Burnt Orange Report

News, Politics, and Fun From Four Deeply-Humiliated Texas Longhorns

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January 13, 2005

Speaking of the DNC Race...

Annatopia liveblogged the Blog PAC interview with Howard Dean.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:50 AM to National Politics | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Why I don't support Dean for DNC

I've meant to write this post for awhile now, but I wanted to wait until I could better express my thoughts. I proudly join Karl-Thomas, and probably every writer for this blog as a "Reform Democrat". I also think that I can speak with some creditability as a member of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party on most issues. Why have I not engaged in the general blogosphere euphoria over Howard Dean's campaign for DNC? It's really pretty simple. It's all about the record.

Continue reading "Why I don't support Dean for DNC"
Posted by Byron LaMasters at 07:32 AM to National Politics | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

January 12, 2005

Blogging the Session

Is the United Ways of Texas. Check it out, via Sarah.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:30 PM to Blogs and Blogging | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


This makes me cry:

A number of other well-known and bright conservative judges, including Frank Easterbrook and Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit and Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit, are unlikely appointees in light of their libertarian bent and occasional departures from social conservative doctrine. Indeed, it seems likely -- given the sharp and close divide in today’s political world, in which one or two votes on the Court could made a significant difference in constitutional interpretation for years to come -- that the heavily ideological Bush administration will do everything it can to ensure that its nominees are clearly and consistently conservative. At the very least, it will seek to avoid a repeat of what it views as the catastrophic Republican appointment of Souter, who lacked a conservative “paper trail” and, subsequently, addressed cases with an open mind once he got the Court.


My humble experience in reading Judge Posner's opinions is, that he has a tendency to make even natural dissenters agree with him by using sweet pragmatic reason (which is why about every other assigned reading has a footnote to the effect of, "and Judge Posner said this, and lots of people agree with him"). That, of course, doesn't necessarily mean he's right, but sometimes it's the appearance that counts.

Judge Easterbrook (in Hill v. Gateway 2000, Inc., which I had to read for a class), at least, made me laugh.

I've heard good things about Kozinski.

Typical. We're gonna get stuck with a winger and the Supreme Court is going to drift on, bereft of any titanic legal minds, a mere pawn in the political chess between Washington extremists.

Ye shall (not) know the Truth

Jesus wept:

How did this happen? How did one of the most religious countries in the world become a nation of religious illiterates? Religious congregations are surely at fault. Churches and synagogues that once inculcated the "fourth R" are now telling the faithful stories "ripped from the headlines" rather than teaching them the Ten Commandments or parsing the Sermon on the Mount (which was delivered, as only one in three Americans can tell you, by Jesus). But most of the fault lies in our elementary and secondary schools.

In a majority opinion in a 1963 church-state case (Abington vs. Schempp), Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark wrote, "It might well be said that one's education is not complete without a study of comparative religion … and its relationship to the advance of civilization." If so, the education of nearly every public school student in the nation is woefully inadequate.

Because of misunderstandings about the 1st Amendment, religious studies are seldom taught in public schools. When they are, instruction typically begins only in high school and with teachers not trained in the subtle distinction between teaching religion (unconstitutional) and teaching about religion (essential).

Though state educational standards no longer ignore religion as they did a decade or so ago, coverage of religion in history and social science textbooks is spotty at best. According to Charles Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center in Arlington, Va., "It is as if we got freedom of religion in 1791 and then we were free from religion after that."

Now that the religious right has triumphed over the secular left, every politician seems determined to get religion. They're all asking "What Would Jesus Do?" — about the war in Iraq, gay marriage, poverty and Social Security. And though the ACLU may rage, it is not un-American to bring religious reasoning into our public debates. In fact, that has been happening ever since George Washington put his hand on a Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. What is un-American is to give those debates over to televangelists of either the secular or the religious variety, to absent ourselves from the discussion by ignorance.

Via Kevin Drum.

