The Legislative Budget Board on Friday recommended that Texas lawmakers shore up the health insurance plan for retired teachers by increasing state, retiree and school district contributions.
The agency recommended adjusting contributions so that the cost of the insolvency for the 2016-17 biennium is allocated 50 percent to the state and 12.5 percent each to active members and school districts.
“Beginning in fiscal year 2012, total expenditures exceeded total revenue for TRS-Care, resulting in a declining fund balance. The fund is projected to be insolvent in fiscal year 2016,” according to the LBB’s Effectiveness and Efficiency Report.
The recommendation is among 106 included in the report that span a variety of topics and issues from Medicaid to border security oversight.
Echoing concerns outlined by a special committee of lawmakers, the report concluded that the state has no real way of determining whether its ongoing enforcement operation at the Texas-Mexico border is effective in part because of inconsistent interpretation of statistics.
“Neither the Border Security Council nor the Homeland Security Council are required to make recommendations regarding performance standards, reporting requirements, or the allocation of funds for border security that are appropriated to the agencies that receive most state appropriations for this function,” the report concludes after a lengthy analysis. “As a result, the state’s cross-agency collaboration in oversight and measuring the results of border security operations is limited.”
The report goes onto recommend that the next two-year budget that lawmakers will write during their 140-day session include a rider to “require certain information, including outcomes, on border security to be reported to the Legislative Budget Board using specified criteria.” Also: That state law be amended “to reconstitute the Border Security Council as a special advisory council of the Homeland Security Council and require the Homeland Security Council’s annual report to include an assessment of the performance, reporting, and funding amounts for the state’s border security activities that is made available on the Office of the Governor’s website.”
The report also recommends several changes to the law that allows property owners to appeal their appraisals, including amending statute to “establish standards for what defines comparable property, limit comparable properties to those in the same appraisal district, require adjustments to be based on general appraisal standards, and establish which appraised value is used at each stage of protest and appeal.”
It also says the Texas Comptroller should “establish standards for development and calibration of adjustments for industrial, petrochemical refining and processing, utility properties, and other unique properties by rule.”
Several refineries and odd properties have used the current law to their advantage in fighting appraisals, resulting in millions fewer dollars less for school districts and other taxing entities.
Texas House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock announced on Friday that his daughter — an education lobbyist — would step down amid persistent questions from conservative activists over a possible conflict of interest.
Aycock’s daugther, Michelle Smith, worked for various education groups as a lobbyist for HillCo Partners and also served as executive director of the Fast Growth School Coalition.
“Her employment predates my service as chair of the House Public Education Committee. We have both filed the required disclosure forms, and I announced that I would recuse myself on issues related to her clients,” Aycock, R-Killeen, said in a statement Friday. “Despite these measures, the comments have persisted.”
Last week during a question-and-answer session following an interview with the Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith, an audience member asked Aycock how he would handle the relationship during this year’s legislative session, which began Jan. 13. (House Speaker Joe Straus has not yet announced committee assignments for the 140-day session, but Aycock is expected to be re-appointed to his current position).
“I find it ironic that anti-education forces felt it necessary to critique a former teacher with a PhD in education improvement from Texas State University in order to apply pressure to me,” Aycock said Friday, referring to Smith. “It is especially ironic since most of the comments seem to emanate from a small group centered largely around Michael Quinn Sullivan, whose own efforts to avoid lobbyist registration have become legendary.”
Sullivan is an influential conservative activist whose group Empower Texans has criticized Aycock for his position on private school vouchers. Last year, the Texas Ethics Commission fined Sullivan $10,000 after finding that he violated state law by failing to register as a lobbyist. He is fighting the fine in court.
“In the hope that this distraction is now behind, I look forward to passionately working to improve the education of our 5.2 million Texas school children,” Aycock said.
When the Texas Historical Commission convenes today at 1 p.m. at the Stephen F. Austin State Office Building on North Congress Avenue, it is expected to approve 174 new historical markers across the state. The full list of all 174 new markers being considered by the commission is at the bottom of today’s First
Reading, by county. In Travis County, it includes a marker for the black settlement of Kincheonville, founded in 1865, and the Broken Spoke, that venerable honky tonk on South Lamar, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. For the most part, county historical commissions have submitted applications to the state Historical Commission requesting the markers, but, very occasionally, there is a disagreement locally about the merits of a marker.
In December, I wrote about one such disagreement in Anderson County about if and how to mark the 1910 Slocum Massacre. The story began:
SLOCUM — Slocum is a speck on the map — an East Texas crossroads in Anderson County about a dozen miles southeast of Palestine. It is home to a couple of hundred people, about what it’s always been.
According to the Handbook of Texas, published by the Texas State Historical Association, Slocum’s defining struggle to get its own post office back in the 19th century was a “slow come,” and it’s now long gone. In 1929, Slocum was flattened by a tornado that killed eight people, injured as many as 150 others and left a mule stuck high in a tree.
There is no mention anywhere in the handbook of the 1910 Slocum Massacre, in which a marauding mob of local whites went on a rampage, killing blacks pell-mell, and sending much of the local African-American population fleeing for their lives, abandoning homes and property, never to return.
“I do feel like (Hollie-Jawaid) had great intentions of having this recognized as to what happened, but you can’t take all these newspaper accounts and give an accurate description of what happened,” said Jimmy Odom, who chairs the county Historical Commission.
Despite his misgivings, Odom passed the application on to Bob Brinkman, director of the Historical Markers Program for the state Historical Commission in Austin, who, with his staff of one, must review and make a recommendation on this and 173 other marker applications, submitted by the Nov. 15 deadline, to the 12-member state Historical Commission meeting at the end of January in Austin.
Odom didn’t check the box indicating approval by the local historical commission, and he included with the submission his commission’s critical commentary: “The Massacre of 1910 was an atrocity committed by a group of ignorant white men. Those men should have paid for their crimes. This event should never be forgotten in the history of Anderson County. However, it is the general view of the Historical Commission that historical markers should represent people, places and events that had a positive influence on our community. This event absolutely did not have a positive influence on anyone and it is a scar to the community of Slocum.”
“History is history,” said Hollie-Jawaid. “It’s the lens that you look at it that determines whether it is positive or negative.”
Here are a three videos I shot, two of Hollie-Jawaid explaining why she felt the marker was essential, and a third by David Franklin, a Dallas police officer who lives in Slocum and pastors a local church, expressing his concern that any marker stick to proven historical facts.
Among the other 173 requested markers are one for Machine Gun Kelley in Wise County, the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1862 in Matagorda County, and, also in Matagorda County, the Matagorda Incident.
I do not know for sure what the Matagora Incident refers to, though it is likely this tragic episode described here by Shirley Brown.
