The Republican Party of Texas State Republican Executive Committee will consider banning video recordings of their open meetings this weekend, to prevent anyone from capturing the crazy that happens therein for all posterity.
I actually had SREC members tell me that they do not want to be recorded because they "might vote or act differently if they know they are on camera." What? So you don't want your constituents to see how you vote because you might vote differently if you know they can see you vote?
This actually points to the larger problem facing the Republican Party: while their base tilts ever more conservative, especially on social issues, society is moving fast in the other direction. The rhetoric that wins a Republican primary is death to a candidate in a competitive general election where moderates, swing voters, and actual Democrats matter.
The Republican activist base is so far to the right of the general electorate that it will become increasingly untenable for the party apparatus to hold together the Tea Party and the more moderate, pro-business, anti-regulation types, especially as Texas moves towards swing state status.
Conservative Republican activists want to see if the SREC is adhering to their ideological principles, in order to hold them accountable. Meanwhile, Democrats want to use that video as evidence of an increasingly out-of-touch Texas GOP that is no longer fit to govern in modern society. What's a political party to do?
So, Texas SREC, as I am a Democrat who possesses a generous and giving spirit, I'm just going to give you some free advice here: your problem is not people video taping your meetings, or any other Republican events. Your problem is the crazy, hateful, bigoted, backwards things Republicans say.
Don't want to be viewed as the party overtly hostile to immigration? Condemn Ted Cruz for opposing any pathway to citizenship, rather than simply telling legislators to stop introducing anti-immigrant legislation.
Don't want to be viewed as the party waging a War on Women? Stop taking away women's healthcare, calling rapes illegitimate, and suggesting that the pregnancies that result from rapes are a gift -- and when your colleagues say that stuff, condemn it publicly! Don't just pat them on the back or give hundreds of thousands of dollars to support their campaigns.
Don't want to be viewed as openly hostile to LGBT rights? Stop openly opposing them! Stop trying to prevent local governments from offering domestic partner benefits!
(Of course, all of that might make Republicans look a whole hell of a lot more like Democrats, but I digress.)
If Republicans are worried about people videotaping their meetings to create a record of what happens at said meetings, the answer isn't to stop videotaping them. The answer is to stop saying crazy, hurtful, bigoted things -- not simply to avoid bad PR, but because you don't believe them any more!
And that applies not just to SREC meetings, but to Republicans in the public sphere general. Don't try to hide your bigotry under the rug so moderates don't think you're anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-minority, or anti-any other group of people who don't belong to your country club or go to your church.
In the meantime, Republican primary voters and the rest of civilization alike deserve to know what the Republican Party of Texas is doing at their SREC meetings, and video provides the best and most compelling record. So for once, I agree with the conservative blogger I linked to above -- the Texas GOP needs to be as transparent and open about their meetings as possible, so that all Texans can see what's going on with the party that currently controls our state.
It's time for the Friday Wrap, where your Burnt Orange Reporters comment on all the news that fits in a blockquote.
It was a great week for consumers as Senator Elizabeth Warren attended her first Senate Banking Committee hearing. The gentlewoman from Massachusetts had a few questions for regulators that were long overdue. Upworthy has the video:
Senator Elizabeth Warren, y'all!
Below the jump, get caught up on Ted Cruz, Jerry Patterson, Annise Parker, Steve Munisteri, and religious fervor in Texas.
(Now that Perry is dropping out of the race (woo hoo!) and endorsing Gingrich, it's important to remember that the Texas Republican primary will still award delegates proportionally. - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)
I just got off the phone with Chris Elam, Communications Director for the Republican Party of Texas. He confirmed that the TX GOP will NOT change their proportional delegate allotment in the 2012 primary, even though that Presidential primary will now take place April 3.
Let's untangle this confusion: the RNC said that state parties holding primaries before April 1 were required to award delegates proportionally. Parties holding primaries after April 1 had the option to be winner-take-all. Each state had to turn their rules in to the national Republican party in October. Those rules are set. Changing the rules would require a new round of pre-clearance.
