The only thing that’s different from when Carter made that statement is the calendar. It’s now an election year and immigration cannot be allowed to, “capture the media cycle”. Economics aside, the immigration issue, is about people, families and most important human dignity. Keeping immigrants in the shadows, because it’s not good politics for the GOP in an election year, shows exactly what the GOP’s priorities are.
House Republican leaders are sending their immigration-weary base a message: We hear you, loud and clear.
After one week of fierce conservative attacks on their pro-reform blueprint, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) signaled on Thursday that the effort was going nowhere fast in the House and preemptively blamed its demise on President Barack Obama.
Their message: Reform is in peril because we can’t trust him to enforce the law.
The Speaker went on: “Listen, there’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws. It’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”
The remarks echo a common conservative argument for ditching immigration reform. It’s is a sign that the right’s demand to jettison the issue of immigration this year is having an effect on Boehner, despite his support for reform and recognition of its importance to his party’s electoral survival in the future.
The Republican Party continues to stall on immigration reform because of politics, not policy. In January, U.S. Rep. John Carter told Roll Call, “I personally think this is the wrong time from our standpoint to go forward on immigration. It’s an election year. I mean Texas is in the middle of primaries right now.”
The Texas Democratic Party launched automated calls into Rep. Carter’s district, contacting a universe of 15,000 constituents. Hundreds of recipients responded to demand Rep. Carter support comprehensive immigration reform now.
Texas Democratic Party Communications Director Emmanuel Garcia issued the following statement:
“Texans know that comprehensive immigration reform is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and would lift 11 million undocumented workers out of the underground economy. Moreover, it will advance wages for every American and generate billions in additional tax revenue. Comprehensive immigration reform is good for Texas’ future and good for America’s economy. It keep families together, and give hope to so many in legal limbo. We urge the entire congressional delegation, to listen to their constituents and put the needs of Texas before election year politics.”
Of course Carter’s Democratic opponent in November, Louie Minor, is for comprehensive immigration reform.
Public opinion data from the October 2013 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll and the 2010 exit polls indicate that Republicans may in fact be pursuing a strategy whose short-term success is all but assured. Abbott’s comments suggest not only a familiar appeal to the conservative GOP primary electorate but, perhaps more importantly, decisions by GOP candidates to focus their appeals on Anglo voters who are voting in overwhelming numbers for the Republican Party — and thinking about issues related to immigration and border security while they do it.
Immigration and border security, when combined, consistently rate as the top problem facing the state, according to registered voters in our UT/TT polls. Overall, 26 percent of respondents said that immigration/border security was the top problem facing Texas in October 2013. In light of these data, the amount of time that the lieutenant governor candidates have spent on immigration, and Abbott’s detailed policy proposal to spend $300 million to secure the border, suggests that these candidates know what they’re doing and who they’re speaking to — and it’s not the current foundation of the emerging Hispanic majority. Compared to the quarter of Texans who think that immigration and border security are the top issue, a third of white Texans and almost half of white Republicans (46 percent) hold that opinion. By this measure, it’s not that the GOP’s candidates, especially at this point in the process, are talking about immigration too much — it’s that they really can’t talk about it enough.
In the 2010 gubernatorial election, according to the exit polls, Hispanics accounted for only 17 percent of the electorate. Anglos, on the other hand, made up 67 percent of an electorate that gave Abbott 64 percent of the vote, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst 62 percent, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson 62 percent and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples 61 percent. All those jaw-dropping presentations about long-term growth notwithstanding, this Election Day demographic breakdown is unlikely to change dramatically in the near future. Republican hopefuls appear perfectly willing to focus on the voters in the here and now — and take care of tomorrow’s challenges when they become manifest.
In other words their has been no downside at the ballot box for the Texas GOP for using such dehumanizing rhetoric on immigration. Despite GOP state Rep. Jason Villalba’s plea for it to stop, it’s likely to continue.