The Matagorda Incident may not be as well-known as larger events of the Civil War, but it is just as memorable to the families and friends of the young men who gave their lives for the cause in which they believed. The horrors of war were brought to the front doors of the residents of Matagorda, Texas, when twenty-two men perished in the midst of an expedition against Federal troops. They perished not as the result of hostilities but as the result of severe weather.
But I noticed that the entry on Matagorda County in the Handbook of Texas describes this 1887 “incident,” foreshadowing events in Slocum 23 years laters:
Matagorda County’s social and political life in the late nineteenth century was marked by racial tension and conflict. The Ku Klux Klan, an organization dedicated to restricting the social and political activities of the newly freed slaves, was active in the area during Reconstruction. Nevertheless at least some area blacks remained active in local politics, and the county consistently supported the Republican tickets in presidential elections between 1872 and 1896. One of the most violent episodes in the county’s history occurred in 1887, when the black community known as the Vann Settlement, or the King Vann African Settlement, was attack by armed white vigilantes from Matagorda, Wharton, Brazoria, and Fort Bend counties. According to one local history, the incident convinced the area’s black population “that they had best remain in the background and leave the government of the county to the whites.” A White Man’s Union Associationqv was formed in the county by 1894. Though a majority of the county’s voters supported Republican William McKinley in 1896, the number of Republican ballots in the county dropped off dramatically in elections held over the next twenty years. McKinley had won 561 votes in 1896, for example, but Theodore Roosevelt was able to win only ninety Republican ballots in the county in 1904. The area’s Democrats had apparently reestablished their control by driving blacks from the political process.
There is this proposed marker for Two Civil War Hangings in Corpus Christi.
From the Corpus Christi Caller Times, April 26, 2006
Every town in Texas had its hanging tree. And many were put to use when Committees of Public Safety – better known as vigilantes – were not much bothered by questions of innocence or guilt.
Schoolchildren in this part of Texas, because of classroom trips, know that the most famous hanging tree stands on the courthouse square in Goliad. Elsewhere in South Texas, hangings and lynchings often took place at the nearest tree. There were hanging trees all over South Texas.
During the Civil War, two New York boys were hanged in Corpus Christi with placards were pinned to their chests reading, “Traitors Take Warning” and “Union Men Beware.”
And there is the marker application for the Battle of Freshwater Fork of the Brazos (aka Battle of Blanco Canyon), Crosby County.
BLANCO CANYON, BATTLE OF. The battle of Blanco Canyon marked the climax of Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie‘s initial campaign against Comanche bands in West Texas. In September 1871 Mackenzie received permission from Gen. William T. Sherman to mount an expedition against the Kotsoteka and Quahadi Comanche bands, which had refused to come into their reservation in the aftermath of the Warren Wagontrain Raid. Mackenzie gathered eight companies of the Fourth United States Cavalry, two companies of the Eleventh Infantry, and a group of twenty Tonkawa scouts at the site of old Camp Cooper on the Clear Fork of the Brazos in late September. The column set out in a northwesterly direction on October 3, hoping to find the Quahadi village, including the warriors led by Quanah Parker, encamped in Blanco Canyon near the headwaters of the Freshwater Fork of the Brazos River, southeast of the site of present Crosbyton. On the fourth night out a base camp was established at the junction of the Salt Fork of the Brazos and Duck Creek, near the site of present Spur. The next day the infantry were left behind at the camp while the scouts and cavalry continued on.
On October 9 the cavalry column reached the White River and Blanco Canyon. Late that evening Quanah Parker and a Comanche force stampeded through the cavalry camp, driving off sixty-six horses….
I will stop there with the mention of Quanah Parker.
In 2007, a state historic marker was placed at 131 E. Exchange in Fort Worth for Quanah Parker.
Here is the text on that marker:
Comanche chief Quanah Parker was a son of two cultures. He was born about 1845 along Elk Creek, Indian Territory (Oklahoma). His Anglo mother was Cynthia Ann Parker, taken captive in a May 1836 raid and adopted by Qua-Ha-Di (Antelope) Comanches, and his father was Comanche chief Peta Nocona. Texas Rangers reclaimed Cynthia Ann in an 1860 fight at the Pease River. Nocona died soon after, and Cynthia Ann lived with relatives near Birdville in Tarrant County before dying with no further contact with her Comanche family.
Becoming chief upon his father’s death, Quanah refused to sign the 1867 Medicine Lodge Treaty that sent many Plains Indians to reservations. Instead, he led raids in texas and Mexico for another seven years, likely including the last foray into Tarrant County in June 1871. That winter, Quanah’s band eluded Col. Ranald MacKenzie’s Fourth U.S. Cavalry across the Texas panhandle. Comanche losses during the 1874 Panhandle Battle of Adobe Walls, in which Quanah was wounded, followed by a harsh winter, finally brought him and fewer than 100 remaining Qua-Ha-Di to the reservation at Fort Sill, Indian Territory in May 1875.
Quanah served as liaison between his people and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He proved to be a pragmatic leader, encouraging the Comanches to take up ranching and farming, and to educate their children in government schools. Quanah prospered through his investments and built his spacious “Star House” near Cache, OK. He traveled widely, giving speeches and interviews and participating in wild west shows, the Texas State Fair, Texas Cattle Raisers Association gathering and the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show. Quanah visited Fort Worth and the Stockyards on many occasions. He died in 1911 and is buried at Fort Sill.
The story of Quanah Parker brings us back to Slocum’s Anderson County, because that is where his mother was originally buried – there is a state marker at her gravesite – until he had her body removed and reburied in Oklahoma.
December 18, 1860, Texas Rangers under Lawrence Sullivan Ross attacked a Comanche hunting camp at Mule Creek, a tributary of the Pease River. During this raid the rangers captured three of the supposed Indians. They were surprised to find that one of them had blue eyes; it was a non-English-speaking white woman with her infant daughter. Col. Isaac Parker later identified her as his niece, Cynthia Ann. Cynthia accompanied her uncle to Birdville on the condition that military interpreter Horace P. Jones would send along her sons if they were found. While traveling through Fort Worth she was photographed with her daughter at her breast and her hair cut short-a Comanche sign of mourning. She thought that Peta Nocona was dead and feared that she would never see her sons again. On April 8, 1861, a sympathetic Texas legislature voted her a grant of $100 annually for five years and a league of land and appointed Isaac D. and Benjamin F. Parker her guardians. But she was never reconciled to living in white society and made several unsuccessful attempts to flee to her Comanche family. After three months at Birdville, her brother Silas took her to his Van Zandt County home. She afterward moved to her sister’s place near the boundary of Anderson and Henderson counties. Though she is said in some sources to have died in 1864, the 1870 census enrolled her and gave her age as forty-five. At her death she was buried in Fosterville Cemetery in Anderson County. In 1910 her son Quanah moved her body to the Post Oak Mission Cemetery near Cache, Oklahoma. In 1957 her body and that of Quanah’s were reinterred in the Fort Sill Post Cemetery at Lawton, Oklahoma. In the last years of Cynthia Ann’s life she never saw her Indian family, the only family she really knew. But she was a true pioneer of the American West, whose legacy was carried on by her son Quanah. Serving as a link between whites and Comanches, Quanah Parker became the most influential Comanche leader of the reservation era.