This isn't necessarily surprising. Religion for many Americans today is largely about experience and about personal identity.

Posted by Jim D at 10:30 PM to Pop Culture | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

What we need is some Aggies

One of the mysteries of the last few years for me is why R.C. Slocum doesn't get more respect in football circles. He did a pretty good job at A&M, had a few rough years, and got canned. Nonetheless, he still sports a pretty good career record - 11 bowl games, a .721 win-loss percentage, etc.

In the ultra-competitive world of college football, though, everyone - particularly those everyones who are members of the 12th Man Foundation - is a critic. And after losing enough times to Texas, it was just inevitable that he'd lose his job.

In the "bizarro world" of Democratic politics, of course, things aren't so cut and dry. Amy Sullivan now joins the gaggle of grassroots gurus who are calling for the heads of the Consultant Class.

Why? Well let's just say that if Bob Shrum had R.C. Slocum's win-loss percentage (or alternatively, if Democrats had as much self-respect as the A&M alumnis), we'd be living in a much different country.

P.S. Of course the same principle (sortof) applies to Mackovic, but that was longer ago, and if I'm going to use a metaphor, it'll be one that's easier to remember.

Gallegos Contest Dismissed

Most of the focus has been on the three state house contests (now two) by Republicans Talmadge Heflin and Eric Opieda. The contest by Jack Stick against Mark Strama was dropped last week. But there was a fourth contest as well - this one on the senate side. It was a frivolous challenge against Sen. Mario Gallegos (D-Houston) which was dismissed today:

The Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday dismissed an election challenge filed against state Sen. Mario Gallegos by a former opponent who is his former mistress.

The panel found that Susan Delgado "failed to state the grounds necessary to maintain an election contest" against the Houston Democrat. Committee members voted 9-0 to send the report to the full Senate for a vote.

Delgado had contended that Gallegos lived in the 11th District, although he represents the 6th District. Gallegos, who has represented the eastern Harris County district since 1995, was overwhelmingly re-elected in November.

Delgado, a former stripper who claimed that she had a 17-year affair with Gallegos, ran as a write-in candidate against him. She contended that Gallegos took a homestead tax exemption on a house outside of his district. But Gallegos is registered to vote at his mother's house within the 6th District and claims to live there.

So, what's that? Two down, two to go?

As for the Hubert Vo contest, I attended the rally for Vo on the south steps of the capitol yesterday, and I'll post some pictures when I have the chance. For the latest on the Vo challenge, read the posts of Off the Kuff and Greg's Opinion from yesterday.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:09 PM to Texas Lege | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Rathergate, a response

Guest post by Nate Nance

A commenter asked where was the BOR reaction to the Rathergate firings that happened this week in my Tuesday's with Tucker Carlson post. I can't speak for all teh writers here at Burnt Orange, but I can say this, I didn't really have much of an interest in it.

I know, what's wrong with me that I don't care about this huge story? Well, it's not that huge of a story. CBS wasn't ready to air the story because they were still in the dark about the memos origins and some people got fired for not doing their jobs. It has nothing to do with whether the memos were fake or not. We know Bush did not complete his time as he was supposed to in the Guard. The one eyewitness that has stepped forward to say he saw Bush doing drills in his "missing year" said he saw him in Texas when Bush says he was in Alabama training. The one piece of documentary evidence that proves he was in Alabama are dental X-Rays from January 1973, two months after he was suppossed to have reported back to Houston. The memos aren't even a key piece of the puzzle.

Like I said, not an important story. I believed that until I read this Newsweek piece by Howard Fineman. The point is, the old order, the mainstream media, is dying and the new order, the blogosphere, is set to take its place. But the establishment press won't go quietly and the "Blogger Nation" is still dependent upon the mainstream press. If either is to perpetuate, I think we'll see a new hybrid, a mix of the mainstream press and the bloggers. It would be mutually beneficial in a lot of ways, and I think we are already seeing that in the popularity of cable news shows (cable was the forerunner of the Internet) and the merging between cable and the blogosphere in blogs like Hardblogger and Bloggerman. Granted, the merging of those two would be a lot easier than say a newspaper and a blog, but it's an experiment that seems to work.

