Wednesday, July 31, 2013

RPT Chairman Munisteri Addresses United Republicans of Harris County

Tuesday night Republican Party of Texas (RPT) Chairman Steve Munisteri addressed a packed room at the SOSA center as the program speaker for United Republicans of Harris County general meeting.  His presentation dwelled mostly on the state of the state party and plans going forth as elections in 2014 and 2016 are on the horizon.

I'll get the obvious out of the way first. Munisteri is to be commended for his aggressive approach to bringing the state party back from a very troubling financial state and is certainly to be applauded for his claim that for the last eleven months, RPT has maintained at least $1M in the bank after expenses. Then he said that this month will probably bring that number down a bit but still good.  Under his guidance, $14M has been raised over the last three years.

Now for the other stuff.  Exploring the story line of Battleground Texas, Munisteri explained that Texas has been a competitive state for Democrats all along but that the party structure has been so disorganized that the need for an outside group to come in arose.  It is true that since 1994 Republicans have dominated statewide races. However, using the total number of elected offices of 5,200 in the state, until 2008 Republicans didn't overturn the majority of offices.  And it is a fact that from 2000 to 2008 GOP trend lines were going down with a significant decline in the base. From 2006-2008 the state was already on the verge of turning back to Democratic control. Texas hasn't been a solidly Republican state for seven years.

The reason Munisteri decided to run for state party chairman instead of enjoying retirement was due to time spent in Iowa in 2008 and watching the Obama juggernaut up close. He came back to Houston to hear local leaders continuing on with their happy talk that Texas and Harris County is solidly red territory speaking to a group of young Republicans and knew he had to work on the narrative.

Munisteri spoke about the basics of campaigning and winning elections.  He spoke about being out in communities to reach out to any and all potential voters.  "The party can't just pass resolutions" but must be out int he neighborhoods.

Frankly, lots of his talk was nothing new as far as process goes.  He spoke about the need for precinct chairs and for precinct organization.  "We can't afford to be sleeping" but must knock on doors as Battleground Texas workers are doing now.  We can't simply wait for just before elections to identify voters and ask for votes.

He spoke of the problem of winning elections - the relaxation that happens.  Coasting on past success is a victory killer.  Harris County is the only major urban county to go either way.  He was laying the groundwork for lowering expectations as we go to 2016, if you ask me.  He said he would much rather be a candidate in 2014 than in 2016.  This is something the local party is continuing to deny - that past victories will continue on without real reform in strategy.  

On the state level, Munisteri spoke of increased money coming from the RNC and grants that will allow him to increase paid staff and open offices - Victory Centers - around the state.  These offices will be remain open, not just before an election.  Emphasis will be placed on the offices opening in areas of highest need.

RPT will rent some of the Harris County Republican Party's space on Richmond Avenue as headquarters for Harris County.  Is this the best idea? I'm a bit hesitant about it as in the past it seems local party leadership and state leadership have experienced friction. Will local leadership take credit for state successes out of that office at a time when local leadership needs to be replaced by new, effective leadership?

What bothered me was the poo-pooing of the money raised by Battleground Texas.  While Munisteri acknowledged that the $1.1M Battleground Texas raised is not anything to be minimized, he noted that a couple of very big donors brought in the bulk of that number. So? Money is money and that is all they need to buy the necessities in an election.  The small donations indicate John Doe support and Battleground Texas has that, too.  At this time he then spoke about the party's Grassroots Donor program, by the way, and forms were given out for those who are not already signed up for the program - $8.25 monthly donation to the RPT guarantees you to be free of calls and mailings asking for money.  

What bothered me about a question asked about women voters was the lack of any real ideas or actions that will be taken to address our loss of that demographic.  The polls have been taken and Hillary Clinton beats all GOP potential candidates in 2016 in Texas if she runs for president.  Yes, even Ted Cruz.  It bothered me that there is some real denial going on and manifested itself by women in the room unable to realize that there will be Republican women who will vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 because she is a woman.  Do you not remember the Republicans who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 because they wanted to be a part of supporting the first black president? It will happen again with a woman candidate.

Remember - women are 56%-57% of voters.  Munisteri downplays it a bit at 53% but it is still a majority.  There was no talk of reaching out to women and speaking to them on issues of importance to them and their families other than to note that Hillary Clinton didn't do so well against Obama.  That is not true, either.  Remember that the Democrats had to maneuver around their Super Delegate process to knock her out of the process.

Munisteri appears to be relying heavily on the newly hired paid staff to be on the ground.  That is fine but it can't be an either/or action - we still need on the ground activists and voters working as strongly as ever before.  Munisteri failed to deliver a clarion call to the audience to be motivated, active, work like crazy to get the results we'll need in 2014 and beyond.  That was a missed opportunity. Many Republican voters need a message of motivation, not just comforting messages that everything will be alright.

I am concerned by talk that the Democrats are superior at social media (they have been) but that eventually social media will peak and no longer be so effective for them and they will have to get back to door to door, neighborhood work.  The fact is that Democrats are doing both - hand in hand - and that is why they win big elections.  That is what Battleground Texas is all about.  They were able to come into Texas and use the data available to begin their operations.  

Munisteri would do well to tout groups like True the Vote and King Street Patriots to reference winning grassroots activities.  There is a new group in the Spring area - Spring Tea Party - who has grown so quickly that they now are searching for larger meeting spaces to accommodate the crowds.  At the last meeting - keep in mind this is a brand new group - the crowd was over 300 on a week night at a restaurant.  That group's leader was in attendance  last night.