And, bringing this full circle, David Franklin of Slocum – who, above, expresses his concerns about a marker for the massacre – is a Parker descendant:
Yes sir. My great-great-great grandmother was Rebecca Parker, daughter of Ben who was killed at Fort Parker when the Comanches attacked. That would make her first cousin to Cynthia Ann. My fifth great grandfather was John Parker, also killed there, who was Cynthia Ann’s grandfather.
Finally, closer to home and still very much alive and kicking, is the Broken Spoke.
Here, from the Statesman’s Peter Blackstock’s report on that institution’s 50th anniversary:
When you set eyes on the Broken Spoke, the vision seems impossible: Flanked on both sides by imposing new apartment structures, the 50-year-old reddish-brown honky tonk with the crushed-granite parking lot stands its ground, a final holdout from an Austin that is all but gone with the winds of generational change.
Today, it stands out much like the Alamo, the iconic monument to Texas’ independence now surrounded by modern hotels and office buildings in downtown San Antonio. The comparison isn’t lost on Broken Spoke owner James White, 75, who has spent two-thirds of his life turning a traditional country dance hall into a treasure of Texas cultural history.
“I did feel like the Alamo,” he concurs. “You go down to San Antone to the Alamo, and you’ve got all those buildings all around it. But once you go inside the Alamo, you don’t see those buildings. It’s kind of like a step back in time: You can imagine Crockett and Travis and Bowie and everybody right in there. Just like here: When you walk in the Broken Spoke, you get the vibes of people who were here 30, 40, 50 years ago.”
Crockett and Travis and Bowie and … W, bringing enormous intensity, below, to a game of bar shuffleboard at the Broken Spoke in December 1994, when he was governor-elect.
Here is the list of proposed new state historic markers.
Mount Moriah Baptist Church
Page Cemetery (HTC)
Hynes-Balthrope House (RTHL)
Jackson Family Maritime Companies
Rockport Volunteer Fire Department
Robert E. Neill
Captain Peter F. Tumlinson
Thomas Ransdell Brite
First National Bank of Bellville
St. Paul Lutheran Church
Big Foot Wallace
Hendrick Arnold Survey No. 59 Burial Ground
Glenwood Cemetery (HTC)
Ralph Wilson, Sr.
Blackburn Cemetery (HTC)
Juan Ignacio Pérez Land Grant
Alfred Giles Home (RTHL)
Santa Anna’s Third Column
Don Jose Miguel de Arciniega
St. Olaf Lutheran Church (RTHL)
Santa Teresa Catholic Church
Lajitas Cemetery (HTC)
St. Frederick Baptist Church
Mission Refugio – Original Site
Cross Plains Review
Kraigher House (RTHL)
Abernathy House (RTHL)
Allen Water Station
Farmersville Post Office (RTHL)
New Braunfels Post Office
Slumber Falls Camp
Woolen Mill -Comal Steam Laundry
New Braunfels Methodists
Big Four School
Battle of Freshwater Fork of the Brazos (aka Battle of Blanco Canyon)
Samuel Dealey, Jr.
Sunset High School
The Interurban Land Company’s Travis College Hill Addition
Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church
City Hall (RTHL)
Christal House (RTHL)
Proctor-Green House (RTHL)
Merchants Exchange Bank (RTHL)
Earl Rodman and William Noel
Bailey Cemetery (HTC)
Audie Murphy Arena
Buck Family Farmstead (RTHL)
Imperial Prison Farm Cemetery (HTC)
Church of the Living God
Galveston Orphans Home (RTHL)
The Brazos River in Garza County
Elmira and A. T. Castleberry II
Red Oak Missionary Baptist Church
Waldo Mathews High School
David Choate, Jr.
Greater Ward Chapel AME
Howard Cottonseed Oil Co.
Mack H Hannah Jr.
Bethel United Methodist Camp Meeting and Church
Bethel Baptist Church
Percy Herman House (RTHL)
Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church
Old Shady Grove Cemetery (HTC)
Springhill Missionary Baptist Church
Agua Nueva Cemetery (HTC)
Confederate Memorial Arch
William George Hughes
Ottmar von Behr
Center Point Christian Church
1886 Kitchen/Mess Hall (RTHL)
Brazos River Bridge (RTHL)
Mt. Canaan Baptist Church
First Presbyterian Church
Moulton’s WWII Observation Tower
American Legion Hudgeons Post 230
Geiger Cemetery (HTC)
Hallettsville Public Library
Washington Cemetery (HTC)
Bassett House (RTHL)
Live Oak County Jail (RTHL)
J. B. and Margaret Mary Healy-Murphy Ranch House and Stagecoach Inn (RTHL)
When the Texas Senate unveiled its base budget proposal Tuesday, eyebrows raised when prominent conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan was among the first to notice that the two-year spending plan cut total funding to the Texas Ethics Commission by more than a third.
In a post on his website, the Empower Texans president — who currently is fighting an ethics commission fine in court — listed the nearly 37 percent funding cut as one of five commendable, “stand out” attributes of the budget crafted by state Sen. Jane Nelson, the Republican from Flower Mound who chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee. (The others included zeroing out funding for both the Texas Racing Commission and the Public Integrity Unit at the Travis County District Attorney’s office, which — like the ethics commission — investigates state officials).
“Nelson’s budget is the first step in making good on promises made by Republicans in the 2014 election cycle,” Sullivan wrote.
As Nelson’s office explained Tuesday, the funding cut to the ethics commission is attributable to a one-time, $3.5 million allocation made in 2013 for a new and improved electronic system that was not restored. The House base budget proposal — released Jan. 15 — mostly maintains that amount, however, reducing total funding to the ethics commission by less than 4 percent.
Asked about the funding difference on Wednesday, Nelson said she was mad about insinuations that she wants to harm the ethics commission, and emphasized the money was temporary.
“I am ticked off at the spin that’s being put on this. The money that they’re not getting was one-time funding,” she said. “It never ever crossed my mind to do anything to the ethics commission.”
“We’ve got enough conflict on real issues,” she continued. “I don’t want conflict to be there on issues that (are) not a conflict… You know, I was reading some of the blogs last night and it was — no, that’s not what we did.”
