08.29.12

Dewhurst and the Texas Senate

Posted in Around The State, Commentary, Election 2012, The Lege, Vouchers at 10:31 am by wcnews

Yesterday Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst moved to quell any speculation that he won’t run for reelection in 2014.  By announcing that he will be running for Lt. Gov. again in 2014, Dewhurst Plans to Run for Re-election.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, after getting a standing ovation by the Texas Republican delegation in Florida, announced Tuesday that he plans to run for re-election.

“I fully expect to be running for re-election in March of 2014,” Dewhurst said.

“As long as the people of Texas want me to continue serving to help move this state forward, then I’m honored.”

Whether he runs or not, it’s going to be a crowded field.

Three statewide elected Republicans — Comptroller Susan Combs, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples — have all expressed some interest in running for lieutenant governor. Patterson said he will run in 2014 whether Dewhurst is on the ticket or not — and wondered out loud if the incumbent would bow out by then.

“I’m not absolutely sure that he’s absolutely sure,” Patterson said.

Kuff thinks he may be trying to keep these three from getting in this race, Dewhurst says he’s running for re-election in 2014.

Dewhurst could of course just be doing this as a show of bravado to help keep the jackals at bay, but as with Rick Perry I think it’s best to assume he means it until proven otherwise.

It’s not just the potential list of jackals running against him, but he has to keep (or get), some control over a more right wing Senate.

And voucher proponents already have a powerful ally in Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, who is a potential candidate to lead the Senate Education Committee, but there has also been a dramatic reshuffling in the upper chamber, one that could expand after next week’s runoff and the November general election.

So far, four Republican senators — Steve OgdenChris HarrisMike Jackson andFlorence Shapiro — have been replaced by very conservative House members — Charles SchwertnerKen PaxtonKelly Hancock and Larry Taylor. And two more incumbents are still in peril. Sen. Jeff Wentworth faces a stiff runoff challenge from Tea Party supportedDonna Campbell. Democrat Wendy Davis has a general election contest against Rep. Mark Shelton, R-Fort Worth, in a district that leans Republican.

Among the new faces, Patrick and others might be able to find enough support for the legislation that failed in 2007.

Earlier in the week he chose a regressive to chair the Senate Finance committee and is now making noise that he will support private school vouchers.

Dewhurst made it clear that he supports the voucher concept, though he said that is just one of many options to pursue.

“I personally don’t have any problem with a program in which children’s parents receive a payment from the state and are able to select which school that they go to,” Dewhurst said.

“I’m willing to look at more choice for more parents. It’s early, too early, to talk about what form that may take, whether it could be payments, whether it could be tax credits, whether it could be more charters schools,” he said.

Vouchers would do grave harm to public education in Texas, (but that’s been the GOP regressives plan all along). How serious Dewhurst is about pursuing vouchers will show when he chooses between the two likely candidates, Senator’s Kel Seliger and Dan Patrick, to chair the Education Committee.

Dewhurst’s job next session was going to be tough no matter what. But as a lame duck it would have been damn near impossible. What he said yesterday is what he had to say if wanted to have a chance of wielding power next session. As far as what he will ultimately decide depends on how next session goes and how the polling looks in the Fall of 2013. That and other unforeseen issues, could ultimately change his expectations of running, or whether or not the people of Texas still want him to continue serving.

08.20.12

Matt Stillwell relaunches web site, interiewed on YNN Austin

Posted in Election 2012 at 2:57 pm by wcnews

Matt Stillwell Democratic candidate for the Texas House in District 136 has relaunched his web site, www.mattstillwell.com.  It looks great.

He also appeared on YNN Austin on Thursday.  The link to the video is here, (scroll to the bottom).

Stillwell’s main reason for running is the issue of public education.  He is committed to refunding public education in Texas.  From his issues page.

