01.31.12

He always made money for his partners

Posted in 2012 Primary, Bad Government Republicans, Corruption, Cronyism, Money In Politics at 2:34 pm by wcnews

Of course the title to this post references a quote from The Godfather II.  (Quick side note, didn’t  know the “The Godfather Wiki” existed).  As the reports are showing the only people that profited from Perry’s campaign were the political consultants and political elite of Texas, How Rick Perry’s money machine went flat.

No clearer evidence of Rick Perry’s campaign collapsing than his latest finance report, which shows that after a dazzling first quarter of fundraising ($17.2 million) the Texas governor’s money-raising went south. Perry raised $2.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 as he approached the Iowa caucuses in early January. The report shows that after Perry’s “Oops” moment in the November 9 debate, his financial support began disappearing.

[...]

Also, there are debts reported — included $42,900 to the New Hampshire consulting company of his long-time political guru Dave Carney, who was effectively shoved aside in December after Perry’s disastrous presidential bid went into the tank.

One thing’s clear, most of his money in the third quarter went to air an avalanche of TV spots in Iowa and South Carolina, much of it targeting rival Mitt Romney . More than $5.5 million went to Paint Creek Productions, a campaign company that produced the aired the commercials. Perry’s long-time media chief, David Weeks of Austin, collected another $152,000 for overseeing the governor’s presidential media effort. While the Perry effort is considered by many to be one of the worst-run political campaigns in memory, the managers, advisers and consultants all did well. Consultant, who’s worked both as a lobbyist and Perry’s chief of staff, Ray Sullivan and communications chief collected more than $40,000 during the period. He struggled in the early going when calls from reporters largely went unreturned and Perry’s political message was muddled. Campaign manager Deirdre Delisi, the policy adviser, was paid about $7,900 a month, campaign manager Rob Johnson and speech writer Eric Bearse pocketed about $7,500 a month. Spokesman Mark Miner was paid about $7,400 a month.

Dave Carney, who launched a campaign that the Perry team hoped would mirror past gubernatorial races in which aides tried to keep the governor largely away from the media, was paid more than $58,000 during the last quarter (plus the money still owed his company). A campaign shakeup in November brought in former George W. Bush campaign adviser Joe Allbaugh, who was paid $63,000 in November and December to try and right the foundering campaign. Although the Perry campaign was reluctant to talk about whether it was doing polling to determine how to shape its campaign message, the report shows that Perry pollster Mike Baselice was paid $293,000 during the quarter for polling.

His “goose was cooked” from the moment he said “Oops”, but the consultant money train just kept on rolling.  And they made money.  And all of us poor saps that pay taxes in Texas we’re stuck with the tab, Governor OOPS Owes Texas $2.7 Million.  Jason Embry has more.

01.30.12

Check out the Democratic candidates for US Senate in Texas

Posted in 2012 Primary, Around The State, US Senate Race at 2:09 pm by wcnews

The AP has a good article on the “three top candidates” in Democratic primary for US Senate in 2012, Democratic hopefuls reflect on the party in Texas.

Every candidate says they are running to win the general election, but the odds are long. Former state Rep. Paul Sadler, party activist Sean Hubbard and trial lawyer Jason Gibson all insist they have a fighting chance to replace Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison this November. Those who believe President Barack Obama will win re-election speculate he could carry many down-ballot Democrats on his coattails, even in the red state of Texas.

The best part about the article was hearing Democratic candidates talking about issues that Democrats care about. Instead of pandering on issues like taxes and pro-business/corporate issues that so many Democrats in Texas have been running on in recent years.

Democrats know they have a long way to go to regaining relevance in statewide races, and Sadler said this race is the first step back to multiparty politics in Texas.

“The Texas Democratic Party was the majority party in this state for 160 years; we are the party that built all of our highways, built our educational institutions, the health care system; we are the party that built this state,” Sadler said. “The independent voter has voted more Republican in recent years, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true every year, and I don’t think that’s true this year.”

