Mar 03 2010

Canaries In Coal Mines

Published by at 7:17 am under All General Discussions

There is a lesson to be learned for everyone in DC from the Texas GOP primary:

With nearly all of the state’s more than 8,000 precincts reporting, Mr. Perry had 51%, while Ms. Hutchison had 31%.

Nearly one in five voters cast ballots for newcomer Debra Medina, a favorite of Tea Party activists, in a race that drew national attention as a referendum on the direction of the Republican Party.

As personified by Mr. Perry, the party’s future would stress economic growth and independence from Washington—he accuses agencies from the Education Department to the Environmental Protection Agency of treading on Texas’s toes. Though Texas traditionally prizes independence from the federal government, Mr. Perry also tapped into surging anti-incumbent fervor here, despite the fact that he has been governor since 2000 and is seeking an unprecedented third full term.

The stain of DC is clearly a sign of death at the polls. Perry is not that great and Hutchison is not that bad. This race should have been closer. And the Tea Party candidate did not register as credible to lead the state. There may have even been a clear Health Care message in the mix.

If there is a lesson from Texas it is the fact the nation is rising up against DC and the entrenched power brokers. We saw that in VA and NJ, where the Democrat’s hold on the reigns of power were smashed. Especially in Jersey were the Dems had been in comfortable control for many, many years.

We saw it in MA with the end of the Kennedy era. We saw it in NY-23 where first the district rose up against the GOP selected candidate, and then the district went with the centrist democrat over the strong conservative.

Texas should have been very close, and if all government was the problem Perry would have had a fight on his hands. But clearly the anger of the voters is directed like a high powered laser beam on DC and the people there. The demand for limited government and putting government back into the states is very strong – and it will be unleashed all year leading up to the November elections. And probably for a long time beyond then, too.

14 responses so far

14 Responses to “Canaries In Coal Mines”

  1. smill1953 says:


    It’s about time!

  2. smill1953 says:

    “…The demand for limited government and putting government back into the states is very strong – and it will be unleashed all year leading up to the November elections. And probably for a long time beyond then, too.”

    It’s about time!!

  3. AJ,

    Governors tend to beat senators because they are better executives and can deliver more to local constituents via the state government. This means more money for governor’s to spend on advertising.

    More advertising in a contested primary means a much larger primary turn out.

    And a pro-life sitting conservative governor beating a sitting pro-choice US Senator in the Texas Republican primary is not news either.

    Consider that until a few years ago Operation Rescue made it’s headquarters in Katy Texas, a bedroom community west of Houston.

    The biggest issue in this Texas Primary election was the Trans-Texas corridor toll road plan that Perry ran from like a scalded dog when Sen. Hutchison got in the race.

    The TTC was deeply unpopular in rural Texas due designs lack of on/off ramps or underpasses to allow movement between communities. This design was popular with the proposed operators because it reduced the cost of building and operating the TTC.

    When it was found out that several lanes of I-30 between Houston and San Antonio were going to be turned into toll lanes — concentrating heavy truck traffic with non-paying auto traffic — and that the roads would be operated by a foreign company for their profit. Gov. Perry had a Dubai port deal type problem on his hands with Suburban Republican party activists.

    If the race had been held six months ago, Perry would have been toast.

    Perry took advantage of the current political mood between then and now via attacking Hutchison’s TARP and her pro-choice votes.

    Medina was where pro-life, anti-TTC voters could park their anti-Perry votes and was surging as a result of Perry’s attacks on Hutchison.

    Once Perry started looking like a winner a few weeks ago, after Medina flamed out as a Truther with Glenn Beck, it was all over but the voting.

  4. Mike M. says:

    Excellent point, AJ. This was a primary between three candidates…any of which would be an improvement over half the elected officials in this country.

    But right now, the DC stain is as toxic as Sarin or VX nerve agents.

    Good news for the USA, bad news for Obama and his cronies.

  5. Mike M. says:

    And probably Not Bad News for the presidential candidate who lives the furthest from DC.

  6. WWS says:

    It’s safe to say that the county I live in has always been pretty conservative – and yet 30 years ago, this was yellow dog democrat country.

    The primary results from my county are, I think, pretty typical of results for most of Texas outside the major metropolitan areas (which of course always have their own particular poltical and racial dynamics going on) Combining the total votes in the Republican and Democrat primaries provides a striking look at voter intensity this year.

    Yesterday’s gubernatorial vote in my county:

    (White is the mainstream Dem candidate, ex-mayor of Houston, Farouk was the far left Dem candidate)

    (R) Perry – 10,435
    (R) Hutchison – 4,628
    (R) Medina – 4,243
    (D) White – 2,135
    (D) Farouk – 237

    (the far left got 1% of the total vote – LOL! That’s the difference between Texas and California right there)

    I was sorry to see Kinky Friedman lose, though. He’s a nut, but he’s a lovable nut who’s always good for a laugh. I think he made a mistake abandoning the independant label and throwing in with the Democrats. Well, this morning I’ll bet he thinks he made a mistake, too.

  7. WWS says:

    Trent – Hutchison lost because she never figured out that the TTC controversy was so 2007 – that was old news this year, dead and gone, the new narrative was Locals vs Washington. All people had wanted Perry to do was to drop the idea – when he did, the issue was over. (hint there on Health Care, Obama)

    When I saw KBH running TTC ads, I knew she was toast, she was out of touch with what was going on at the grass roots level. And overall, I have to say that she ran one of the most inept campaigns that I have ever seen. And then Medina blew up her campaign on Beck’s show, when he was trying to give her a boost. That’s an “oops” that politicial consultants will tell their clients about for many, many years to come.

