The recent victory of Democrat Kyrsten Sinema's in the Arizona Senate race was an upset. This was the first time a Democrat was elected from Arizona since 1988! So are there lessons here for Texas?
Given Senator Ted Cruz's close victory by less than 3 percent, yes. Compare that to six years ago when Cruz won by 16 percent. Things are not going in the right direction.
So back to Arizona, a traditional conservative border state with a growing Hispanic population similar to Texas, here are the lessons for us!
- Shifting Demographics - Arizona and Texas both have growing population & both seem to be growing Democrats. These voters are generally younger, more ethnic, more female, more educated, and tech-employed, all of which are not President Donald Trump's fans.
- Health Care Pre-existing Conditions - This is an issue where the Democrats played it up and the GOP in Arizona had no answers.
- The Campaigns Really Matter - In Arizona, Sinema had no real opposition in the Democratic Primary and she could define herself early as a cheerful personality candidate and continued it through the general election. Note this is how Robert O'Rourke played it until September when Ted Cruz finally fully engaged him.
- Trump Gives and Takes Away - While President Donald Trump helped in a GOP Primary for Martha McSally, he also hurt her with swing voters like suburban women and centrist moderates in the fall, so Martha McSally lost to a former radical left winger who morphed into a moderate and got away with it.
It appears the O'Rourke team is now returning for 2020. Already, supporters are keeping their 'Beto' signs up, adding 2020.
For Senator John Cornyn, if he wants to be reelected, the day to start campaigning is today or the GOP could be threatened with the loss of his Senate seat. Arizona's lessons tell us this can happen easily, if we are not prepared.
The GOP Must Broaden Its Election Appeal
Non-campaigning among African Americans, Hispanics, and college educated women is the road to ruin for the GOP. There are issues that move these voters besides personality, and we must engage.
For example, in Florida, Governor-elect Ron DeSantis defeated Andrew Gillum by winning 14% of the black vote campaigning aggressively for keeping the Jeb Bush parental choice/tax-credit scholarship program. Gillum opposed it as he was a captive of the teachers unions.
This happened despite the recent campaign attacks on DeSantis accusing him of being a racist. So the lesson here is blacks feel strongly about good education and support school choice as an alternative to the failing, and often violent public schools.
William Barr For Attorney General
When Bush Appointed Him, No Opposition, Now?
Yes, because Donald Trump appointed him, so now the Democrats oppose him and want to make a big deal here. Didn't we just finish praising the Bush's and particularly George H.W. Bush and the alleged bipartisanship of his era. The fact is William Barr was a terrific Attorney General then and will be now.
Let's sit back and watch as the left attacks and denigrates him, it is what they do.
The Caravan President Obama Said Not Coming Wasn't A Campaign Stunt, Was It?
No, President Obama was incorrect in that the illegals came by the tens of thousands to Tijuana, Mexico. There will be no apologies forthcoming from the Democrats or their media allies to President Trump.
So the illegal immigration mess continues. Remember, you don't have a nation if you don't control your borders. Congress needs to clean up this mess that is our legal and illegal immigration "system," now. Failure to so and bad court rulings have made our system into an incoherent mess.
Let's be clear of what these caravans are, mostly teenage or young adult males seeking entry into the U.S. for economic reasons. With over 500 convicted criminals and gang members identified in the group is not what we need in the U.S.A. FYI, under our laws, wanting a job is not a basis for asylum nor wanting to join family members or just wanting to live in the U.S.A.
The fact is our immigration system is a mess that encourages illegal entry and law violations. It's past time Congress cleans up this disaster.
George H.W. Bush RIP
There have been millions of words written about the passing of President Bush.
He was a class act, a true pioneer who helped build the modern Republican Party in Texas, a very good President and a friend.
Your editor first met President Bush in 1970, when I was chosen to be one of a handful of summer interns in the Bush for Senate Campaign.
In 1978, your editor was recruited by Ambassador Chase Untermeyer to be part of the Bush for President exploratory committee.
These contacts continued up until my years as HCRP Chairman and my involvement in the George H.W. Bush for President campaigns from 1999 to 2004, where President Bush and Barbara were very active in the Houston area.
President Bush brought some skills to politics that have been disappearing due to changes in the nation and the hyper-partisanship. These skills were goodness, dignity, law abiding, seeking a middle ground from the extremes, being the best you can be, and don't forget duty, honor, country, family, and faith.