Where the befuddlement comes in: the Ohio Republican Party, which recently moved its primary to after April 1, had an "if" clause in their rules, which stated that if they moved the primary back, it would become winner-take-all. Texas had no such "if" clause in their rules. Texas will still have proportional delegate allotment in the April 3 Presidential primary based on the statewide popular vote.
If you really want to know more, Elam directed me to the update from the TX GOP's Third Quarter SREC Meeting, which reads as follows:
Under the new rule, presidential candidates will be allocated national convention delegates in direct proportion to the statewide popular vote they receive in the Texas Republican Primary on March 6, 2012. However, to ensure that local leadership continues to have significant input in the selection of delegates, 3 delegates per Congressional district will still be selected. With 36 Congressional districts, this means that 108 of the state's 155 delegates will be selected by individual Congressional districts. 3 delegate spots are reserved for the National Committeeman, National Committeewoman and State Chairman, pursuant to national party rules. The remaining 44 delegates will be selected at-large by a nominating committee at the convention.
The proposed rule has a mathematical formula by which individual delegates are assigned to a particular candidate. The top vote getter will be allocated delegates first from Congressional districts in which they received the highest percentage of the vote, until their delegate allotment is fulfilled. The second highest place vote getter will be allocated delegates from Congressional districts that they did the best in, whose districts still have non-allocated delegates. This process will then continue with all the candidates until all of the Congressional district delegates are allocated. Once all the Congressional district delegates are allocated, at-large delegates will be allocated to ensure complete proportionality.
Republican delegates from Texas will still be allocated proportionally based on the share of the statewide popular vote they receive on April 3, 2012.
So, dear readers, who benefits from a primary that's one month later, after the big Super Tuesday states on March 6? The delegate count is expected to be quite close throughout March. Who benefits from an extra month to organize or write off Texas? Or will the game be over by April 3?
Back in September, PPP Polls had Perry with 49%, but that was a long, long time ago in the agonizing history of Perry's Presidential campaign. Is Perry still a lock to win his home state, or will Ron Paul's superior field organizing and overzealous supporters help him scoop up major delegates? What do you think?
I have to give the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) credit. They have figured out an inventive way to create private sector jobs- well, at least 1 private sector job anyways.
In an attempted attack on Bill White to respond to a claim that "Rick Perry had never had a private sector job" the RPT rushed to wrap themselves in the flag with a press release claiming that Bill White hates ranchers and veterans. Wait, are you confused how we got from point A to B? Here, I'll explain.
The RPT gives 2 examples only out of the decades that Rick Perry has held jobs. The first is as follows.
Gov. Perry's extensive resume not only includes decades of service to the people of Texas. (ed note: decades of public government service as a career politician, none private sector) Gov. Perry has been a Texas rancher. Until Democrats like Bill White seize control of that industry like they've taken control of so many others, ranching is in fact a private sector job.
Being a rancher is a legit job, no one is going to contest that. The RPT release doesn't provide any documents as to how Rick Perry has claimed his ranch over the years, either in tax exemptions, employment, or otherwise. Given this is one of the two pillars of their retort, you'd think there would be a little more added than a jest about how "BILL WHITE IS GOING TO SOCIALIZE YOUR HORSES, CATTLE, AND GOATS OMG". Please.
The second job is as follows.
And, from 1972 to 1977, Rick Perry was a C-130 pilot for the United States Air Force, risking his life in overseas assignments to keep Americans safe. Evidently, liberal trial lawyer Bill White discounts this experience. Why else would he go out of his way to slam Gov. Perry's career?
And here's where we discover the Republican Party of Texas' creative way of creating private sector jobs- convert federal government jobs into private sector jobs! Unless Rick Perry has some sort of privatized experience in the United States Air Force, I'm pretty sure that branch of the federal government is still in the... federal government. Of course, in Rick Perry's America, the one in which Texas is not a member-state, I suppose he could have been a foreign private aircraft operator. Who knows, I live in reality.
Bill White (and myself) never made an attack on Rick Perry's public service as an Air Force pilot- if anything, he's to be commended for his public service protecting the, well, public. But the Texas GOP's rush to attack Bill White seems to have blinded them from actually using facts in their attack.