I say down with the old order, hello new news paradigm. I'll be watching and blogging the revolution, as always.

Guest post from Nathan Nance. Nate is a sports/news clerk at the Waco Tribune-Herald and writer/editor of Common Sense a Texas-based Democratic Web log. He can be reached at nate_nance@yahoo.com.

Posted by Nathan Nance at 07:37 PM to Blogs and Blogging | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

On The "Surplus" and Jones

Yesterday was a busy day in Texas politics with the commencement of the 79th legislative session, the announcement that we have a surplus (or maybe not) and the appointment of Rep. Elizabeth Ames Jones (R-Alamo Heights) to fill a vacancy on the Texas Railroad Commission. A little more should be said about each. I have a good vantage point here at the State Party, and as always nothing I say should be interpreted as representing the positions of the State Party, its staff, contractors, Chairman or other officers.

Let's begin with the surplus. Perry is tooting his own horn claiming that we have more than $6 billion more in state coffers than this time 2 years ago. That much is true, but to keep our stripped down services running at the same level with population increases since 2003, we would need about $5.6 billion of that money- leaving us with a rather paltry $400 million surplus (less than 1% of the entire budget). Perry claims that he wants to overhaul Child Protective Services and school finance. CPS alone would devour the surplus, leaving nothing for schools or restoring some of the more draconian cuts in 2003- still requiring some tax reform. The San Antonio Express News editorial board called him out today for "misleading" Texans with his statements, and Carole Keeton Strayhorn claimed that our problem isn't a budget shortfall but a "leadership shortfall" on the part of the governor. So don't start getting excited yet- we don't have enough to do the things Perry et. al have already promised to do- new taxes or budget cuts are on the table.

And in the Elizabeth Ames Jones affair, it is true that her district is largely Republican and it will be an uphill battle one way or the other. But its very nature is encouraging several Republicans to run- all of whom will surely be sniping at one another- and at least one Democrat (whose name I can't talk about quite yet- I'll have it later this week at the latest) has enough credibility in the district to make a real run at it. The deck is stacked against us by GOP gerrymanderers, but let's just say that the district isn't a total wash for us. Keep your eyes on BOR for all your updates!

Just thought I should throw all of that out there, and like I said- keep up with Burnt Orange Report for all your Texas political news!

Posted by Andrew D at 12:33 PM to Texas Lege | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Who Is Elizabeth Ames Jones?

Guest Post By Vince Leibowitz

Am I the only one who's spent the last day or so asking "Who is Elizabeth Ames Jones?"

Maybe I am. Perhaps I am the only Texan who hadn't heard much of Ames Jones prior to her being mentioned as a Perry appointee to the Texas Railroad Commission. On the other hand, perhaps others are as curious as I am about who this seemingly anonomous member of the House Republican majority is and exactly why Rick Perry picked her for a spot on the RRC.

Continue reading "Who Is Elizabeth Ames Jones?"
Posted by Vince Leibowitz at 12:12 AM to Texas Politics | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 11, 2005

Tuesday's with Tucker Carlson: Minor complaints on a rather well-run PBS show

Guest post by Nate Nance

I don't know if it's because I'm excited about seeing Tucker with his own hour-long show on MSNBC or because I'm too pissed about other things, but I've been letting Tucker off easy lately with his PBS show. So this is going to be another post of just mild complaints about a conservative commentator that I consider my arch-enemy.

