Making the Pitch

By and Comments

[Editor’s note: As mentioned, we’re going to feature some posts from our talented interns–including the author of this one–on BurkaBlog this summer. –EG]

“Conocer a tus suegros–nunca es fácil.” Attorney General Greg Abbott’s first statewide television ad for the general election opens with a close-up of his sister-in-law, Rosie Phalen, discussing a challenge that countless Texas voters have faced: meeting the in-laws.

Nerve-wracking, no doubt. But Abbott apparently made a good impression; he has been married to his wife Cecilia for more than thirty years. And in retrospect, meeting the in-laws might have been easy compared to the assignment Abbott has set for himself this year—winning over Hispanic voters as the Republican gubernatorial nominee. He has made that a concerted effort to do so since launching his campaign last year, and the new ad is part of that effort; it is completely in Spanish, and premiered on Univision on Tuesday, during the World Cup match between Brazil and Mexico.

The goal makes sense. Although Hispanic voters in Texas generally favor Democrats, they have, historically, been more receptive to Republican candidates than Hispanic voters nationwide. And this year’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, state senator Wendy Davis, was surprisingly weak in south Texas during the primaries, in March; she lost a number of counties in the Rio Grande Valley to a little-known opponent.

The problem for Abbott is that his outreach comes at a moment when a number of Texas Democrats are accusing Republicans of alienating Hispanic voters with overheated rhetoric on immigration and border security. Both subjects were fiercely discussed during this year’s Republican primaries, and earlier this month, delegates to the Republican Party convention approved significant changes to the immigration plank of the platform. The new version calls for an end to sanctuary cities and in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, and no longer endorses any kind of guest worker program. Even some Republicans are worried that their party may be going too far. Jason Villalba, a Republican state representative from Dallas, registered his concern in an open letter published last week. “Divisive rhetoric and nativist domestic policy might excite the 5.5%,” he wrote, “but the remaining 95% of us understand that we have to do something thoughtful and pragmatic about this complex issue.”

Abbott himself has not used such hardline language, and he has quietly pushed back against more divisive attitudes by pointing out that if he is elected his wife, Cecilia, will be the first Latina first lady of Texas. But he has also seemed reluctant to chime in on the contentious policy debates about immigration and border security. His website’s “Issues” section includes no mention of either. At some point, though, he may have to confront them. In a new poll from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune, respondents named immigration and border security as the most important issues facing the state–and with more and more attention being paid to the recent spike in migration from Central American to the Rio Grande Valley, that is unlikely to change. 

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  • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

    Tx Monthly to Erica Grieder, You have to write a post for Burka Blog.” Erica to TM….”nope no more JBB for me.”

    • Wilson James

      How about no more JBB for the rest of us?

      • dave in texas

        I have a theory. I think JBB is some kind of spambot. Think about it. Almost none of his posts have anything to do with the topic at hand. You could take practically any of them and drop them into a different comment thread and they would still make about the same amount of sense, that is to say, none at all. They’re almost all some variation on ‘hur hur hur dems are stupid’ with the occasional, random mention of ‘Windy.’

        • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

          dave I’m honored you remembered one of my posts.

          • WUSRPH

            He get’s his weekly instructions and like a good minion he follows them. But don’t ask him to explain them as his instructions do not come with explanations.

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            How is your vacation?

          • John Johnson

            :-)

          • Indiana Pearl

            Easy to remember – they’re all the same.

          • Beerman

            Funny, and true….

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            wow I’m honored so much hatred for little ol me….wow!

        • Unwound

          His name is Charles Adaway and he lives in Missouri City, TX. He owns a seemingly flailing business as he doesnt seem to be doing a whole lot of work, instead choosing to spend his time trolling here. Odd since he never fails to point out his belief that Dems don’t have jobs…or they wouldn’t be posting here.

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            wow you libs have your panties in a wad today, hows that IRS thingy working out for ya?

          • Unwound

            Just fine for me, I pay my taxes

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            doncha haveta work to pay taxes…..

          • Unwound

            Sure do. I doubt you’re getting much revenue off your website so between that and your gig at jack in the box I’m suspecting you got money back…..

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            Jack in the Box? how childish. Can’t you liberals come up with something fresh?

          • Unwound

            Hilarious coming from someone who thinks using the term “Windy” is high satire.

          • Unwound

            Ha! You telling someone they’re childish is rich.

          • Beerman

            Nope, just apply for a 501(c)(4) tax exemption reserved for folks who, to qualify under IRS Code must be exclusively engaged in social welfare and non-political activity. You know, like the Tea Party and other “non-political” organizations and “political” bloggers?

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            I believe the tea party did that and we found out democrats running the IRS ruled only liberals can get tax exempt status.
            But as the IRS Commissioner said, “I will not apologize for being a liberal democrat who hates conservatives”

          • Beerman

            IRS folks did not say that; however, you are close to right because there has been much hypocrisy and deception by both political parties on this tax exemption subject.