Sadler won election five times in Texas House District 8 to represent the East Texas counties of Harrison, Rusk and Panola between 1992 and 2002. He chaired the public education committee and was considered one of the Legislature’s top experts on schools. Sadler lost a special election to fill an empty seat in the Texas Senate and has worked and lobbied in Austin ever since. But he says he’s ready to serve again.

“I served on the Legislative Budget Board, was named one of the 10 best legislators four sessions in a row and no one else has that kind of experience,” Sadler said. “This is the U.S. Senate, it is the highest legislative office in the country, and I think that kind of background and experience level is not only important, but it’s crucial.”

Jason Gibson has not held elected office, but he has won more than $80 million in settlements and verdicts representing injured workers and consumers. He says he is proud to come from a pro-union, working-class family and for fighting corporations and insurance companies on behalf of average citizens, experiences that many Republicans openly ridicule.

“You’ve got Republicans out there that are really Democrats, they just don’t know it yet,” Gibson said. “You have a lot of people out there whose ears are closed and they aren’t listening. I can get people to open their ears, and at least that’s a start.”

Pushing a more progressive, or liberal, message is Sean Hubbard, a 31-year-old who helped the Obama Dallas campaign and has worked in small business ever since. He’s been shaking hands at party events and pushing for a starker contrast to Republican candidates.

“I’m neither a lawyer nor a lobbyist … so I can relate better to your average working Texan,” Hubbard said. “We’ve allowed the Republicans here in Texas to define us as gun-takers and baby-killers and what we have to do is get back to reminding folks what being a progressive means, and what being a Democrat is. We’re the party of Social Security and Medicare; we’re the party that fights for civil rights.”

On that point all of the candidates agree. The reason why the party doesn’t do better in Texas is because the Democratic brand is weak and lacks a statewide leader who can rally support. That is perhaps the most important aspect of the Senate primary and the general election, even if recent polls give these candidates little hope of winning.

Hubbard says he is building a statewide campaign organization that will persist after the election on behalf of the party. Gibson, a tall, good-looking fitness buff, said he can spark a party resurgence. Sadler says he knows the history and has the experience.

Here are the candidates web sites:
Jason Gibson
Sean Hubbard
Paul Sadler

TPA Blog Round Up (January 30, 2012)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 9:41 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance is stocking up on unhealthy snacks and adult beverages as it brings you this week’s roundup.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is concerned that frivolous issues, wielded by the GOP-Tea Party-Republican Party, is a terrible distraction from serious problems facing America. Character slaughter, in the battle for a Republican Presidential candidate, does not show who the best candidate may be, so Divided and Apathetic We Fall …

In addition to all of the redistricting litigation, the state of Texas has also filed a lawsuit to get the odious voter ID law precleared. Off the Kuff has a look.

Texas always ranks high on the list of “business friendly” states. WCNews at Eye On Williamson says It’s time for Texas to become a top 10 state for the rest of us.

A Houston Not-So-Much ‘Stros rant, starring Roger Metzger as Ron Paul (or maybe the other way around), is posted at PDiddie’s Brains and Eggs.

At TexasKaos, lightseeker explains that Rick Santorum’s wife DIDNOT have an abortion, but therein lies a tale and an advocacy for a sane truce in the choice wars. Give it a read: Abortion, Choice and Absolutist Morality.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme, like everyone else, knows that the Texas Supreme Court is crony capitalism central.

Neil at Texas Liberal made a post about the great resources at the C-SPAN program archive, and at the new American wing of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. These are first rate, free and accessible websites that respect the fact that everybody has the ability to understand complex things, and that everybody has the abilty to engage in political action.

01.28.12

Is the Texas GOP “crying uncle” in redistricting fight?

Posted in 2012 Primary, Around The State, Redistricting at 1:23 am by wcnews

It looks like the Texas GOP is convinced that they’re likely to lose the precelarance trial.  Via The Hill, Texas Dems, minority groups near huge win with redistricting settlement.

