Quick Takes

Not enough for a weekend update….

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.

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 , 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
Operating Expenditures Offsets $0
Other Receipts $0

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.

Missing the point.

One of the problems with a media whose members all self-identify with one ideology is that they frequently miss the point of legislation by the opposing party. Case in point:

(Critics raise “doubts” over sanctuary cities bill. Peggy Fikac & Susan Carroll, Chron.com)

Cesar Espinosa, a Houston-based immigrant advocate who led a caravan of protestors to the rally, said the bill already has sparked fear in Houston-area immigrant communities, where one in five residents is foreign-born, according to census data.

“People are just generally afraid,” he said. “And a good amount of people are actually saying they’re considering leaving the state.”

Emphasis mine.

The bolded is framed as a negative, but the sponsor of the bill would certainly classify that as an intended outcome. Also missing from this story (and, let’s be honest, all of Kilday-Hart’s writing this session) is any sense of balance. Say for instance the fact that many officer’s unions (whose members form the front line against these crimes) support the issue.

The bigger question is not one of anti-sanctuary city policy support, but whether they can be up for discussion. In most cases the answer of the state’s political media is, for issues with which they identify, no. This leads to demagogery and dubious arguments more often than not which, to be fair, is often the default behavior of many on both sides of the political aisle. It just finds its way into print more on the port side.

UPDATE: Welcome Fark readers! We aggregate the best links daily in Texas politics (click for today’s links). Check out recent posts on Dan Patrick and the Texas Senate race, Texas’ Higher Ed Reform, or 10 Best/Worst Legislators lists.

Did I miss anything today?

Today I took a day trip with my wife without internet. It was peaceful, although while I was gone the Texas political gossip scene was out in full force.

On Wednesday night, I wrote Kevin and Cory an email, before the news today broke that Gingrich’s staff had resigned (one of my points that needed clarification before Perry 2012 could be taken as a serious idea). Here’s the  email:

I’m actually thinking about writing a post speculating on how Perry could run for president. He’s not putting the kibosh on it anymore. I’m not convinced that he’ll go for it, but for the first time he appears to be considering it. And why the heck shouldn’t he? He is leading the anti-Obama charge, he could definitely get the nomination and make the general election a referendum on jobs and spending. He won’t promise to bring the country together with bipartisanship ala W in 2000 or Obama 08, but that probably doesn’t matter in what will be a very polarized electorate. He can very credibly make the case that he is Obama’s polar opposite on spending and jobs.

I’m going to try to write about this tomorrow.

Dan Patrick and his not-very-persuasive Texas Senate poll

You’ve probably seen the news that Dan Patrick released a poll purporting to show him being the frontrunner in the Senate race. Pretty much everyone I talk to scoffed at the numbers regardless of who they work for or whether they like Patrick. I sorta agree, although I probably take them a bit more at face value. That doesn’t mean I think they have any predictive power whatsoever. Quite the contrary.

Here’s Patrick’s numbers, which they basically released without any supporting information:

Dan Patrick 19%
Tom Leppert 11
Roger Williams 6
Elizabeth Ames Jones 4
Ted Cruz 2
Not sure/Refused 58

1. It’s a name ID poll against carefully selected opponents with less name ID. I would expect that Dan Patrick’s name ID is right about there, followed by Leppert’s. After years of a radio show and years as a big suburban state senate district, Patrick has good name ID in Houston, Leppert in Dallas.

2. A name ID ballot test is close to worthless when you exclude Lt Gov David Dewhurst…who has significantly more name ID over the better part of a decade and a few downballot primaries. If Patrick takes his poll and he shows up higher than Dewhurst, that might be news. We can be pretty sure that Dewhurst beat him however, or they would have released that.

3. Also, what’s Patrick’s fav/unfav? What’s his name ID? For example, if Patrick has ~30% name ID compared to < 10% for every other candidate in that poll (possible), then that means only 2 out of 3 pick him even if they probably haven't heard of the other candidates. Not great for him. Dan Patrick accompanied the release with, "This poll confirms that I would be the conservative front runner if I announce for the United States Senate." Well...not really. He's proved that he may have more name ID (highly concentrated in Houston) than others, but most of the folks who might have supported him have already lined up behind other candidates. So if Patrick enters the race, he's probably decreasing the chances of someone winning (whether him or another candidate) that he considers conservative. So I'd be surprised if the release of this poll has the effect that his camp hopes. He's floating the trial balloon and seeing how people respond. But my guess is that more people will tell him that they don't think he should run. And that includes, I believe, all the members of Texas Iconoclast. (As you probably already know, I support Ted Cruz.)