Quick Takes

Not enough for a weekend update….



di·chot·o·my   [dahy-kot-uh-mee]
noun, plural -mies.
division into two parts, kinds, etc.; subdivision into halves or pairs.
division into two mutually exclusive, opposed, or contradictory groups: a dichotomy between thought and action.

Anyone saying that there are no differences between the two parties haven’t been paying attention.

  • Perry on Obama speech: America needs ‘a president with the courage to offer more than yet another speech’. Caroline May, The Daily Caller
  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the current Republican presidential frontrunner, responded to President Barack Obama’s address to Congress Thursday night in less than favorable terms.

    “President Obama’s call for nearly a half-trillion dollars in more government stimulus when America has more than $14 trillion in debt is guided by his mistaken belief that we can spend our way to prosperity,” said Perry.

    The choice is pretty clear: “I want to make the Federal Government as insignificant in your life as possible” vs. “Government has a role”.

    While the Left and Karl Rove seem to be knocking themselves out trying to bring down Perry it appears that the Texas Governor might have the perfect message to use against an increasingly unpopular President.

    Salaries and cost of living.

    One is pretty much useless without the other.

    Keep that in mind when reading another one of those “it’s complicated” news pieces attempting to frame the Texas economy as a negative rather than a positive. For example…..

    Miracle or Mirage, What Kinds of Jobs Has Texas Created? Becca Aaronson, Texas Tribune

    According to statistics from the Texas Workforce Commission, the annual median wage in 2010 for all occupations in Texas was $31,500, or 7 percent less than the national median.

    There’s no reason to doubt those numbers. However, when you take into consideration Texas’ cost of living rankings:

    The cost of living in texas is much lower than almost every state in the nation. The same job that would generally only cover the cost of apartment living is the same cost ratio as the cost of home living. Whether you are looking to live in Austin, Houston, Dallas or San Antonio, Finding an affordable home to living in is not a stretch of the old imagination

    It’s easy to see where the raw number comparison falls flat.

    So, next time you see an article dismissing the Texas economy, make sure to see if it’s telling you the entire story, or just cherry-picking the pieces OF the story the news outlet in question wants you to see. Given Texas’ relatively inexpensive housing costs and low tax burdens, that 7% salary gap can be eaten away fairly quickly.

    He won’t avoid all the editorial boards…

    Erin McPike, Real Clear Politics:

    The longtime Texas governor has not been a candidate for a full two weeks yet, but multiple Republican operatives in the state have noticed that the Union Leader’s editorial page has not taken a jab at him in that time. And while Perry famously refused to sit with for interviews with the editorial boards of Texas in his re-election race last year, he’s already been in to meet with the powers that be at the Union Leader and granted the paper his first interview in the state.

    Governor Perry goes and meets with an editorial board immediately upon entering the race. On first glance, it seems like a bit of a slap to the Texas editorial boards that got the cold shoulder in 2010.

    There is a bit more sense to it, of course. The Union Leader‘s editorial board doesn’t know Perry, whereas by the time the 2010 gubernatorial race rolled around, Perry had visited many times with each newspaper’s editorial board over the previous decade…and pretty much all of Texas’ daily newspapers have cast a skeptical eye on the governor’s tenure in office.

    Dewhurst no-showing candidate forums a dangerous strategy

    Robert Garrett of the Dallas Morning News and Jason Embry in the Statesman picked up a post from the North Texas Tea Party blog on Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst skipping candidate forums across the state. I tweeted out the same thing at the Austin EmpowerTexans/9-12 candidate forum last Saturday night. I was surprised not to see Lt Governor Dewhurst there. It seems to me like a strange strategic decision to skip candidate forums.

    They’re playing a dangerous game by letting a narrative take hold that could be quite dangerous for them. When Dewhurst is absent, people get a chance to repeat all the things that they might otherwise just whisper: Dewhurst is…establishment, aloof, moderate, out-of-touch, elitist, not a man of the people, thinks he can buy the election, etc. Some of those might not be fair, but that’s not the point — when you don’t show up, people say them. Then they get repeated and become conventional wisdom.

    My sense is that Dewhurst and his team probably see these forums as an annoyance. Many of the candidate forums include straw polls, and it is very unlikely that Dewhurst would win any of the straw polls among party activists. Many of the folks there have already picked a candidate, and it’s usually not Dewhurst. If Dewhurst showed up, he might even be the target of attacks from the other candidates (right now the candidates seem to be aiming their barbs at Ted Cruz, the other perceived front runner), but that is essentially the nature of the race.