Nationally, Texas ranks near the bottom in many public education categories — and ranks last in some. Our state’s education system is failing our students by almost every measure. And what was the Texas Legislature’s solution? Cut education funding by over $5 billion. While throwing money at a problem is no guarantee for improvement, ask any teacher, principal, or superintendent if the problems our schools face are getting better or worse, and they’ll tell you things are not getting better. The dire challenges our schools face due to the 2011 budget cuts, and the deeper cuts anticipated for 2013, are harming the quality of education of for our most precious and important natural resource — Texas children.

Painful state policy resulting in teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, and decreased exposure to arts and electives, puts our students at risk of failing to reach their full potential. More standardized tests are NOT the answer. If we want our economy to grow, and the jobs created to be high paying jobs, we need to make sure Texas has a highly educated workforce. To make sure of this, we must restore full funding for education, while demanding accountability and results from our teachers. We must go beyond the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic to fully develop future leaders.

He’s running in the newly created District 136 [MAP] which includes Northwest Austin, Cedar Park and Leander. If you live in that area and believe in quality public education you need to help Matt Stillwell get elected to the Texas House of Representatives.

08.15.12

Right back to 1929

Posted in Around The Nation, Bad Government Republicans, Commentary, Election 2012, The Economy at 12:23 pm by wcnews

Bruce Bartlett does an excellent job re-shredding an already debunked, (Culture Of Fraud), paper by the Romney/Ryan (R&R) “economists”.  Here’s the article and key excerpts, Blaming Obama for George W. Bush’s Policies.

So whatever caused the 2007-9 recession had to have resulted from policies that the Bush administration was responsible for – either by initiating them or failing to act against them.

Space prohibits a full discussion of these issues, but certainly one factor had to be the squandering of budget surpluses that resulted from the policies of the Bill Clinton administration and their replacement by huge deficits under President Bush.

Mr. Bush inherited a budget surplus of $236 billion from Mr. Clinton in 2000, which fell to $128 billion in 2001. By 2002, the federal government ran a budget deficit of $158 billion, which rose to $377 billion in 2003, and $413 billion in 2004. The deficit fell to $318 billion in 2005, $248 billion in 2006, and $161 billion in 2007, then shot up to $459 billion in 2008.

It should be noted as well that the fiscal 2009 budget was submitted to Congress by Mr. Bush in January 2008 and took effect on Oct. 1 of that year – almost four months before President Obama took office.

Thus the government was running historically large budget deficits long after the end of the 2001 recession. As I have previously documented, these deficits resulted to a large extent from legislated tax cuts during the Bush years.

It is also important to note, though one will not find it in the economists’ report, that much of the legislated increase in the deficit under President Obama resulted from tax cuts. According to the Congressional Budget Office, tax cuts in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 reduced revenues by $253 billion between 2009 and 2011 – about a third of the budgetary cost of the stimulus package.

Further tax cuts agreed to by President Obama in 2010 added another $354 billion to the deficit in 2011 and a similar amount this year. Thus about $1 trillion of the deficit since 2009 came from tax cuts.

Most economists believe that running large deficits during cyclical upturns is a bad idea because they overstimulate the economy when it’s not needed and thus sow the seeds of economic imbalances that lead to subsequent recessions. One can argue that George W. Bush’s budgetary profligacy was a major cause of the 2007-9 recession – the longest and deepest of the postwar era.

Even if one isn’t willing to go that far, it is apparent that had Mr. Bush reduced budget deficits rather than enlarging them through tax cuts and spending increases for wars, pork-barrel projects and a new entitlement program (Medicare Part D), the federal government would have had more fiscal ammunition available to fight the recession that President Obama inherited from President Bush.

Because of the large deficits Mr. Bush bequeathed Mr. Obama – on Jan. 8, 2009, the C.B.O. projected a deficit for the year of $1.3 trillion that didn’t include any Obama policies – Congress was deeply reluctant to enact a stimulus larger than $787 billion, even though President Obama’s economic advisers thought that one at least twice as large was necessary to turn the economy around. The opposition of every Republican to the 2009 stimulus was a major factor in its inadequate size.