Asked why the House decided to mostly keep the one-time funding, a spokesman for House Speaker Joe Straus said that after the e-filing project concluded the commission “demonstrated other needs — including enhancements to the e-filing system — that directly relate to administering and enforcing the state’s ethics laws.”
“The House budget allows the Ethics Commission to continue to fulfill its very important role in the legislative process and in our democracy,” Jason Embry said in a statement.
Last August, the commission requested funding “for items beyond initial design” of a new and improved system for filing campaign finance reports and lobby and personal financial statements, including $150,000 to create a library of online training videos showing how to use the system, $175,000 to “fix any code defects” and $500,000 to add “functional enhancements” to the system that “will benefit the public and persons who use the system to file reports.” The system — expected to be a vast improvement over the current system — is supposed to come online this year and includes a mobile app.
It will “result in more accurate information for the public,” according to the commission, and also will “contain comprehensive management tools, including a robust database that will allow the commission to verify the completeness and accuracy of disclosure information.”
Asked what will happen if the agency does not receive those funds, Executive Director Natalia Luna Ashley said “At the end of the day, the Texas Ethics Commission will serve the public the very best way that it can with the resources that it’s given.”
“The budget process – it’s that, it’s a process, and we’re at the beginning stages of it,” she noted.
A day after state Rep. Alfonso “Poncho” Nevárez tried to make light of threats to safety, his colleagues in the Texas House rallied to his side in a demonstration of unity.
State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, organized the distribution 100 stickers that read “I’m Poncho.” They were worn by all shades of lawmaker, from state Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, to state Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin.
Though it appeared to be inspired by the “I’m Charlie” movement that sprang up following the attack by jihadists at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Springer said he didn’t consciously get the idea from the tragedy in Paris earlier this month.
Rather, he said he was reacting to a jocular statement by Nevárez who said Tuesday that he was going to give his friends and colleagues in the House signs that read “I’m not Poncho.”
Springer went on to say that he was offended to read Tuesday about threats made to Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, via email and social media for not supporting a constitutional carry bill state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, that would allow handguns — along with rifles and shotguns — to be carried openly at any time without a license. Nevárez became the focus of frustration by gun rights activists who visited the Capitol two weeks ago to push for a constitutional carry measure, which Nevárez said he would oppose. Read a report here about the dust-up between the gun rights folks and the representative.
“We should not let anyone threaten any of us,” Springer said. If you’re going to come after one of us, you’re going to have to come after all of us.”
Springer said he would support a measure allowing open carry — which differs from constitutional carry in that it would require a license and training to openly carry a handgun. Nevárez, who said that he also might support an open carry bill, said he was moved Springer’s gesture.
“It says a lot about the men and women who serve on this floor,” Nevárez said in an interview in a room adjacent to the chamber.
Nevárez added that he was impressed that his off-the-cuff comment about “I’m not Poncho” signs would turn into such a topic of discussion and show of solidarity in the Texas House.
The last time Rick Perry ran for president, he got in the race too late, he was just coming off back surgery, and he was not sufficiently prepared. Oops. This time, he’s been laying the groundwork for months – prepping, studying and traveling – he’s healthy, and he’s even shed that occasional time-suck of a job as governor.
But there’s this indictment that just won’t go away. Yesterday, it wouldn’t go away again. The outcome was not unexpected. It was not big news outside of Texas because what happened didn’t really change things. But, with the first debate in the Republican nominating process now set for August, yesterday’s events were a bracing reminder that Rick Perry has a serious time management problem.
This morning at 11 at the Omni downtown: Gov. Rick Perry will deliver a statement regarding the Travis County Court’s ruling. The governor will be joined by members of his legal team.
A judge denied a second, more substantial request Tuesday by former Gov. Rick Perry to dismiss the indictment against him prior to trial, likely extending his criminal case for the next several months as Perry continues to mount a possible presidential campaign.
The ruling by Judge Bert Richardson, a San Antonio Republican, comes five months after Perry’s attorneys filed their motions, a sign of the slow speed at which the case is churning through the criminal justice system. Perry’s attorneys immediately filed court documents saying they would appeal Tuesday’s ruling to the 3rd Court of Appeals.
“I think it does cloud everything, “ said SMU political scientist Cal Jillson. “With these criminal charges still hanging over his head, anyone who had any doubt at all would now let those doubts decide them, as a donor or an activist, to stay way from Perry and pick from among the other candidates.”
Jillson said an actual trial, no matter the outcome, would not be a pretty sight. “You’ll have Perry’s closest associates from the governor’s office testifying as to what Perry said and did, and what kind of offers he made, and what kind of counter-offers came from Lehmberg’s office. That’s very messy and the danger for Perry is that, if there is a trial, he and his cronies will be forced to described how the sausage is made.”
“Donors have other options, and activists who are not longtime members of Team Perry have other options,” Jillson said.
He said Perry can continue to appear on the campaign trail, but even if he acquits himself well, the indictment will be hanging over him and serving as a distraction at a time when he needs to be single-mindedly focused on the campaign to succeed.
“From this moment forward to that first debate (in August) you’ve got to build your infrastructure and your team and ID your donors and develop them and be out on the stump around the country and you have to have clarity of mind and focus,” Jillson said.
Yesterday’s decision will likely deny him that clarity and focus.
“He’s a way better candidate than he was in 2012. He’s charismatic he’s got the looks, that sort of cowboy swagger that Republicans seem to like, so there are a lot of positives,” said Kirby Goidel, a communications professor at Texas A & M. But Goidel said the Republican field seems too thick with choices for Perry to gain or maintain the loyalty of givers and activists with this big a question mark hovering over his candidacy.
With so many choices, Republicans are looking for ways to winnow the field, and Perry’s continuing legal jeopardy is a very easy and obvious disqualifier.
Everything’s been coming up roses for Rick Perry, but beneath every rose is a pile of manure.
His attempt to snuff out a pesky indictment — what his lawyers call a politically motivated attack from prosecutors in a persistently Democratic county — has been denied. A trial judge in Austin said Tuesday that the case should proceed. And that ruling lands just as the former governor began to gain some traction for his bid for the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential race.
Just as he is gaining some credibility, he is running out of time.
Also, not being governor comes with a cost.
Donors, who once might have been inclined to give to Perry even if they thought his chances of actually going all the way were slim, because at the very least he would still be governor, now have little incentive to give.
Meanwhile, the unfolding of the contracting scandal at the state’s Health and Human Services Commission – a story which seems potentially centipedian in its legs – threatens to tarnish Perry’s legacy, especially in the context of his indictment.
“One of the most dangerous periods for a governor after he leaves offices are those first weeks and months when they’re out of office and someone else is making decisions and if anything doesn’t smell right, it is in the interests of the successor to pin it on his predecessor,” Jillson said.
But mostly it’s about time.