    Contrast Dewhurst with Tom Leppert. The former mayor of Dallas consistently shows up. He never does well in the straw polls — frequently getting just a solitary vote or two — but at least he is there. If the race were to end up Dewhurst v Leppert in a runoff, I imagine plenty of activists will remember who showed up at their forum and said the right things.

    Will it matter? Only time will tell.

    Perry’s in.

    At today’s RedState annual Conservative blogger confab in South Carolina Gov. Rick Perry made official his intent to seek the office of the President of the United States of America.

    He’s decided to do this by following Evan’s elevator pitch advice, adopting “Get America back to work” as his one-line campaign slogan.

    Predictably, the Progs* are in full throat pointing out Perry’s negatives….

    Actually, no, they’re not. They’re busy quoting platitudes by the late Molly Ivins (whose contributions to the State’s political debate were “Governor Goodhair” and Shrub”) because, well, that’s what Texas Progs do.

    My early guess is that Perry will breeze through the GOP Primary with little difficulty and will continue to hone his anti-Obama message across the country. When the Texas primaries are held we’ll really see just how wrong the polls are when they suggest Perry won’t do well here. That’s just the liberal polling shop PPP HOPING things don’t go Perry’s way.


    1. The anti-Perry Texas Media. They’ve never forgiven him for snubbing them in the last election. Already Texas Monthly has given Perry’s vanquished opponents an unchallenged venue to downplay his drubbing of them and it’s only going to get more comedic as the State’s wheezing, past their expiration date editorial boards weigh in. (We won’t even talk about PolitiFarceTX and other “fact checking” sites.) That Paul Burka is being held up by the National media as the premier Perry expert in Texas tells you just how myopic this group has become.

    2. Endorsements. My guess is Sarah Palin will be the first, followed by Giuliani and then a host of other Republican big-wigs. Again, I don’t think the GOP nomination battle is going to be all that close now. Perry is, by far, the strongest candidate with the strongest conservative record. Romney vs. Perry is all that’s left and I expect Romney’s support to start melting away.

    3. Texas Dems. It’s going to be a rough political season for Texas’ least relevant political party. They’re going to have to attack Rick Perry without looking like they’re attacking Texas at the same time. Political history tells us they’ll fail at this miserably. Were I a down-ballot GOP nominee I’d tie my Democratic opponent to the Texas-hating Democratic establishment so fast it would make their heads spin.

    I’m sure that Evan will have a LOT more to say on this (and will have a lot better insight than I as well) in the coming days so I’m going to leave it here. Look for Evan soon on this blog and enjoy the show.

    *Progs = Progressives. And yes, I’m poking fun at them by rhyming Prog with frog, the English put-down of the French.

    Rick Perry for President 2012, part 1: The Elevator Pitch

    Forget everything else — if you had to boil down every presidential candidate’s message to a very simple elevator pitch, Rick Perry wins hands-down. No Republican currently running can match it. Obama can’t either, but he won’t even try. He has already committed inexorably to polarizing the electorate and motivating the base, a la Bush 2004 on steroids.

    Rick Perry’s message in a word: jobs. That’s it. Obama has failed on that front completely and massively. True measures of unemployment have more than doubled since his inauguration, and no other Republican currently running can match Perry’s job-creation record as governor of Texas.

    While Obama’s American economic policies were destroying jobs nationally, Perry’s Texan policies have Texas going in the opposite direction. Imagine what Obama’s unemployment numbers would look like without Texas. Despite the stiff headwind from Obamanomics, Texas has been a rock of job growth by doing everything different than Obama. Since the recession technically ended in 09, Texas has added as many new jobs as the rest of the nation. To wit, over the last 5 years Texas added 537,500 jobs. 2nd closest was neighboring Louisiana with just 55,000 new jobs and 41 states actually lost jobs. Not surprisingly, Texas has the second lowest debt per capita in the nation…just contrast that with Obama who trumpets adding trillions in debt over 10 years as “historic.”

    No other Republican can match it either. Not Mitt Romney, as Massachusetts wasn’t an engine of economic growth in his tenure, nor did he do anything to make it moreso. Not Michele Bachmann, runnning as the Tea Party candidate. Not Tim Pawlenty, trying unspectacularly to be a generic Republican. Not Herman Cain, even if he does have a good record as a businessman.

    Rick Perry has the added advantage that he has always run on jobs. Just check this compilation of his TV ads over the years:

    Jobs — Rick Perry campaign ads

    In a time of lengthy economic stagnation, having Texas’ strong and unique job growth is a heckuva base for a presidential campaign.

    Straw Polls and campaign realities

    Everything else is flat.