            Any organization that is not a non-profit social welfare group, and preaches political activism as a fund raising vehicle are hypocrites using this tax code to dodge taxes. And, no matter their political party, should be investigated by the IRS for criminal activity.

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            and yet democrats get a free ride and you’re ok with that, hypocrite much?

      • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

        All you have to do is get a job and you won’t be bored posting here all day.

        • Beerman

          JBB, Similar to your job? As I have stated before, your hatred of state employees and welfare folks is a little ironic for a person who has spent most of your adult life working for or benefiting from government programs. And, still do………

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            “working for or benefiting from government programs”, like the IRS?

          • Beerman

            What has your IRS hang-up got to do with your mooching off government programs?

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            Lemme splain it again…welfare, foodstamps, Obama phones is mooching. Veterans benefits and SS are entitlements(earned benefits).

          • Beerman

            Government consulting deals for political cronies is an entitlement?

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            Obama’s deal with Solyndra wasn’t an entitlement it was looting.

            http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/07/obama-fundraises-with-players-in-solyndra-scandal/

          • Beerman

            ?????

          • Unwound

            You mean Reagan phones?

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            yes its time to pull te blame Reagan card out….hahaha democrats are so predictable

      • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

        There is an ez simple solution that someone as stupid as you are cannot fathom, stop reading my posts. How hard was that?

        • Beerman

          How about you stop your rhetoric that demeans this blog? How hard would that be?

          Everyone knows that you just repeat daily talking points from the Ft. Bend Tea Party cult…..now, that shows your stupidly , and you do not realize it!

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            vs you spewing daily DNC talking points. Sober up.

          • Beerman

            Nope, thoughts from a fiscally responsible and socially compassionate Independent that votes for the candidate not the party.

            Actually, I believe that your daily “tweet-style” manure is really Owl-Envy because you want to degrade Burka’s Blog, and his success in journalism over the many years since college. It has very little to do with political views and debate.

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            Burka’s blog is just more liberal media spin for nuts like you to bash republicans. sober up

          • Beerman

            Your “tweets” are not Owl-Envy?

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            Burka blog is red meat for nuts…deal with it. He and TM are playing you

    • Blue Dogs

      You’re pulling a Nixon “Not gonna kick around anymore” speech ?

      • WUSRPH

        Good night all! Have a good weekend.

    • Unwound

      Laughing at the idea shes scared of you. You’ve been embarrassed on more than one occasion in the comments section by her.

      • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

        the world does not share your unbalanced view. Dewhurst outted Erica for inciting the low information feces and brick chunking mob. I just reported the facts.

        • Unwound

          No one brought feces and bricks you moron. And Dew did nothing but lose control of the room and then *gasp* a winnable election.

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            Erica got so much heat they had to send her to DC on “special assignment”. A feces and brick chunking mob…deal with it.

  • Wilson James

    Well written, and done. You hire good interns.

  • WUSRPH

    Anyone hear anything about the hearing today on whether Judge Dietz will have to recuse himself from the school case? Also, what about the Perry aides that went to the grand jury today?

    • WUSRPH

      Quorum Report says the judge will rule on the state’s motion to recuse Dietz on Monday….Said it was a four hour hearing…..State is trying to derail the law suit in which Dietz has already ruled it violates the state constitution’s guarantee of an efficient education. Abbott clearly does not want the question of what to do to resolve the funding issue to become a major campaign issue. No news on the grand jury..

      • WUSRPH

        Austin A/S reports that Brandy Marty, Perry’s former chief of staff, appeared before the grand jury room for the first time Friday. Also there were Mary Anne Wiley, Perry’s general counsel; Allison Castle, a former Perry spokeswoman; and Teresa Spears, a longtime adviser. It is the third time for Wiley. The special prosecutor said the grand jury is winding up its work. The next meeting is July 6th. Assume we will know after that if they are or not going to do anything to Perry or any of his aides.

  • Blue Dogs

    Perry got 38 percent of Latinos and 11 percent of AA’s in 2010, what percentage of these groups do y’all think Abbott will get this year ?
    A. 40 percent of Latinos and 13 percent of AA’s
    B. 44 percent of Latinos and 14 percent of AA’s
    C. 35 percent of Latinos and 11 percent of AA’s

    • WUSRPH

      Perhaps as high as “A” if he spends enough money to publicize his wife’s ancestry. But I suspect that message will be aimed at only certain geographical areas of the state. At least he’s more upfront about his wife’s ancestry than Phil Gramm was about his wife. Gramm was very careful to limit her appearance to a back side view and his kids had hats on to hide their eyes in one of his TV ads.

      • Blue Dogs

        Gramm was scared to show his kids ?
        Interracial families are growing each and everyday!

