Last week a column entitled "Houston, Republicans Have a Problem" appeared in The Weekly Standard by veteran conservative political columnist and commentator Fred Barnes, in which he sounded the warning about the unmitigated thrashing that Republicans took in Harris County in the 2016 General Elections. Barnes laid out the case for what went wrong and what could happen if the course is not righted. He talked about the ineffective messaging in Harris County, its "Republican incompetence" and the "ruinous" and "panicked" decision under Paul Simpson that contributed to the defeat.
Simpson's response was lightning-fast (out of character) and characteristically predictable. Did he accept full responsibility? Well, no. Did he say, "Yes, that was a beating and we will learn from our mistakes?" Again, no. In the absence of taking full responsibility, did he muster a single ounce of the personal responsibility that we as Republicans preach and which most of us practice on a daily basis? No.
So, what did he do? It is what I like to call full spin mode; he attacked the source - Fred Barnes and The Weekly Standard - and the sources of the source. Even though Barnes quoted two former county chairmen, myself and Jared Woodfill, along with Congressman Kevin Brady and Governor Greg Abbott, he called the story "fake news." He in fact ignored every criticism and chose to chalk it up to "two former disgruntled county chairs," much like when a workplace predator distracts from the sexual harassment charges by calling the victim a "disgruntled former employee." It is unfortunate that Simpson is so adept and proactive when trying to save his own bacon, but did nothing to save the jobs of dozens of our Republican judges when they needed a little help.
As Harris County Republican Chairman (1996-2002), I helped build a strong local party. In fact, under my leadership, our local Republican grassroots achieved the first countywide Republican sweep - yes, we won everything on the countywide ballot. We lobbied for and were successful in getting minority candidates appointed and then elected to local office. We raised massive amounts of money, crafted winning messages and ran winning campaigns; and when we suffered setbacks, we took responsibility.
Under Paul Simpson's reign, those gains have disappeared. In 2016, the Harris County Republican Party lost everything. It was, as Fred Barnes pointed out, the worst defeat in Harris County history. That's not fake news, but I wish it were.
Am I disgruntled? Damn right. And you should be too.
Fiscal Conservatives Back To Simple
Common Sense Reforms To The
Presumed Turner Pension Plan Changes
Yes, it is still a plan that the general public has not seen, so it's a presumed plan. The first problem is what the plan contains is speculative, which makes it hard to evaluate.
Nonetheless, there are two reforms critical to the future solving of the pension plan crisis for Houston and for the solvency of the city - mandating all new hires after January 1, 2017, be placed in a defined contribution plan. The same type of plans major corporations use around the nation, where 96% of the private sector is at. Why should Houston be different? It should not.
The second is, before going further in debt for the pensions, the public should have a chance to vote on a billion-dollar bond issue.
No real fiscal conservatives can refuse support to either of these critical reforms.
It's Irritating That Of The 549 Senior Positions President Trump Needs Senate Confirmation,
He's Got 17!
TCR cannot understand why the US Senate took off ten (10) days for Presidents' Day weekend when around 532 senior positions remain unconfirmed.
No wonder President Trump is experiencing a slow start. Here's an idea, the Senate should go on a 24-hour schedule to get the Trump nominees confirmed.
As for the Democrats, tie them up - otherwise we are looking at almost two (2) years to get everyone confirmed, as the Democrats have demanded 30 hours of debate on each appointee.
So Senator McConnell, is it asking too much to confirm Trump's people, now?
"Fake News" Really Exists
Columnist, Deborah Weiss, has done us all a favor documenting the worst cases of fake news.
She defines fake news as not just unsubstantiated or inaccurate stories that constitute fake news, it's the biased steady drumbeat of characterizations, foundationless questions and the one-sided selection of what is reported.
So here are the top examples of the irresponsible ideological media:
The Russians "hacked the election", giving the false impression that Russia was able to get into the voting machines, and designed to lead the reader to believe Donald Trump did not win the election fairly.
