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Governor Greg Abbott is Almost Unbeatable in the 2018 Race

A Democratic survey of voters shows the governor’s power, but it doesn’t mean Texans agree with Republicans on all the issues. Here’s how the Democratic party can use that information.

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A poll circulating among the state’s Democratic leadership shows Abbott is currently the most popular politician in Texas, with less than 30 percent of the state’s voters viewing him unfavorably.
Illustration by Anna Donlan; Beatles fans by Morrie Hill; Abbott by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Texas political reporters are chasing congressman Joaquin Castro with a single question: Will he challenge Governor Greg Abbott’s re-election? Castro, seemingly enjoying the attention, coquettishly says no without actually offering a definitive answer. As Castro demurs, other names pop up as potential Democratic gubernatorial candidates: Castro’s brother, Julián; University of Texas Chancellor Bill McRaven; Hill+Knowlton Strategies Chairman Jack Martin; and Dallas businessman Mark Cuban. Rumor upon rumor. But with the December 11 candidate filing deadline growing closer every day, the Democrats still have no challenger for Abbott.

The reason for that is fairly simple. A poll circulating among the state’s Democratic leadership—which I was given on the agreement that I would not identify its source, but I have confirmed the information with additional Democratic operatives—shows Abbott is currently the most popular politician in Texas, with less than 30 percent of the state’s voters viewing him unfavorably. If the election had been held when the poll was conducted this summer among 1,000 registered Texans likely to vote in 2016, Abbott would have received 49 percent of the vote, and a Democrat to be named later would have scored 38 percent. That’s about the same percentage of the vote Democrat Wendy Davis received in her 2014 loss to Abbott. The poll also notes that Abbott’s name identification among voters was 91 percent. Castro’s was 44 percent. It was not a general survey of voters, because it oversampled Hispanics and voters in some targeted state House districts. About 37 percent of the respondents were Democrats, 19 percent independents, and 44 percent Republicans.

I only received a portion of the survey relating primarily to Abbott and the president, but it seems to show that the Donald Trump effect that Democrats have been hoping for is missing in Texas. Although the president’s personal favorable/unfavorable rating and job approval is about even, Abbott’s job approval was 61 percent, followed by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz at 55 percent. Not to mention that a whopping 76 percent of Texans had a positive view of the state’s economy—a key metric for incumbents.

Still, these numbers are in no small part because Abbott is Governor Bland. When asked whether he has ever done anything to make respondents proud, half said no, while less than 40 percent said yes. Has he ever done anything to make you angry? Sixty-seven percent said no.

The poll did produce some useful takeaways for Democrats though. For instance, 82 percent of poll respondents said the Legislature spends too much time on issues like the bathroom bill. President Trump’s health care proposals and plan to build a wall on the Texas border were opposed by half of those surveyed, and 65 percent said the state’s Medicaid program should be expanded to provide health care to more people. Fifty-eight percent opposed dividing families to deport undocumented immigrants, but support for the sanctuary cities law was split 40-40. The remaining 20 percent had no opinion.

More than just a candidate problem, Democrats have a brand problem. To the question, “The Democrats are too liberal for Texas and soft on border security,” 56 percent agreed. In recent elections, Democrats have done well in the state’s largest cities with black, Hispanic, and white liberal populations, but seem to be identified among white voters in smaller towns and rural areas with a national party that they don’t believe represents them.

The big question is what the state Democratic leadership will do in the face of such uphill numbers. Major parties need to field strong candidates for top-of-the-ticket races like governor. (Technically, the U.S. Senate race is the top of the ticket, and Democrat Beto O’Rourke is running to challenge Cruz. But in Texas, the focus always has been more on the governor’s contest rather than potential new D.C. Texpats.) Traditional politicians like the Castro brothers would find themselves in a tough contest against an incumbent as popular as Abbott appears. Without a major challenger, Abbott would be free to spend his $41 million campaign fund on defeating Democrats at the local level and Republicans who have opposed him in the Texas House.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) (L) and his twin brother, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro (R) leave after an East Room ceremony at the White House September 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. Both have been discussed as possible Democratic candidates for governor.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Some Democrats are hoping a wealthy businessman or trial lawyer will step forward to self-fund a strong contest that challenges Abbott on his weaker polling issues such as education, college tuition, and health care. On most issues in the poll, Texans rated Abbott’s positions positively, though not overwhelmingly so. But he had a weak performance on public education, the cost of college, and health care. On the cost of a higher education, just 26 percent gave Abbott a positive rating, and 46 percent disapproved of the job he is doing. If such a candidate arose, it could redefine Abbott.