Tucker's First Up segment featured former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. I've read Suskind's Price of Loyalty too many times to not like O'Neill, but he is in favor of private accounts (and he was CEO of Alcoa, a very bad thing if you're a Texan). He and Bow Tie Boy had a five-minute discussion about what kind of private account system O'Neill would like to see. They talked about guaranteed million dollar annuities for everybody and all too soon time was up. I say too soon because they never got around to addressing the actual debate over whether or not to go with some half-assed partial plan like Bush wants or to keep the old system solvent. It was just a really long discussion of "wouldn't it be great if everyone had a million dollars when they retire?"

His Plus 2 segment wasn't any better. To discuss Gonzales' confirmation as AG, Tucker brought in nut-job extraordinaire David Frum and Katrina vanden Heuval. Frum did something that Gonzales was criticized for not doing, defending torture in certain circumstances. My liberalism won't let me get passed moral absolutism on certain things, like "torture is wrong". But Frum's conservatism does no such thing. But my main beef is not with Frum. He makes himself irrelevant very easily. Vanden Heuval is my problem. I've seen her go on two different shows the past week and call Alberto Gonzales "Antonio Gonzales". Each time there is an awkward silence by the other people because they don't want to be rude and point out she has no idea who she's even talking about.

Katrina is just a bad spokesperson for the Left. She always seems like she doesn't have a full grasp of whatever it is she is supposed to be discussing. Plus, me being a fairly liberal person, I always feel llike she might be taking things a bit too far. When she is explaining something, I really don't think she is speaking for the majority of us in the Democratic party.

Tucker, you have got to get some better people on the show. Heck, I'll go on the show to discuss things with you. Just quit putting vanden Heuval in for the liberals. I don't want her representing us anymore than you would want a crazy guy like David "I invented axis of evil" Frum representing your views.

The show ended with a piece on animals who ran away to higher ground just before the tsunami hit the coast of the Indian Ocean. I'm sure psychic animals is interesting to someone, but I really didn't feel like learning some stupid, inane fact about Indian elephants. So I turned the channel.

This is a guest post from Nathan Nance. Nate is a sports/news clerk for the Waco Tribune-Herald and writer/editor of Common Sense a Texas-based Democratic Web log. He can be reached at nate_nance@yahoo.com.

Posted by Nathan Nance at 07:42 PM to Politics for Dummies | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Revenue Surplus?

If Craddick's statement today on the House website is any indication, looks like there won't be a shortfall for the legislature to deal with this session. Maybe we will have money to fund health and education?

"Comptroller Strayhorn is forecasting substantial revenue growth for the FY06-07 biennium, and the Legislative Budget Board staff will release its recommended budget within the next few days, which will be within the revenue predicted by the Comptroller. Although I have not seen the details of her estimate, it is encouraging to hear that the Comptroller anticipates significant revenue growth for the biennium compared to the situation we faced last regular session. Had we not held the line on spending in the face of the $10 billion shortfall last session, we probably would not have seen the kind of economic recovery that we are now experiencing and hope to see in the future. I look forward to working with the Governor and with my colleagues in the Senate to craft a budget that will maximize the positive impact on Texas' economy."

Posted by Karl-T at 06:57 PM to Texas Lege | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

An honest debate

Guest post by Nate Nance

I'm all for an honst debate on the merits of privatization. Andrew and I don't agree one bit, but we're able to have a serious discussion because we're both reasonable and we'll use facts to back up our arguments.

But I'm getting really sick of the crap the Republicans are trying to pull on this. As I was getting ready for work today, I managed to catch Sen. John Sununu on Lou Dobbs talking about the benefits of privatization. Sununu made several assertions, everyone one of them demonstrably false. Things like "The system will go bankrupt in 2042" which it won't. The trust fund will go bankrupt in 2042 (or 2053 if we have better than 2% economic growth over the next 40 years). But since the trust fund was a temporary fix to the fiscal hurdle of the baby boomers retirement after increasing benefits for retirees throughout the 60s and 70s. We all planned on the trust fund ending, which is why we are going to quit paying into it in 2018. Sununu knows this and is trying to mislead people with lies, or if he doesn't and he's just reading talking points, he doesn't deserve to hold an office higher than dog catcher.