The mainstream media's celebration of President Bush is in many ways hypocritical. When Bush was President, neither the media nor the Democrats were kind to him. There was a litany of harsh criticism directed towards him. Just go back and read the newspapers of that time.
It seems that only Republicans or Conservatives respected by the left and its media allies are dead ones or those who "grew" in office and embraced the left wing agenda.
The fact is he was a worthy holder of the office of President and deserved a second term. Like another successful wartime leader Winston Churchill, a fickle electorate sent him packing.
Truly, they don't make them like George H.W. Bush anymore, to our detriment. But to be clear, civility is not what our politics was then, however it was what America used to be. We could have it again, but our friends on the left and their media allies seek to undermine these values and replace them with a left wing paradise like France, or Venezuela!
Watching Another Golden Opportunity Blown,
The Culprit Paul Simpson At The HCRP
With State Senator Sylvia Garcia's resignation, a snap election was called in the Houston area. It set up, what is called a jungle primary, open to all.
Republicans in the summer under similar circumstances elected Pete Flores in a multicandidate race in San Antonio to the State Senate, taking a Democratic seat. The GOP leadership united and fully funded Flores and he won.
In Houston, a similar opportunity presented itself, two Democrats were in, Ana Hernandez and Carol Alvarado and a couple of big time well qualified Republicans kicked the tires, but wanted a unified party and could not get one.
Instead of repeating the San Antonio plan, Paul Simpson, HCRP's embattled Chairman picked precinct chair Martha Fierro, who provided no real money and even no-showed to the only campaign debate. In a low turnout race where a formidable GOP candidate could get into the runoff, we get drubbed.
Oh well, at least Simpson is consistent, just another loss to stack on top of the last two general elections wipeouts. Paul probably will toss the blame to others which he is good at or better yet celebrate that "his" candidate got 23.2% finishing third. Simpson in fact described the results as follows "... Fierro fell short in her effort to give residents of SD 6 a conservative voice in Austin... Martha did much better than the pundits expected and proved hard work can have an impact on a difficult race."
A simple question, why is this guy still leading the GOP? Of course it doesn't matter if your goal is to be like the GOP in California, losing regularly and being irrelevant.
By Daniel Noble, Contributing Editor
In the United States right now, we seem to have the self-identification movement running wild. Not only are groups encouraged to think of themselves as blocks of individuals based on race, sex, or national origin for voting purposes, but individuals seem to be identifying with just about anything conceivable.
To identify normally means to single out or to recognize, as in the phrase the "judge said the victim was identifed". Or, it can be used to suggest an affiliation, such as the phrase "he identifies with vegetarians".
Today, the term is used to suggest not only affiliation, but an effort to literally transform a current state of being into a new state. It is such a strong desire to affiliate that it literally argues for transformation into the new desired state.
Ironically, this desire to reinvent oneself from one's birth origins is sweeping the nation at the same time the public has become enamored by finding out what their birth right is by paying for genetic testing, which by nature of genes, suggests you are what you are by biological endowment, not by personal will.
For those of us distant from campus affairs, this all seems a bit strange and it is breathtaking how ideas generated originally from race and gender studies programs at universities now appears to have swept the nation and influenced public policy, the language, and the general culture in a profound way.
Not too long ago you might recall the story of a white woman in Seattle who had to resign as the head of the local NAACP, even though she claimed to "identify" with African Americans:
Now we have no problem whatsoever with a white person seeking to interact with African Americans, but she so "identified" with Blacks that she implied she was in reality Black. Getting involved with welfare fraud did not help her case but that is another issue. Blacks had some problems with her "identification", apparently feeling that wishing to change one's race does not make it so. I am not sure that questioning her identification would be considered proper today.
The use of "identification" to mean transformation is reaching extremes. One English woman has become engaged to a chandelier, and perhaps to more than one of these lighting devices:
Whether the device is electrical or of the candle variety, the consummation of the marriage could be dangerous to both body and property. Should we really be encouraging such behavior by widespread press coverage?
Others apparently now "identify" with other species of animals:
It is one thing to have a lazy spouse who spends too much time on the couch, sleeping most of the day, but really, do we have to put up with shedding and urinary accidents as well?
What about the increasing number who now "identify" with a sex other than their own, and wish not only to have gender reassignment surgery, but wish the public to pay for them. We wish these people all the happiness that life can provide, but their demands that the public not only honor and respect their decisions has shifted into demands that we all pay for their decisions:
They also demand that society respect and honor their identification decisions, even if the owner of a car parts store for example, does not want to hire someone who cross dresses to interact with their clients:
Advocates are arguing that failure to hire is discriminatory.