The Texas state attorneys defending the state’s GOP-drawn redistricting plans from court challenges have reached out to settle litigation, according to sources in the state. The settlement would give minority groups and Democrats what they’ve been demanding from the start: more heavily minority, Democratic-leaning House seats.

The result would likely mean at least four more Texas Democrats in Congress as of next year, a good start on the 25 or so seats Democrats need to win to retake control of the House.

“They’re backed up against the wall and have to come to some agreement and it’ll be awfully favorable on our end,” said one of the plaintiffs in the case. [Emphasis added]

Another plaintiff agreed. “It’s clear they know they’re in a vulnerable position and that’s why they want to settle,” he said.

Kuff has much more and says it, “If..true, it’s amazing”.  Not to mention a huge waste of time and money too.

01.27.12

Great reads

Posted in 2012 Primary, Media at 2:54 pm by wcnews

Rick Perlstein on Newt, How Wily Newt Pulled the ‘Contract with America’ Scam.

Newton Leroy Gingrich is one wily mothertrucker.[...]The title, of course, refers to the Contract With America, which 367 Republican congressional candidates signed on the Capitol steps in September of 1994. When, two months later, the GOP took over Congress for the first time since 1952, making its architect, Newt Gingtrich, the Speaker of the House, all the world proclaimed that the electorate had just delivered a historic mandate for conservatism.

[...]

Well, not really. The Contract With America was a hustle from start to finish. It never really was about conservatism at all – practically the opposite. The fact that Newt can redeploy it to promote his right-of-Attila-the-Hun harpyish shrieking for 2012 just shows how effective the hustle – and the hustler – turned out to be.

And more on this from Americablog.

More on Newt, Newt and Callista’s Affair ‘Was Common Knowledge’ on the Hill.

Oddly, Gingrich and Bisek benefitted from something akin to omerta across the Hill. “She openly carried on this affair with Newt,” the colleague says, shaking his head. “I wouldn’t say they were flamboyant about it, but they weren’t veiled about it either. I would see them having lunch in some of the Capitol cafeterias, or restaurants about town.”

A couple  on the media:
Agnew’s Resentment Machine: Six Data Points About Culture War and The Campaign Press.
Local TV Stations Rally to Oppose Media Transparency.

And one more from Jay Rosen, A Brief Theory of the Republican Party, 2012.

Post SOTU, President Obama Scores With Middle Class Message.

What’s not the matter with Congress?

Posted in Around The Nation, Commentary, Corruption, District 31, Money In Politics at 10:57 am by wcnews

This report from Legistorm, on the record amounts private interests spent last year on trips for members of Congress and their staffs in 2011, is a microcosm of what’s wrong with Congress and our government(s).  This is one area of Congress, it seems, where there is broad bipartisan agreement.

Private interests spent a record amount to send members of Congress and their staff on trips on 2011, and the individual trips were longer and costlier than ever before.

There were 1,600 privately funded congressional trips in 2011, worth a total of more than $5.8 million, the largest amount since ethics reforms were enacted in 2007 in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal. The total amount is the highest since 2005, when a record 4,917 trips were taken totaling $9.9 million. The record for money spent came in 2004, when 4,780 trips cost nearly $10.4 million.

And Congressman John Carter (R-Round Rock) is stands out in the report.

The most expensive trip in 2011 was sponsored by the International Conservation Caucus Foundation, which paid $30,708 to send Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) and his wife to South Africa and Botswana for meetings on conservation and natural resource management.

One of the keys to understanding how this works is that this is not outright bribery, but more subtle.  This from CBS on the report, Are jet-setting Congressmen bending the rules?

Jock Friedly, president of Legistorm, the public interest group that compiled the report, says that all told, those trips cost $5.8 million last year. “When these private interests are taking members of Congress and their staff on these trips, they are definitely showing only one side of the story.”

Friedly says it violates the spirit of reforms made in 2007, after Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff got caught bribing officials with lavish trips. Now, lobbyists are banned from paying for extended travel. But groups that don’t lobby can still fund trips.

