All in all, a great day for Texas Republicans. It sure helps to have a popular President leading the ticket. There should be no doubt that President George W. Bush had strong coattails in Texas. These strong coattails helped make up for less than stellar efforts in the state and some local Republican victory programs. For the future, we need to get together and study what works and what doesn't because sometime soon the difference between victory and defeat will be an outstanding victory program.
So now that we won, what do we do next? Nationally, the president is right to be conciliatory, but it is also important we hold true to the conservative agenda on issue after issue. With such ideas as fundamental tax and social security reform, controlling spending, winning the war on Islamic-fascists and advancing the social agenda and ensure the appointment of conservative non-legislating judges, we will be busy. And the good news is that if we help and encourage our public officials, we can do it. Of course, the left-wing media and the Democrats will say we should compromise and "work together" and indeed we can where we get give as well as take from the other side.
State-side in Texas, we need to reallocate state spending where it's needed, cut bureaucratic overhead, end meddlesome regulations, end unfunded state mandates, get control of runaway property taxes, pass laws to stop voting fraud, end prevailing wages on state contracts and modernize our method of constructing our transportation system. A short-list of important things and of course, school finance reform from a conservative orientation.
A TCR Exclusive - How a Little "Minor"
Municipal Court Case Re-Elected President Bush
This is an amazing story of how a little case - the filing of a Class C Misdemeanor (punishable by a fine only) re-elected a President.
In 2001, charges of sodomy were filed against two people who the police viewed engaged in same-sex (sexual) activity. They were convicted in the City of Houston Municipal Court and ordered to pay a fine and convicted on appeal to the Harris County Criminal Court. This case was appealed to the Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Houston, Texas. In May 2002, the Court overturned by a three-judge panel (all who ran as Republicans, with Paul Murphy (retired) and John Anderson voting to reverse and Harvey Hudson voting to affirm). This decision stunned Republican activists and at the state convention in June 2000. Harris County and state GOP leaders objected to the court decision primarily because in overturning the Texas sodomy law, the two judges had laid out the "legal justification" for legalizing gay marriage in Texas! TCR Note - Judge Anderson is up for election in March 2006. Judge Murphy retired soon after the decision.
The Harris County District Attorney's office appealed the three-judge panel decision to the entire nine member Court and they ultimately reversed the decision of Murphy and Anderson and affirmed the conviction 7-2. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals likewise affirmed and the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. 1
In a shocking 5-4 decision in Lawrence vs. Texas, the Supreme Court in the spring of 2003 struck down the Texas sodomy law with legal reasoning, opening the door to judicially imposed gay marriage.
Sure enough, in the fall of 2003 the Massachusetts Supreme Court in essence, legalized gay marriage and put in motion via full faith and credit of the U.S. Constitution, its imposition throughout the country.
Around the U.S., pro-family conservatives and GOP'ers organized and pushed pro-traditional marriage initiatives and state and constitutional amendments. President Bush came out strongly on this issue in 2004.
Social conservatives, feeling the threat to their families around the country, activated and worked to pass the initiatives. Lo and behold, one key state for George W. Bush was Ohio, which had a referendum on the ballot on November 2nd. The referendum drew out many new voters who while voting, voted for President Bush and against John Kerry.
The rest is history - President Bush is re-elected; pro-traditional marriage wins 11 out of 11 referendums and the number one issue on Election Day for voters was, surprise - MORALS.
So now you know the rest of the story of how a small insignificant case re-elected a president. If this case had not made it the Supreme Court, it may have been 2-4 years before a similar case had hit, slowing the pro-marriage movement down and maybe resulting in it not being one of the big issues of 2004.
There are a number of Heroes in this situation - the Harris County Republican Party and its then leaders who led the fight against the Court of Appeals original decision and who suffered left-wing media assaults for so called lack of tolerance, a Democratic-led state legislative investigation, threats of disbarment for attorneys involved in exercising free speech about the decision, and the Harris County District Attorney's office and Chuck Rosenthal who never quit and was absolutely ripped for his Supreme Court argument, the seven judges on the 14th Court of Appeals who overturned the foolhardy Murphy-Anderson opinion and the gay-lesbian activists who set this case on the road to the Supreme Court, who probably never believed they were helping re-elect the President.
Finally, President Bush and aide Karl Rove, who understood the issue, knew what they believed in and politically knew when and how to make use of the issue. Their timing was perfect.
In life, there are many ironies - this case could've been derailed anywhere along the way, but it wasn't. So a little case in the end re-elected the President.
1 Voting to reverse and protect family values were - Leslie Brock Yates, J. Harvey Hudson, Wanda Fowler, Richard Edelman, Kem Frost, Charles Seymore
Winners and Losers and TCR Comments
- Biggest Winner - George W. Bush - Big victory by the first majority in a long time.
- Redistricting Worked - House Majority Leader Tom Delay made it happen and maybe now they will get off his back but don't count on it. A real conservative hero.
- Biggest Losers
- Majority Leader Tom Daschle's defeat in South Dakota
- Going backwards - Texas Democrats lose 5 congressional seats
- The Democratic 527's - Soros, MoveOn.org, etc. spent a lot of money for nothing.
- Biggest Mouth - Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) who was quoted as saying he'll have his own litmus test for judges as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. TCR's Suggestion: Why not make Jon Kyl (R-AZ) the next Chair. He's a class conservative act we all can be proud of.
- Next Party Switcher - Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island - Reportedly didn't vote for President Bush as he has a far right wing agenda. Does this guy ever vote with us?
- Best New Congressman - Judge Ted Poe (TX-CD 2), overcoming a vicious negative campaign by the Democratic incumbent who outspent Judge Poe 2 to 1 - Poe wins and stays on the issues. Judge Poe is a future leader in Congress.
- Top Vote Getter - In Harris County - Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt led the entire ticket in a competitive race. His outspoken leadership on controlling taxes is recognized and appreciated by the voters. This guy needs a bigger stage to advance conservatism in Texas.
- Best Local Proposition - Houston Prop 2 which controls revenue to control spending passed and now Democratic Mayor Bill White says it will not be put into effect as it's "inconsistent" with Prop 1, which limits property tax increases. Look for the courts to solve this.
- Biggest Disappointments - Arlene Wohlgemuth's tough loss for Congress - TX-CD 11, a real setback for conservatives. What happened to our GOTV program and party help in this most critical race?
- Talmadge Heflin's - nail-biter for the House. It seems we have lost it by a handful of votes. A huge loss for conservatives as Talmadge was one of the most knowledgeable members and a good guy. TCR's list of the reasons why the narrow loss -
- A marginal district with many new voters who didn't know Heflin (his name ID just above 50%)
- Hardworking opponent
- His campaign for some reason avoided Prop 2 and the property tax issue
- Failure of joint campaign run by Harris County and state GOP's Victory Committees
- The bad PR from the custody fight
TCR COMMENT - any one of these being done the other way would have made a difference. Truly a loss that should not have happened. Chairman Heflin will be missed.
GOP County Sliding - Dallas County, where we lost the Sheriff's race and at least three judgeships - either we don't have our act together or we are losing because there is strong Democratic growth there. Either way, we need to get our act together fast or Dallas will roll over to the other side significantly over the next four years.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who recently 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 ninth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last three years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant and can be reached at (713) 621-6335.
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