"I don't think you could get far enough off the highway on the right-hand side to get to Rick Perry's right." "Is there anything too wacky that he wouldn't say to win that primary?" Those quotes from Charles Cook, editor of Cook Political Report.
As Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Gov Rick Perry square off for the Republican nomination for the 2010 election for Texas Governor, the nastiness continues from the Perry camp. First it was public boasting of his campaign that Hutchinson's husband was fair game and his career as a successful attorney in Texas would be under the microscope and now a quote from a Perry political consultant comes to light, via an article at dallasnews.com : "But that doesn't mean you take your principles and throw them out the door and become a whorehouse and let anybody in who wants to come in, regardless," Dave Carney said.
Carney is worried. Senator Hutchinson brings voters who are moderate Republicans and Independents. It is impossible for a Republican candidate anywhere, yes even in red state Texas, to win an election without Independent voters. Both parties vie for Independents in Texas as they do in other states. Governor Perry is beholden to the far right of the Republican party - the social conservatives who only vote according to their own "moral" litmus tests.
As Rich Galen, a GOP political consultant and former Hutchinson adviser, says "What Hutchinson is saying is that what most of us are looking for is a party that has core fiscal principles - Republican principles that include people who may or may not agree on the social issues." Galen is a former chief of staff to Speaker Newt Gingrich and to VP Dan Quayle. Is he now not "Republican " enough to pass the litmus test?
So, the Perry adviser feels perfectly comfortable to say - out loud - that courting all votes is somehow to lose your core principles and to turn your philosophy into a "whorehouse". Sexist and ignorant. While more conservative voters turn out in primaries, the general voting population is more to the center-right, as is the State of Texas.
Galen says, "You can't win a major race without the independents, and independents are leaving the Republican Party. "From a professional's standpoint, you cannot win elections by getting more votes from fewer people." How many more times must the deaf litmus testers hear those words?
Senator Hutchinson is a Republican. She is fiscally conservative, strong on national defense, and is a strong voice for Texas in Washington, D.C. She backs the ban on federal funding of abortions and she is against late-term abortion. She is in favor of parental notification.
Governor Perry, a former Democrat himself, is leaning on the purity litmus test from the social conservatives to win the primary. He is actively bringing on board politically active pastors - which Republicans traditionally criticize Democrats when they use religion as a political issue. His popularity rating is in the low 30's.
Senator Hutchinson will win the support of suburban voters, women, and economic conservatives. She has a strong, proven record on voting in favor of a consistent robust national defense. Governor Perry only recently became serious over border issues.
Both are Republicans. Both can win over a Democrat as Governor in Texas. But for one to try to out-conservative another using such nasty campaigning - to a fellow Republican - well, what would Ronald Reagan say? The Eleventh Commandment - don't speak ill of a fellow Republican. Or a sister Republican.