“Whether that’s overseas in Afghanistan, or if that’s overseas seeing some new technology that’s going to help us, they should be involved in it,” said Jim Clarke, senior vice president of public policy at the Center for Association Leadership. Clarke represents many groups that pay for congressional travel.

The Aspen Institute – which sponsored the Puerto Rico forum, and has spent half a million dollars on congressional trips to Vienna, Canada, and Barcelona – told CBS News it educates members of Congress, helps build relationships and civil discourse, and accepts no corporate or special interest funding. But unlike the Aspen Institute, foundations and other groups that do have corporate and lobbyist ties are paying for some trips.

“Lobbyists founded the foundation. They sit on the board of the foundation. But because the foundation itself does not lobby,” Friedly said, “it’s allowed.”

Is that a distinction without a difference?

“It could be to some people, yes.” Friedly said

As an example, Friedly points to the group that broke the all-time record for spending in a single year: The American Israel Education Foundation, which paid $2 million for 145 trips to Israel. They don’t lobby, but they share offices, a phone number and public relations person with a giant lobby called The American Israel Public Affairs Committee. When CBS News asked them about all those trips, the foundation said no government money funds the congressional trips, and diverse views are presents.

When confronted with the fact that groups that lobby and corporations are setting up foundations that in turn pay for congressional travel — a situation critics say skirts the intent of the rules — Clarke said, “I’m not going to defend that practice.”

“I would say that’s up to, it seems like it is what the law allows. If that’s not what Congress’ intent is they should review their processes.”

And that’s the thing, it’s perfectly legal. Here’s the video of the CBS report on this today.This can be fixed and the way is not easy. Here’s a great discussion about this topic between Chris Hedges and Lawrence Lessig: Getting Money Out of Politics. Especially when Lessig compares current members of Congress to vassals of the Super PACs/corporations.

It’s an enthralling discussion. And they fully realize that this isn’t about Republican and Democrat, as both parties are knee-deep in this corruption. And there are no easy answers to this. (For a darker take on the future read this). But we must have a fundamental change in the power structure in our country.

Further Viewing/Reading:
Rep. John Carter (Texas, 31st) – Privately Financed Travel.
GOP Hates Citizens United, Too.

re:Public Goods from lessig on Vimeo.

Talk given at for the Humanity Center at UCSB, January 18, 2011. WhatsNew: A clearer articulation of the nature of the alliance that is necessary for outsider politics to work.

01.26.12

It’s time for Texas to become a top 10 state for the rest of us

Posted in Around The State, Inequality, Money In Politics, Poverty, Taxes at 3:40 pm by wcnews

There was a report mentioned yesterday at the Postcards that the Texas tax climate good for business. We don’t need another report to remind us that corporations and businesses pay little in taxes in Texas.  We already know the tax burden in Texas rests overwhelmingly on those at the lower end of the wage scale.  Certainly that makes corporations and the 1% happy, but there are much more pressing needs and issues in Texas then those.

Poverty, child poverty in particular, and lack of health care,  Texas’ poverty rate rises for second year in a row.

The number of Texans living in poverty jumped to more than 4.6 million last year, an increase of nearly 9 percent, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

For the second consecutive year, Texas’ poverty rate grew — to 18.4 percent, well above the national average of 15.1 percent.

Texas’ rate was sixth-highest among the states last year, trailing only Mississippi, Louisiana , Georgia, Arizona and New Mexico. Texas also ranked sixth in poverty in 2008 and 2009.

Once again, Texas led all states in the share of its population that lacks health insurance, at 24.6 percent. The national uninsured rate is 16.3 percent.

[...]

In child poverty, Texas moved up a notch. In 2009, the rate among state residents younger than 18 was 25.6 percent, or seventh-highest among states. Last year, at 27 percent, Texas came in No. 6, edging out Indiana.

Texas had 1.9 million poor children, the study found.

It’s not a great state for wage earners, Low Wages in Texas.

And for needy Texans there’s little help.

For residents living in poverty, the state doesn’t offer many services or even make federally-funded benefits easily accessible.