By way of analogy, suppose you go to your doctor with an illness. He correctly diagnoses it and prescribes the right medicine, but for some reason you are given a dosage only half as large as required. The medicine was enough to improve your condition, but not enough to cure you. You remain sick although you feel better and will remain so until you finally get a full dosage of the proper medicine or your body is able to cure itself, which might take years.

Note that in this analogy the medicine was properly prescribed; only the dosage was wrong. It would be incorrect to blame the medicine because you are still sick.

The Republican economists nevertheless blame the medicine itself for the failure of the economy to respond to President Obama’s prescription.

But it was Republican policies during the Bush administration that brought on the sickness and Republicans in Congress who have denied the economy an adequate dosage of the cure. Now they want to implicitly blame President Obama for causing the recession and the failure of stimulus to fix the problem, asserting that fiscal stimulus is per se ineffective.

There is a word for this: chutzpah.

That along with the post below should remind everyone of what we will go back to if President Obama is not reelected. Along those lines there’s a new book out from Michael Grunwald called The New New Deal. While I think calling the stimulus a new New Deal is too much, this article from the author makes some very good points, Obama’s New Deal. Here’s an excerpt that sums up the article pretty good.

“The Stimulus Shows What Obama Is All About.”

Yes. This kind of statement is usually intended as an insult; critics on the right and the left describe the Recovery Act as the essence of Obama-ism. It is, but not in the way they mean.

To Republicans, the “failed” stimulus is a classic Obama exercise in big-government liberalism, fiscal irresponsibility, and incompetence. But those are all bum raps. The Recovery Act included $300 billion in tax cuts, just as Republicans had requested; ARPA-E was its only new government agency, and most of its spending went to priorities (from highways to electric vehicles to unemployment insurance) that had always been bipartisan until they were associated with Obama. The stimulus did increase the deficit — that’s the whole point of Keynesian stimulus — but its impact on the long-term debt was negligible compared with the Bush tax cuts, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and collapsing revenues during the Great Recession. And the Recovery Act really was an exercise in good government. Not only was it scandal-free and earmark-free, on time and under budget, but it also engineered a quiet bureaucratic revolution, harnessing the power of competition to award tax dollars to the worthiest applicants instead of just spreading cash around the country. The stimulus created dozens of competitive, results-oriented races to the top for everything from lead-paint removal to the smart grid to innovative transportation projects.

Yet somehow, to many liberals, the stimulus exposed the president as a spineless sellout, more interested in cutting deals than chasing dreams, happy to throw his base under the bus, and desperate to compromise with uncompromising Republicans. But progressive purity wouldn’t have gotten 60 votes in the Senate. And Obama isn’t a progressive purist. In reality, the Recovery Act provided early evidence that Obama is pretty much what he said he was: a left-of-center technocrat who is above all a pragmatist, comfortable with compromise, solicitous of experts, disinclined to sacrifice the good in pursuit of the ideal but determined to achieve big things. It reflected his belief in government as a driver of change, but also his desire for better rather than bigger government. And it was the first evidence that despite all his flowery talk during the campaign, he understood that bills that don’t pass Congress don’t produce change.

Ultimately, the stimulus was the purest distillation of what Obama meant by Change We Can Believe In. It was about saving the economy from a calamity, but also changing the economy to prepare America to compete in the 21st century. On the trail, Obama often talked about cleaner energy, better schools, health reform, and fairer taxation not only as moral imperatives, but as economic prerequisites for American renewal and leadership. He warned that the United States couldn’t afford to let the green industries of the future drift abroad; or fail to prepare children for the information age; or lose control of skyrocketing health-care costs that were bankrupting families, companies, and the country. And the Recovery Act took steps — in some cases, giant steps — in all those directions. Nearly four years later, the stimulus has become a punch line, a talking point in a political battle over big government, but it’s moving America toward that hopey-changey policy vision he laid out during his last campaign.