Donald Trump is "anti-Semitic" simply because he didn't word things the way they wanted him to, and ignoring or failing to report Trump's policy positions that constitute the most pro-Israel positions we have seen in decades. Contrast this to Obama's positions, which pandered to anti-Semitic Islamists and allowed unilateral targeting of Israel, while turning a blind eye to Palestinian terrorism. Yet, "anti-Semitic" was never a charge leveled at Obama.
The Left and the Mainstream Media ("MSM") are holding Trump "accountable" for "hate crimes," "racism" and "bigoted comments" that Trump never engaged in, encouraged, or supported. Many "hate crime" incidents were nothing more than conjured up stories designed to paint Trump as evil. The MSM reported all this as "news", clearly never having checked the facts.
The MSM falsely characterized Trump as "inviting Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's computer". This was a characterization that totally misinterpreted Trump's words during the campaign when he pointed out that Russia was not "hacking the election", and then he sarcastically added that if Russia was hacking the election, he hopes they can find Hillary's missing emails.
The MSM, across the board, has labeled the President's recent Executive Orders as a "Muslim ban" despite the fact that it did not include all or even most Muslim countries and was temporary. This was clearly done to support the Left's claims that Trump is "Islamophobic" and it ignored the fact that the Order was intended simply to pause immigration from "countries of concern".
The MSM "reports" that the President is "unstable", when in reality it's nothing more than they don't like his demeanor or don't agree with his policies.
When Trump calls the media out on being fake news, it is characterized as "Trump opposes a free press" and is therefore "dangerous." The press is asking Trump's aides if the President is going to take action to clamp down on the media or restrict First Amendment rights. But Trump never opposed a free press. He opposes a lying press. And he never threatened to make it illegal for the press to continue their lies. He just let us know that he is going to counter them with facts.
"Then there is this issue of selective reporting. Soon as Trump was elected, CNN had non-stop coverage of Obama's great "legacy" and all the "great accomplishments" he achieved, like the failing Obamacare, questionable climate change, and his biggest accomplishment of all being the first black president."
Worst of all, the Left makes accusation of fake news when the news is actually real, but they don't like the facts or conversely, parody as real news. This confuses the public and makes it harder to distinguish real news from fake news.
"The MSM, while free, is lacking the objectivity that used to constitute the hallmark of prestigious journalism. The public relies on the media to provide them with unbiased information (to the extent possible) which in turn, will help shape their understanding of events at home and abroad. Today, the constant, one-sided, biased, and inaccurate reports flowing out of many "news" outlets more closely resemble propaganda, disinformation, or even influence operations, than they do news."
"Information is power. Disinformation hurts the public that the media purports to serve!"
TCR Comment: So yes, there is fake news and it is okay to call the media out when they engage in irresponsible reporting.
Trump Has A Good Week
It could be that President Trump's speech before Congress this week is a turning point for him.
He was almost Reagan-like.
Now to be clear, the speech was not as conservative as we would like, but progress is progress. Half a loaf is better than none.
Immigrants! Don't Vote For What You Fled
We wanted you to see this PragerU video with Gloria Alvarez: "Immigrants! Don't Vote For What You Fled," to share its important message:
Many of America's legal and illegal immigrants fled nations that were ruined by corrupt politicians and failed government policies. But once here, they continue to support the same ideas. According to Pew Research, in the recent 2016 presidential election, 66% of Latinos voted for Hillary Clinton, who advocated for the same big government policies.
This important video, produced in Spanish, needs to be seen by every Spanish-speaking American. Please forward this link:
to your Spanish speaking friends and family. You can help reach millions of Spanish-speaking Americans who need to watch this PragerU video by also making a donation.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones on Fridays at 7:30 pm on PBS Houston Channel 8, replaying Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8, Monday at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpublicmedia.org.
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 nineteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last sixteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 13 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 15th year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.