Let me end this with mention of the crowd at the meeting last night. It was a good crowd, especially for a Tuesday night at the end of July. Estimates are in the 125-150 range. It was easily the most diverse group I have seen at a basic Republican club meeting in some time.  There were many young people there and women, really the whole spectrum of the Republican voting scale.  I spoke to libertarians, tea party members, old school GOP, elected officials and lots of candidates, and everyone in between.  I especially like the number of young activists there. The public is welcome to all general meetings.  We will make you feel welcome.  You are wanted and needed to join the group.  Come have a cup of coffee and a cookie and listen to an important speaker.  There is work to be done.

Full disclosure: I am a member of the board of directors of United Republicans of Harris County.  

Monday, July 29, 2013

Will White Women Turn Texas Blue?

If you are the least bit interested in politics, especially here in the state of Texas, there is no doubt you have kept a bit of interest in the developing organization known as Battleground Texas.  I have tried to monitor them from the very beginning and then write about what I learn.  Call my actions what you will, but I believe it is a fundamental obligation in politics to take the advice of The Godfather: keep your friends close, your enemies closer.

If you don't know what the opposition is doing, how will you go to battle?

After the last national election, we Republican voters were a bit astonished to look at the raw numbers of voter information. OK, we were a lot astonished. The usual steps of grief were in play.  You know the ones - denial, anger, resolve, etc.  I've made peace with the results of pouring over the numbers but that peace doesn't involve apathy.  If you are a Republican voter or if you are an Independent voter, in particular, I ask that you take a moment and look at a piece in the San Antonio Current.  It neatly explains what I have been talking about since last November. Yes, another blogger has a post up today about this article. A liberal blogger.  See how that works?

The steep loss of women voters for Republicans is a game changer. Without the majority of women voting for our candidates, Republicans will not win elections.  Today women make up 54% to 56% of the electorate.  White women make up the majority of that demographic.  So, Republicans, we have to extend ourselves to women. Here in Texas you may think, well, that's not a problem, right? It's a big problem and I will use this piece from the Current to explain. While Hispanic voters are the growing demographic, women voters are the key to it all:

However, there is nothing fuzzy about the math. The Democrats can take Texas in 2016 if they can tap into one a key segment: white Texans, and in particular white women, the new kingmakers–or queenmakers–of Lone Star politics.Why? Women of color broadly support Democratic candidates, but that’s just the point: BGTX needs to mine new veins of voters. At least at this stage, minority population trends alone will not lock up the race, since heavily Republican non-Hispanic whites will still hold a slim majority through the next presidential cycle. Even if Battleground succeeds in ramping up meager Hispanic voter turnout to white levels, a Republican candidate would likely still prevail in 2016.“I think [Texas Battleground] realizes that it’s not just a matter of finding and turning out minority voters,” says Ruy Teixeira, co-author of the book The Emerging Democratic Majority and a senior fellow at Center for American Progress. “It’s also a matter of finding and turning out relatively liberal white voters, given the structure of the Texas electorate and given how conservatively white voters have been voting. The treasure trove would presumably be more likely to be college educated, more likely to be younger, and more likely to be women living in the big metropolitan areas.”
We may be able to reliably turn out the white male vote but that is not the case with women.  This is why our message, and the delivery of that message, is so very important.  We need happy warriors out there articulating the message of the Republican party and how our philosophy works better for everyone.  While it probably won't happen in time for the 2016 election cycle, Texas can go blue as early as 2020.  

Fast forward through eight years of demographic change and the figures converge much closer to a tipping point by 2016. Utilizing 2008 Texas exit polls (not available for the state in 2012) crossed with U.S. Census Bureau voter turnout figures from 2012, and applying those ratios to a projection of the number of 2016 eligible voters by ethnicity as calculated by the Center for American Progress yields a Republican victory in in the next contest.Even under an assumption that Battleground Texas successfully mobilizes target voters, elevating Hispanic and other minority turnout to levels achieved by whites last year (which is actually a slight decrease for African-Americans, the group posting the highest 2012 turnout rate), the state retains its crimson hue by a five-point 52-47 margin. However, given those same parameters, tweaking up Democratic support by white women from 28 percent (from 2008 exit polls) to, say, a lowly 35 percent, blues the result.
Do I have your attention yet?  By Democrats recruiting a growing percentage of white women in particular, Texas as a blue state becomes a reality.  And, with Hillary Clinton as a front runner in names for the 2016 presidential race, that should be a real eyeopener for us all.  Women who are Independent voters but lean conservative will turn out in large numbers to support her, don't kid yourself.  Much like Barack Obama increased the black vote enough to become president, Hillary Clinton will do the same with the votes of women. 

That’s why, in order to accelerate the demographic slide into blue territory, the Democrats will have to both peel off white support from the Republicans and mobilize whites who currently do not vote—in part because of the perception of futility of voting Dem in Texas. Fortunately for BGTX, the hard swerve to the right by the current Republican Party has left the political center wide open for recruitment of moderate white voters, all the more so for females incensed by the recent Republican-led restrictions on their reproductive rights. 
As I have written about before, Battleground Texas is an offshoot from OFA and Team Obama.  They are skilled in the details of organizing.  During their frequent workshops, one held here in Houston last weekend, they drill down into the specifics of those attending the event.  They know all about their supporters and use it to target specific events and neighborhoods with their volunteers.  They send Hispanic volunteers to Hispanic events, etc.  They have identified single moms, families with children, gay supporters, religious affiliations, and so on.  This all accelerates their success.

Out of Austin, a lean BGTX managerial team recruits “fellows” who pledge a certain number of hours per week and attend a boot camp. Each fellow coordinates a team of regular volunteers back in their neighborhood. In the organization’s first four months, it recruited and trained over 2,500 deputy voter registrars across the state and 200 summer fellows all across Texas, with over a dozen in San Antonio. Following the OFA “snowflake” model, these volunteers participate in voter registration drives at events, through phone banks and by door-to-door canvassing. Voter registration is dual purpose: It elevates the number of registered voters, and information on the voter-registration card is harvested for a master database.
Our ground game needs an overhaul.  Statewide and locally, we are lagging.