I'm pissed about this kind of thing because they keep getting away with it and people like Lou Dobbs don't correct the record on their own damned shows. Dobbs has a responsibility to his audience to let them know the truth about the subject they are debating. If he isn't going to do his job, then I don't see why he has a job. It's unethical to allow people to lie on your show like that. Blatant lies that Dobbs, who I assume knows as much about how the Social Security sytem works as a 22-year-old sports clerk, should have been all over.

Sununu also talked about the lowered interest rates that come from a good ecoomy where people are saving more and investing in the market. He doesn't bother to tell us that has nothing to do with Social Security. We have a three-legged stool of retirement to stand on in this country. One leg is Social Security, which at the moment, is the sturdiest because the other two, private pensions and private investment accounts, are too risky because they rely on the market. That hasn't turned out too well so they want to do it to Social Security. He also doesn't mention that borrowing $2 trillion dollars is going to significantly raise interest rates.

And finally, Sununu peddles the $12 trillion shortfall in the system number. That number was reached because the Trustees were asked to calculate what the shortfall is to infinity. The final tally at the end of infinity (I know, end of infinity?) is $10.2 trillion dollars. I have a lot of problems with this, the least of which is that Dobbs didn't call him on rounding up $1.8 trillion, which is not an insignificant sum. It is literålly impossible to calculate the economic situation of the US infinity from now, making the number totally meaningless. We can make reasonable assumptions about the state of our economy 75 years from now, which the actuaries of Social Security and the Congressional Budget Office did. They found that the number is actually $2 trillion to $3.7 trillion, which over 75 years is pretty good. If we raise the cap on payroll taxes to $100,000 and don't make the Bush tax cuts permanent, we've literally covered our shortfall in the system. Problem solved.

Well not really. When the trust fund goes bankrupt there will be an abrupt drop in benefits to about 80% of what they would be. That's still going to be more than what people get in full benefits now, but we can lessen this shock by doing a few things. But privatization does nothing to address any real shortfalls in the system and it doesn't address the lack of savings in the other two legs of the retirement stool. All privatization does is destroy the solvency of Social Security and put dangerous pressure on our economy. It's time to have an honest debate, but we can't do that if the Republicans are going to keep lying.

This is a guest post from Nathan Nance. He is a sports/news clerk at the Waco Tribune-Herald and writer/editor of Common Sense a Texas-based Democratic Web log. He can be reached at nate_nance@yahoo.com.

Posted by Nathan Nance at 06:54 PM to The Economy, Stupid | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Craddick Elected Speaker -- 4 Nay Votes

Two years ago, Tom Craddick was elected speaker with only one Nay vote - that of Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth). The election of the speaker in Texas is rather silly, because everyone votes for the speaker so that they can get good committee assignments, etc. Hopefully, the Texas legislature will soon get to the day where both parties put forward a candidate for speaker, and the majority party candidate is elected. That's the way it should be, but a four-fold increase of votes against Craddick is a start. I'll post the names of the four voting against Craddick when I get them.

In comments are the names of the four Nay votes on Craddick:

Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth)
Jessica Farrar (D-Houston)
Joe Moreno (D-Houston)
Paul Moreno (D-El Paso)

Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) was present, not voting.

Kudos to them. The final vote was 142-4.

In other news, Rep. Elizabeth Ames Jones (R-San Antonio) declined her seat in the legislature as she was nominated by Gov. Perry earlier today for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission. Jones will replace Charles Matthews, who resigned his seat in order to take a position as chancellor of the Texas State University system.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:57 PM to Texas Lege | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

January 10, 2005

Rooting for the home team

Guest post by Nate Nance

Most people who know me, know that I'm a big Texas fan. I practically bleed burnt orange.

