The longest primary season in Texas history is finally over - from January to July 31, 2012 we all dealt with hotly contested primary elections. With a turnout in both primaries for the GOP under 10% it's fair to say the vast majority of voters were not interested or engaged. For the future of our democracy, this is not good news. We probably need to look into what it takes to engage our citizens in this very important responsibility.
It continues to be the GOP's advantage that statewide the Democratic Party continues to show little (outside of Bill White) life with most statewide candidates grossly under funded, under qualified or a joke.
Paul Burka of Texas Monthly writes an interesting blog. His politics are probably left of center, but he has a keen sense of the political winds of Texas. Last week he opined about the meaning of who wins the Republican Senate primary. So now that we know who won - what does it mean for the future of the Republican Party and conservatives in Texas?
Burka says Cruz's victory insures that "the Texas Republican Party ventures into the policy waters of idealized purification... The future of the Republican Party is on the line in the Senate race..." A nationally known Republican consultant told Burka, "If Ted Cruz wins... Texas will be a purple state in four years."
Which brings us to an important question, is Texas now on the political road to California? Steve Schmidt, GOP consultant, recently opined that, "The Republican Party in the state (California) institutionally has been a small ideological club that is basically in the business of hunting out heretics."
TCR hopes that's not where we're headed, but only time will tell.
Advice To Ted Cruz
Congratulations, you ran a good race.
You are the nominee of Texas Republicans for the US Senate, which means when you win, you will represent Texas in Washington.
One of the early votes you will cast is for the leadership of the Republican Party in the US Senate. One of the candidates for a leadership position is Texas Senator John Cornyn. Senator Cornyn is a conservative who gets things done in Washington for our state. This is the only opportunity in the foreseeable future for Texas to have a member in the leadership of the US Senate.
The key Republican elected officials of Texas are conservative and at some point you will want to recognize their accomplishments that, if you are able to duplicate them in Washington with your future colleagues, will be a major accomplishment.
Don't Believe Those Presidential Polls
With thanks to Gary Bauer (Campaign for Working Families).
A new Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS poll of likely voters in the critical swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania shows Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney in each state. The media is saying it's proof of Obama's inevitable reelection. Not so fast!
"Two of the most important questions anyone analyzing an opinion poll must ask are 1) Does the poll target the correct population? And 2) Is the sample a true representation of that population? The poll purports to consist of likely voters, a population many liberal pollsters don't often survey. They routinely poll groups such as 'all Americans' or 'registered voters,' which tend to skew Democratic and produce results that are less accurate.
"But the poll seems to fail on the second question. The breakdown of who was polled skews heavily Democratic. In Florida, 36% of those polled self-identified as Democrats, while just 27% of respondents were Republicans, for a nine-point Democratic advantage. The Democratic oversampling was 8 points and 6 points respectively in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
"By oversampling Democrats, the pollsters got a result that fuels the narrative that Obama is on track toward reelection. The most recent Rasmussen Reports daily presidential tracking poll of likely voters finds Romney ahead of Obama, 47% to 44%. Rasmussen has been one of the most accurate predictors of election results over the last decade."
What is happening here? "Polls are used not to measure public opinion but rather to mold public opinion."
TCR Comment: Don't trust them.
Next Year, President Romney in Jerusalem, Israel's Capital
What's the capital of Israel? President Obama once knew. In 2008 he declared that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided."
Today, he's not so sure. In fact, he won't even acknowledge the plain reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Mitt Romney has no such problem. On his recent trip abroad, he said: "It's a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel."
To highlight this contrast, today the Emergency Committee for Israel released a 30-second TV ad that will air hundreds of times in the coming days in Florida. The spot will appear during weekend Marlins games, on popular cable news shows and broadcast programs.
ECI's Chairman, William Kristol, said:
"The contrast couldn't be clearer. Barack Obama is agnostic, at best, about whether Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Mitt Romney understands the meaning of Jerusalem, whole and free, the capital of Israel."
Obama's Second Term
By Bruce Bialosky, Contributing Editor
Four more years. That is what President Obama seeks, and it is only the second time in our history that we are being asked to elect a president to a second term for a third straight time.
At a time of relative instability, we are being asked to endorse stability in the executive branch. That alone is rare, but for a long time President Obama said nothing - not even platitudes - about what he might want to accomplish if reelected. But recently, he has provided us with some hints as to what his plans would be.
