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.