Notice in these examples that in some cases it appears to be a strong desire to mimic the new state desired, such as wearing a rubber dog suit. In others, people are willing to alter their bodies and chemistry to achieve the new state of being.
In some areas, this desire to permit a person to be whatever they wish to be is proving problematical. In sports, individuals that develop fully as men are transitioning and competing with woman. In some cases such as Mixed Martial Arts, the results have been devastating:
Perhaps the absurdity of some of these claims is best summed up by the decision by several colleges to cancel the Vagina Monologues because "not all woman have vaginas."
It would seem that all women have vaginas but not all vaginas have women.
In some cases, trans activists are starting to force their own conflicts on to very vulnerable populations, such as autistic children:
As the father of an adult autistic son, I find this trend quite disturbing.
Yet transgendered adults are hardly in a position to encourage others when suicide rates are so strikingly high amongst themselves:
As the suicides rates are roughly ten times that of the general population, it would appear a brake rather than an accelerator pedal might be a better instrument for public policy until we find out more information about what is going on. These extremely high rates of suicide suggest even to those not medically trained, that something is seriously wrong within this "community."
In addition, demands in school have caused many to question whether it is appropriate to use the terms boy and girl, or ladies and gentlemen, or any other distinction between the sexes. However, if there is no distinction between the sexes, why go to the expense and risk of changing the personal plumbing? Is not the point of the surgery to make the distinction?
Outreach programs using these contradictory arguments are making their way into schools to be sure the young are completely accepting of this lack of sexual distinctions. This is malevolent sexual confusion bordering on child abuse.
We seemed to have plunged into this "identification" modality with little hard science, little thought as to the health or social consequences, but with a whole lot of social and media pressure from small loud minorities. It would seem if one does not embrace, honor, respect, and subsidize such behavior, one is considered a bigoted troglodyte.
What does it mean to identify with something, in psychological terms, in legal terms, and medical terms? It is a serious question in need of serious and thoughtful answers.
Freedom used to generally mean, a range of human action that could operate outside of the coercive powers of the state. It did not mean a range of human action outside of other segments of society such as family, religion, morality, or as Burke called them the "little platoons" of voluntary organizations. Those institutions of civil society generally controlled most noncriminal social behavior.
Now freedom seems to mean a range of human actions and choices outside of government, morality, culture, voluntary institutions, and reality itself. In addition, increasingly it seems to mean those that support sexual differences and objective reality are NOT FREE to have their views.
Philosophy has argued for years about the nature of reality, whether reality exists independent of our senses and whether reality is objective. The familiar question: when a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound if no one is around to hear the thud, comes to mind. Sound is the movement of molecules in the air, that are in motion whether our sensory organ is there to perceive it or not. Likewise, the universe was built with no human sensing it until recently. Does that mean the stars and the planets were not real until we humans came along? Thus, for those who believe in objective reality, the use of identification to assert that reality itself can be changed by the mere will of the person, is a particularly jarring idea.
No one seems to know where this will lead but we continue apace at breakneck speed.
It is worth raising a few additional basic questions.
What does it mean to "identify" with a different race or sex and why once accepted should it stop there? It would appear that definitions are already expanding exponentially if one can become engaged to illumination devices or dress up and act as a dog.
Exactly where does this process start and end? It seems quite easy at this point to "identify" with a different age, a different height, a different sex, a different race, a different body type, a different level of intelligence, and so on ad infinitum. It would seem we are on the cusp of honoring people who through "identification" believe they can change basic physical and biological attributes of themselves.
Notice in today's terms, if I identify with taller, I could have operations to extend my bones, wear elevated shoes, or I could simply say I feel taller. Either way, society is supposed to honor my choices that I identify with taller people.
This could pose some problems.
For example, if I "identify" with a calendar age much older than I might in reality be, would I therefore qualify for Social Security and Medicare? Does my identification with the elderly really change my age? This could become the wedge issue for Democrats to achieve Medicare for all!
Conversely, if I believe I am younger, can I go back to high school and have it paid for, and be permitted to chase cheerleaders a quarter of my age? Why not, you ask? Sounds good to me!
If I "identify" with being a dog, is a rabies shot and license required? Is each year of my life worth seven? Can I adopt a human for emotional support?