But I have to give props to my hometown girls, the Baylor Lady Bears, who are now ranked No. 2 in the AP poll. That, of course, is coming off a win against Texas and LSU's bad week last week. But if anyone deserves to be ranked 2nd, it is Baylor.

The Texas Lady Longhorns are ranked 12th, just ahead of Texas Tech. On the men's side, UT is ranked 10th in the AP poll and 9th in the coaches' poll.

This is a guest post from Nathan Nance. He can be reached at nate_nance@yahoo.com.

Posted by Nathan Nance at 10:59 PM to BOR Sports | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

It's Official: Radnofsky Has Filed For U.S. Senate

Guest Post By Vince Leibowitz

HOUSTON--Barbara Ann Radnofsky (D-Houston) made it official Monday that she will seek the Democratic Party's nomination for U.S. Senate in 2006.

Radnofsky, 48, officially declared her candidacy today after sending the necessary paperwork to the United States Senate formalizing her intentions. Candidates for U.S. Senate are required to file a declaration of their intentions with that body. Radnofsky mailed the documents today after formally incorporating her campaign committee with the Texas Secretary of State late last week. She is the first Texas candidate to formally declare her intentions regarding a state-wide race in 2006.

Continue reading "It's Official: Radnofsky Has Filed For U.S. Senate"
Posted by Vince Leibowitz at 07:19 PM to Texas Politics | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)

Today's SDEC Meeting

SDEC stands for State Democratic Executive Committee, the governing body of the state Democratic Party. The meetings are usually interesting, but this one took the cake because two DNC chair candidates showed up and a phenomenal new face in state politics had his "coming out party" (no, not that kind, he was accompanied by his beautiful wife). Here's my take. Note that I am an employee of the State Democratic Party, and my thoughts are in no way meant to indicate nor represent the opinions of the State Party, its staff, chairman or executive committee.

First up was Congressman Martin Frost. In all my time in Texas Politics, I had some how never gotten to meet him and he was very friendly and gave a heck of a speech. The crowd was clearly on his side, despite what some Deaniacs would like to think. The most important issue isn't ideology- the chairman has no say in that- but is "What Will You Do For Me/What HAVE You Done For Me?" and Martin Frost is one of the state party's best friends. There have been several occasions where the Party was flat broke until Martin Frost came to our rescue. His total contributions and funds raised are likely in the several hundred thousand dollar range (if not in the million dollar range) over the last 20 years or so. Martin Frost has long been our best friend in the congressional delegation and frankly, the guy is a consumate pro. He was a political consultant for several years before he served in Congress, has always been one of Congress' top fundraisers and in his 4 years as head of the DCCC he gained 14 seats in two cycles right after the Gingrich Revolution, which proves he can win even when the deck has been stacked against him. He's perfect for the job, in my opinion, and a lot of Texas Democrats are grateful to him for his long time support.

The other candidate who came was also quite impressive- Donnie Fowler. His speech got rolling a little slowly but when it took off, he took off. He had some great applause lines that got the crowd going and his closer- "I want to be your second choice"- was perfect for the crowd. It worked with me, as I think that he'd be my second choice if I had a vote. He's a good-looking young guy with a South Carolina accent and a lot of experience under his belt. He has a great message about turning the DNC into a clearinghouse for successful strategies to rebuild state parties by providing resources, training, staff and the like. I think he'd be good for Texas too, and even though I'm not supporting him outright, I hope he sticks around and gets to do something important sometime.

I think that a "National Chairman/Executive Chairman" set up like in the Mid-90s might be in order. Fowler would look better on TV and whatnot while Martin Frost is more of a pro at the campaign strategy. But I doubt that that will happen. I support Frost as of right now.