In the end, the stimulus didn’t live up to the hype, but it made things better. That’s the whole point of change.

While the article is pretty easy on Obama, it’s hard to argue that the stimulus didn’t make things better then they were when Obama took office. But it also must be pointed out that more was needed, and still needs to be done. Obama may have gotten all the could get, at the time, but there still needs to be pressure put on him from the left to do more. (See Five Reasons Why Crisis Persists).

One of the main problems with Ryan joining the ticket is that we are back to playing defense of protecting the status quo of the social safety net and not talking about putting people back to work and expanding the social safety net by taxing the wealthy. The R&R ticket and economic plan is radical at best, but more to the point it’s dishonest and destructive to our country’s future.

While Obama should be credited with stopping the crisis, he certainly could have used the bully pulpit to show the American people who has been keeping him from doing more. I still believe that one of the main problems that Obama had was timing. In comparison to FDR and the Great Depression, Obama got in office in 1929, shortly after the crash. He stopped it from turning into another Great Depression.  But the economic crisis hadn’t persisted long enough to bring about sweeping change. Where when FDR got in office, there had already been three years of inaction, and the country was in dire shape.

Obama was not swept into office with near the wave and mandate of FDR. There’s much more to be done and in the upcoming election he’s the only choice we have. Because the other side will just take us right back to where we were in November of 2008. It would be like the ensuing 4 years never happened. We would be right back to 1929.

08.14.12

Starve the beast

Posted in Around The Nation, Bad Government Republicans, Commentary, Election 2012, The Budget, The Economy at 1:04 pm by wcnews

It’s key go back through it all to truly understand Paul Ryan’s economic nonsense.  It stared a long time ago and persists today.  Those on the right, we’ll call them regressives, never liked public policy that helped the people and helped make our country more equal.  The problem for the regressives all along has been how to come up with a plan to do away with public policies that the vast majority of people like and benefit from, without being banished, again, as a minority party for decades.

The idea they came up with was to drive the deficits up extremely high, then bring for a scheme to gut those beloved public policies as the only way to fix the problem, which they intentionally created.  It’s was called “starve the beast“.  The mechanism they used to create the deficit was a false economic panacea called supply-side, or Voodoo economics.

Reagan and Daddy Bush used it first.  They created never before seen, record high, peace time deficits.  In 1992 there was a recession, and Ross Perot, et al., didn’t think we’d ever be able to pay down the deficit.  But Clinton got elected, raised taxes on the wealthy, the economy boomed, and the deficit was on its way out.  Al Gore was made fun of because he wanted to put the surplus in a lock box, and instead Dubya was (s)elected, lowered taxes on the wealthy (twice), went to war(s), and passed an unfunded prescription drug plan, ran up huge deficits, and caused a financial crisis. TARP was passed to save the banks from themselves.

Obama was elected to fix this.  So far he has not raised taxes on the wealthy.  He passed a meager stimulus, filled with far too many tax cuts, and bailed out the GM and Chrysler.  The economy is stuck because the regressives in Congress will not act.

All of this is to setup the fact that Paul Ryan personifies the story above.  His time in Congress shows that he embraces the “starve the beast” policy.  Ryan voted for every Dubya policy that made deficits skyrocket.  Via Chris Hayes, Paul Ryan, deficit-cutter? Here are his votes on the Wall Street bailout, Bush tax cuts and Iraq War.

Here’s the classic CBPP chart on what are the causes of our current deficit.

It’s easy to see the correlation. And now that the deficit Ryan sanctioned has been created he’s willing to force those much needed and  beloved public programs to be decimated so that he and his wealthy backers, not only don’t have to pay more taxes, but actually get their taxes lowered.  As pointed our here, It’s not just Medicare that the proposed Ryan budget would eviscerate, the Romney/Ryan budget is about coming after more than just Medicare.  The regressives want to take us back to before the New Deal.