It can be hard to take seriously the steady issuance of resolutions by the Republican Party of Texas to embrace minority politics and policies. A recently issued memo on the group’s Web site reads: “We will also be adding a significant number of field staff to be embedded in the Hispanic, African-American and Asian-American communities around Texas.”  Embedded sounds so... creepy? Yet BGTX volunteers just scratch their heads when asked if they see GOP counterparts canvassing at public events. Activists are nowhere to be found. “They’re probably at the golf clubs and the banquets,” quips the BCDP’s Emil Hunziker. “The Republican Party doesn’t have any idea how to do a ground game.” 
This is where I commend my friend, the Hon. Martha Wong, on her persistence and forward looking strategy in Republican politics.  Thanks to Martha Wong's work in reaching out to RPT's Chairman Steve Munisteri and his team in Austin, the state organization is now actively doing outreach in the Asian community.  The Asian American community is the fastest growing minority in Texas. 

The Democratic woman vote has been described as "dormant" and that may be true but what did State Senator Wendy Davis do this summer? She energized them as never before. Along with stories of success from Battleground Texas, liberal women voters are feeling quite optimistic about the future of politics in Texas.

Moving forward, it is important to remember that Republican women do the grassroots activity in Texas.  Though the membership numbers in Republican women clubs has not strongly increased in recent years, it is important to remember party history and where the resources lay.  

Some big Texas money has already aligned with the push to make Hillary Clinton the 2016 Democrat nominee.  It is time to get out of the conservative vacuum and get busy.  Demand that voter registration is available at upcoming events and encourage your network of friends and family to get active.  

I'll write more as the days continue about women and voting.  It is the difference in winning or losing, even here in Texas.

Friday, July 26, 2013

True the Vote to DOJ - Bring It

Republicans and conservatives across Texas reacted to the announcement by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's declaration that he would launch into action against the State of Texas and our right to keep in place the decision to end  antiquated voting rights law, as sanctioned by the Supreme Court recently.  Holder insists that the DOJ get final say as to voting rights in Texas.  He made the announcement to gin up divisive reactions from his audience, the National Urban League conference at which he was speaking.

That's how Team Obama rolls.
The Obama administration opened an aggressive new front in the battle over voter protection Thursday, singling out Texas for legal action and promising broader efforts to come after last month'sSupreme Court ruling that wiped out a major provision of the Voting Rights Act.It was the administration's first legal response to counter the justices' 5-4 decision, but Attorney General Eric Holder pledged that "it will not be our last."In a speech to the National Urban League in Philadelphia, Holder called the Voting Rights Act "the cornerstone of modern civil rights law" and said that "we cannot allow the slow unraveling of the progress that so many, throughout history, have sacrificed so much to achieve."

This is the response released by True the Vote in Houston on Thursday afternoon:

True the Vote (TTV), the nation's leading voters’ rights and
election integrity organization, responded today to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s plans to
launch a wholesale attack against the State of Texas by filing federal lawsuits against Texas’
voter ID law and election procedures.

“We will not sit idly by and allow the most politically charged Department of Justice in US history
to set aside the US constitution and attempt to bully the people of Texas", True the Vote
President Catherine Engelbrecht said. "We will meet Attorney General Holder in court and we
will do whatever we need to do to advance the cause of voters’ rights for all Americans.”
“General Holder’s announcement today demonstrates just how radical the DOJ has become.
The same department that criminalizes journalism and fails to prosecute IRS agents who violate
the rights of American taxpayers is promising to sue states with taxpayer dollars to block laws
passed by elected legislators such as voter ID and citizenship verification.

“Every American voter deserves to have his or her vote counted - and not diluted by fraud or
error. The DOJ just put itself between the voters of Texas and their guaranteed constitutional
and civil rights.

“True the Vote has watched as Attorney General Eric Holder has repeatedly disregarded the
rule of law,” Engelbrecht continued. "We understand that this Department of Justice does not
believe that protection of voters’ rights should be colorblind.

“Texas will stand its ground in San Antonio – that’s a promise.”

This is the reaction of Senator Ted Cruz, from an interview on Fox News:

Senator John Cornyn released the following statement:

“By first going around the voters and now the Supreme Court, Attorney General Holder and President Obama’s intentions are readily transparent. This decision has nothing to do with protecting voting rights and everything to do with advancing a partisan political agenda.
“Texans should not – and will not – stand for the continued bullying of our state by the Obama Administration.”

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

RHCIA Hosts Minority Speakers on GOP Outreach

I read an interesting article spotlighting the two Hispanic Republican governors and it was helpful in affirming some thoughts I had after a recent event on Republicans and the topic du jour - outreach to minority communities.

Republicans now have two Latino (and two Asian-American) governors; Democrats have none. Mr Sandoval, a former Nevada gaming commissioner, shrewdly exploited a scandal within the state Republican Party to win election. Ms Martinez is a former criminal prosecutor from a border town, and an ex-Democrat whose 1995 conversion seemed to bear out Ronald Reagan’s quip that Hispanics, a fast-growing chunk of the electorate, are Republicans who “just don’t know it yet”.
Some polls show Latinos to be more pro-life than other Americans; many Republicans, rightly or wrongly, see this as an opportunity. Latinos are also more likely to run their own businesses and to believe that “most people can get ahead if they work hard”, which sounds like a good fit with Republican ideas. However, according to the Pew Hispanic Centre, 75% of them favour a bigger government that provides more services, which doesn’t sound like a good fit at all. In truth, many Latino votes are up for grabs. George W. Bush won a respectable 40% of them in 2004; Mitt Romney won a pathetic 27% in 2012. That suggests two things. First, personalities matter. Mr Bush, a Texan with a half-Mexican nephew, was at ease with Hispanic audiences; Mr Romney was not. Second, Latino voters really care about immigration. Mr Bush was vocally in favour of giving illegal immigrants a chance to become legal; Mr Romney was against it. Today, 55% of Latinos say immigration is the most important issue they face.