“Most disconcerting to me was the tenor of your remarks,” he wrote. “I heard fellow human beings referred to dismissively as ‘illegals.’ I heard that we must ‘stop the invasion,’ comparing those seeking the promise of our great country with war-mongering foreign adversaries. I heard statistics about crime committed by the undocumented, but heard nothing of the economic benefits recognized by the state’s agriculture, oil and gas and construction industries.”
But there’s another — and perhaps more significant — reason House Republicans are balking at reform: More than 60 percent of House GOP members (143 of 232) represent congressional districts where Latinos make up less than 10 percent of the population.
In addition, Republicans don’t really face serious Democratic opposition in 80 percent of the districts (71 of 89) with more than 10 percent of Latinos, meaning their biggest threat to re-election comes from an intra-party primary. As a result, more than nine in 10 of House Republicans will be nearly unfazed by any possible pro-immigration-reform backlash heading into the November election.
“[House] Republicans don’t have to worry about the Latino electorate,” said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a political analyst and senior fellow at the University of Southern California. “They don’t have to listen to them very much.”
That’s why Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republican Party’s 2008 presidential nominee, says it is imperative that his fellow Republicans support comprehensive immigration reform this year.
Needless to say that some in the national GOP have realized that they need to change their tune on immigration reform. Few, if any of them, are from Texas. See GOP freshmen Congressman Steve Stockman.
“The crush of illegals have bankrupted local governments, shut down hospitals, overwhelmed schools and crashed local economies, hurting largely Hispanic citizens,” Stockman said. “That failure has fueled the growth of violent gangs, like MS-13, that prey upon illegals and target the children of Hispanic citizens.”
It’s important to understand why the change has come at the national level and why it hasn’t in Texas. At the national level the GOP paid for their extremism on immigration at the ballot box, in Texas they have not. Until that changes little will change regarding the Texas GOP’s extreme stance on immigration in Texas. More from the HChron:
Likewise, the Texas Republican House delegation — the largest group of GOP lawmakers in Congress — did not produce a single voice supporting the bipartisan Senate framework. If Texas Republicans are naysayers, they could limit their ability to shape the House version of immigration reform.
“The congressional Republicans from Texas sidelined themselves with their anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric, which has no place in a fast-moving debate in which suddenly the debate has shifted to ‘how much citizenship,’” said Democratic consultant Harold Cook of Austin. “The result is a shameful outcome in which these members of Congress, representing a state with tremendous border real estate, have sidelined themselves completely. That’s not leadership, and it’s not even adequate representation. It’s just ideologues telling far-right voters what they want to hear, at the expense of mainstream Texans.”
Some Republican strategists say that the GOP must find a way to play a constructive role in the ongoing debate — or suffer the consequences at the polls for years to come.
“Comprehensive immigration reform is going to happen this year and Republicans should embrace it and work to improve it,” said Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak. “At stake is re-branding the Republican Party with Hispanics, an absolutely critical and urgent task, especially so in border states like Texas.”
Key House Republicans to watch in upcoming debates are Reps. Ted Poe of Humble, who angered some on the right by advocating comprehensive reform (without “amnesty”) and Lamar Smith of San Antonio, the former chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and a leading hawk on “amnesty.”Though many Texas Republicans responded cautiously to the latest developments, some were outspoken in their criticism.
“The Senate’s proposed plan does not fix our nation’s broken immigration system,” said Rep. Steve Stockman, a Republican from Friendswood. “It rewards law breaking and encourages a new flood of illegals, perpetuating the very problems it claims to solve. Our nation’s failed experiments with amnesty have proven it only encourages more illegals willing to wait it out for their turn at free citizenship.”
We get the government we deserve, and in Texas we’ve been allowing the extremists to win much too often.
Good afternoon, everybody. This morning, Secretary Napolitano announced new actions my administration will take to mend our nation’s immigration policy, to make it more fair, more efficient, and more just — specifically for certain young people sometimes called “Dreamers.”