The limited insight we have comes from two sources. The first is his speech at Cuyahoga Community College regarding his economic plan. The second is a column written by Ryan Lizza for the New Yorker magazine. Lizza was provided access to members of the Obama team that we mere mortal columnists would never obtain.
Trying to decipher what Obama's 53 minute speech - when printed, it's 17 pages! - actually says about his proposals on economic issues is, at best, painstakingly difficult. One has to scratch through his slicing and dicing of Governor Romney's proposals or let us say his interpretation of them and multiple statements of "fact" as stated by President Obama which in reality are just Mr. Obama's poll-tested opinions on these matters, to determine what he wants to do takes at least two readings.
The President characterized his plan by stating "This is my vision for America: education, innovation, infrastructure, and a tax code focused on American job creation and balanced deficit reduction." The President may have a vision, but from this speech it's extremely unclear how he plans to get there.
The speech contained some following assertions:
He claimed that he asked Congress for the authority to reorganize the federal government for the next century. Does anybody remember that? And where's the bill? Was it presented in the House and was there a hearing?
He maintained that he intended to reduce our domestic spending to its lowest level - measured as a percentage of the economy - in nearly sixty years. This is particularly difficult to believe, because every analysis that I've read keeps federal spending at or close to its current record-high levels.
Finally, he stated that "I don't believe the government is the answer to all our problems. I don't believe every regulation is smart or that every tax dollar is spent wisely. I don't believe that we should be in the business of helping people who refuse to help themselves." Sounds wonderful, but what has he ever done to support any of those principles? On the contrary, it's easier to conclude that he believes that every person in America - including illegal aliens - is worthy of receiving federal benefits. After all, in the past 3 years, his administration has certainly expanded benefits to the point where there is no indication of who might not be eligible.
Obama went on to say that while his plan for education does not rely on more money, we have to "invest more" in education and training. He claims to have a plan to provide two million more Americans with the opportunity to attend community college, and another plan to make it easier for people to afford higher education. In addition, he wants to double down on clean energy, and spend more on infrastructure.
How would be pay for this? He says by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a "little more." He speaks in platitudes about debt reduction, but boasts excitedly about new federal spending on his personal priorities. There appears to be no material difference between what he is doing now and what he would push for in his next term. Certainly, there's no defined process to balance the budget. In fact, there is no mention of it at all.
Lizza's 19-page column gives one additional indication of what the President wants to achieve in a second term. One concept that clearly emerges is that Obama wants to accomplish something big, but that he is torn over which of several different ideas he wants to pursue.
The options mentioned by Lizza are:
1. Apparently Obama has stated that the most important policy he could address is "climate change." He sees this as something that could fundamentally improve the world for decades to come.
2. Nuclear proliferation is another big picture issue that Obama would love to tackle.
3. An issue that may be forced on Obama is deficit reduction. That would mean a significant rise in taxes, starting with the enormous tax increases currently scheduled to begin in January.
4. Lizza speculates the second term may include tax and entitlement reform, but does not provide any basis for that conclusion.
5. Obama's advisors suggested that a big idea would be housing reform. Former financial advisor, Austin Goolsbee, suggested that the $700 billion in negative homeowner equity has to be eaten by someone and that the federal government would be a logical place to bury the losses. Apparently, there was no discussion on eliminating the problem by way of a stronger housing market based on a more robust job market.
6. White House officials stated Obama is most passionate about infrastructure. It appears that he wants a signature project like the Hoover Dam or the Interstate Highway System.
There you have it. We have a president who wants to achieve something on the scale of ObamaCare in his second term. He wants to leave a distinctive mark on our society through an expansionist program that, in one way or another, fulfills the dreams of the far Left.
There is virtually no discussion of the fiscal crisis at hand, and any reference to it is offset by huge expansions of programs. Nowhere is there any serious focus on job creation within the private sector or increased revenue through improved economic conditions. Nor is there any earnest consideration of a balanced budget.
You now have a reasonable idea of what a second Obama term would look like - and that's without even including the full implementation of ObamaCare. If you want this kind of government, then by all means vote for Obama. If you want to see something completely different, your choice is Romney.
Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former Presidential appointee.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones is on break and will return better than ever during PBS Fall Premiere week in September.
For a fun feature go to www.houstonpbs.org and under Red White and Blue, you can see commentary about the show and its guests by Gary and David each week. The current show as well as past shows are also available on YouTube.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his fourteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last eleven years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 8 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his ninth year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.