For instance, it has one of the tightest income limits — less than 12% of the poverty level — to qualify for federal cash assistance payments and one of the most meager benefits, a maximum of about $260 a month for a family of three, said Celia Cole, senior research analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, which advocates for low-income residents. The program serves less than 6% of poor children in the state.

Texas’ Medicaid program covers few non-disabled adults, instead providing health insurance mainly for children and senior citizens. And only an estimated 55% of those eligible for food stamps had signed up for the program in 2008, among the lowest participation rates in the country.

Enrollment has since improved after the state legislature allocated more money for administering the system after coming under pressure from the federal government and being hit with a class action lawsuit. However, Cole says, need has greatly increased as well.

And there’s little to no recourse for poor, working, and middle class Texans. Especially since corporations own the Texas Supreme Court, Report: Decade-Long Review Shows Texas Supreme Court Is Activist, Ideological.

The Texas Supreme Court has a long history of favoring corporate defendants over families and small businesses, according to a decade-long review of the Court’s decision making by Court Watch, a project of the non-profit Texas Watch Foundation.

Court Watch reviewed the 624 cases involving consumers decided by the Court between 2000 and 2010. The report, “Thumbs on the Scale: A Retrospective of the Texas Supreme Court, 2000-2010,” finds that the state’s high court for civil matters “has marched in lock-step to consistently and overwhelmingly reward corporate defendants and the government at the expense of Texas families.”

It’s long past time for Texas to become a top 10 state for the rest of us.

Further Reading:
Texas Poverty 101.
How Fracking is Changing the Face of South Texas.
The Texas Unmiracle.
More Regressive Tax Code Contributed To Growing Income Inequality Before Crisis: Report.

01.25.12

Shocked to find politics taking place during redistricting

Posted in Around The State, Commentary, Redistricting at 10:39 am by wcnews

It’s not like this is a surprise to anyone who knows politics in Texas.  To find out that during the redistricting process there was politics going on.

Asked what “really bad” meant in reference to judges, Hebert said that it meant Republicans didn’t want Democrats or minorities. “They knew all along their plan was discriminatory,” said Hebert. “This is confirming evidence.”

Matt Angle, director of the Lone Star Project, a Democratic advocacy group, agreed that the email confirms that Republicans wanted to skirt the voting rights law. “They were looking to rig the deal from the git-go.”

The Texas attorney general’s office declined comment. Interiano, who is due to testify in the D.C. court again today after testifying last week, did not respond to a request for comment.

It’s just that this kind of thing is only talked about in “quiet rooms”, not in open court with press taking not. It’s rare that we get a trial to bring all the “sausage making” out into the open. The Texas GOP can thank Greg Abbott for that.

01.24.12

Update on redistricting and polling place photo ID restrictions

Posted in 2012 Primary, Around The State, Election 2012, Redistricting at 11:12 am by wcnews

The crux of the issue with redistricting in Texas boils down to the highlighted sentence below from Michael Li, Election schedule, interim map update.

In an order issued this afternoon, the San Antonio court cancelled the scheduled February 1 status conference and instead asked the parties to appear for a status conference this Friday, January 27, at 1 p.m.

However, the court told the parties that if they wish to maintain a unified April 3 primary date that they would need to agree among themselves on maps by February 6.

If the parties are unable to agree upon maps, they are to submit a list of unobjected to districts by February 6 for the court’s consideration.

The majority (GOP) is going to have to work with, i.e. compromise with, the minority (Democrats) in order to get a set up maps passed by the deadline for an April Primary to be possible. Isn’t it interesting that it comes down to that? Because the GOP was adamantly opposed to that during the legislative session is the reason we are in this predicament in the first place. It’s because of the shenanigans and unwillingness of the GOP leaders in the legislature to work with Democrats, in a few areas, that their redistricting plans failed to hold up to legal scrutiny.

And same goes for their polling place photo ID restrictions bill, aka Voter ID. The Texas GOP didn’t have to pass the most restrictive law photo ID restriction law ever, but they did.