Perry case going to trial makes moving forward on presidential difficult. Trial will be 3, 6, even 9 months. Expect they'll seek new venue.
I am extremely disappointed that the case against Governor Rick Perry will continue. Gov. Perry is a dedicated public servant who served our state with integrity and in the best interest of Texans.
I believe he was within his constitutional authority to make the statement he made and to veto the funding for the Travis County Public Integrity Office.
The decision to indict Governor Perry was wrong and undermines our democratic principles and separation of powers. These actions have a chilling effect on the legislative process and on every member of the legislature and executive branch.
We have a duty and a right as office holders to question any official funded by taxpayers. We have a responsibility to withhold funding from any official or agency that we deem is not acting in the best interest of the public.
Harold Cook, a long-time Democratic consultant and pundit, wrote on Facebook:
Politically, Rick Perry‘s indictment is now officially a crippling issue. Difficult to see how he’s viable in a Presidential run for very long, with criminal indictments pending. With the judge’s ruling today, it’s likely that the last quick resolution to his indictment has left the building. Appealing the ruling will probably take months. Preparing for trial even longer than that.
And I remain amused at all the Democrats who fully believe he’s guilty of all charges, and all the Republicans who fully believe he’s innocent as the driven snow, all before the prosecution has laid out the first piece of evidence such that anybody could have a valid opinion either way.
Here is A Facebook post from T.J. Scott, a Travis County Republican Party precinct chair and tea party activist:
I do not understand the strategy of Governor Perry’s lawyers.
If it was me I would want to get the case in the court as fast as possible.
Now they are making it look like he did something wrong and they are trying to beat it with lawyer tricks.
Get a jury, walk in to court, put Perry on the stand and he tells them.
“I was the Governor of Texas, The DA of Travis County got caught driving drunk, then made a total fool of herself on camera, and she should have resigned. As governor I said I would veto the money if she was still in the office. She did not resign, she was in the office, I VETOED the funding.”
Here is a video of her being drunk and disorderly, here is a video of me saying I would veto, here is a copy of that veto!
We rest our case!
Cut and dried!
From Ray Sullivan, a close Perry confidante who served as his chief of staff and as spokesman for his last presidential bid:
Travis County really likes prosecuting Republicans, but it’s unfathomable that a case challenging a governor’s constitutionally granted veto power will ultimately stand up to legal review. Today’s decision will cost Travis County taxpayers a lot more in legal bills and increase legal defense expenses as well. The ruling should have no immediate impact on Governor Perry’s ability to connect with Republican voters and activists in Iowa and other early states.
From Matt Moore, the Republican chairman in South Carolina, where Perry was campaigning Tuesday:
Most South Carolina Republicans seem to have moved past the issue. In fact, it might have helped Governor Perry here…he’s earned the benefit of the doubt with many S.C. Republicans. If a governor can’t make veto threats, what good is the veto pen?
Governor Perry has put in the hard work with our grassroots and has helped the state party.
Our activists appreciate his leadership on jobs – which is in stark contrast to the current Presidential administration. Governor Perry has a real success story to tell.
Rick Perry “2.0″ is a completely different candidate in terms of demeanor and preparedness. I think he’s one to watch in South Carolina
Things had been going well for Perry of late.
Just after delivering his farewell speech to the Legislature, he delivered a well-received keynote at the Republican National Committee Winter Meeting in San Diego.
According to Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri, who introduced him:
Perry gave a real solid performance. The feedback from other RNC members was they were impressed. He was 180-degrees different than what they perceived him to be during the 2012 primary run. There was a good energy. People liked the message. He stayed until everybody had a chance to talk with him. He took pictures with everybody. He really helped himself in terms of image-making at the RNC. He convinced a lot of them to keep an open mind about him, to give him a second look.
Bloomberg’s David Weigel, has a new piece, The Recowboybooting of Rick Perry: Four years after “oops,” his mind reeducated, his back operated on, his candidacy rebooted, the former Texas governor makes his case.
And here, from David Graham’s Cheat Sheeton the Republican field from the Atlantic.
Is he running? Very likely.
Who wants him to run? Small-government conservatives; Texans; immigration hardliners; foreign-policy hawks. Noah Rothman makes a case here. (Perry’s top backer four years ago, non-relative Bob Perry, died in 2013.)
Can he win the nomination? Maybe, but who knows? Perry and his backers insist 2016 Perry will be the straight shooter who oversaw the so-called Texas miracle, not the meandering, spacey Perry of 2012. We’ll see.
Perry and his people treated his original indictment as a fundraising and team-building opportunity, with a beautiful mug shot and a tweeted trip to Sandy’s for custard. With yesterday’s decision, RickPAC reposted their “Setting the Story Straight” video.
But, even before this latest setback, Perry was up against formidable odds.
Katy Perry has a 37/20 favorability rating, Rick Perry has a 29/41 favorability rating: http://t.co/teS1iseXTS
State Rep. Alfonso “Poncho” Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, has been assigned a security detail following a confrontational visit by gun rights activists two weeks ago and subsequent threats to his safety.
Nevárez confirmed that officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety have been assigned to keep track of him in Austin and another detail has been designated to watch his family in the district.
The representative has been told that he “will be dealt with” and “they are coming” for him for his stated opposition to a constitutional carry bill that would allow Texans to carry handguns opening without a permit, he said.
At least person with threatening words for Nevárez has raised concerns. An Arizona man threatened Nevárez and later boarded a plane for Texas. He was on the move Tuesday and being sought by authorities, Nevárez said.
“They are looking for him,” Nevárez said. “They are going to find him.”
Tom Vinger, a spokesman for DPS, would not comment on the case, saying only that “DPS does not discuss security-related matters or investigations.”
Nevárez took a tough stance about his own safety and said he wasn’t too concerned. He even joked that he would make signs for his colleagues, saying “I’m not Poncho.”
But when it comes to his loved ones in Eagle Pass, it’s a different story.
“I am worried for my family,” he said, bluntly.
Beyond violent threats, Nevárez has been subject to several racist Twitter posts and other slurs about his Hispanic heritage.
Even after a hostile confrontation with gun rights activists and all the threats and harsh words, Nevárez said he might consider voting in favor of open carry legislation.
But he wouldn’t support just any bill. He would need the measure to require training and licensing for anyone to openly carry a handgun, he said.
“I think it does have a chance,” he said and added that some other Democrats would be open to supporting an open carry law.
Nevárez said he had a respectful meeting with representatives from Open Carry Texas on Monday. The meeting represented a sharp contrast with the more aggressive stop-by on the opening day of the Legislature in which a gun rights group led by Kory Watkins of Open Carry Tarrant County that demanded Nevárez support a measure to allow open carry without a license. The group put the exchange on YouTube. Coverage is available here.
“It was a completely different conversation,” Nevárez said.