The best strategy for the self-funded millionaire Democrat is to announce in November, shortly before the filing deadline, to run a 365-day campaign that costs $20 million to $30 million. By announcing late, the candidate would know whether he or she would have to spend major money just to win the party nomination, money that could be better spent on the general election. It also reduces the amount of time Republicans would have to run a negative campaign against them.

But the biggest problem for Democrats with Abbott is that a sacrificial lamb candidate, or even a wealthy candidate who runs a poor campaign, can have a negative effect on candidates in down-ballot races.

So the other idea is to skip the governor’s race to concentrate on incumbents such as Patrick and Cruz. CPA Mike Collier, who ran an unsuccessful race for comptroller last year, has announced against Patrick, who is closely linked to the unpopular bathroom bill.  There also are other potential down-ballot state races where the incumbent might be vulnerable, such as Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who has been making bad publicity a habit. Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton is under indictment on securities fraud charges, and I’m told several attorneys are looking at mounting a challenge against him. Paxton’s trial is scheduled to begin jury selection on the same day as the party primaries filing deadline, December 11.

Additionally, there are three congressional districts and ten state House districts that were carried by Democrat Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential election that Democrats could seize upon. In most of those districts, the Republican incumbent received substantially more votes than Clinton, but the mere fact she carried them gives Democrats hope for potential growth. And a disastrous Democratic candidacy could be particularly distressing for these Harris County Democrats, who swept the ballot last year.

There was a similar debate in 1998, when Land Commissioner Garry Mauro made an against-the-odds challenge to Governor George W. Bush’s re-election. Just as now, some Democrats argued that major parties field major candidates; others said without an opponent Bush could use his money to target other races. Then-comptroller John Sharp, who was running for lieutenant governor, fell into the latter group, refused to endorse Mauro, and publicly distanced himself from the party.

Mauro worked hard and ran a fairly good campaign, but the contest always was overwhelmingly against him. Bush received 68 percent of the vote and defeated Mauro by almost 1.4 million ballots. The effect down ballot was devastating. Sharp lost his race to Republican Rick Perry by 68,000 votes, and comptroller candidate Paul Hobby lost to Republican Carole Keeton Rylander by 20,000. The Bush Boost helped two Republican candidates across the finish line and established a Democratic losing streak that has continued through today.

And if you have doubts about the impact of the top of the ticket, consider the effect of two recent candidates on elections in Harris County. In 2014, Democrat Wendy Davis’s rather inept campaign not only lost to Republican Greg Abbott statewide, but she received just 47 percent of the vote in Harris County. One of the highest profile local races that year was for district attorney between Democrat Kim Ogg and Republican Devon Anderson, who won with 53 percent of the vote. During last year’s presidential contest, Democrat Hillary Clinton fell short statewide, but won Harris County with 54 percent of the vote. This time, with Anderson and Ogg in a rematch, Ogg won with 54 percent of the vote.

Don’t look for Castro to jump into the race. He passed on challenging Cruz, and Cruz’s negatives are almost ten points higher than Abbott’s. A strong case can be made for Democrats having a good year in 2018, just not for moving into the white mansion on Colorado Street in Austin.

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  • John Bernard Books

    90% of voters spit when they hear democrats…….

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    • Martin; and Dallas businessman Mark Cuban. Rumor upon rumor. But with the December 11 candidate filing deadline growing closer every day, the Democrats still have no challenger for Abbott.

      • Kozmo

        I’d run just to see someone’s name on the ballot! But I can’t afford to blow thousands of my own dollars on the filing fee just to mount a perceived “crank” campaign.

        • Jed

          Hear hear. Everyone asks why no democrat will run, but look at the critical response we are already getting to the democrats who ARE running.

          I would run, too, only to lose, if I thought it would accomplish anything.

        • BCinBCS

          The most important aspect of running, even though it will result in certain loss, is to get the party platform in the minds of the voters in the hope that eventually they will begin voting in their own interests rather than the way that “they always did”.