The law, known as Senate Bill 14, would establish a very limited list of accepted forms of photo identification, and would require all voters to show an acceptable ID before they will be permitted to vote. Other previously acceptable documents, like birth certificates and utility bills, will no longer be accepted as sufficient proof of identification.

Notably, university student ID cards and state and federal government employee ID cards would also be rejected. This extremely narrow list of acceptable identification documents makes Texas’ law one of the most restrictive pieces of voter ID legislation in the entire country.

There were areas for compromise with Democrats on an ID bill but since the GOP had large enough majorities in the legislature they saw no need. And, again, their extremism and overreach brought about enactment of legislation that can’t hold up to legal scrutiny. There is a school of thought out there that believes the whole point of the GOP passing such extreme measures, in redistricting and photo restriction, is to bring about a constitutional challenge of the Voting Rights Act. That’s hard to argue with.

Kuff has two good posts on both of these issues:
Redistricting, Trying to save the April 3 primary date.

The race is on to get new maps in hand in time to keep the April 3 primary date, since all the options for after that date are distinctly unpalatable in one way or another. On Friday, the State of Texas asked the San Antonio court to get its work done by January 30. The courtasked for responses to that request; the plaintiffs said it wasn’t realistic while the state said they’d work late and by phone to make it happen. They also suggested moving the second filing deadline to February 6 and shortening the period for mailing military ballots to 25 days. The court responded with some requests of its own.

And polling place photo ID restrictins, Texas files suit to preclear voter ID.

As we know, the Justice Department has been asking the state for data about how this law will affect minority voters, and it’s only in the last couple of weeks that the state has sort of fulfilled those requests. The DOJ refused to preclear a new voter ID law in South Carolina on the grounds that it was discriminatory, with AG Abbott expressing at that time the opinion that Texas’ law was headed for a similar fate. We’ll see what the DC court makes of this. For what it’s worth, they so far have not shown any inclination in the redistricting preclearance lawsuit to be more lenient on the state than Justice would have been. Postcardshas more, Texas Redistricting has a response to Abbott from MALC Chair Trey Martinez-Fischer, and a statement from Sen. Rodney Ellis is here.

01.23.12

What a difference six months makes in politics

Posted in 2012 Primary, Around The Nation, Around The State, Election 2012 at 2:33 pm by wcnews

Six months ago Rick Perry was on top of the world and seemed like he had the best chance to be the anti-Romney if he decided to enter the GOP presidential primary.  But that was last summer and probably seems like an eternity to Perry loyalists and supporters.  His decline, now complete, was swift.

One interesting dynamic of the GOP Primary is the connection between Perry and Newt Gingrich’s campaign.  It seems that when one was up the other was down, and vice versa. Also in June of last year Perry’s campaign “brain trust” exited the Gingrich campaign.  It’s very interesting to look back at how Gingrich and Perry were perceived by the right wing a little over six months ago.

It is not news that Newt Gingrich is disorganized and undisciplined – his 1,000-ideas-a-minute pace all but ensures it. His time away from active politics seems to have made that worse. Staffers have been highly critical of his management style, to say the least, and Newt has been all over the map, from veering toward the fringe with that “Kenyan anti-colonialist” business to veering into RINO territory denouncing “right-wing social engineering.”

I’d endorse Newt Gingrich for president . . . of a very good college. It is impossible to imagine him president of the United States.

I don’t know why Perry isn’t in, and I don’t know why Gingrich is.

Those staffers that were criticizing Gingrich back then, were the same ones that defected, and wound up running Perry’s campaign.  It looks like Carney and crew didn’t fare too well in the 2012 GOP Primary.  (Carney’s preception has certainly taken a hit since last summer, The Outsider.)   Now Perry’s “gurus” are perceived as a bunch of Texas “rubes” and Gingrich won South Carolina by 10 plus. What a difference six months makes.

Reading this article in the Texas Tribune, Back in Texas, Rick Perry Has Relationships to Repair, about Perry’s failed presidential run – never going to get tired of typing that – there are a few other interesting items.  It’s apparent now that Perry will say anything to try and win an election, (shocking isn’t it!?). Remember it wasn’t long ago that Perry was the tea party darling.