Education Commissioner Michael Williams on Tuesday said Texas could very well lose its waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 if the state and federal government cannot resolve their differences over educator evaluations.
In a public interview at the annual Texas Association of School Administrators Midwinter Conference, Williams said Texas could go the way of California and “say keep your waiver,” while emphasizing the state has not lost it yet. Alternately, he said if Congress chooses to alter George W. Bush’s key signature domestic policy, as has been discussed for years, it could bode well for the Lone Star State.
“We’re having a conversation,” he said. “We have a different view point.”
Last week, Williams announced that the U.S. Department of Education had rejected a new teacher and principal evaluation system Texas must successfully develop if it wants to keep its waiver. If the state loses the waiver, Williams noted more schools would be considered failing and the state would face the prospect of losing billions of dollars in federal education funding.
During the Tuesday interview, Williams also said he remains a supporter of voucher-type programs that give public school students state money to attend private schools. He said “everyone knows” he supported vouchers when working for the Bush administration in the 1990s and that he “continues to do so.”
Families “ought to have the opportunity to make decisions about where their youngsters go to school,” he said.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has vowed to push a voucher-type program through the Senate this session.
“Let’s wait and see what we they design,” Williams said of state lawmakers.
This is the head of the first wild hog shot from a helicopter under a 2011 law authored by Sid Miller when he was a state representative. Miller is our new agriculture commissioner and so the hog’s head has a pride of place in his office at the Stephen F. Austin State Office Building a couple of blocks from the Capitol.
The hog’s head is also a reminder of the close bond between Miller and Ted Nugent, his campaign’s co-chairman and treasurer. Nugent got close to Miller when Miller sponsored the “pork chopper” legislation that permitted helicopter hunting of feral hogs. Nugent loved the bill, offered Miller plenty of advice on how to refine it, and became among the most conspicuous helicopter hog hunters in Texas when it became law. When Miller, who lost his bid for a seventh term in the Texas House in 2012, ran last year for agriculture commissioner, Nugent was there for him, serving as campaign co-chair and treasurer, and nothing Nugent could say or do could shake Miller’s friendship or confidence in him.
That included Nugent’s description a year ago of President Obama as a “subhuman mongrel” in an interview with Guns.com at the 2014 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show. Said Nugent:
I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist raised communist educated communist nurtured subhuman mongrel like the ACORN community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America.
Those words gained special currency when, not long after, then Attorney General Greg Abbott, running for governor, campaigned with Nugent ahead of the Republican primary.
Amid a firestorm of criticism, Nugent sort of apologized for his choice of words.
“I apologize for using the street fighter terminology of ‘subhuman mongrel’ instead of just using more understandable language such as ‘violator of his oath to the Constitution,’ the liar that he is,” said Nugent.
And, Nugent said to CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson: “I do apologize — not necessarily to the president — but on behalf of much better men than myself. I will try to elevate my vernacular to the level of those great men that I’m learning from in the world of politics.”
“He’s used words that I wouldn’t use,” Miller said at the time. “He has a very colorful vocabulary. He recanted some remarks that he made about the president, so I think that everything’s good.”
“I believe Ted Nugent recognized his language was wrong and he rightly apologized,” Abbott said in a statement.
But, a year later, with overwhelming victories by Abbott, Miller and Republicans nationally behind him, Nugent has now recanted his recantation and apologized for his apology.
It now seems that on the basis of sober reflection, Nugent, in an anniversary interview with Guns.com at this year’s SHOT Show, has concluded that his description of President Obama as a “subhuman mongrel,” was too kind.
“It was precious,” he said of his turn of phrase, explaining:
“I’m a shit kicker, I’m a street fighter, I’m from Detroit, so I’m engaged in the culture wars and I’ve been in close-quarter combat in the culture wars since the 1960s where the hippies in the music industry would attack me – just hateful, vicious condemnation for believing in self-defense and carrying a gun and eating venison. Of course, if you take enough LSD you might come to that conclusion also. I know that it’s that kind of hate against independence, it’s that kind of hate against self-defense, that’s the most evil force in the world because it has affected policy to such a degree that innocent lives are lost every minute of every day because some lying bureaucrats, and there are other terms when issued against self-defense, that is the most evil force in the world.
I think if a person creates an environment where sheeple can be led to gas chambers, I don’t think the term subhuman mongrel is too outrageous. I don’t know if there is any English term, or any term available to mankind, to adequately describe the depth of evil to a human who would deny good from winning over evil, and with the insanity of our government, the insanity and the abuse of power, the runaway corruption, deceit and dishonesty coming out of Barack Obama and Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and the left, they really believe that they can take our tax dollars and hire machine gun-toting security guards while dictating unarmed helplessness to their employers. Can you think of a word that could be offensive enough to describe someone who takes your money to hire security people while passing laws denying you the right to be secure? So subhuman mongrel was probably much too delicate.
You don’t have to use, you know, nasty terms like subhuman mongrel because I suppose you could have just called them liars and haters, but I was dealing with victims, I had been bombarded with evidence and testimonials from victims of jack-booted thuggery, homes that were broken into because some jack boot got the wrong address, people being shot, innocent people being shot by out of control government agents, ranches and farms being shut down because of trumped-up allegations. And we will never let America become Germany. We will never become sheep like the emperor did to the Japanese citizens. We just won’t let that happen. So sometimes really harsh, outrageous terms – sticks and stones break my bones, but names will never hurt me – so really there was such an uproar over my choice of name calling but not uproar over a bunch of punks who would dictate policy forcing citizens to be unarmed and helpless. You choose which side you’re on because conscientious, smart people who believe in freedom are on my side and I couldn’t be more proud.
While at the SHOT show in Las Vegas, Nugent also received another Golden Moose Award from the Outdoor Channel as Fan Favorite Best Host for his show Spirit of the Wild.
The award was presented by Sarah Palin, who on Thursday is having Nugent on her show, Amazing America with Sarah Palin, on the Outdoor Channel’s sister station, the Sportsman Channel.
Meanwhile, at the Republican Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa this weekend, Palin said she is seriously considering jumping into the 2016 presidential race.
A few days earlier, last Monday on the Daily Show, Nugent was, in absentia, in the middle of another culture-war debate between host Jon Stewart and Mike Huckabee – who just quit hosting his show on Fox so he can explore a run for president. Huckabee was on to talk about his new book, God, Guns, Grits and Gravy. (Not to be confused with Nugent’s 2000 book, God, Guns, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.)
By way of background, this from an interview with Huckabee in PEOPLE:
In an interview about his new book, God, Guns, Grits and Gravy, Huckabee tells PEOPLE he doesn’t get how the Obamas can encourage their daughters’ love for Beyoncé. Especially, the former Arkansas governor and Baptist minister says, if the president and first lady ever actually listened to the lyrics to – or seen a performance of Beyonc´’s steamy “Drunk in Love.”