On a 36-25 vote, the State Republican Executive Committee elected Cathie Adams the party's chairwoman over Melinda Fredricks. Adams will serve as chairwoman at least until June, when the state party will meet and have elect a full-term chair. Cathie Adams has spent years as president of the Texas Eagle Forum, an organization, which nationally "has been leading the pro-family movement with strength and decisiveness since 1972." She also already endorsed Rick Perry for governor, just like her predecessor Tina Benkiser. And she might be even more conservative.
Interestingly, the Republican Executive Committee decided to vote without debate. Why?
There was no debate because members agreed not to hold a general discussion before voting. Member Rebecca Williamson of Hunt told colleagues before the agreement to restrict discussion that an initially contemplated 30-minute debate might lead to controversy and personal attacks.
But in this game of Hide and Seek, we can find what we want to know, anyways. Even without debate, we now definitely see three truths about the Texas Republican Party.
The Texas Republican Party is split into two groups. The first group is the one of crazies. The crazies move forward gun-ho and follow their leader, the Reverend Rick Perry.
The second group is one of confused and/or unorganized non-crazies. There is no leader here, but Kay Bailey Hutchison is the highest ranking among them.
The crazies are winning. Adams was just elected today, and she's already taking shots at Kay. It's amazing how the crazies can stay on attack even when Rick Perry misses a step or two, as he definitely has with the Cameron Todd Willingham case. And in response, the other Republicans are dithering more than anyone else in the country.
But Republicans don't want you to know this. The dithering hide from the press because, well, they are dithering on how to play the game of politics effectively. And the crazies sometimes have to hide just because their crazy.
Just as a reminder, these people hold an absolute majority in every section of Texas state government. Ditherers. Crazies. Really.
Dear Staff of the Texas Republican House Committee,
Your insurance company rally on Saturday was pretty pathetic.
That shouldn't be surprising -- you're rallying to maintain the status quo and let big insurance companies increase the premiums and unfairly deny people their health care based on pre-existing conditions, which is only one of the least popular ideas anywhere right now.
I was the only person (other than Glenn Smith) to attend both the BOR event last Thursday night and your crappy event on Saturday. Let's compare your rain-soaked event with the one BOR had:
Comparing the BOR & TRHC Events Last Week
Day / Time
# of Attendees
Burnt Orange Report & Netroots Nation
Bill White, John Sharp, Tom Schieffer, Hank Gilbert, Jack McDonald, Marc Katz, Jeff Weems
Texas Republican House Committee & The Republican Party of Texas
Key Point: When a volunteer-driven blog has more grassroots support than a professionally-staffed organization, then you know you're in trouble.
I have video from the event -- lots of it, in fact -- but I may hold off on posting that for a little bit. In the mean time, let me ask some basic questions about how you define a "success" -- I mean, even from a purely political perspective, it was an abject failure:
This was co-hosted by the Republican Party of Texas, with Tina Benkiser in attendance; you created a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and you only got 75-100 people there -- that's what you define as success?
You are the Texas Republican House Committee.....the supposed counter to the proven and successful House Democratic Camaign Committee.....and not a single House Republican shows up to speak at your rally -- that's what you define as success?
The purpose of the rally was to tell those in town for a meeting of the Democratic National Committee to, as Texas Republican Party Chairwoman Tina Benkiser put it, "crawl back to the left-wing socialist pit they came from and keep their hands off Texas."
That's it? I stood in the rain for two-and-a-half hours to hear several dozen supporters chant "Hands Off Texas" -- and the best speaker you had was former State Rep. (and certified Looney Tune) Suzanna Hupp??!?!! Come on. This isn't even a fair fight! You're the supposed answer to the House Democratic Campaign Committee, not the Student Council of Paint Creek High School.
We're not joking around here, y'all. Texas Democrats are going to take back the State House. We have a proven record of success. Each and every year, you convince people like Paul Burka that Republicans are going to have a good year, and each and every time -- in 2004, 2006, 2008, and the special elections in between -- Democrats keep winning. At some point, the press will remember that clear history of victory, and they'll look at how promising and effective the HDCC is and how pathetic and embarrassing you are, and they'll understand why Texas Democrats are going to take back the House in 2010.