In his five-month run for the White House, he called Turkey’s leaders “Islamic terrorists,” blasted Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s fiscal strategy as “treasonous,” and slammed gays serving openly in the military, moves that made some moderate Republicans choke on their lunch.

He offended Tea Partiers and some of his social conservative fans by saying opponents of in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants were heartless.

And he alienated big business Republicans by going after so-called “vulture capitalists,” prompting Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk show host, to compare Perry to Fidel Castro.

But when the going got tough Texas’ tea party governor folded like a pair of deuces.

But Texans learned something too — how their usually unflappable governor performs under national pressure.

They winced at the gaffes and unforced errors: When Perry misstated the voting age and the number of justices on the Supreme Court. When he said Texas teaches creationism in public schools. When he forgot the third agency he wanted to shutter during a presidential debate, prompting the “oops” heard around the cable news world.

And they cringed as Perry’s campaign rhetoric and candidate attacks grew more desperate.

There was the December “Strong” ad where Perry states, “There’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military” — which his advisers quietly called a blatant grasp at Christian conservatives.

When he was under fire in a Republican debate, his statement that those who opposed in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants did not have “a heart” rankled the same anti-immigration voters he was trying to court. And Perry’s allegation, with his back against the wall in South Carolina, that firms like the financial services company his opponent Mitt Romney founded were “vulture capitalists” outraged some Republican business leaders, in addition to the Republican pundit class.

JoAnn Fleming, chairwoman of the Texas Legislature’s Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee, said Perry has some explaining to do back in Texas. She called his “vulture capitalism” comments the kind of attack a liberal would make, and said that although Perry defended Texas’ in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants on the campaign trail, she and other Tea Party activists will be calling on him to repeal it in the next legislative session.

News reports that Perry had begun drawing down his pension to supplement his gubernatorial salary did not sit well with small-government conservatives either, she said.

“He has some cleaning up of his own doorstep he needs to do,” Fleming said.

The tea party and the Texas GOP shouldn’t be surprised that their governor, that used to be a Democrat, was willing to change his positions on the issue most important to them.  Perry has always been a political opportunist and changes his positions as often as the Texas weather.  After all that is Perry’s political MO.  All we can hope is that Texans finally see him for what he is.

My thoughts on whether Perry will run again in the future are these.  Perry won’t leave until the voters make him.  Until he says he isn’t running assume he is running for reelection in 2014. He knows nothing other than politics, and running the next race.  At this point he’s like an aging athlete that doesn’t know when to quit. He’s accustomed to the lifestyle of bodyguards, drivers, chefs, etc…and doesn’t want to give it up.  The earliest he would announce he’s not running would be after the next legislative session.  A lame duck Perry would have no power.  If he can’t mend those fences, mentioned above, and runs again he could finally get beat in Texas.

Further Reading:
Allbaugh Caused Campaign Tensions, Perry Advisers Say.  A few choice quotes from the article.

“We’ve got to make sure we put our best foot forward for Rick and Penny,” a senior adviser recalls Allbaugh telling the gathering.

Rick and Penny?

Presumably, he meant Anita Perry, the governor’s wife.

[...]

In the wake of the Perry’s gaffe-infused implosion, identifying which strategic move hurt the most is a difficult task, and one that may be impossible without more information and the benefit of historical reflection.

[...]

Perry’s own string of verbal goofs, probably some of the worst in modern American political history, were so crippling that it is questionable whether any paid professionals could have pulled him out of the ditch.

And from Peggy Fikac, The unraveling of Perry’s tight-knit team?

Maybe Perry would’ve done better nationally if staffers in his state races had pushed him into general-election debates, unfettered public discussion of his positions and more media access. Or maybe now we now know why they didn’t.
Regardless, his tight-knit team looks a bit unraveled. And for Perry, at least in Texas, that may turn out to be the biggest loss of all.

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