It’s truly a shame that so many Americans have bought into this “fairy dust” as President Obama has so aptly put it. There is a way out of our current depression but it’s not being discussed in the presidential campaign thus far.  Let’s hope that changes soon.

Further Reading:
The Impact of the Romney/Ryan Budget in Texas.
Paul Ryan’s Fairy-Tale Budget Plan.

08.11.12

Boxed in by his base, Romney chooses Ryan, who wants to kill Medicare

Posted in Around The Nation, Election 2012 at 2:20 pm by wcnews

All I could think of when I heard that presumptive GOP nominated Mitt Romney had chosen Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate was a Seinfeld episode. The “mimbo” episode, and like that episode Ryan is a “malin” – a male Palin. It’s like 2008 all over again, the GOP nominee having to choose a running mate to mollify the “wing nut” base of the GOP.

For those who don’t know Ryan is the author of the most cruel, austere, and deficit increasing budget produced in some time. The will write themselves, GOP thinker David Frum describes perfect attack ad against Ryan.

Frum says the Dems’ perfect attack ad against Paul Ryan will be a woman saying that Ryan is going to make it much harder for her to get Medicare when she returns:

“You’ve worked hard all your life. You’ve paid Medicare taxes for almost 30 years. But under the Republican plan, Medicare won’t be there for you. Instead of Medicare as it exists now, under the Republican plan you’ll get a voucher that will pay as little as half your Medicare costs when you turn 65—and as little as a quarter in your 80s. And all so that millionaires and billionaires can have a huge tax cut.”

Frum ads, “That ad will draw blood and will—as Henry Kissinger used to say—have the additional merit of being true.”

He also likes Ayn Rand, The Infantile Randroid on deck.

By the way, I’ve been writing about Ryan for a very long time and not because he’s so good-lookin’. He’s not a normal politician, he’s a dangerous Ayn Rand acolyte who should never be allowed to get near to real power.

An excerpt from Ezra Klein on the choice (3 of 10).

1. Both Democrats and conservatives are going to get the exact debate they wanted. I’m not so sure about Republicans.

2. This is an admission of fear from the Romney campaign. You don’t make a risky pick like Paul Ryan if you think the fundamentals favor your candidate. You make a risky pick like Paul Ryan if you think the fundamentals don’t favor your candidate. And, right now, the numbers don’t look good for Romney: Obama leads in the Real Clear Politics average of polls by more than four percentage points — his largest lead since April.

3. Related point: Two of the top contenders in the Romney campaign’s veepstakes were Ohio’s Rob Portman and Florida’s Marco Rubio. Given that there’s fairly good evidence that vice presidential candidates are worth at least a point or two in their home states, the Romney campaign’s decision to pick Ryan is evidence that they feel they need to change the national dynamic, not just pick off a battleground state.

And the GOP now has a ticket completely devoid of any foreign policy experience.

Further Reading:
Via CBPP, Ryan Roundup: Everything You Need to Know About Chairman Ryan’s Budget.

[UPDATE]: Krugman weighs in, Galt / Gekko 2012.

There is, I gather, lots of horse-race speculation: It’s a disaster! No, it changes the conversation away from Bain and those missing tax returns! I have no idea who’s right.

What I do know is that anyone who believes in Ryan’s carefully cultivated image as a brave, honest policy wonk has been snookered. Mark Thomareviews selected pieces I’ve written about Ryan; he is, in fact, a big fraud, who doesn’t care at all about fiscal responsibility, and whose policy proposals are sloppy as well as dishonest. Of course, this means that he’ll fit in to the Romney campaign just fine.

 

08.07.12

“Romney-hood” – trickle down tax cut fairy dust

Posted in Around The Nation, Election 2012, Taxes at 2:20 pm by wcnews

Here’s the video of President Barack Obama explaining the concept of “Romney-hood”.

It’s taken a while but over the last month or so the President has finally started to say the things that will get him a second term. He’s taking it to his regressive opponent. Last week the non-partisan Tax Policy Center released a report about the regressive nature of Romney’s unspecific tax plan.