Last Saturday, Republican Hispanic Citizens in Action hosted a morning event that focused on Republican outreach, as seen through the experiences of minorities. The speakers included David Zapata, Republican Party of Texas Outreach Director; Kevin Fulton, a local attorney and Melissa Salas Blair, President and CEO of Puentes Research & Communications.  Club President Anthony Magdelano, a judicial candidate, opened the meeting.  Club 2nd VP Tony Garza put forth the morning's agenda and explained the topics of the day. Garza said we would "learn how to speak Latino."

The program states "Professional Latinos Promoting Conservative Public Policy".

This club was started in 2008 by Bernadette McLeroy and is a fast growing group.  The members are dedicated to getting the conservative message out and bringing in Hispanic voters for the Republican party.

BBC sent a reporter and a tech support person along to document the event.  Melissa Salas Blair, in particular, was chosen for an interview.  Many candidates were in attendance and a few even participated in the entire event, not simply showing up to glad hand and be seen long enough to be introduced when the time came.  Yes, candidates, attendees notice things like that at these events.

According to David Zapata, the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) conducted a survey concentrating on Hispanics in Texas.  All counted - residents, citizens, and undocumented Hispanics - the number grew 2,790,000 from 2000 to 2010.  By 2012, white Texans grew by 5% -6%, but minorities grew 50%-60%.  44% identify as Democrat, 26% identify as Republican, and 23% "vote by office".  But, when asked if the person is liberal or conservative, 40% identify as conservative, 18% identify as liberal and 36% identify as moderate.

In Houston, 45% of Hispanics voted for Mitt Romney and 46% voted for Obama in 2012.  In Houston, 18% of Hispanics considered themselves somewhat or very conservative, 52% conservative and 11% liberal.  In the U.S. Senate race between Ted Cruz and Paul Sadler, in Houston, 43% of Hispanic voters voted for Cruz and 32% voted for Sadler.

Social issues don't motivate Hispanics to vote for Republicans.  The economy and jobs are their focus.  To win Hispanic votes, Republicans have to commit to community involvement. Simply showing up four months before an election and asking for votes will not sway voters.  RPT is working to establish offices in areas that are in need of outreach - minority areas - and working with groups that are not Republican groups. Voter outreach provides access to leadership.  Community service as outreach throws "a monkey wrench into the thought process", that just because the mother or father of a voter always voted Democrat doesn't mean the next generation cannot become a Republican voter.

As Anthony Magdaleno said, outreach is "not a pre-election endeavor, it is a life long endeavor".

Kevin Fulton spoke to the concerns of the black community.  He was a Democrat until 15 years ago.  He pointed out that historically black universities were all started by Republicans.  It was the 1930's before Democrats allowed blacks into their conventions. Republican, however, have lost 37% of the black vote in the last 40 years.  Though the community is receptive to conservative messages, Republicans have lost touch.  13% of the vote has been lost since 1996, which can turn an election.

Fulton said that blacks don't want to hear that you don't see color - they do and know that you do, too.  This plays into the loss of identity that blacks had in the past.  Flooding money into a community before elections doesn't work.  The message has to be that you see a black person but you don't judge a person on color.  While the GOP is good at numbers, charts and logic, we are bad at appealing to emotion.  Speaking about wiping out social programs reminds people of poorer times.  We have to speak about using social programs as a safety net for those in need - as a temporary relief.  "Conservative" is not a good word in the black community - in the past for Democrats and now for Republicans.  "States Rights" is another poor choice as it conjures up the days of slavery. The Democrats have been quite savvy to frighten Republicans away from talking about black issues.  If Republicans do, they are labeled as racists.  If Republicans don't, Democrats tell voters Republicans don't care enough to talk about issues.

Melissa Salas Blair spoke about "taco outreach" - doing an annual event but nothing else during a calendar year.  "Latinos have been testing the waters of the Republican Party and have found it tepid and unwelcoming".  A point of reference is the yearly Christmas in July event in the Hispanic community.  Why wouldn't Republicans be a part of that, as well as other times?  She spoke about using social media and of re-branding the Republican party as a welcoming party.

Pastor Marcus Pena spoke of the need for Republicans to mentor students in schools.  In HISD, for example, Democrats have boldly infiltrated the system and are involved in mentoring students.  They know that once a child is won over, the parent is not far behind.  Back to School supply drives are a good way for Republicans to join in with a school.  Clubs or groups can chose a school and adopt it.  Republicans need to stay and mentor or tutor students year around.  Efforts must be consistent.

Our candidates must be comfortable speaking to any group and our tone has to be welcoming.  Words matter.  Solid conservative public policy involves more from politicians than just saying no to everything.  We are the party of Lincoln.  We are the party of small business owners and entrepreneurs.  Our message must be one of showing the way for others to realize their dreams and the dreams of their families.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tax Code Section Renamed Honoring Kay Bailey Hutchison

Republicans in Texas have reaped the benefits from recently retired Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's service in the U.S. Senate.  Just as she accomplished abolishing the state income tax during her time in the office of Texas State Comptroller, she has made a lasting difference in the U.S. tax code.  Benefiting women who choose to be stay at home domestic engineers, a section of the tax code now reflects her work creating the Spousal IRA.