For now, though, keep convincing yourself of your own success. Talk a great game. Talk about fascism and socialism. Rally against the President telling your kids to stay in school. Stand up and defend the status quo of big insurance companies denying health care to Texans based on pre-existing conditions.
Just next time, try to stay out of the rain -- and remember that using the excuse of rain and flash flood warnings is a good way to get out of a pathetic attempt at political organization.
Royal Masset, Republican Consultant based in Austin, TX and former Political Director of the Republican Party of Texas has a dream.
Masset is visioning that 2010 will be a great election year for Texas Repubs.
Below is Masset's statement from yesterday's (11-11-08) Harvey Kronberg's Quorum Report:
Why Republicans will dominate the 2010 election in Texas
1) The coattails of Obama will not be around in 2010. Even if he is a popular president, he will not be on the ballot. Coattails are not created by one candidate's popularity. They are the result of a strong Get Out The Vote machine, and the Democrats will not have one.
My Take - when all else fails, dream. Does Masset have any idea what he's talking about? What evidence does he have? Why would he say something so silly? Looking at this realistically, I must laugh at Masset's statement "the Democrats will not have (a strong Get Out The Vote Machine)" in 2010.
In fact, I predict the TX Democratic Party will do across TX over the next 8 years what was done in Travis County in the past 8 years. Repubs will take another heavy beating in 2010, turning the House Blue and closer to turning the TX Senate blue. As Sylvester Turner said last week at a UT Austin panel discussion "a cool blue breeze is coming into TX".
The Party anticipates 15,000-20,000 activists attending the straw poll with a possibility of even more. People permitted to vote in the straw poll must have been elected as a delegate to one of the last four state conventions or one of the last two national conventions.
Time would be set aside for each candidate to speak to those in attendance. At the end of the second day, credentialed delegates and alternates would be permitted to vote. Procedures will be in place to assure the integrity of the ballot and the winner will be announced by the end of the day.
While Texas Democrats are working to elect the next president, Republican's are set to talk about it. This is the same party who has not figured out what the grassroots or netroots are, so it is not surprising that they would hold an exclusive event to discuss who best represents the evangelical wing of the Texas Republican party.
Not sure what this does for the Republican Party, except milk more money out of its supposed base. Now instead of people giving to candidates they like, they will be required to take time off, get to Fort Worth (strikingly far away from the Hispanic communities in El Paso, San Antonio, and the Valley), and likely pay for the privilege to hear candidates speak. All so the Republican Party of Texas can maintain some sort of relevancy after the unpopular George W. Bush is term-limited out.
While they are all meeting in DFW, I will be calling voters, registering new voters, and organizing for Democratic Party. That way, whoever I endorse, wins February 5 or whenever our primary is.
During the early voting period just completed, the city of Houston offered free flu shots to people at selected locations. This was challenged by the Harris County Republican Party, which claimed through their chairman Jared Woodfill that it was a "scheme" to get Democrats to the polls. Mayor Bill White promptly ceased the program.
One of the vile local conservative blogs -- this is the only hint I'm giving -- quoted Jesus out of context from Matthew 26:11: "the poor be with ye always".
This rankles me on several levels:
1. I could simply note that the Harris County branch of US Hezbollah, also known as the Republican Party, is as sorry as Satan regarding this matter and leave it at that, but I won't.
2. Bill White is a bigger coward than John Kerry for rolling over on this. I hereby declare my support for whomever happens to be White's Democratic primary opponent when he runs for higher office.
3. The biblical quotation is not only out of context but incomplete as well. Anyone with a passing familiarity with the Holy Scriptures -- that barely describes me, incidentally -- can easily figure out that Jesus wasn't contradicting his many statements about the poor being blessed, the meek inheriting the Earth, that people should not covet earthly possessions and in fact should sell them, that the moneychangers were sinful, that the wealthy have almost no chance of entering heaven, and so on. Michael Dawson does a much better job of dissembling this atrocious rationale.
I don't go to church, I hardly even believe in a higher authority, but I sure know an Elmer Gantry when I hear him.
What the Harris County Republican Party managed to pull off this week is absolutely NOT what Jesus would have done. But that won't stop them from wallowing happily in the stench of their hypocrisy like pigs in s***.