    But Perry didn’t win this by being passive – his move a couple weeks ago to sue the EPA was brilliant from a policy standpoint, a positioning standpoint, and a timing standpoint. It’s very rare to see someone hit the trifecta like that, but he did. First, his move was right for Texas – the EPA rules will eliminate a million jobs or more if implemented. And in positioning, that move established him as the effective anti-Washington candidate. What did Hutchison have to say in response? Nothing that I ever heard. Did she challenge the EPA during the hearings? Nobody hear ever heard about it if she did. And then timing – to set up this narrative 2 weeks before the primary is probably what guaranteed him his overall majority and also makes him the overwhelming favorite in the fall.

    Amazing – few people will ever say they really like him, but he now looks likely to end up serving as Governor for nearly twice as long as any other Governor in Texas history.

    The fact that in hard times Texas is doing better economically than any other state in the Union has a lot to do with it.

  8. >Hutchison lost because she never figured out that the TTC
    >controversy was so 2007 – that was old news this year, dead
    >and gone, the new narrative was Locals vs Washington.

    That depended very strongly on where you lived in Texas.

    See Michael Barone here:

    (1) Perry won this not in rural and small town Texas but in metro Houston. This bodes well for him in the general election, since it indicates strength in the home base of the well regarded Democratic nominee, former Houston Mayor Bill White, who was nominated by an overwhelming margin.

    (2) Medina, the candidate who wouldn’t disrespect the truthers, did best in the supposedly most sophisticated part of Texas, the (Dallas-Ft.Worth) Metroplex. Go figure.

    (3) Hutchison, supposedly the candidate of urban sophisticates, did best in metro San Antonio and rural Texas. She held Perry below the 50% level needed to avoid a runoff in approximately half of Texas’s 254 counties; unfortunately for her, those counties didn’t give her nearly a big enough margin to offset Perry’s advantage in metro Houston.

    The “hate Perry for the TTC” vote was out there in the places that it would have hurt the most by Perry’s toll roads.

    The issue for the Texas public in the 2010 primary was not “Locals vs Washington.”

    It is jobs, Jobs, _Jobs_ and did I mention _JOBS_!

    The Hutchison campaign’s problem was that it needed to be using the word “Jobs” at least twice in every sentance, while connecting it positively to her record in DC, and negatively to Perry’s record as Texas governor.

    They did not and lost big as a result.

    Gov. Perry going after the EPA on global warming was what won him Houston, because it was the heart of the oil patch and “Cap & Trade” is a mortal threat to oil patch employment.

    This is also why Perry will whoop on White in November 2010, because White cannot run away from Cap & Trade and still be a Democrat.

  9. WWS:

    “I was sorry to see Kinky Friedman lose, though. He’s a nut, but he’s a lovable nut who’s always good for a laugh. ”

    My problem with Kinky is precisely that.

    When he ran for Governor, he was always good for an anecdote, but I cannot recall ANY specifics about what he would actually try to DO if he got into office.

    While we Texans LOVE characters, we can be pretty pragmatic about not actually voting them into office, if that’s ALL they have going for them.

  10. For a Houston perspective on the primary results, you might check out these from Houston trial lawyer William Dyer (who blogs under the name “Beldar”):

    Beldar on Barone on how Perry’s Harris County showing bodes for White


    DGA’s Daschle draws wrong lessons from Texas primaries: White has a chance in November, but it’s despite (not due to) Obama and the national Dems

    (I wish this site had a preview function; God knows what this is going to look like when it’s published)

  11. WWS says:

    I think White has another problem, although he’s arguably the best that Dem’s could do this cycle. Remember when Ron Kirk ran? Being Mayor of a city just doesn’t give anyone the kind of statewide exposure they need to build up the consitituency it takes to win a statewide race. Ron Kirk was one of the most successful Mayors that Dallas has ever had, and it still couldn’t get him more than 40% of the vote when he ran for the Senate.

    And related to that, the Democratic establishment in Dallas proper is overwhelmingly Black, and if a Dem candidate doesn’t cater to them they don’t show up on election day. White’s problem with them isn’t just limited to his name – if he says what he has to say to get them energized, he destroys himself in the rest of the state.

    That’s the central contradiction in the Dem’s position which has caused them to lose *Every* state wide race since 1992.

    I am glad that Ronnie Earle lost his primary, just because that man is one of the most pathetic fools that has ever been involved in Texas politics, and this vote should finally be the end of his ridiculously long career.

  12. WWS,

    The short form is that while Mayor White of Houston is the best candidate the Democrats can possibly run, Perry is a successful incumbent governor in a GOP year…in Texas.

    The Nov. 2010 election is about jobs.

    And Obama has ruined the Democratic brand on the subject in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

    Mayor White cannot possibly run far enough from the energy job killing legislation, regulations and policy positions of the national Democratic Party to win in Texas.

    And it is not just a matter of jobs.

    The Climategate collapse of AGW is hitting the identity issues of the “Deep Green” voting base in the Democratic party so hard that they are going to sit out the 2010 election to avoid facing the issue.

    While of marginal concern in Texas because both the number and location of the Deep Green types –They don’t live anywhere outside of Austin or Galveston in large numbers — it is one of the biggest and least commented upon reasons Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) CA is vulnerable this election cycle.

  13. owl says:

    “I am glad that Ronnie Earle lost his primary,” Oh yeah.

    Perry? Put in the dogcatcher or anyone that will loudly fight. He made some nice moves lately but I had decided on him several months ago. KBH looks tired of this rat race.

  14. Fai Mao says:

    Oh God, Ronnie Earl is gone! I was told as a child in church that miracles don’t happen anymore. Boy was that preacher wrong!

    Ronnie Earl was the main reason I was not sad to leave Austin.

    This is a go home and get drunk in celebration day!