Here is the press release from the office of Rep Kevin Brady acknowledging Hutchison's contribution:
Washington, DC – On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed the Kay Bailey Hutchison Spousal IRA Act, legislation introduced by Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and John Cornyn (R-TX) in the Senate and Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) in the House, that renames Section 219 (c) of the Internal Revenue Code after former Texas Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison.“Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison deserves praise for her tireless advocacy for parents who work full-time at home to care for their families,” said Texas Congressman Kevin Brady, co-sponsor of the House bill and a senior Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee. “The Kay Bailey Hutchison Spousal IRA allows both parents to contribute to two separate IRA accounts, giving them the ability to make wise financial decisions for their future, even as they are making financial sacrifices in order to allow one parent to stay at home. This provision levels the playing field and treats all parents equally, whether they work outside the home or not. Senator Hutchison is a true champion for this tax provision and it is right to honor her for her efforts to help millions of families.”
Kay Bailey Hutchison is to be thanked for her tireless work on behalf of first, Texas families, and later for families across America.  Her career in politics has paved the way for other Texas Republican women.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Texas Attorney General Abbott Announces Gubernatorial Bid

Thirty minutes before he appeared in San Antonio Sunday afternoon to officially announce his bid for Governor for the state of Texas, Attorney General Greg Abbott announced his plans on a conference call with bloggers.  Calling bloggers "communicators for the conservative voice in the state and in the nation", Abbott described bloggers as "an essential voice" and providers of a needed service in political discourse.  "I wanted you to know first", he said.

Highlighting his time in the Attorney General's office, Abbott declared that though he didn't pen the slogan, "Don't Mess with Texas", he has sued the federal government some 27 times in his five years in office - more than anyone else. Texas "must have a battle tested fighter" for governor, he said. 

Abbott wants to continue to fight for liberty against growing intrusions from the federal government, whether it is over EPA decisions or in insisting Texas law will not pass on threats to gun laws. 

Abbott stressed the need to keep taxes low, and for maintaining reasonable regulations.  He will work to keep a level playing field and not pick winners and losers among businesses.  He wants to prioritize essentials such as roads, water and schools.

Abbott wants to secure our porous border.  He pledges to enforce the rule of law.

"I am going to work tirelessly to earn every vote", he said. "Government is the servant of the people, not the other way around." 

During the question and answer portion of the conference call, he was asked about his Twitter account.  He verified that it is his personal account and that he writes his own tweets, "so you will know more about me." He says Twitter is an "interesting insight into my personality."

When questioned about the possibility of success in the near future from the turn Texas blue movement, Abbott said "it is a pressing issue I take very seriously".  He embraces demographic changes as an opportunity to bring in more conservative voters.  Noting he has been married to a Latina for some 31 years, he said the Latino community shares conservative values of faith, family and individual freedom.

Pledging to have frequent communication with bloggers and through social media in general, Abbott begins his run as the heir apparent to the governor's office. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Texas Senate Passes Abortion Bill

The inevitable has come to reality.  The Texas State Senate passed SB1, the legislation known as HB2 in the Texas State House.  The vote was 19-11.  Now it goes to the desk of Governor Perry to sign into law.

The bill is HERE and it is 19 pages online.

Also as predicted, the headlines written by the Democrats and the press claim that abortion is now outlawed in Texas.  Only after going to read the articles do you learn that the headlines are deliberately misleading and abortion is restricted after 20 weeks.  

This will happen when the bill on new abortion regulations becomes law in Texas - the lawsuits will begin:

Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union are suing Wisconsin to try to block a new law that would require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.The measure would force two of the state’s four abortion providers to shut down, according to the complaint. A fifth clinic is set to close for unrelated reasons, according to the groups.“The purpose and effect of the requirement, which is wholly unnecessary and unreasonable, is to impose a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking abortion prior to viability, in violation of their constitutional right to privacy,” lawyers for the groups said in the complaint.
Wisconsin is one of several states where legal battles are taking place over newly introduced hospital-privilege requirements for abortion providers. Federal judges in Alabama and Mississippi have issued orders stopping similar laws from being implemented after finding that they might cause substantial burdens for women seeking to terminate pregnancies.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

HB2 Passes in Texas State House

With four more votes than it received before Wendy Davis filibustered the State Senate bill, the Texas House of Representatives passed HB2 with a vote of 98-49.  The process included a full day of debate and a couple of dozen amendments offered by those opposing the bill.  Now the wait as the State Senate continues its process on their bill, SB1, which should be voted on in a few days.  Lt Governor Dewhurst has expressed his confidence that the bill will pass without the theatrics of the last Special Session.

Politics is a messy business.

Today saw a death threat issued to the Texas Lt. Governor and abortion activists screaming “F— the Church.”
 The Democrats often mock Republicans for being anti-science.  In this case, however, either Democrats deny the presence of fetal pain, as proved in recent scientific findings, or simply do not think that is reason to re-consider abortion after 20 weeks.  Polling shows that the majority of people no longer think third trimester abortion is acceptable once those polled are given information on fetal pain.

A recent national poll by The Polling Company found that, after being informed that there is scientific evidence that unborn children are capable of feeling pain at least by 20 weeks, 64% would support a law banning abortion after 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life was in danger.   Only 30% said they would oppose such a law.

It is difficult to view the opposition as rational when their behavior is so offensive to regular observers of the process.  

Abortion activists haven’t covered themselves in glory in Austin. They hijacked “Amazing Grace,” have lied that they “stand for women” when they only stand for some women, have threatened to use SWAT tactics against pro-lifers, and all the while they have stood shoulder to shoulder with a greedy billion dollar corporation that has been caught in numerous lies and abuses. Not a classy run, really. 
Is yelling "hail, Satan" or "f**k the church" the way to move a viewpoint forward?   It is also interesting that today younger voters consider themselves as pro-life as opposed to older voters who are often allied with more pro-choice views.

