Yesterday a press release on Governor Perry's web site declared that Texas Republican Party chairman Tina Benkiser has joined their team for the governor's re-election as a senior adviser.
"I am stepping down as chairman so that I can enthusiastically support the only true conservative n the Texas governor's race, Governor Rick Perry," said Benkiser. "Gov. Perry loves Texas and he cares about Texans. He has shown leadership when Washington has not, and he has shown courage when others have bailed. I look forward to embracing my role as senior advisor to Governor Perry's re-election effort and I am confident that my choice will move the cause for conservatism forward."
The woman who bailed on her job as chair of the state Republican party claims "others have bailed." And she is embracing the failed strategy of assuming the wisdom of judging "true" conservatives. A political party is not a private club. There is no admissions committee which gets to tell others who is and isn't a true anything. What kind of leader repels potential members of a party by flaunting litmus tests?
Benkiser, earlier in the year, tried very hard to be elected co-chair of the Republican National Committee by hitching her wagon to the campaign of Ken Blackwell for the top spot on the ticket. In all likelihood, that campaign, if successful, would have required her to resign as State Chair, too.
As Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, Benkiser has overseen an increase of Republican officeholders by 22% from the time she came into the position in 2003. However, in recent elections, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have "floundered", according to an article in the Austin Statesman. The article continues, "They've lost ground in the Texas House, Senate and the U.S. House (after gains thanks to mid-decade redistricting)."
If Benkiser is using the Perry re-election campaign as some kind of stepping stone to a more prominent national position, she may be interested in what some in Washington, D.C. are saying about Kay Bailey Hutchison - her fellow elected Texas politicians. From the Dallas Morning News on September 20, 2009: "Nearly half the Texas Republicans in Congress support Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in her bid to oust Gov. Rick Perry. Perry doesn't tout a single endorsement. Those staying neutral worry about betting on the wrong horse. Many are loath to pick one friend over another."
"The Hutchison camp includes nine of the 20 Texas Republicans in the House, among them moderates and conservatives: Reps. Kevin Brady of The Woodlands, Michael Burgess of Flower Mound, John Culberson of Houston, Louie Gohmert of Tyler, Kay Granger of Fort Worth, Kenny Marchant of Coppell, Mac Thornberry of Clarendon and Randy Neugebauer of Lubbock."
As the articles points out, some who supported Perry in 2006, as Hutchison decided not to run and potentially divide the party, now back Hutchison. "Gohmert has said that one key reason he endorsed Perry that year was because the governor promised not to run again.."
Rep. Brady, a strong conservative voice in Washington, he pointed to Hutchison's work "on tax cuts and hurricane relief." "She is remarkably effective," Brady said. "I've never seen anyone produce, with values, so much for Texas."
Benkiser said, in the Perry press release, "Gov. Perry loves Texas and he cares about Texans." Sounds like Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.