In the 2014 Republican primary in Texas, in many of the races we have lots of good choices. Our job is to pick the best candidates and tell you why. We will roll out endorsements on a weekly basis.
Texas Attorney General - Barry Smitherman
It takes a special person to be an effective Texas Attorney General. The right AG has to be a capable lawyer with a legal background naturally; but, just as important is the ability to speak on behalf of the office, provide solid opinions and guidance, and to lead and manage a team. Attorney General Greg Abbott has been an effective Attorney General and unquestionably leaves extremely large shoes to fill as he steps up to, presumably, lead our ticket in 2014 as the Republican nominee for Governor. We at TCR believe that the best candidate to fill Greg Abbott's shoes as our next Attorney General is Barry Smitherman, who has the perfect combination of legal, executive and leadership experience that the job requires. The highlights of Barry Smitherman's distinguished career include leadership experience as Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission and Chairman of the Public Utility Commission where he applied skills that he learned in his 17 years in the private sector to cut costs and make those agencies more effective. Barry Smitherman's legal background as a prosecutor coupled with his successful leadership of state agencies and practical private sector experience make him the best qualified and TCR's choice for our next Texas Attorney General.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner - Tommy Merritt
We are recommending Representative Tommy Merritt for Texas Agriculture Commissioner in the 2014 Republican primary. Merritt is a business owner, former State Representative and previously served on the Sabine River Authority and as Director for the Gregg County Appraisal Board.
Agriculture Commissioner is one of those statewide offices that is critical to the state of Texas, but unfortunately does not receive the attention it deserves. After researching the race and the candidates, TCR has concluded that Tommy Merritt is the best choice to succeed Todd Staples as the next Texas Agriculture Commissioner. Tommy Merritt's unique perspective as a business owner and state representative along with appraisal district and Sabine River Authority experience make him uniquely qualified to lead the Agriculture Commission. Best of all, Tommy Merritt is campaigning on big, conservative solutions to Texas' challenges with his "4-Point Plan" that addresses the increasingly critical water shortage facing Texans, plans for the implementation of technology to keep Texas agriculture hi-tech and modern, securing the border to improve safety for family farmers, and appraisal reform to keep Texas agriculture competitive. TCR likes Merritt's experience and big conservative ideas and endorses him for Texas Agriculture Commissioner.
Texas State Representative District 129 - Dennis Paul
TCR endorses State Republican Executive Committee Member Dennis Paul for election to State Representative District 129 in the 2014 Republican primary. Paul, a business owner and longtime grassroots activist, seeks to succeed Representative John Davis, who is not seeking reelection.
TCR has great respect for grassroots leaders like Dennis Paul who pay their dues by fighting for conservative principles before becoming candidates for public office. Dennis Paul's long history of service on behalf of conservative causes and candidates along with his conservative philosophy and big ideas make him the best choice to represent House District 129. TCR wholeheartedly recommends a vote for Dennis Paul on the March 4th Republican primary ballot.
Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, Place 2 - Judge Laryssa Korduba
After 30+ years on the Bench, Judge Tom Lawrence is stepping down as Justice of the Peace in Precinct 4, Place 2. Out of the field of five candidates, TCR believes that Judge Laryssa Korduba is the most qualified to fill the vacancy created by Judge Tom Lawrence's retirement. Korduba and one other candidate are the only two in the race who are attorneys and, though not required to serve as a Justice of the Peace, TCR feels that a legal background is a definite benefit to performing the duties of a judge. In addition to experience as an attorney, Korduba -a municipal court judge- is the only candidate in the race with judicial experience. Korduba also brings business experience and big ideas to the office with plans to utilize technology to modernize and take the office "paperless" to improve efficiency. As the only candidate in the race with solid business, legal and judicial experience, Judge Laryssa Korduba will be able to hit the ground running from Day 1 and is TCR’s choice for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, Place 2.
TCR Endorsements, Part 1
TCR Endorsements, Part 2
Gary Bauer Tells Conservatives
Why Social And Economic Issues Matter
Good friend Gary Bauer was recently asked, "Okay, Bauer, if you think the correct economic arguments will not convince the public, what should Republicans be saying?"
To this Bauer responded with the following: "I believe the issue of income disparity is an open invitation to expose the failures of cultural liberalism and the welfare state, both of which are undermining economic opportunity for millions. Much of this disparity is due to out of wedlock births, the collapse of marriage, the increasing prevalence of drugs, the collapse of the work ethic and various left-wing educational policies."
"Simply put, two married college-educated individuals will be far better off than two high school dropouts with an out-of-wedlock child. Simply raising the minimum wage isn't the solution. Instead of having sex education classes in high school, perhaps we should be teaching the value of marriage. Without strong families, democratic capitalism will fail.
"In short, the GOP economic message all too often sounds like a social Darwinism (survival of the fittest) unless it is tempered by a values-oriented message, which all too often many party elites and libertarians run away from. In fact, GOP consultants and big money donors often demand that GOP candidates stay away from life, marriage and family issues entirely.
"Yes, Democrats are shamelessly exploiting economic anxieties. But we cannot ignore the reality confronting millions of hard-working Americans. There are a number of economic issues we should be talking about more, such as enterprise zones - tax free areas to encourage business investment and job creation.
"And when it comes to tax reform, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has an intriguing pro-family proposal to encourage investment in 'human capital.' Among the items in Lee's plan, he proposes nearly tripling the per child tax credit. That would be a big winner with middle America."
2014 Promising For GOP, If We Don't Blow It
Larry Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and election predictor (and former guest on Red, White and Blue on PBS), says the GOP is on its way to gains in the U.S. Senate and House because: (1) the President's job approval is below 40% and a growing "six year itch," (2) the economy is still not performing on all cylinders and unemployment is persistently high, and (3) finally, the electoral playing field is favoring the GOP as there are more Democratic seats up in Republican states than the reverse.
Now how we could blow it? Here is how: (1) A divided GOP where those who are not 100% with us are shoved out of the party. Call them economic conservatives, November Republicans, or Country Club Republicans, we still need them to stay with us and vote in November; (2) Tone and empathy - harsh rhetoric might help in a small turnout "base" GOP primary, but in the elections that really matter it hurts. As for empathy, there is no question in the last election we lost that quality - "cares about people like me" 81% to 18%! Some things we need to be able to demonstrate are that we care about economic growth, growth of the middle class, and our way to fix problems like medical care and not just repeal Obamacare. These are serious issues we must address if we are to be successful.
Iran "Deal" Finally Ratified By Iran, But Now We Learn There Is A "Secret" Addendum
Why does it feel that we don't really know what the deal is with Iran?
We learned last week form Iran about a secret 30-page document (Debka Weekly, 1/17/14). We also learned that Iran's lead negotiator Abba Araqchi said the Obama administration's characterization of the deal as requiring Iran to eliminate uranium and dismantle some of its enrichment structure is "abusing the words."
We also recently heard Iranian President Rouhani state in a speech, "What does the Geneva agreement mean? It means the surrender of the big powers before the Iranian nation!"
TCR Comment: Why does it seem like we were tricked by the rug merchants in Teheran? We thought we bought one rug and ended up with another. It sure looks like we got snookered, which is business as usual for President Obama in foreign relations.
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 Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8.1, Mondays at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpbs.org.
Congressman Ted Poe and Mayor Annise Parker.
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 twelfth 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.