It’s not new that most single-issue abortion voters are pro-life. But what has changed in recent years is that the broader public’s vague aversion to abortion on humanitarian grounds has intensified. Whether or not this translates to voting habits, abortion is becoming a less acceptable part of our culture to a greater number of people.The adult population describes itself as more pro-life now that it ever has since the Roe v. Wade decision, and the young (an important part of the Obama coalition) are significantly more pro-life than their parents were.  The “pro-life” description can be somewhat vague, but there are more concrete indicators that go beyond personal disapproval of abortion. A recent National Journal poll released this month asked voters specifically whether they support or oppose a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy – a measure similar to what some Red states have been adopting, to the dismay of a lopsided liberal media. The public at large supports such a ban narrowly, but the split is especially telling. Those under 30 support it by double digits, whereas those over 50 (whose days of childbearing are long past, but who came of age in a different era) narrowly opposed the ban.It is very easy for poll questions on abortion to prejudice the answer to one side or the other. Yet regardless of how the question is asked or how the results come in, there is also no significant gap between men and women on the abortion issue. Where there is a gap, it’s usually because women are more likely to oppose most or all abortions. The National Journal poll, for example, found that they are significantly more supportive of a ban after 20 weeks. 
This week the Texas State Senate finishes the hearings and debate on their version of the bill - SB1. A vote will be by the end of the week or the beginning of next, according to Lt Governor Dewhurst.

Democrats Applaud Perry Announcement

Texas Governor Rick Perry will not seek re-election, as he announced Monday in San Antonio, and the social media in the Democrat world is all excited. Lots of fundraising letters and declarations that Texas will be the land o' Democrats in no time commenced to fill email inboxes and Twitter timelines and Facebook status updates.

Clearly even the Democrats who have moved to Texas recently to do the bidding of Team Obama and the DNC in Washington, D.C. understand that as long as Rick Perry was in the picture he would be the victor at the ballot box. 

Of course there is this one by Jenn Brown, Battleground Texas Executive Director, who declares to know "Texas values" though she is not a Texan and has only lived here a brief time herself. It is her job to "turn Texas blue" with the help of other Team Obama folks. 

The Republican party needs to know that voters are tired of being taken for granted and will hold elected officials accountable for their extremist views. It’s time to have a real discussion about the issues that matter most, instead of defaulting to the status-quo extremism that does not reflect the values of most Texans.
Funny. A Democrat speaking about a politician "taking for granted" any voters, considering that is what they are guilty of, especially when it comes to black voters and women, too. 

The Texas Democratic Party has a page on their website for contributions in the name of "Act Blue".

Democrats in the state are pinning their hopes of future electoral wins to State Senator Wendy Davis and her 15 minutes of national fame for filibustering in favor of third trimester abortions and stand alone abortion clinics that are not properly regulated.  Even outsiders like those writing for Politico understand that this is probably not a winning strategy.

Democrats are gearing up to spend millions of dollars to “turn Texas blue” by bringing in a new generation of Latino voters.So when an abortion fight flared in Austin this summer, it seemed the stars had aligned — liberals had a hot-button cause to galvanize new supporters who just might stick around for the long haul.There’s just one problem: Latinos as a group oppose abortion more strongly than most other voting groups.
Those hoping to turn Texas blue are not concerned about Texas values.  They are only here to fund raise for their own organizations, whether it is union involvement, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, or the Texas Democratic Party.  Traditionally it is the Democratic party that pushes for more regulations in any industry, not less or status quo.  In this case, instead of speaking the truth on the bill before the Texas legislature, the talking point is that Republicans want to outlaw abortion in Texas. The truth is that in the last session, the Legislature increased state funding by $179 million dollars for women’s health 
services including annual visits, preventative screening, and contraceptives. 

Oh, that fact isn't being presented in the debate on the left?  Imagine that.

This is legitimately a safety issue for a pregnant woman seeking a surgical procedure - as is the case in third trimester abortion.  It is right that those who demand government be involved in every aspect of our lives also demand reasonable safety regulations for women to avoid more stories of butchers like Gosnell.  

There is big money in the abortion business.  Isn't it reasonable to expect those profiting from it to put some of that money back into the facilities to maintain stronger regulations?  Isn't it reasonable to expect to have a surgical procedure performed by a licensed doctor able to meet requirements of a hospital or surgery center within a 30 mile radius? None of those expectations are radical or extreme.  It is basic decency and common sense.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Texas Governor Perry Will Not Seek Re-Election

A video was released to precede Governor Perry's announcement Monday.

Governor Rick Perry will not seek re-election.  The longest serving Texas governor is stepping aside. There is no denying the fact that the man has loved his job.  He has been at the helm as Texas has enjoyed recent years of Republican domination in elected office and the rise in Texas' standing as a job creating, low cost of living, business friendly, open arms to all state.

Whether or not Perry will take another run at the Republican nomination for President remains to be seen.  I certainly would not rule that idea out.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) today made the following statement after Texas Governor Rick Perry announced that he will not seek reelection:
 “Under Governor Perry’s leadership, Texas has been a shining example that less government, lower taxes and fewer regulations helps to grow jobs and move our economy forward.  It’s a striking contrast to the big government, big spending, liberal mindset of the current Administration. “Sandy and I wish Gov. Perry and Anita the best, and I look forward to continuing to work with him on behalf of 26 million Texans.”
Here are some bullet points on the Perry years:

Texas's longest serving governor, Rick Perry, is also the nation's most successful conservative governor based on job creation, tax relief, tort reform, 7 balanced budgets and strong pro-family legislation.
Since Gov. Perry took office, Texas has added 1.6 million jobs - a 17 percent increase - during a time the country as a whole added approximately 3.1 million net new jobs, only a 2.3 percent increase.
Under Gov. Perry's leadership, Texas has ranked 3rd among all states in personal income growth, and 85 percent of net new Texas jobs have been in the private sector.
Gov. Perry has signed 7 balanced state budgets and billions in tax cuts, including small business tax relief, a property tax rate cut and the elimination of a telephone tax. He has also used the line-item veto on $4 billion in proposed state spending. 
Rick Perry's Texas earns outstanding debt ratings, and during his tenure Texas's per capita debt has gone to 5th lowest among the 50 states
Gov. Perry successfully championed a 2003 Constitutional Amendment significantly reducing frivolous medical lawsuits. Since that measure passed, Texas has added tens of thousands of new doctors, including gains in obstetricians in 52 Texas counties and 23 medically underserved areas.
In 2005, Gov. Perry championed, and Texas voters overwhelmingly passed, a Constitutional Amendment protecting marriage, codifying in the state constitution that, "Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman."
To protect and respect life, Gov. Perry signed legislation requiring parental consent for a minor's abortion and requiring a sonogram prior to an abortion. Texas is also poised to increase health and safety standards for abortion clinics and restrict abortions after five months of pregnancy.
Rick Perry championed successful border security measures along our 1,200-mile Texas-Mexico border, with more than $500 million for law enforcement personnel and technology, including Texas Ranger Recon teams, border securing cameras, and a $12 million transnational gang initiative. 
A strong proponent of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Gov. Perry signed laws strengthening the Castle Doctrine, streamlining the concealed handgun license (CHL) process, removing barriers to CHLs, expanding rights to lawfully carry, and creating a School Marshall license to allow school boards and charter schools to better protect school campuses. 
Other milestones under Gov. Perry's tenure:
Public education funding increased more than $14 billion during Gov. Perry's tenure.
Texas college and university enrollment is up 57%, including a 110% increase in Hispanic students.
During the last decade, Texas has added more roadway miles than any other state, with more than 6,800 new highway lane miles. 
Texas' air quality is markedly better than it was in 2000, even while adding 4.8 million new people and 1.6 million jobs. Statewide, from 2000-2011, nitrogen oxide levels were decreased by nearly 58 percent, while ozone levels decreased 23 percent, 10 percent better than the national average.
Thank you for your service, Governor Perry.  And thank you for knowing when to step aside.

"Elections Are Not Enough. You Have To Learn How To Govern, Too"

We all remember Barack Obama's speech at Cairo University  "pledging to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims", right? It was in  June, 2009 and Obama envisioned himself to be speaking to all the followers of Islam in the world. The press swooned and the crowd applauded.
Quoting from the Quran, the Talmud and the Bible — and closing to a standing ovation — Obama said his address was an effort to "speak the truth" about U.S. relations with the Muslim world. Several times during the hour-long speech, members of the audience shouted, "We love you."
Though the reviews from other countries and other religious populations were mixed, the press was in full-on lapdog mode and to read the coverage one was to think that it was a new day and a new enlightened leader would show the world the way.

Yeah, it was that absurd. Most of the press coverage of the Obama administration has been that absurd, though.  Only recently, after the press worked mighty hard to ensure the re-election of their guy, has the tide turned just a wee bit.  Mostly it took a scandal that Team Obama was spying on members of the press to turn that tide a wee bit, but, so be it.

So, in today's news coverage we keep abreast of the developments in Egypt as the democratically elected leader is tossed out of power by what amounted to a military coup.  We can't officially call it a coup, though, or else that pesky American law that says we can't give military aid to a country after a coup kicks in.  Now, walking a fine line,  President Obama finds himself in a very unique position.  He has been on the wrong side of history during both Egyptian upheavals during his time in the White House.  After supporting the election of Morsi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, he now has to deal with the aftermath as Egyptians rejected Morsi's actions and demand new leadership.

The most ironic quote in perhaps Obama's entire time in office was quoted by Chuck Todd on a Sunday morning show panel. Discussing the events in Egypt Todd mentioned this reaction from Obama:
"Elections are not enough. You have to learn how to govern, too."

Rich, right? This is the same man who began his first term declaring "I won" to shut down objections from the GOP to his economic policies put forth to stimulate the economy. This is the man who campaigned in 2008 and then again in 2012 by disparaging his opposition from Republicans in the crassest terms possible. This is the man who can be a star on the campaign trail yet a dud in the Oval Office. He has been unable to grasp basic concepts of governing principles because he has no experience in governing. Campaigning? Sure, he has lots of that kind of experience.

THIS ARTICLE spotlights Obama's tendency to shirk real leadership in favor of photo ops for his own legacy. The article would not have been written in Obama's first term.

Whether it is another round of golf or extended trips around the world for pleasure with a little business mixed in for good measure, or yet another star studded party at the White House, President Obama has shown little understanding of the troubles felt by ordinary Americans.  The optics put forth by Team Obama are not only bad but there is no pretense of guilt over any decision, either. This administration, led Obama, is breathtakingly arrogant and self-absorbed.

Obama's record to date is one of little success.  That Nobel Peace Prize awarded to him for simply being elected as President is looking even sillier than ever.

"It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so."
-Ronald Reagan-

Sunday, July 07, 2013

SB1 HHS Hearing Rallies Supporters

From the inbox:

The Texas Senate committee on Health & Human Services will hear testimony regarding the Pro-Life bill in the Legislature. Citizens may begin signing up to testify at 9:00 AM on Monday at room E1.036 in the Capitol Extension. Testimony will be limited to 2 minutes each. Written testimony is also allowed and must be submitted with 20 copies and stating the person's name. Be prepared for a long day as the abortion supporters will do their best to control the process. And don't forget to wear your Baby Blue!

Also, come join other Texas Pro-Lifers and Gov. Mike Huckabee in a rally on the Capitol grounds Monday night at 7:00 PM. We must show that the liberal mob has not silenced us as the media bears down on Texas conservatives.