  • roadgeek

    I look for Greg Abbott to be governor as long as he desires. He’s not a showboat, but he hits all the high notes and does what’s expected. His appointment of Kent Sullivan as the new insurance commissioner recently was excellent. He works well, or at least not against, Dan Patrick, and does what he can with Straus. I’d vote for him against tomorrow, as I think he’s done an excellent job so far.

    • SpiritofPearl

      He’s done nothing. Governor Bookend . . .

      • roadgeek

        Why does he have to “do” anything? That the state government hasn’t grown is a good thing. The case can be made that some growth in government is necessary to account for new arrivals in Texas, but expanding government to solve perceived problems usually ends up creating governmental agencies that exist into perpetuity.

        • SpiritofPearl

          You are willing to accept low return on your tax dollars. I’m not.

          The high rate of teen pregnancies, the outrageous rate of maternal mortality, the lack of support for public schools are just three failures of the GOP governance in Texas. Nothing “perceived” in the bunch . . .

          • SpiritofPearl
          • Jed

            No.

            If you think populism equals racism, you misunderstand one of these terms (not surprising, since the news and Wusrph do it, too).

          • WUSRPH

            As you note, I have some problems with “populism” but I don’t think I have ever said that being a populist makes one a racist or even suggests that.
            True populism—during the very brief times it has existed as any noticeable force in American politics—has always tried to represent ALL people against the evil elites…That was even the case in the Deep South–where Populism’s opponents used the fact that it included blacks amongst its supporters to quite successfully undermine it and destroy its influence.

            Of course, you have to distinguish TRUE populism from the kind of often racist radical right movements we have today that sometimes—incorrectly—are labeled as being “populists” because, like real populists they rant and rave about the power of “The Bigs” (as JJ calls them) or the elites that they believe control America to their detriment..Their kind of herrenvolk demoracy has nothing in common with true populism.

            I suspect that these are the kinds of folks Pearl is talking about…but, in fact, they are no closer to be being “populists” than most of the far right radicals who call themselves “conservatives” are to real conservatives.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Jeet refers to “right-wing populism.” He’s not talking about Woody Guthrie . .

          • WUSRPH

            But you don’t understand…with the Geek’s view of things none of those are “problems”…they are expected and accepted as just the way things are with no reason to change them….after all, “the poor will always be with us”….and sinners should not be rewarded are lovely myths to hide behind.

          • Jed

            remember whom you’re talking to. He actually prefers that a majority of Texans are in the sh$$tter.

            Wake him up when it’s white people you’re talking about.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Geek is deplorable, but I enjoy pimping him.

  • chriscolumbus

    Anybody but Abbott & Costello …..

  • WUSRPH

    As you suggest, it sounds a lot like “Same song, same verse” from 2014…Back then Wendy Davis’s only chance seemed to be to cut away at Abbott’s commanding lead with attacks that, she hoped, would turn enough people away from Abbott for longer enough for them to take a look at what here candidacy supposedly had to offer… That did not work….Whether she might have done better had she not run such a poor campaign—kicked off with something as stupid as a misleading bio sketch–and featuring what came to look like a new campaign manger every week. (Of course, it was not that bad….but that was the image the several changes produced.)

    Either of the Castro brothers would be a better candidate than Davis—who proved she was way out of her league. Both have higher ambitions elsewhere. Neither is going to agree to take on the role of sacrificial lamb which, based on this poll. is the role for Democrat who runs for governor next year.

    There will be plenty of calls for one to make the run…I’m already getting almost daily e-mails about how “close” they may be to making the race and how I should encourage them as part of an effort to build “public support” and “a public call” for the race…A Davis might be able to be persuaded by such clamor but the Castros are too smart to be led down that trail without being shown a lot more evidence that there is a realistic chance to beat Abbott before they will even begin to consider making the race.

    The sad reality is that, if Abbott is likely to be beaten next year It would probably be by Patrick in the Primary….but even that looks less likely as Abbott successfully milks Hurricane Harvey for all the PR it is worth..

    Of course, that could change if people became more aware of his record (or lack thereof) or they finally try of a governor whose role in dealing with Harvey seems to be offering is personal condolences for what people have lost and handing out checks from the federal government…..