Our major conclusion is that a revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed – including reducing marginal tax rates substantially, eliminating the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) and maintaining all tax breaks for saving and investment – would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers. This is true even when we bias our assumptions about which and whose tax expenditures are reduced to make the resulting tax system as progressive as possible.

In other words they’re giving Romney the biggest benefit of the doubt they can and still his plan is still hyper-regressive, (beneficial to the wealthy and harmful to everyone else). Ezra has more on the lack of specificity in Romney’s plan, The massive policy gap between Obama and Romney.

Take taxes. Romney has promised a “permanent, across-the-board 20 percent cut in marginal rates,” alongside a grab bag of other goodies, like the end of “the death tax.” Glenn Hubbard, his top economic adviser, has promised that the plan will “broaden the tax base to ensure that tax reform is revenue-neutral.”

It is in the distance between “cut in marginal rates” and “revenue-neutral” that all the policy happens. That is where Romney must choose which deductions to cap or close. It’s where we learn what his plan means for the mortgage-interest deduction, and the tax-free status of employer health plans and the Child Tax Credit. It is where we learn, in other words, what his plan means for people like you and me. And it is empty. Romney does not name even one deduction that he would cap or close. He even admitted, in an interview with CNBC, that his plan “can’t be scored because those details have to be worked out.”

Without specifics it’s extremely easy to deride Romney’s plan. But this is one of the major failings, thus far, of his campaign. He thought he could sail through without having to campaign on specifics. But that’s not going to work, with the President Obama using more populist, pro-middle class rhetoric that is so foreign to Romney. Jeff Madrick in a recent article puts it this way.

Since last fall, Obama has talked a better game than he did in the first years of his presidency. He has proposed a decent jobs program and is now talking in clearer and more forceful ways about the true purposes of government. A second term could be a more enlightened one, and he may yet become one of America’s finest presidents. This will be a historically critical election.

Let’s hope.  Things are looking better for President Obama being reelected, and the numbers may be getting better for Congressional Democrats as well. Via Democracy Corps, 100 Days Out: From Serious Vulnerability to a Wave Election.

Less than 100 days until the election, the latest battleground survey by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Democracy Corps shows Democrats with an advantage in the most vulnerable tier of Republican districts. The first Democracy Corps survey of the reapportioned battleground shows Republican incumbents in serious and worsening trouble. The 2012 campaign has just turned the corner on 100 days and the message of this survey could not be clearer: these 54 battleground Republicans are very vulnerable and many will lose their seats.

There’s still time and much can happen. But so far the GOP obstructionism and a return to Bush-style, “Romney-hood”, trickle-down economics doesn’t seem to be fooling enough voters into believing in Romney’s regressive policies.

Further Reading:
A point-by-point takedown of Romney’s economic team’s plan, Things Wrong with Hassett, Hubbard, Mankiw, and Taylor, “The Romney Program for Economic Recovery, Growth, and Jobs”.
A great new report from EPI, Prosperity Economics Building an Economy for All.
Also from CEPR, Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone?
And last Krugman smack down Laffer and others, Poor Spokesmen.

08.06.12

A win for the “Astroturf”

Posted in 2012 Primary, Around The Nation, Around The State, Election 2012, US Senate Race at 1:01 pm by wcnews

“Tonight is a victory for the grass roots.”
- Ted Cruz after winning the GOP nomination for US Senate

Astro Turf, Texans well know, is the original term for fake grass.  In political terms “Astroturf” means a fake grassroots movement funded by corporations, industry trade associations, political interests or public relations firms.

While Ted Cruz ran a great race, and this is not to take anything away from his win, beating an incumbent is always impressive.  But it’s undeniable that he could have beat Dewhurst without the millions in out of state money he was given. Charles Pierce at Esquire has a great perspective on Cruz’s win, What Happened In Texas Is a Running Off the Rails.

