What a sad time, Human Events, that national conservative weekly of nearly 70 years is gone. At the Texas Conservative Review we feel like we have lost a dear friend of over 45 years.
The magazine apparently was losing money for a long time and now goes the way of Newsweek, The Christian Science Monitor, and others. One wonders, did they consider going non-profit like the American Spectator or completely on the internet like Sporting News, Newsweek, or U.S. News?
At any rate we will mourn Human Events' demise here at TCR, and try, in our small way, to make up for the critical loss of information.
Will The Republican-Led Legislature
Free Houston To Deal With Its Local Problems?
That's a big question. Since the GOP ascendency in Austin about a decade ago, there are a number of troubling matters never dealt with. Among them being the property appraisal cap, removing Travis County jurisdiction regarding investigating or prosecuting state officials, and decontrolling local government pensions.
Why the Republican legislature is preventing cities from dealing with spiraling pension problems is inexplicable. In light of what has occurred in California, with municipal bankruptcies due to unfunded pensions, shouldn't cities like Houston have the legislature butt out?
This is no different than the federal government regulating how Texas operates in many areas, without federal funding to pay the bill.
Politics 2014: It's Still Early
With all the speculation swirling for 2014, TCR's advice is relax until post-legislative session season this summer.
For the top job, TCR still believes that Attorney General Greg Abbott will run for governor, against whom, we don't know.
For Lieutenant Governor, Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson are in, and the big wild card is incumbent David Dewhurst, who says he wants another term.
For Attorney General, with Greg Abbott moving on, Congressman Ted Poe of Houston, Congressman Mike McCaul, State Representative Dan Branch, Comptroller Susan Combs, and former Supreme Court Judge Dale Wainwright are mentioned as possibilities.
For Land Commissioner, this looks all but over, and the winner will be George P. Bush.
More on 2014 as we go forward, but movement in top races creates openings in other positions. 2014 could be very interesting.
Will The RNC 'Autopsy' Report
Revive The GOP Or Is It DOA?
By Guest Contributor Denise McNamara
Following the GOP's decisive defeat in November's presidential election, the RNC assembled a special committee to analyze what went wrong and make recommendations for the future. The five members of the committee, made up of former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, former Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, GOP consultant Sally Bradshaw, Puerto Rico Committeewoman Zori Fonalledas, and South Carolina Committeeman Glenn McCall, released their report today.
The resulting 100 page report, being called an "autopsy" by RNC Chair Reince Priebus, is entitled the "Growth and Opportunity Project." In the words of the Committee, "The Grand Old Party should be synonymous with the name 'Growth and Opportunity Party.'"
While Republicans can agree that the most glaring deficiency in Romney's organization was in campaign mechanics (i.e., Project Orca, GOTV, etc.), organization (Democrats had twice as many field offices), and messaging (failing to adequately answer Obama's outrageous television ads in battleground states), the report goes further by recommending changes in the Republican stance on immigration policy and in the primary process.
The RNC would be wise to narrow its focus to mechanics and organization, the areas in which we clearly failed in 2012.
Regarding voter turnout, the committee reports that, "Democrats had the clear edge on new media and ground game, in terms of both reach and effectiveness. Obama's campaign knocked on twice as many doors as the Romney campaign, and Obama's campaign had a ballot edge among those contacted by both campaigns."
The question that we should continue to ask of the RNC is: Why do the Democrats have permanent field offices in key battleground states when Republicans do not? Since Obama's first campaign in 2008, the Democratic field offices have continued to operate non-stop and continue to this day. The Democrats are expanding their operations and have even targeted Texas with a new organization, "Battleground Texas." Launched by the President's former national field director Jeremy Bird, the Democrats plan to turn Texas blue by registering more voters and mobilizing those who are already registered.
The RNC plan calls for "Investment in Field Staff Operations" in Section 23.8. Thank goodness. Read more about the huge advantage the Democrats hold in field offices here.
As far as process, the Report endorses reform of the primary schedule by recommending a more compressed primary season, replacing state caucuses and conventions with primaries, moving the convention date to June or July, and holding fewer debates. States who do not abide by the RNC primary rules would be subject to penalties in the form of a reduced number of convention delegates.
It is true that the primary calendar is long and difficult. However, in a shortened primary season, candidates who lack the financial ability to campaign in several states at once will be severely handicapped. Critics of the report are concerned that these measures benefit establishment candidates, a charge bolstered by the fact that three of the committee's five members (Fleischer, Barbour, Bradshaw) are long-time establishment operatives. Candidates like Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, who tend to dominate caucuses and who have less financial staying power, would be unable to compete with well-financed candidates in a 5-month primary season.
The report goes on to state that voters, when asked to describe Republicans, say that the GOP is "scary," narrow minded,"and "out of touch," and that we are a party of "stuffy old men." It asserts that the GOP must embrace comprehensive immigration reform as well as be more inclusive and tolerant of homosexuals, because "there is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the rights of gays - and for many younger voters, these issues are a gateway into whether the Party is a place they want to be."
"We also recommend broadening the base of the party and inviting as many voters as possible into the Republican Party by discouraging conventions and caucuses for the purpose of allocating delegates to the national convention," the committee writes. "Our party needs to grow its membership, and primaries seem to be a more effective way to do so."
Nowhere in the report does the committee encourage a recommitment to conservative principles. In fact, on Page 4 it warns, "Ronald Reagan is a Republican hero and role model who was first elected 33 years ago - meaning no one under the age of 51 today was old enough to vote for Reagan when he first ran for President. Our Party knows how to appeal to older voters, but we have lost our way with younger ones. We sound increasingly out of touch."
What seems to be the overarching theme of the report? Shorten the primary, make it harder for grassroots candidates to compete, embrace moderate policies, renounce our out-of-touch conservative principles, be more inclusive, and follow the RNC rules.
This will not go over well.
As a former RNC member, I have seen the disconnect between the establishment and the base up close and personally. The RNC solution is always to moderate and to control. What we should be doing is encouraging competition and grassroots participation; this report discourages it.
While there are some worthwhile suggestions and recommendations, overall this report will most likely throw gasoline on the war between the base and the establishment.
Denise McNamara is the former two-term RNC Committeewoman for Texas 2000-2008, GOP Nat'l Platform Committee 2012 and GOP State Platform Committee 2010.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland, liberal commentator David Jones and moderator Linda Lorelle on Fridays at 7:30 pm on PBS Houston Channel 8.1, replaying Sundays at 12:30 p.m. on Channel 8.1, Mondays at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpbs.org.
Red, White & Blue returns Friday, April 5th with a show on the RNC's New Rx for the GOP: Good or Bad for the Future?
The current show as well as past shows are 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 fifteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last twelve years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 10 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 eleventh 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.