These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents — sometimes even as infants — and often have no idea that they’re undocumented until they apply for a job or a driver’s license, or a college scholarship.
Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you’ve done everything right your entire life — studied hard, worked hard, maybe even graduated at the top of your class — only to suddenly face the threat of deportation to a country that you know nothing about, with a language that you may not even speak.
That’s what gave rise to the DREAM Act. It says that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here for five years, and you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, you can one day earn your citizenship. And I have said time and time and time again to Congress that, send me the DREAM Act, put it on my desk, and I will sign it right away.
Now, both parties wrote this legislation. And a year and a half ago, Democrats passed the DREAM Act in the House, but Republicans walked away from it. It got 55 votes in the Senate, but Republicans blocked it. The bill hasn’t really changed. The need hasn’t changed. It’s still the right thing to do. The only thing that has changed, apparently, was the politics.
This humane policy makes sense. And hopefully President Obama will start doing this in other areas. Especially in economic policy where the American people need it most.
President Barak Obama’s plan to unilaterally grant amnesty to an estimated 800,000 illegal immigrants is in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers and is not legally valid, according to House Republican Conference Secretary John Carter (TX31).
Of course it’s the obstructionism of GOP members like Carter that has forced Obama’s hand. And Carter is unlikely to ever want to pass a law that punishes employers. That was the main focus of the Texas GOP’s platform change on immigration.
As expected, and what the White House hoped for, there was euphoric reaction to the news from the young people the new policy impacts to their supporters and sympathizers. There has also been cynicism from some in the Latino community, who remembered the same kind of wide-spread celebration when it was announced last year that a policy of prosecutorial discretion would be implemented in deportation cases by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, that lead to disappointment with ICE Director John Morton admitting earlier this year to the House Subcommittee on Homeland Security that only 1% of pending deportation cases had been tabled under the new guidelines.
Some in the Latino community fear that the same will happen this time. I doubt it.
There’s too much at stake, namely the Latino vote.
At this stage of the game, no one is naive enough to think there wasn’t political motivation behind this action. Clearly, the Obama campaign was feeling the heat from Latino voters on two distinct fronts — the sit-ins at his state campaign headquarters by DREAMer students demanding that Obama do something to stop the deportations of undocumented youth and the growing indifference among Latino voters about this election.
Knowing the importance we place on our children and families and that the DREAM Act is an issue that the majority of Americans support, Obama and his campaign made a smart strategic move.
In fact, the new policy resembles an alternative plan proposed by GOP Sen. Marco Rubio in that it doesn’t grant a path to citizenship for these students nor provides for amnesty.
Of course, it wasn’t long before some GOP members issued critical statements about the new policy and the President and some have even threatened a lawsuit against Obama.
Yet this move by the President, without a doubt, stirred a majority of the Latino electorate into start thinking about the election. If this deferment is enacted — immediately, as the President said in his remarks — and the greater community sees that young people are not being deported and are, in fact, being granted work permits, then it’s a safe bet that a portion of the Latino community will show their appreciation with their votes in November.
Wingnuts are so full of hot air. They talk big, but do nothing. Case in point, Bob Perry’s meddling into their sanctuary bill, which most probably will kill it. Reading through the comments of the story by the Houston Chronicle, wingnuts across the globe, or across North Houston, are calling for a boycott of Perry Homes and a raid by the INS (Now called ICE).
Oh where oh where are the Minute Men when we need them? You have to wonder why they haven’t thought of setting up surveillance at the work site for new homes being constructed by Bob Perry Homes. If Perry is depending upon this illegal workforce, it would be easy to document and catch them.
Now that the GOP didn’t mind stirring-up all this anti-immigrant tea party fervor in 2010. But they’re going to find it extremely hard, if not impossible, to tamp it down. But all this fighting over non-issues does have an unfortunate side effect. The Texas media much prefers these kind of non-issues to serious polkcy, and like a moth to a flame, has had it’s focus taken off the real tragedy that is taking place – the defunding of public education in Texas. This is what we should be dicusssing, as San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro showed earlier in the week, Castro shows ‘em how.