The Obamas “are excellent and exemplary parents in many ways,” Huckabee says.
“That’s the whole point. I don’t understand how on one hand they can be such doting parents and so careful about the intake of everything – how much broccoli they eat and where they go to school and making sure they’re kind of sheltered and shielded from so many things – and yet they don’t see anything that might not be suitable for either a preteen or a teen in some of the lyrical content and choreography of Beyoncé, who has sort of a regular key to the door” of the White House.
In his book, Huckabee depicts an America divided between “Bubble-ville” – Washington, New York and Hollywood – where the elites live, and Bubbaville, where the salt of the earth reside.
Stewart says that Huckabee believes Bubbaville is “better.”
Huckabee says, no, he is just saying they are “different,” and not that one is “better” than the other, but Stewart is not buying.
“No, better,” he says of Huckabee’s love for Bubbaville.
Stewart says that Huckabee is using Jay Z and Beyoncé as exemplars of “a sort of permissiveness that you think is not great for our children.”
Huckabee says they really only occupy one page in the book, “but it’s illustrative of a chapter I call, The Culture of Crude.”
Huckabee says that Beyoncé is so talented that “she does not have to be vulgar in order to set a trend.” He said she inspires girls to want a “stripper pole” for their 12th birthday.
After taking offense at a “truly outrageous” characterization of Beyoncé, Stewart says, “here’s the blind spot in Bubbaville and all this stuff about, `the culture,’ and`it’s so insidious, you don’t have to do that.'”
Stewart then plays a clip from Huckabee’s show on Fox in which Nugent is singing Cat Scratch Fever, with Huckabee playing bass guitar behind him. Nugent is singing the lyric, “Well, I make the pussy purr with the stroke of my hand.”
Huckabee laughs, and says that is an adult song for an adult audience.
But Steward presses on: “Do you see my point? You excuse that type of crude because you agree with his stance on firearms. You don’t approve of Beyoncé because she seems alien to you. Johnny Cash shot a man just to watch him die. That’s some gangsta … ”
“My point is you can’t single out a corrosive culture and ignore the one you live in because you’re used to it,” Stewart says.
“I want you to read the book,” says Huckabee.
“Oh I have,” says Stewart. “It ain’t Shakespeare.”
“I didn’t write this for the Harvard faculty; it might be over their heads,” says Huckabee.
Here is their exchange.
Well, the bad news for Palin and Huckabee is, try as they might to ingratiate themselves with Uncle Ted, Rick Perry has already won the Ted Nugent primary.
Perry long ago won Nugent’s heart.
It was Nugent who gave an ear-blistering performance at Perry’s 2007 inaugural ball dressed in a Confederate flag t-shirt, embellishing his performance, according to some reports,with harsh words on immigration.
It, per usual, created a bit of an uproar. But, in an April 2007 interview with Evan Smith, then at Texas Monthly, Nugent denied saying anything hateful.
TN: What happened is, I’m a stream-of-consciousness guy. I’m so organic that I should be found on the shelf of a Whole Foods somewhere. I don’t consider what the recipient of my communication may or may not take from it. I just speak, and I’m sincere—I’m too sincere for politically correct, scared-of-their-own-shadow punks. I have become too effective at explaining the truth about the Second Amendment, the truth about the natural, pure instinct of self-defense, about the reason our Founding Fathers put that in there, in a cultural war where everybody on the other side of the fence—that would be the media 98 percent of the time—hates guns. They hate me because I do thousands of interviews every year, and I do them with a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, historically irrefutable tsunami of statistics and current evidence, and it drives them batty. Instead of someone condemning me because of what I do, they should look at me for what I am. And this brings me to the question you posed. If I was any more PG-13 that night, onstage at the inaugural ball for my good friend and valued employee Governor Rick Perry, Barney would have dry-humped me. I adjusted my halo. I never mentioned [requiring people to speak] English. I never mentioned immigration, illegal or otherwise. I never mentioned these things.
ES: Not a peep.
TN: Not a peep. But I’m not angry. This is better than Richard Pryor on fire. I have to wear a girdle to keep from busting a gut laughing at these idiots. A few years back a newspaper put quotation marks around the following sentence and attributed it to me railing at the audience at the Houston Parklands, or Timberlands, or Gomerlands, or whatever it is: “All you dirty, stinkin’ Mexicans should go back to where you came from.”
ES: That’s not what you said?
TN: Never, never. If I were to express that sentiment, I could make it much more colorful. What I said was, “If you can’t speak English, get the f— out of America.” I didn’t say that because we were in Texas. I say that in Des Moines.
And, on Perry:
ES: Is Rick Perry more in the mold of the kind of person you’re comfortable supporting?
TN: Very much so. I don’t agree with everything he’s done. I think the Texas education system is out of control. I thought he was too late in securing our borders. But in the world of politicians in 2007, Rick Perry stands in the top one percent of those who accurately represent “we the people.” He’s an inclusive, understanding, thoughtful, intelligent, and decisive person, and if more and more states had Rick Perry at the helm, the pimps and the whores and the welfare brats would be stopping at the next Help Wanted sign real soon.
ES: Have you talked since the inauguration?
TN: Many, many times.
ES: What does he say about all this?
TN: It’s hard to get words back and forth to each other amongst the uproarious laughter over the telephone. He thought the whole brouhaha was just adorable and that I am just precious. I don’t think he used the word “adorable” or “precious.” I think there was more-intense street vernacular from the good governor, none of which could be reprinted. Maybe in Texas Monthly.
Based on an interview Friday with Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, barring a Sid Miller run for president, Rick Perry remains Nugent’s main man.
When asked about a possible presidential pick for the 2016 election, the rocker was quite clear. He would love to see former Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the White House.
Nugent shared his reasoning behind the Perry pick, stating, “Given that the conditions in our White House are embarrassing and as corrupt as they are, there are thousands of great Americans that would be better than Barack Obama.”
He continued, “But, we don’t want just better than Barack Obama. We want real statesmen, real Constitutionalists. And I know why my quality of life in Texas is so supreme: Because of Rick Perry and our other elected employees. … And we the people of Texas remaining engaged and demanding accountability.”
Nugent summed up his thinking by saying, “So if my current dream could come true, I would love to see the American helm handled by the great Rick Perry.”
In his first Iowa foray since surrendering the governorship, Perry was among the bevy of Republican candidates who appeared at the Freedom Summit in Des Moines, winning good notices.