Another pleasant experience was meeting the man who I have bestowed the sobriquet "Gov" on- Lt. Cmdr. Juan M. Garica (USN-Ret.) of Corpus Christi. Sounds great, right? A Military guy. But his resume only begins there. LCDR Garcia is also a graduate of UCLA, Harvard Law and the Kennedy School of Government. In terms of charisma he is second only to John Edwards in people I have met. He had ladies (and some of the guys) turning their heads and the rest of the guys (and all the ladies) ready to open their wallets. His family is great too- his beautiful wife Danielle came with him, though they left their 4 kids (straight out of a commercial cute) in Corpus. He is also bilingual. Garcia was approached by the Republican Party to run for office, but made it clear that he was not on their side and is now planning to take on Republican State Rep. Gene Seaman in 2006. Keep your eye on this guy- he is going places. The Latino John Kennedy I called him.

There was never any talk of a "resolution in support of Frost" to my knowledge, I have no idea where Karl-T. got that (not to impugn Karl-T., just a misunderstanding on the part of his sources), and as Chairman Soechting noted- no matter who wins it will be better than it is now. Texas is like the DNC's Daddy's credit card- they take and take and take and take and provide nothing in return. If I might crib one of Reagan's better quotes in regard to their recent behavior they are like a big baby- an insatiable appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other. Any of the candidates would improve upon that it seems, but Frost has been there for us in the past and he'll be there for us again in the future. If you want Texas to be Democratic again, you need to support Martin Frost.

So things went very well, the meeting was great, a lot of wonderful people came out and some good candidates are percolating. Just thought you'd like the update.

(P.S.- To say something nice about my former employer, Howard Dean, he gave us $2500 for our big fundraiser tomorrow night- the Salute to Our Democratic Elected Officials. So Thanks Governor! And there was some talk of Tim Roemer showing up as well, as he was apparantly around town. He didn't show, and I don't like the guy. Say what you will about Frost- when his district got torn up, he stood tall and ran a tough race. It took guts. When Tim Roemer had his same district but a tough Republican [who he had beaten before] announced, he dropped out. The guy doesn't have the guts to be chairman and he's hanging around with the wrong crowd- the congressional types who could give a damn if we are in the minority or not, as long as they have a limo and a nice office. He's last on my list as of right now.)

Posted by Andrew D at 04:44 PM to Texas Politics | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

DNC Atlanta Report: Part 3 of 3

Having finished up parts one and two from my time at the Atlanta DNC Southern Caucus meeting, now for the bit about Texas.

Of the dozen or so DNC members from Texas, it is likely that they will end up voting for Martin Frost in the early rounds, not because they may believe that he is the best candidate, but because he's a Texan, and it's just the proper thing to do. What was causing some consternation is that our State Chair, Mr. Charles Soechting, planned on introducing a resolution of support at today's State Democratic Executive Committee meeting to be voted on. The SDEC has 60 odd voting members, of which many are Dean folk that won elections for the seats at last year's State Convention.

No one likes to be railroaded into having to vote a particular way. In fact, my SDEC district representative met with 11 of the 21 county chairs in our region this weekend. I was proud enough that they had put forth a strategic planning statement and program to be submitted to the chair about how to work with counties for future success. Then I was told over the phone that the 11 County Chairs endorsed Howard Dean for National Chair and urged our SDEC rep to make that known.

This was shocking to me. Those County Chairs weren't Deaniacs or swept into office in local coups. They are hard working, older Party folk who want to win and restore the Party in the very rural areas which they represent. The fact that this crowd at the bottom of the ladder is in favor in Dean could be an indicator that there is more support out there for real reformers than we are seeing on the surface. It also jives well with ruminations that Dean is actually the fallback choice of much of the Texas delegation should Frost be knocked out.

Below are some thoughts from David H., one of Texas's DNC members whom had given me permission to share some of his relevant thoughts.

Make an effort to meet Simon Rosenberg. If there wasn't a Texan in the race, he would get my vote straight-away.

The Austin meetup went pretty well last night. Most of the people there were for Dean, of course, and I am not opposed to him, but there are and were elements who get pretty militant about Dean and his cause.