It’s almost old news by now, but I’m still thinking about what happened when Gov. Rick Perry deigned to make an appearance yesterday at the annual gathering of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in San Antonio.
Two things stood out, including how Perry was so easily rattled by the tepid response he got from the luncheon crowd of about 500 elected officials from around the country. The Alamo was only a block away from the Grand Hyatt ballroom, but unlike Travis and company, the governor wasn’t beseiged. His audience was polite — NALEO President Sylvia Garcia had reminded them earlier of the group’s nonpartisan tradition — but, still, the loudest sound during his boiler-plate remarks was the clink of silverware. Unlike his rabble-rousing remarks last Saturday in New Orleans before the Republican Leadership Conference — an animated, ebullient Perry riffing; the crowd chanting “Run, Rick, Run!” — he spoke barely 10 minutes in San Antonio before scurrying out the door.
As an old teacher, I began to get those uncomfortable feelings during the governor’s halting performance of those moments in the classroom when the lecture isn’t working and you start searching as you speak for some way, any way, to make a connection with your listeners. Perry couldn’t find it. Garcia, the former Harris County commissioner, said afterward she was surprised the governor even showed up.
The second lasting impression was the performance of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who preceded Perry onstage. I’ve heard the young mayor speak before, and he’s never all that scintillating, but yesterday, in his own low-key way, he was as forceful and effective as any Texas Democrat I’ve heard in years. Without mentioning the governor by name, he reminded his audience in his own 10-minute remarks that Perry had given his blessing to a legislative session whose priority was “easily the most anti-Latino agenda pursued in a generation, without shame.”
Scorning the massive cuts in public education, higher education and health care the legislature engineered this session, labeling them the antithesis of a state’s need to invest in its future, Castro showed his beleaguered fellow Democrats how they might begin to fight back in their long slog toward political relevance.
At 36 and in his second term as mayor, Castro has a future, I would venture to say. Meanwhile, the state’s longest-serving governor needs to sharpen his skills before less-than-friendly audiences if he truly has notions of striding onto the national stage. He wouldn’t want the subtext of “Run, Rick, Run” to be “back home to Texas.” [Emphasis added]
It’s crunch time this week and Joe Straus is so desperate that he sent out a memo on Friday imploring members of the Hosue to show up this week.
I intend for the House to complete all outstanding issues by Sine Die on Wednesday, June 29th. Therefore, I strongly encourage each of you to be here for the final days of this special session so that we can finish the important business of the House.
For all intents and purposes the Texas GOP could have wrapped this session up in much less than 30 days. The leadership has, instead, decided to pussyfoot around and allow Gov. Perry to add many less than special non-issues to the agenda that may, in the long run, come back to hurt him and his party. Now that would certainly make Wendy Davis’ filibuster worth it.
I am a sixth-generation Texan. No one has ever questioned my citizenship, my loyalty to my state or my qualifications to serve in the state Legislature.
Unfortunately, Gov. Perry and the Republican-led Legislature are on the brink of enacting a law that will bring shame to this state, hurt our economy, set back public safety and personally insult my family.
As part of their anti-Hispanic agenda — anchored by a congressional redistricting plan that diminishes the voting strength of the growing Hispanic electorate — the state’s Republican leadership is pushing a measure that would allow law enforcement to judge me by the color of my skin even if I have not committed a crime.
Texas law enforcement leaders do not support the legislation; the business community understands the impact that civil instability can have on the economy.
All Texas residents — not just Hispanics — should be outraged by this despicable act that will set back our state for years to come. Policies such as these serve only to rip communities apart, and rip families apart.
What has happened to our state that we have allowed the anti-immigrant propaganda to permeate our state?
