Conservative. Like a brand. Both capitalized... I would just guess that Myers didn't even know Straus was Jewish until he was contacted by the reporter...

Reiterating... I do agree that Peter Morrison crossed the line and did it intentionally... and I condemn that... but I still don't really see real evidence of an actual anti semitic campaign the way Harvey Kronberg and others have said exists... one crank who is trying to make a name for himself should not be seen as speaking for the opposition to Straus... certainly there are other Jewish Republicans who aren't fans of Straus... paging Leo Berman...