However — and this is the big, honking However in Republican politics these days — Dewhurst’s greatest fault as a candidate apparently was that Goodhair liked him. Proximity to the Republican “establishment,” as Jim DeMint and the Club For Growth define it, was enough to doom Dewhurst as a candidate, even though the “establishment” in this case was represented by a governor who talked openly about seceding from the union. There is a temptation to believe here that Republican voters in Texas, realizing that their party is staring at an electoral abyss going forward, voted strategically for a Hispanic crackpot over a country-club sycophant. There is a temptation to believe that Texas Republicans have behaved intelligently in choosing Cruz not once, but twice. There is also a temptation to believe that Drano is Chateau Petrus. Please do try to resist it.

This is a guy who believes that Sharia law is “an enormous problem” in the country today. This is a guy who believes that George Soros is at the bottom of a secret United Nations plot to eliminate… golf. (Here, of course, Cruz is immersing himself in the paranoid Bircher fantasies regarding our old pal, Agenda 21.) This is a guy who’s a nullifier, thereby putting himself on the opposite side of the Constitution not only from Barack Obama, but from Sam Houston, for chrissakes. This is the guy that a majority of Republicans in Texas believe should represent them in the Senate and they said so, not once, but twice. They wanted a crackpot. They got a crackpot. The real power driving this election wanted them to have a crackpot, so it gave them a crackpot.

This was a triumph for out-of-state-money and out-of-state influence. Rand Paul and Sarah Palin both were more relevant to this election than the governor of Texas was. This was a signal that conservative extremism knows no limits and recognizes no national boundaries. The Tea Party now has morphed into a movement made up solely of three elements: corporate money, television hucksters, and suckers. The first of these make the other two elements possible. If you are a Republican officeholder, especially in a staunchly Republican state, and you don’t see what can happen to you in what happened to David Dewhurst, you should begin your search for a second career right now. If Rick Perry is own self doesn’t hear the bell tolling, he’s a fool. Right now, I’m betting Goodhair’s setting all his mighty mental powers to the task of trying to figure out how he can become more acceptable to the forces that beat him Tuesday night without putting on a gray uniform and personally storming up Little Round Top.

There is an alternate temptation, as I hinted at earlier, to look at Cruz’s victory as another attempt by Republicans to reach out to the growing Hispanic community that threatens to sink the party as its grumpy Caucasian base steadily dies off. The problem with this theory, of course, is that, while Cruz was storming to victory, the Republican secretary-of-state attorney general, a guy named Greg Abbott, remains one of the most enthusiastic voter-suppression advocates anywhere in the country. It is Abbott who went to federal court and argued in favor of essentially gutting the Voting Rights Act. If Cruz is supposed to represent a building wave of conservative Hispanic voters that is going to power the GOP over the next few decades, it’d be nice if Greg Abbott weren’t working so hard to prevent Hispanic voters from casting their ballots.

There are those innocent souls who believe that the current raging extremism that is driving the Republican party will run its course, like a fever, and then the party will take to its bed and return to cool reason, and to its role as an honest partner in the business of governing the Republic. Well, lass’ sie nach Texas kommen, kids. They are going to continue to slake their thirst with salt water, and the rest of us are going to have to live with the delusions that follow. What happened in Texas was in every sense a “runoff.” Something’s gotten into the water supply for all of us.

Certainly there was a lot of hard work from Cruz and his supporters that went into this victory. Also there was some luck (like in any victory), Dewhurst was a bad candidate, and there was a huge assist from Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott.  Whose redistricting battle pushed the primary, and resulting runoff into the Summer.  Ultimately it was not a victory for the grassroots, but for the Astroturf.

Further Reading:
Ted Cruz’s Deceptive Triumph.
Tea Party’s Cruz Vanquishes GOP Pick for U.S. Senate in Texas Run-off.

07.23.12

Will the country club Republicans be out-hustled by the tea part Republicans?