Like I say, I'm not against Dean in this. I have known Simon for ten years and after seeing his talents I think he'd make a great chair. He is part of a think-tank that is forefront on Progressive issues and his organization spent more on Hispanic targeted ads than either the Kerry campaign or the DNC, from what I understand. He gets the new activist dynamic.

And Frost, being a Texan, would mean great things for Texas and red states like it. He ran the DCCC like most people are saying they want to see the DNC run. He has a great record of working with candidates in every state - not just battleground - and candidates far down the ballot. He surrounds himself with great people.

So, Dean comes in somewhere after them for me, personally.

I think all Texans will vote for Frost as long as he is in it.

Frost as chair would probably mean more for Texas as far as money and support go (instead of it being sucked out of Texas to other states). But in this case I have to be a Democrat before a Texan, and to put 1 state ahead of the other 49 is shortsighted.

(Should there me more to report on after today's SDEC meeting, I'll be sure to file an additional Burnt Orange Report.)

January 09, 2005

DNC Atlanta Report 2 of 3

This is the second of three posts on my experience at the DNC Southern Caucus meeting in Atlanta. The third post will be on events related specific to Texas and Texas candidates.

As far as message is concerned, it's starting to remind me of the Democratic Primary where Dean ended up defining the message and other candidates, seeing where the Party was, ended up with similar thoughts. For me, a Reform minded Deanocrat, this of course is encouraging and the question now becomes, of those pushing for reform, how much is politics and how much is sincere. For me at least, it seems if the battle is not Dean v. Anti-Dean, it's Dean v. Dean light...

That being said, I attending the Atlanta meeting with an open mind, and an intent to report on what I saw to better offer a view into a decision that isn't ours to make in this type of election.

In the order that the candidates spoke, below are my thoughts on style and my personal meetings at their separate events.

Continue reading "DNC Atlanta Report 2 of 3"

DNC Atlanta Report: 1 of 3

In this entry I will present some of the points that were made by the "introduction" speakers at the general session. The following entry will be a DNC candidate by candidate discussion. The third entry will be on the Texas angle and the "Texas Tussle" that is ongoing.

The Southern Regional Meeting of the DNC on January 8 almost ended halfway into it as those in charge claimed that seating to the general session was limited and only those with preapproved credentials would be allowed in, and if there was space after that, others would be accepted. By the time I was reluctantly let in, there still appeared to be dozens of open chairs and I am thankful that the obstacle was "fire codes" rather than disallowing bloggers, as was the case in Florida.

Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee gave a good speech in which he said we "need not a regional strategy but a national message that speaks to a culture of America because the people we need to reach out to are beyond the South".

He gave two suggestions to the party.
1) Get out of Washington! "The aspirations of the people are out in the nation, in red states and blue ones."
2) We need some Focus. "It needs to come from the top; we need a coherent world view."

Next up were proposed DNC Rule Changes put forth by Don Fowler, former DNC chair and father of DNC candidate Donnie Fowler. He offered them saying that he had been in charge before and sometimes responsible for the very rules which he is now proposing to alter, which would take power away from the Chair and put it in the Regional Caucuses and States. In summary they are...

1) Reduce the number of At Large DNC Members appointed by the DNC chair from the current 75 to 25 (out of the 440 or so total members) and give 12 or 13 to each Regional Caucus to appoint.

2) Reduced from 11 to 7 the number of executive committee appointments made by the DNC Chair, giving one to each Regional Caucus.

3) Related to making the management of the DNC budget to be more open and accountable.

A presentation was made by Pollster Dave Beattie on targeting. His quotable line? "Like Vietnam, Democrats cannot hold the cities and lose the countryside, and expect to win the war." His suggested target groups...

1) Catholics "We don't need to change who we are for this one."
2) Small Business "We can be the Party of Main Street over Wall Street".

January 2005
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