Here’s a small sample of coverage, provided by Perry’s staff:
The Hill: “A Fiery Speech…” “Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) painted himself as a border warrior in a fiery speech on Saturday, looking to convince immigration hawks to come to his corner.” (Cameron Joseph, “Perry Paints Himself As Border Warrior,” The Hill, 1/24/15)
Daily Caller’s Alex Pappas: “Rick Perry Is On Fire–Says He’s Been ‘Thinking A Little Bit About 2016.’”(Twitter.com, 1/24/15)
Fox News’ Adam Shaw: “Did That Speech Just Put Rick Perry Back On The Map?”(Twitter.com, 1/24/15)
Des Moines Register: “Perry Gave A Fiery Speech Saturday…” “Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry gave a fiery speech Saturday to the Iowa Freedom Summit, calling for the nation to embrace the kind of tax policy and economic plans that made the Lone Star State a leader in creating jobs.” (William Petroski, “Perry: U.S. Should Follow Texas’ Lead,” Des Moines Register, 1/24/1
“Enthusiastic Applause And Cheers For His Criticism Of Obama’s Administration And His Calls For Lower Taxes, Less Government Regulation And Tougher Border Security.” “Perry got enthusiastic applause and cheers for his criticism of President Barack Obama’s administration and his calls for lower taxes, less government regulation and tougher border security.” (William Petroski, “Perry: U.S. Should Follow Texas’ Lead,” Des Moines Register, 1/24/15)
In fact, according to Scott Conroy, writing at Real Clear Politics, the one negative aspect of Perry’s appearance was that he had to follow Sarah Palin. (Apart, that is, from a fresh PolitiFact Texas Pants on Fire for his assertion Monday that the U.S. unemployment rate has “been massaged, it’s been doctored.”)
Conroy, co-author ofSarah of Alaska: The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar,” wrote:
Few, if any, political professionals consider Palin or (Donald) Trump to be plausible presidential material. But their presence among the serious contenders in Iowa—and, quite possibly, their participation in future confabs in the state later this year—risks diminishing the sincere White House aspirants.
A swing voter in Ohio or Colorado who happened to have caught a two-minute report about Saturday’s event on the evening news would have had a hard time distinguishing the pretenders from the contenders.
Rick Perry, for instance, is aiming to revitalize his national image following his disastrous 2012 presidential bid. But Perry had the misfortune of being assigned the speaking slot directly following Palin—a programming oddity on the order of Woodstock producers scheduling Sha-Na-Na, the 1950s throwback band, right before Jimi Hendrix.
The headline on Conroy’s story was The Iowa Trap.
What’s the trap?
The numbers tell the story.
In the 2012 caucuses, for example, only 122,255 of the 614,913 eligible Republican voters participated—good enough for a record turnout but one that amounted to a mere 19.8 percent participation rate.
Only the most passionate and committed Iowa Republicans—who collectively are older, whiter and more devoutly conservative than the national GOP electorate as a whole—are willing to give up an hour or more of their time on a cold January night to take part in the tradition.
Therefore, the easiest way to stand out in a crowded field in courting their support is by doling out heaping portions of the kind of red meat rhetoric that wows the conservative crowds but also fills national Democratic strategists with visions of President Hillary Clinton dancing in their heads.
In other words, the Iowa caucuses sound like a standard-issue, super-low-turnout Texas primary election, with the same ideological skew.
That is how I felt about the inauguration of Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. The crowds were modest, at best, on the south lawn of the Capitol for the actual swearing-in. During the parade down Congress Avenue that followed, I saw mostly empty sidewalks with only a few onlookers. Perhaps they were all at Zilker Park enjoying the afternoon instead? Or perhaps I should not have been surprised. After all, nobody voted in the election, so why should anyone expect people to attend the parade?
This may help explain why, no matter his new description of “subhuman mongrels” as too kind a cut, Ted Nugent may remain a cultural icon in good standing in Huckabee’s Bubbaville and in the Republican primary process.
So when Nugent opines, as he did last fall on Facebook, about Ferguson, it may matter less how crudely he expresses himself than how many people are giving it the Facebook thumbs up – 581,328 likes.
Here’s the lessons from Ferguson America Don’t let your kids grow up to be thugs who think they can steal, assault & attack cops as a way of life & badge of black (dis)honor. Don’t preach your racist bull…. “no justice no peace” as blabbered by Obama’s racist Czar Al Not So Sharpton & their black klansmen. When a cop tells you to get out of the middle of the street, obey him & don’t attack him as brainwashed by the gangsta a……. you hang with & look up to. It’s that simple unless you have no brains, no soul, no sense of decency whatsoever. And dont claim that “black lives matter” when you ignore the millions you abort & slaughter each & every day by other blacks. Those of us with a soul do indeed believe black lives matter, as all lives matter. So quit killin each other you f….. idiots. Drive safely.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced Monday a 20-member advisory committee of tea party and grassroots leaders to improve coordination between his office and conservative leaders.
Known as the Lieutenant Governor Grassroots Advisory Board, the panel will serve a similar function to the six advisory boards of business leaders that Patrick unveiled two weeks ago.
The grass-roots board will be led by JoAnn Fleming, executive director of Grassroots America — We the People and leader of the Texas Legislature’s Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee.
“Our primary focus will be on border security, education reform and tax relief legislation — serious issues important to a strong Texas,” Fleming said in a statement.
Other members include:
• Julie Turner , president of Texas Patriots PAC in The Woodlands and an early tea party movement leader.
• Katrina Pierson of Garland, a tea party organizer and unsuccessful challenger to U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions in the 2014 GOP primary.
• Bill Hussey, former president of the Llano County Tea Party who sued to block the Llano school district from using CSCOPE-produced lessons.
• Ken Emanuelson , a Dallas tea party activist who said in 2013 that Republicans did not want blacks to vote because they overwhelmingly support Democrats, then backtracked, saying he should not have tried to speak for the Republican Party.
• Chuck Molyneaux of Allen with the McKinney Tea Party.
• Larry Youngblood of Hilltop Lakes, who ran as a tea party conservative against U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, losing in the 2012 GOP primary.
• Connie Curry, a longtime Republican activist from Lubbock who worked on Patrick’s 2014 campaign and served on his inauguration committee.
• Michael Openshaw of Plano, with the North Texas Tea Party.
• Dean Wright of Austin, co-organizer of the Austin Tea Party.
• Robin Lennon, president and founder of the Kingwood TEA Party.
• Debbie Georgatos, a Dallas Republican Party activist.
• Sharon Hall of New Braunfels, a volunteer for Patrick’s 2014 campaign.
• Derek Baker of McKinney, a longtime conservative Republican activist.
• Steve Baysinger, a board member for the San Antonio Tea Party and former president of the Tenth Amendment Center-Texas.
• Jim Lennon with the Kingwood TEA Party.
• Ted Hart, president of the Frisco Lakes Conservative Coalition.
•Julie McCarty of Grapevine, a co-founder of the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party.