NOTE TO READERS: IN MY INITIAL POST, I MISTAKENLY ATTRIBUTED THE ATTACK ON THE TEXAS CONSERVATIVE ROUNDTABLE AND THE TEXAS TRIBUNE TO THE YOUNG CONSERVATIVES OF TEXAS. IN FACT, THE INFORMATION CAME FROM AGENDAWISE. I REGRET THE ERROR AND THE CONFUSION, AND I HAVE UPDATED AND CORRECTED THE POST. From the AgendaWise web site: The Texas Tribune is again peddling an establishment front group set up to counter conservatives in Texas. The self-styled ‘Texas Conservative Roundtable’ today released it’s “scorecard” and the Texas Tribune pushed it with a pillow-soft puff piece by Ross Ramsey. You’ll remember, when the Texas Conservative Roundtable first arrived on the scene, a Texas Tribune “news story” served as the group’s primary advertising platform. About that time Ramsey said in a podcast that the Texas Conservative Roundtable was created as a foil for Empower Texans/Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, a proven conservative budget watchdog. Ramsey’s candid statement about this new tool of the political establishment was evidently a little too accurate for the world of paid-for news that the Texas Tribune has brought to Texas. In the scorecard advertisement Ramsey wrote today, the message was different, more respectful. He made sure to add that the Texas Conservative Roundtable does not consider itself a foil for anyone else. Unsurprisingly, in The Conservative Roundtable’s “scorecard” all of the fiscal moderates were rated as fiscal conservatives and vice-versa. It’s rating are close to the opposite of it’s foil, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, a proven budget watchdog. We’ve previously written about TCR, who they are and why they were set up. As Weston Hicks wrote today, this is a terrible time to be running as a liberal in the GOP primary, and they’ll take any help Texas Conservative Roundtable can offer on the fly. Scorecards have existed for a long time, but have become more influential recently with the rise in voter engagement that came with the tea party awakening. It should surprise no one that moderates have set up their own bizzaro “conservative” scorecards for campaign season, the season when moderates pretend to be conservatives. * * * * The Texas Conservative Roundtable, whatever and whoever they are, has as much right to rate legislators on the issues they feel are important as AgendaWise or Empower Texans. AgendaWise would have you believe that Empower Texans is the gold standard for rankings. Not by my book, it isn’t. It’s just another attempt to enforce one person’s view of political orthodoxy on everybody else. The Republican party should be a big-tent organization. It is going to have to become one if it is going to survive. This state is 45% anglo, 55% minority. The success Republicans have enjoyed in the Rick Perry era is not sustainable. It will probably last until 2018-2020-2022, and then it is over unless Republicans adapt. The average Republican voter is blind to this reality. There is going to be a tipping point. When it occurs, it is either going to occur all at once, or incrementally. If it is the former, Republicans are going to wake up on the morning after, as Democrats did on the morning after Bill Clements won the governorship in 1978, and ask themselves, “What happened?” And the answer is going to be that they ignored what was right before their eyes, the demographic changes in the state–which, in Clements’ day, was the rise of the Republican Party. There are Republicans who understand the changes that are taking place today and welcome them. Joe Straus is one of them. Of all the Republicans who hold office in the state, he is the one who ought to be leading the party into the future. He gets it. Perry doesn’t get it, Dewhurst doesn’t get it, Abbott doesn’t get it, and AgendaWise certainly don’t get it. They think that what is will always be. That is never true in politics. Politics is always evolving. Having no sense of history, AgendaWise doesn’t see the danger of RINO hunts that seek to factionalize and purify their own party by demonizing the moderates. When the liberal Democrats turned on the conservative Democrats in the eighties, what happened? The conservative Democrats began wearing buttons that said, “Rather fight than switch.” The next session, both the buttons and the conservative Democrats were gone. Ask not for whom the bell tolls.
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