If I "identify" and wish to marry electrical devices should inspection be required to be sure everything is up to code? What role would Underwriters Laboratory have in the matter?
If I truly believe that I am Peter Pan, does that mean I can fly from the top of a ten-story building? Does gravity have anything to say about my "identification"? And if gravity has a different opinion, can I have my life back anyway, as long as I assert it with sufficient righteous emotion?
If I, as a balding Jewish man "identify" with towering basketball players, should this five foot eight 70-year-old demand being hired by the NBA? Can I get $20 million for dribbling, even if it is not with a basketball? This seems to me good grounds for a lawsuit.
Right now, it would seem the whole idea of normality is under attack. Does the concept of normal itself now mean anything? If it no longer means anything, then what constrains us from any behavior based on an assertion that any feeling we might have can change the nature of reality itself? Without a sense or standard of the normal, how the heck are we supposed to know what is abnormal?
It would appear that some slowdown in this process is in order as we wait for some science to come in. Maybe some common sense would help as well. It is also worthwhile starting to think through the long-term implications of some of the activist claims and the impact it will have on society and our children. I openly admit I am confused by all this and I can only imagine how children will feel being told they can be the sex, race, age, size, species, or electrical appliance of their own choosing.
It reminds me of the controversy among teenagers in regards the internet fad of taking the Tide Pod Challenge:
Swallowing a capsule of powerful detergents does not seem like the smart thing to do, unless one "identifies" with being a washing machine. Even if one does identify with a washing machine, hours of retching are likely ahead, if not death itself.
Reality still does exist and will act as the ultimate constraint on behavior. Some of this constraint will come too far in the future, leaving far too much time in the present to do considerable damage to many people and likely to society itself.
For those harmed by the "identification" crisis, where will they seek redress for the damages done to their lives? Ever try to sue your college professors, twenty years after graduation?
Somehow as a society that does believe in individual freedom, we need to thread the needle so to speak, to see that people who are having serious difficulties with what they were granted by birth are treated well, but not allow the lives of normal people to be bent out of shape by their ever-expanding demands. After all, the vast majority of people that are settled and comfortable in their sexuality, their racial identification, their age, their size, their species; also have a right to live in peace and be treated with respect and dignity as well.
I would like to identify as normal. Is that still a viable option in a free country?
Daniel Noble is an economist, financial advisor and a contributing editor for TCR.
Who or What Is Really Responsible for the
Huge Forest Fires in California?
By Bruce Bialosky, Contributing Editor
Once again, faced with the failure of the "press" to educate us on an issue, we decided to go out and research the truth about what appears to be the significant increase in huge forest fires. Once we did the research, we found out major differences in facts from the random barkings in the MSM.
Let us start with this simple aspect. Forest fires are a normal thing. Often caused by lightning or other natural causes, they are God's way of clearing forests. In those natural forest clearances, the wildlife that exists in them are threatened or their habitat is destroyed. What has changed is mankind's intervention in the natural process. The question is, what other factors may be causing the change in the intensity of recent forest fires?
We also came armed with a thought. If you believe that global warming is making life more challenging for forest management, then you should support proper forest clearance. Otherwise we will be left with even more intense fires.
For this column, other than reading everything available, we went to two sources: our national Forest Service and the Union of Concerned Scientists to get different perspectives.
Speaking with Chris French, the Acting Deputy Chief of Forest Service (FS), we received a primer on what is really going on with forest fires today.
When asked what he believes is the primary cause of the intense forest fires, Mr. French's immediate response was "Forests are overstocked. There are more trees than 100 years ago." He went on to say that part of the problem was the Forest Service's good work in the recent past stopping forest fires. This meant, however, that their focus was largely directed away from forest maintenance, which caused the elements that fuel a fire like underbrush, dead trees or more density to occur.
The changes French would like to see would be more active forest clearance and clearance of the underbrush. He also wants to do more controlled fires when the risks are minimized. If you are wondering why they are not doing that now it is because of budget restraints.
What government department does not advocate for additional money in their budget? In this case, there may truly be rationale. Because of the good work the FS was doing, they were spending 85% of the budget on forest maintenance and 15% on fire suppression.
Over the recent years as forest fires became more intense, they spent more money on suppression and less on clearance causing a vicious cycle of less money on clearance. At this point French stated that it was projected that 60% of their budget went toward suppression leaving fewer precious dollars for clearance. Recent Congressional budget bills have increased the Forest Service budget providing additional funding for clearance, thus hopefully stopping as many fires from happening and less money spent on suppression.