If you cannot make it to Austin, Sen. Dan Patrick has setup an online petition that you can sign at

Supporters are asked to wear blue and to bring lots of water, as it is summer in Texas.  

Here are events listed for Monday:

Monday, July 8th

10:00am - Senate Health & Human Services Committee - E1.036 (Finance Room)
SB 1
Relating to the regulation of abortion procedures, providers, and facilities; providing penalties.
**NOTE: Unlike the House, the Senate DOES NOT have electronic witness registration. You'll have to fill out a paper form and hand it to the committee clerk. Witness registration begins at 9am outside of room E1.036 (Finance Room).

7:00pm - Pro-Life Rally - South Steps of the State Capitol

Speakers: Gov. Mike Huckabee, The Duggars family, First Baptist Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress, CWA President Penny Nance, March for Life President Jeanne Monahan, and our leading pro-life state elected officials and leaders.

I have it on good authority that charging stations for electronics and quiet spots for blogging are being acquired for those coming to report on the proceedings.  These will be available with the help of friendly legislators who are willing to assist bloggers.  If you are taking advantage of these opportunities, please remember to thank those helping bloggers along the way.  

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Crowds Gather In Austin for Second Special Session

You will notice that Tx Senator Wendy Davis is displayed between two actresses on this poster. She is the left's celeb du jour and riding her fifteen minutes for all it's worth. Frankly, I don't blame her. If this was the hill on which I chose to die, I'd do the same. This will all be over soon enough and she will have to wait for the next hot button issue on which to filibuster next session, assuming she is re-elected or not running for another office.

So, I had to look up these Actresses noted here and found that, according to Wikipedia, Stephanie March "is an American actress, best known for her portrayal of Alexandra Cabot on the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."  She is also married to celebrity chef Bobby Flay. And then I looked up Lisa Edelstein. According to Wikipedia, she is an actress and playwright and was on the tv show House.  OK, I was a fairly regular viewer for House.  She does look familiar now. 

Cecile Richards is the daughter of former Texas Governor Ann Richards.  You may remember her as the woman who is known for her "silver foot in his mouth" remark of George W. Bush at the Democratic National Convention, just before he soundly beat her to become Governor of Texas.  Cecile is using this moment in the spotlight to fundraise for Planned Parenthood, the organization she went on to head up.  The presence of NARAL is no surprise, as it's their issue and also a tool for fundraising.  Natalie Maines? She used to be a Dixie Chick and apparently in need of some press now. 

I continue to marvel at this whole fiasco - which is exactly what this debate has turned into. I see this hot button issue bringing women of all stripes politically together to voice deep concerns over a woman politician making this issue - the issue of infanticide - her glory moment in her own political career.  I see it in my own thought process.  I, along with many women who have a strong Libertarian streak when it comes to social issues, wrestle with the choice issue and then when it goes over into infanticide, well, that is beyond justifying.  For Wendy Davis to go on television and bask in the attention from national media over availability of late term abortions - those in the third trimester - and call out other politicians by making claims that the others are using the issue for political gain is a joke. No one outside of her own district knew the name of Wendy Davis until she became a hero to the national media last Tuesday night, except for political geeks.  The only other time she garnered attention was when she led a filibuster against an education bill in the last session - in 2011.  Then she enjoyed a rather lengthy article in the New York Times.  This is how Wendy Davis advances her own political career - via filibuster in the Texas State Senate.

So, the pro-life supporters have an online letter/petition thingy now thanking Senator Davis for her pro-life actions in her own life.  It is good to see conservatives turning the rhetoric and actions of the left into positive action instead of just complaining without offering an alternative.

Something to also note: Cecile Richards is married to THIS GUY  and that ties nicely into the organized crowds protesting the SB1 bill in the second special session.  There is nothing spontaneous about the protesting from the supporters of third trimester abortions and lax regulations on storefront clinics performing abortions. 

Hearings begin in the Texas Senate Monday for the SB1 legislation.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Senator Cruz And Tea Party Leaders Describe IRS Abuses

Monday in Houston, meeting first with Tea Party leaders targeted by the IRS and then with media, bloggers and supporters in a packed room at the Free Enterprise Institute, Senator Ted Cruz announced an email address for anyone who has a story to tell.  His office will collect the responses and he will continue on with his work demanding those who participated and their higher-ups in the IRS be held accountable.  

People from around the state gathered and listened to the Tea Party stories and to Senator Cruz speak out against the overreach of our federal government.  

"Truth has a clarifying effect", said Senator Cruz.

Here is the press release from the event today with Senator Ted Cruz:

Sen. Cruz Joins Tea Party Leaders to Call for Fundamental Tax Reform; Abolition of IRS
HOUSTON, TX -- U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) today called for fundamental tax reform in order to abolish the IRS and put an end to its abuse of everyday American citizens. He urged Texans who believe they may have been targeted by the IRS to
"IRS targeting of American citizens is a threat and challenge, but also an inspiration," said Cruz. "It is an inspiration that these leaders are standing up. It is a threat that the federal government is targeting, not big corporations or lobbyists, but normal American citizens that are standing up for liberty. It is a challenge that we all face to limit the power of Washington."
Sen. Cruz called for the abolition of the IRS saying, "After these revelations of political targeting by the IRS, we need to padlock and shut down the building, abolish the IRS, and move to a flat tax or the FAIR Tax."
Tea party leaders that joined the Senator included:
Ken Emanuelson, Dallas Tea Party
Catherine Englebrecht, King Street Patriots & True the Vote
Robert “Gonzo” Gonzalez, Clear Lake Tea Party
Darcy Kahrhoff, Katy Tea Party
George Rodriguez, San Antonio Tea Party
Toby Marie Walker, Waco Tea Party