Why have we decided that we are no better than Arizona? Do we not care if tourists stop coming to the San Antonio River Walk because our culturally diverse state has decided to turn on Hispanics?
Let’s not forget that since Arizona passed its legally challenged law, tourism has gone down and so have tax revenues from visitors. The economy has taken a big hit and job growth has stalled. The situation is so dire that this year, as conservative extremists tried to move new anti-immigrant bills, business leaders told them to stop for the sake of the state’s economy. And they did.
Thursday night at a Dallas Hotel Pastor Lynn Godsey of Ennis lead some 80 Hispanic Evangelical Ministers and parishioners in Prayer.
They prayed in Spanish for divine support as they organize opposition to sanctuary city legislation Governor Perry has asked lawmakers to pass.
Godsey, President of the Hispanic Evangelical Alliance of DFW, calls the legislation anti-Hispanic and claims Perry will feel a backlash if he decides to run for President.
Godsey: We’re asking Governor Perry to please stop using these laws for your political agenda sir. You might have aspirations to be President and if that’s so that’s fine. But please don’t come after a race. Don’t do it at hurting our families, because you will have to give an account to God.
Godsey says many Hispanic conservatives have been slow to get involved in the election process and vote, but he says the sanctuary cities legislation, like the Arizona immigration measure may change that.
Nine GOP senators in a paid newspaper ad accused a Democratic, Latina colleague of “race-baiting” after she contended that Gov. Rick Perry and the GOP-led Legislature have an anti-Hispanic agenda.
Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, head of the Senate Democratic Caucus, cited legislation to ban so-called sanctuary cities that she said “will bring shame to this state,” and a congressional redistricting plan that she said “diminishes the voting strength of the growing Hispanic electorate.”
Saying that no major Texas city claims to be a sanctuary for those in the country illegally, Van de Putte wrote in the opinion piece published June 11 in the San Antonio Express-News, “This is just another cover for the anti-Hispanic agenda being advanced by the governor and his Republican cohorts in Austin.”
The ad, which ran Sunday in the Express-News, was purchased with campaign funds by GOP Sen. Jeff Wentworth who, like Van de Putte, is from San Antonio. Wentworth said he bought the ad because he didn’t want the text to be edited or cut, noting it was longer than the usual opinion piece. [Emphasis added]
“Van de Putte is attempting, for partisan political advantage for the Democratic Party, to ascribe to Republicans an anti-Hispanic agenda … Not true,” said the ad, which Wentworth said cost about $8,900.
Jessica Lavariega Monforti, associate professor of political science at the University of Texas-Pan American, said the ad is a sign of the political stakes.
“I think they realize that the swing vote, potentially, in 2012 is going to be Hispanic voters,” she said. “There is no question if Hispanics voted their full potential, there would be clearly more Republicans out of office..”
The so-called “sanctuary cites” bill, along with Texas Photo ID and redistricting, is part of the Texas GOP’s plan to mute the growth of Hispanics on elections in Texas – what some are calling The new war on voting rights. The only way that won’t be the case is if Hispanics in Texas finally start showing up to vote in elections in Texas. The more the GOP is forced to explain why they’re making laws like that target certain segments of society, the sooner there hold on power will come to an end.
TPM is planning a series regarding the new war on voting rights, The Crackdown on Voting. Here’s an excerpt:
Largely, but not entirely, because of the big Republican wins in the 2010 midterms, states around the country have been passing laws to make it more difficult to vote: voter ID laws, end of same day registration, more aggressive efforts to cull voting lists, various pieces of legislation aimed at cutting down on the number of people who are able to cast ballots. As always the purported aim is to eliminate voter impersonation fraud — people trying to show up and vote as people they’re not. That despite the almost total lack of any evidence that’s actually happening. These laws have the biggest effect on blacks, hispanics, the poor and the young. And that, my friends, is the idea.