        • WUSRPH

          It was a disgraceful ad.

    • Jon

      I heard TSN do a story on Friday about Wendy Davis reaffirming her support for the state’s oil and gas drilling efforts — it might not have been a Palinesque “Drill, baby drill”, but it does show she recognizes one of her two major problems with Latino voters in both South and West Texas (abortion’s the other one, and she’s pretty much locked into the position she had as of 6/25/13, because the out-of-state media spent the next nine months making sure the entire universe knew about it).

      Not hurting herself via any positions that could be construed as wanting to take high-paying jobs away from Latinos in the state’s main fracking zones will probably make sure Wendy gets at least 60 percent of their vote. Abbott’s not going to do anything on his own to lower that number via any strong statements or proposals. But that doesn’t mean the lite gov nominee might not do a little showboating between now and Nov. 4 and cost the Republicans a few Latino votes.

  • John Johnson

    Good observations. The big question is, ” Where’s the beef?” No answer will be forthcoming because he doesn’t need to need to answer. He has it won.

    • Beerman

      Sad, but I believe that you are right.

      • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

        Whats sad about that? Democrats cannot win in Texas, Texans do not want Detroit or Calif styled government here. Hell if we did we’d all move to Mexico.

        • Beerman

          I believe that the majority of Texans want a civilized society, and expect effectiveness, efficiency and results out of government, not ideological tantrums.

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            Yes that’s why dems cannot get elected. sober up

          • Unwound

            Too bad they aren’t willing to vote for it.

          • http://www.fortbendconservative.org/ John Bernard Books

            Perhaps you cannot grasp “they vote against it”.
            “what we have heah is a failure ta communicate.” Stop eating so many boiled eggs its stopping up your ears.

          • Unwound

            I’m allergic to eggs.

        • WUSRPH

          BUT RICK LOVES CALIFORNIA.

  • Betsy Graham

    Davis lost a lot of South Texas counties in the primary because third party groups with Dark Money were hammering her on the abortion issue. Now setting aside the Obama-style dark money being used, it shows that Hispanics don’t cotton to killing unborn babies. Windy and Leticia Van De pu-pu are going to get a hard lesson in that fact this November.

    • WUSRPH

      See above

  • WUSRPH

    We have been thru all of this before BUT It is nice to blame Davis’ showing in the RGV on abortion, especially if you are a lobbyist for the anti-choice people, but repeated elections have shown that the fact that her opponent in the primary had a Hispanic last name had more to do with the election results. Voters along the border have shown again and again that they will vote for a Hispanic over even a better-known Anglo with a better record on their issues. (Remember Victor Morales?) Of course, just the opposite occurs in the Republican primary. People just tend to vote for a more familiar name that suggests a better understanding of their views.

    Some years ago a consultant did a study of the Valley voting patterns that also showed that in a first race a candidate made in that area a name with fewer vowels in it attracted more voters than a longer name. For example, although Jim High tow er had much better positions on Hispanic issues the first time he ran statewide he lost the RGV to Jim Nu gent.

    South Texas voters will also vote for Local Boy over an outsider. For example, Bullock LOST HIDALGO COUNTY to a GOP candidate (and did not do as well as she he should have in the rest of the RGV) when the GOP ran a Local Boy (and Vietnam Hero) against him for Comptroller. In the Davis case the Hispanic named candidate was from Corpus Christi. (“All politics is local”, Tip O’Neil.)

    These are just some of those little things that makes politics more interesting.

    PS. Still on vacation, but I just passed by and saw the anti-choice lobbyist’s plug for the anti-abortion vote and could not let it pass unchallenged.

    P.S.P.S. Any word on Judge Dietz?

  • WUSRPH

    Passed by on the way from my bank account home page….Did you see that Abbott LOST ANOTHER ONE at the SCOTUS?….Another one of his anti-pollution control law suits against the EPA got hosed…..The boy just loves to sue ’em but he just can’t beat ’em. In fact, when it comes to suing the feds Abbott is the Houston Half-Astros of Attorney Generals.

  • PrattonTexas

    “The problem for Abbott is that his outreach comes at a moment when a number of Texas Democrats are accusing Republicans of alienating Hispanic voters with overheated rhetoric on immigration and border security.” Once again Democrat accusations are treated as if such are perceived reality by everyone else. Such isn’t the case.

  • WUSRPH

    It was 0 for 2 for Atty. Gen. Abbott Monday. First the SCOTUS ruled against him on his anti-pollution control lawsuit against the EPA. Next, the special judge REFUSED TO ORDER JUDGE DIETZ to recuse himself from the school funding trial. Abbott had tried to derail the case claiming improper contacts between the judge and the successful school districts who had sued the state. The special judge found that Abbott’s office knew about those kinds of contacts from the very beginning and never objected. Abbott again proves that he knows how to file law suits….He just doesn’t know how to win them.