Posted in 2012 Primary, Around The State, Election 2012, US Senate Race at 2:57 pm by wcnews

I haven’t written much on the GOP primary run off for US Senate. Mostly because it’s just a bunch of crap. Both candidates are trying to out “conservative” the other, and it’s really kind of sad. I’m not a GOP voter and I really don’t see much of a difference between the two. The main difference I see is that one is able to self-finance from his bankroll, and the other is being financed by someone else’s bankroll. But they are both awash in cash.

It will be interesting for many reasons if Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst loses the runoff.  But one of the most ironic might be a candidate with hundreds of millions of dollars to self-finance his own campaign, will be taken down, by corporate cash that only exits because of Citizens United.   In other words two years ago Ted Cruz never would have been able to compete, financially, with David Dewhurst and now he can.

The other interesting aspect of a Dewhusrt loss would be what it would mean for the Texas GOP going forward.  Dewhurst has always been more of a daddy-Bush/Romney, elitist, business-first style Republican.  He’s always seemed offended that he’s even being challenged.  But he’s got most of the establishment GOP in Texas lining up behind him.  But a Dewhurst loss will also send a pretty strong signal to moderate Republicans that they can no longer win a primary in Texas.

Will the country club Republicans be out-hustled by the tea part Republicans?  That seems to be the big unanswered question of the run off, which is going to come down to turnout.  Perry defends Dewhurst as ‘solid conservative,’ blasts Cruz-backing super PAC as focused on inside-Beltway politics.

A Dewhurst loss will also start speculation that Dewhurst may have run his last campaign.  And it will stop all the speculation about electing a new Lt. Gov. at the beginning of the next legislative session.

My take on this race is that it’s hard to out wing nut a wing nut. There’s no way Dewhurst can get to the right of Ted Cruz, and he looks silly trying. Everyone knows Dewhurst is a moderate Republican. This race parallels the Perry/Hutchison race of 2010. Who ever gets to the right first wins. But it will be a low turnout election and can still go either way. I’m not counting Dewhurst out, but this is the first time in a while he’s been seriously challenged since 2002 and it shows.

Early Voting for the July 31st primary runoff starts today

Posted in 2012 Primary, Around The State, Election 2012 at 6:00 am by wcnews

Primary Runoff Early Voting Schedule

Dates and times for all locations:
(Fechas y horarios para localidades de tiempo completo)
Monday, July 23 through Friday, July 27
(Del Lunes 23 de julio al Viernes 27 de julio)
7:00 am to 7:00 pm
MAP (Mapa)
Main Location (Localidad Central):
Williamson County Inner Loop Annex
301 SE Inner Loop, Georgetown
(Anexo del Condado de Williamson en Inner Loop)
Branch Locations  (Otras localidades):
Cowan Creek Amenity Center
1433 Cool Springs Way, Georgetown
(Centro de Entretenimiento Cowan Creek)
McConico Building
301 W. Bagdad St., Round Rock
(Edificio McConico)
Round Rock Randalls
2051 Gattis School Rd., Round Rock
(Randalls de Round Rock)
Brushy Creek Community Center
16318 Great Oaks Dr., Round Rock
(Centro Comunitario de Brushy Creek)
Cedar Park Randalls
1400 Cypress Creek Rd., Cedar Park
(Randalls de Cedar Park)
Pat Bryson Municipal Hall
201 N. Brushy St., Leander
(Sala Municipal Pat Bryson)
Taylor City Hall
400 Porter St., Taylor
(Sala de la Ciudad de Taylor)

07.17.12

The new GOP whine

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Election 2012 at 3:35 pm by wcnews

First Romney, now Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Gov. Perry wants apology from President Obama.  There’s something really wrong with the GOP.  They used to not show weakness like this.

But just like with Obama’s great ad against Romney.

There’s nothing worth apologizing for in what Attorney General Eric Holder said about the Texas GOP voter ID scheme being a poll tax.  From BOR, Texas Sized Problem For Minority Voters #NoPollTax.

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