While doing the clearance the Forest Service does, French stated they were controlled by a myriad of federal laws which limit their actions. These laws include The Clean Air Act, Natural Forest Management Act, Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act to name a few. The Forest Service must put information out to the public before they do their clearance work. They are not always questioned, but quite often interest groups jump in armed with legal briefs to stop the planned work.
Currently there are groups trying to stop certain aspects of the Farm bill from being passed that would enhance the funding for forest clearance because they are against logging even though it is clear much of the land in question has three times the density that it should.
Just a thought: If you have a concern about destroying the natural habitat and thus limit the proper clearance of the areas in question, what do you say about what happens to the improperly-cleared forest during a major fire when the habitat is destroyed and the animals' lives are put at risk?
One other point French made was about risks being higher today. He stated "People are living closer to where the fire dangers are, causing more damage and peril to human lives." We asked if this is akin to all the people living in flood plains today. His response: "Exactly."
This kind of fire has a catchy new name - urban interface fires. The Forest Service defines the wildland-urban interface as the place where "homes and wildlands meet or intermingle". As French described, it's where "humans and their development meet or intermix with wildland fuel". These used to be called fire areas. I live in one and we have to do special clearance each year to make sure that if a fire starts there will be little fuel to feed the fire. Where I live has built up for seventy years. This new situation describes the recent fires in California where people reached further in to these areas to homestead.
What is the government's responsibility in these cases? Few would restrict people's rights to build homes on private property. Fewer would suggest the authorities should not protect those people from danger if there is a fire, mud slide or their home is washed out in a flood. Many will question whether the government should have any financial risk to help the survivors rebuild in the areas in question. Others would say that just encourages questionable behavior.
While we can all feel sadness for those who have lost their homes in the fires, many have built homes in areas that are inherently dangerous to be "away from the hubbub." Their choice; their risk. To build a home near a forest and not accept the uncertainty of fire verges on insanity.
When dealing with an environmental group today, one anticipates that a focal point will be global warming/climate change. In fact, the article I pulled from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) website is titled "Is Global Warming Fueling Increases Fire Risks?" The column is a mix of warnings about how global warming is increasing wildfires and encouragement to do more forest clearance. I spoke with Rachel Cleetus, lead economist and policy director with the climate and energy program for the UCS.
Ms. Cleetus painted a somewhat different picture. She also forwarded a 64-page report she personally authored for the UCS on the matter. She was very aware of the many factors that are involved and echoed many of the same themes that the FS had stated, including the need for a greater budget especially with the extra monies being spent on forest clearance.
Cleetus was unclear whether the organization just supported the procedures that the FS argued for or advocated for them. She stated that they were not involved in stopping the FS from doing their work like some other interests often do.
But she did state the primary reasons for the increased risk of major fires was because of more people living in the areas and the forest management (or lack thereof) being done.
Whether you believe in global warming/climate change or not, it is quite clear that the forest service needs to get a handle on proper forest management to lessen the risks of major forest fires. The only way they can do that right now is to throw more resources at the problem to stop the downward spiral of clearance necessary to halt/minimize the risk of major fires.
Certainly, the federal/state governments need to make clear that they will not assume any liability for financial loss if anyone lives is in a fire zone. Citizens need to evaluate whether the joy of being in these areas is worth the exposure to their belongings and possibly their lives.
One thing we know for sure is that the wild charges made by some that this is all due to change in environmental factors is wrong. Though the UCS is vested in the issue of climate change, they support that there are other factors as proposed by the FS.
Climate change/global warming is not the answer to everything on our planet.
Footnote: We would be remiss if we did not thank the brave people who fight these wildfires for all of us. God bless them.
Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former Presidential appointee. You can follow Bruce on Twitter @brucebialosky.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland 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
Watch Current Show - The U.S. Presidency: An Analysis of Leadership with guests: Dr. David Schein (Associate Professor and Director of CSB Graduate Programs, University of St. Thomas) and Dr. Heather Evans (Associate Professor of Political Science, Sam Houston State University).
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 twenty-first year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last seventeen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 15 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 17th year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on Houston Public Media TV 8 PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary serves on the Board of Directors of American Values, a national pro-family, pro-faith, conservative organization supporting the unity of the American people around the vision of our founding fathers and dedicated to reminding the public of the conservative principles fundamental to the survival of our nation. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.