Senator Ellis releases the following statement upon the Senate’s passage of SB 9, the sanctuary cities bill, 19-12, along party lines following hours of debate:
“Not one proponent of this legislation has been willing to identify one single Texas city as a “sanctuary city”. Maybe that is because there are no sanctuary cities in Texas. The term is a paper thin distraction from the state’s unaddressed economic crisis. Instead of finding solutions to even come close to fulfilling our moral obligation to provide an adequate education to our children, we point the finger at one of our most vulnerable populations and say they are at fault. This is a blatant abdication of responsibility by the Texas legislature.
Law enforcement leaders from Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and El Paso testified that the passage of this bill would make their jobs more difficult, that it is an unfunded mandate, and would erode the public safety they are charged with keeping. Attorneys, both members of the Senate and witnesses, attested to the bill’s dangerous lack of clarity. If we did not hear the pleas of the overwhelming number of religious leaders, advocates, students, and victims of domestic violence that testified in opposition to the bill, how can we not hear the grave concerns of those charged with keeping us safe?
The so called “sanctuary cities” bill failed to pass during the regular session because it failed to achieve anything resembling a consensus. It was bad bill then and it is a bad bill now; the only difference is that they don’t need 21 of us to get it through.”
And let’s be clear that’s what this is all about – politics. Police chiefs from every major city across the state, a wide swath of the religious community, business owners and countless other Texans testified against the bill but to no avail. Texas’ Republicans want to pass SB 9 and they have the numbers to do it. And it’s the people of color in Texas who will pay the price. With the passage of SB 9, Texas’ citizens of color will have to prove their U.S. citizenship to law enforcement – a burden that Texas’ Anglo citizens won’t have to bear.
The so-called sanctuary cities bill that is being debated has many problems. First and foremost it is a solution in search of a problem – there are no “sanctuary cities” in Texas. But another problem with the bill is that the debate surrounding it morphs into a debate about illegal immigration. It’s a way for the far right GOP and the racists in their party to slip into a discussion about illegal immigration, using a purported law enforcement issue.
On Monday, opponents of SB 1 outnumbered supporters at the committee hearing.
During a break in the action, Sen Kirk Watson, D-Austin, criticized the bill as he stood before a cheering gathering of police, priests and protesters. He said the measure did not include the perspectives of law enforcement agencies, businesses and advocates that have problems with the bill.
“This bill is anti-Latino and anti-immigrant, whether or not it was intended to be,” Watson said.
The state’s largest law enforcement agencies joined forces with Hispanic leaders Monday in opposing a so-called sanctuary cities bill that supporters say is a needed tool against illegal immigration.
The emotion-charged bill, which Gov. Rick Rick Perry has designated as a top priority, would let law officers ask about immigration status when they arrest or detain someone.
“It’s going to bring a huge burden to our system,” said Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who told senators that the added requirement would cost her department $1.5 million a year.
The committee also received a letter signed by Police Chiefs Jeff Halstead of Fort Worth, Willam P. McManus of San Antonio, Gregory K. Allen of El Paso and Art Acevedo of Austin warning of the potential “negative effects” if the bill becomes law.
“Violent and property crime, quality of life in our communities, and answering calls for service are our primary responsibility — not enforcing Federal immigration laws,” the chiefs wrote.
Houston Police Chief Charles A. McClelland, who heads the nation’s fifth-largest police agency, told the committee that empowering law officers to question people about their immigration status would make residents of Hispanic communities reluctant to help police investigate crimes.
“We have built up a trust, and that trust is like money in a bank account,” McClelland said. “We’re afraid that support and that information will actually dry up” if the bill becomes law.
Also against this bill are Democrats, corporate and business interests, and moderate/less/non-racist Republicans. It’s another unfunded mandate, putting a burden on local communities, passed down from elected Republicans. And it does nothing to solve, or fix, the issue of illegal immigration. So what possibly could be the reason for this bill being pushed, and it’s likely passage, despite only a narrow support?