    The Addison campaign went to Twitter on Sunday to promote another good straw poll result, this time in Austin, where (reportedly) Dewhurst skipped and Leppert continued to under-perform.

    Unfortunately, for Addison, these showings are not translating into either campaign followers (at least on Twitter, where his campaign only has 20 followers as of this writing) or campaign donations From the FEC Website:

    Itemized Individual Contributions $25,353
    Unitemized Individual Contributions $74
    Party Committees Contributions $0
    Other Committees Contributions $0
    Candidate Contributions $0
    Transfers from Authorized Committees $0
    Candidate Loans $6,000
    Other Loans $0
    TOTAL LOANS $6,877
    Operating Expenditures Offsets $0
    Other Receipts $0
    TOTAL RECEIPTS $32,304

    Compare that to Ted Cruz who reported raising $1.8MM in the first half-year and Tom Leppert who also reported raising the same amount (not counting a $2MM loan he gave himself). Elizabeth Ames-Jones reported raising somewhere in the 450K range. Even worse for Addison, he was out-raised by Ricardo “Boilerplate” Sanchez, who’s done almost nothing on the campaign trail to date and is almost certainly relying on Steve Mostyn’s early money.

    Evan has surmised that there could be a schism between the on-line and off-line Tea Parties in Texas. That could be (and probably is) true. More importantly, I think, is that these numbers reveal just how silly these straw polls really are. Come primary time this election is going to come down to two candidates: Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst. The Tea Party would be wise to coalesce behind Cruz lest they get angered about having a “RINO” in DC representing them for the next six years.

    Addison (and Pettinger) are no doubt having a good time at these forums, but they would be much better served starting small (say City Council or the Texas House) and working their way up. The Republican Party bench is too deep for any candidate to pull a Radnofsky.


    According to David Catanese of Politico he’s in:

    Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is planning to formalize his candidacy for U.S. Senate in Texas on July 18 and could accelerate that time frame if advisers see fit, a GOP source with knowledge of his plans tells POLITICO.

    So the money is now in the race. Some interesting questions arise from this now that it appears Dewhurst has officially made up his mind:

    What is Sen. Dan Patrick going to do? At the recent Senate forum, I was certain he was in. Now that Dewhurst (and his money) is in the race you have to wonder if the Dan thinks he can run against Dewhurst sucessfully? Since he attacked Dewhurst pretty hard in the forum I have to think that answer is yes.

    What is the Tea Party going to do? Dewhurst will NOT be a Tea Party favorite. He can’t run as a Conservative activist with any credibility. He’s a moderate in the vein of KBH, and many think that Hutchison didn’t run again because she didn’t think she could survive a primary having been type-cast as a RINO by Perry’s campaign team.

    How does this affect Ted Cruz? In the early parts of the race, Cruz looked like the clear favorite. Dewhurst changes that dynamic and places Cruz firmly in second place. Dewhurst will also give the State’s lackluster political media a “moderate” candidate to cheer for, before they turn on Dewhurst and support Ric Sanchez that is.

    Tour of Texas Senatorial Forums straw poll results

    And the winner is…

    Ted Cruz….

    Results from the Straw Poll:

    Cruz 47%
    Addison 43%
    Pittenger 5%
    Jones 3%
    Leppert 2%

    129 votes counted
    1 vote undecided
    1 vote Patrick
    1 vote Sanchez
    132 total votes
    Vote tally was witnessed and confirmed by all five campaign officials

    Addison has to be happy, he went from nothing (9 followers on Twitter) to 43%, 2nd behind Ted Cruz. Leppert, despite what I thought was a good performance in the forum, finished dead last in a vote that illustrates the problem this moderate mayor of Dallas is going to have in an environment where everyone who doesn’t toe the ultra-conservative line is deemed a RINO.

    If anything, this straw poll illustrates the power of Ted Cruz. I thought he had a sub-par performance in this forum, but he still came out on top by a comfortable margin. So far Dan Patrick’s pre-announcement strategy seems to be striking early and often against David Dewhurst, he might want to consider striking out at Ted Cruz. Still, I have no doubt that, had his supporters been allowed to vote for him, Mr. Patrick would have won on his home turf. Outside of Houston is going to be his bugaboo.

    On a side note: We know that at least on Democrat was there, which is probably going to be similar to the results in an actual Cruz/Sanchez stand-off. We also know that at least one Dan Patrick supporter is incapable of following simple instructions.

    One final thought: Last night Sen. Patrick made a big deal about having not made up his mind whether to enter the race or not. By the time he gets around too it, we could be witnessing Cruz’ victory lap.