The answer lies in who shows up to vote, not just in November of an election year, but in March too. As the voter pool shrinks, because of new voter ID laws, voter apathy, a narrower and narrower minority of Texans are choosing who gets elected in our state. That, in turn, allows for a narrow segment of our population to pass unpopular legislation without fear of retribution on election day.
Laws like this will continue to get passed until people who oppose them show up on election day and vote for people that oppose laws like this.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a special session is needed to resolve the current budget crisis in Texas. It would have been more surprising if one wasn’t needed. It was almost inevitable once Gov. Rick Perry decided he would not allow the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF), aka Rainy Day Fund, to be used at this time for the 2012 -2013 budget cycle. Perry is the unchallenged leader of the Texas GOP and, for now, what he says goes. If it wasn’t for the unprecedented flouting of the rules in the House and Senate it’s unlikely a budget this austere and punitive would have made it as far as it did.
Another problem was the influx of green and ignorant, of the legislative and budgeting process, tea party members in the Texas House. They literally had no idea what was in the budget and what cutting billions out of the budget would mean to Texans that count on public education and Medicare. Worse then their ignorance was their inability to change once they realized the damage the cuts would do to education, and some of the neediest Texans.
There were some hopeful signs early in session from a few GOP legislators, namely Senate Finance Committee chair Steve Ogden (R-Bryan). Ogden went so far as to acknowledge the state had a “structural deficit” and propose a Constitutional Amendment to create a corporate income tax in Texas. But that faded away as the session moved into April and May. By then Ogden would go on to blame ideological groups for no longer allowing the Senate to be the rational chamber in The Lege. But when all was said and done he went on to praise the GOP’s austerity budget as what they were sent to do. Even though no one remembers The GOP’s campaign theme of cutting billions from public education, higher education, and Medicare.
That being said it was Perry’s unwillingness to sanction the use of the ESF to cover the massive budget hole created by his plan – the GOP tax swap scheme of 2006. If the ESF would have been available many of the most brutal cuts could have been avoided. The other part that made a special session inevitable was that he would not allow any new revenue – no matter how fair and equitable the plan would be. And the last thing that caused it was the long drawn out process – caused by Perry’s fake “emergency” issues – that clogged the legislative process and forced the budget to it’s inevitable end.
With only simple majorities needed in both chambers the Democrats are, for all intents and purposes, unneeded in the special session(s). It would behoove them soon, like by Monday, to come up with a short list of hard hitting GOP policy failures to highlight every day during this, and any other special session. If, and it’s a big if…if this budget, special session and the many issues that come with it are handled right, and with the right message, by the Democrats it will be a great setup for the 2012 campaign. And beyond.
From here on out the GOP owns this budget . Democrats and any other Texans opposed to this cold, cruel and irresponsible budget must make the members of the GOP who vote for it come to regret it. Here’s a little of what the message should be, from a great column by the late Molly Ivins, A Rotting, Dead Chicken.
Well, look at it this way: You cannot keep a dog that kills chickens, no matter how fine a dog it is otherwise.
My friend John Henry Faulk always said the way to break a dog of that habit is to take one of the chickens the dog has killed and wire the thing around the dog’s neck, good and strong. And leave it there until that dead chicken stinks so bad the dog won’t be able to stand himself. You leave it on there until the last little bit of flesh rots and falls off, and that dog won’t kill chickens again.
The Bush Administration is going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. It should cure the country of electing Republicans.
I can think of nothing more likely to convince the people not to vote for Republicans again for a long, long time than four more years of George W. Bush.
The strategy works if there is a party, and leaders, willing to put forth the right message and stick to it for the long-term. At the national level it worked to keep Bush from privatizing Social Security in 2005. It allowed the Democrats to win back control of Congress in 2006, and it won the presidency for Democrats in 2008. But it was dropped in 2010 with horrific consequences. It’s time to make this budget by the GOP a rotting dead chicken around their necks for a long time to come.