    As such, I suspect we are back in sort of the same position we were with Dolph Briscoe in the mid-1970s when the state faced many challenges waiting for the public to figure out that he is not up to job. Of course, back then they wound up electing someone who made many of us miss Briscoe…

    • Don Baker

      The problem for democrats in Texas is real Americans know exactly what you stand for and want no part of it.

      • BCinBCS

        The problem with you, Don, is that you think that people who believe differently from you are not “real Americans”.

  • WUSRPH

    Southern states have elected some real doozies as US Senators….none more so that Theodore Bilbo of Alabama or Hughie Long of Louisiana…and Texas’ own Pappy Lee O’Daniel was close behind…..but Alabama may be on the verge of topping all of them. Long, was a demagogue with his hand deep in the public till…..Bilbo was a racist of the upmost degree…O’Daniel was a fool.. .but all of them were wise enough to know that much of what they said and did was hog wash….This guy Roy Moore, however, apparently actually thinks he is speaking the word of God…It would be a strange thing if he is elected and goes on to make Bilbo and Long and even O’Daniel look like statesmen.

    • Kozmo

      What’s frightening is that increasingly fringe candidates are using the Republican Party as a platform for election (thanks to many people’s knee-jerk refusal to vote for the admittedly hapless Democrats). The Repubs courted the votes from reactionary extremists and now these same cancer cells are taking over the party, using it to get elected when before they would have been consigned to minor third party limbo.

  • BCinBCS

    U.S. Senator Ted Cruz [approval rating] at 55 percent…

    At one of the other blogs that I read, a poster wrote the following that seems to apply to the Cruz supporters:

    America is in a slide of its own making. We have way too many people who are just too stupid to ever support smart government, and we have plenty of horrible people who are more than happy to fleece us all for all they can.

    • Jed

      People aren’t stupid. They have been intentionally rendered ignorant for the profit of a handful of billionaires.

      Blaming voters is essentially victim-blaming. People educated in our schools don’t stand a chance against the corporate media (fox).

      • SpiritofPearl

        What’s wrong with our schools?

        • Jed

          You mean besides being woefully underfunded and unequally funded, spending more on football stadiums than teachers, having to teach”both sides” of scientific theories that only have one side, filling out school boards and state boards with chamber of commerce nominees instead of educators, and failing to teach our children of their roles and responsibilities as citizens or warn them of the dangers of fascism? Besides that stuff?

          Then how about our worst in the nation college entrance scores and dropout rates?

          That’s just what I came up with while typing.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Let’s define what comprises “schools.”

          • WUSRPH

            When I think about American history—and particularly that of Texas—and its current state it makes me think that there must be some truth in the old brag that America has a special relationship with God and that he protects us (from ourselves, perhaps?)….How else can you explain how we have turned out as well as we have?…..I would hate to think how bad it would be if we had be just left on our own….For example, we might have elected several Trumps rather than one.

          • SpiritofPearl

            We are being tested.

          • donuthin2

            Not sure it was God’s will or just plain luck that gave us a country rich in natural resources but that has been responsible for much of our success, probably as much as our resourcefulness.

          • Kozmo

            Not having powerful, hostile neighbors is a big plus as well. We’ve been the big dogs in an entire hemisphere for a couple of centuries now.

            But all luck runs out. For a young country, the US already shows signs of being well into its half-life (i.e., it’s radioactive, and beginning to decay).

          • BCinBCS

            To get into the historical weeds:

            The U.S. besides being bless with incredible natural resources and isolation from warring Europe had two other great fortunes:
            (i) we had the great luck to be founded by a group of educated Fathers who believed in the principals of The Enlightenment. Our type of democracy had never before been instituted by a country (Greece, for a time, had a cumbersome direct democracy).
            (ii) and equally as important, the people who colonized this country believed in private ownership of property. This often overlooked fact is the reason that Canada and the United States, colonized by the British, are so successful while Mexico and the Central- and South American countries, colonized by Spain, which have just a much land and resources but owned only by an elite few, is not as successful.

          • donuthin2

            Plus a cheap source of labor from Mexico that we are perfectly happy to hire while hypocritically talking about how they abuse us.

          • BCinBCS

            And the reason that their labor is so cheap is that they can work for slave wages for the patrónes or come to the U.S. because their system opposes their acquisition of property and the opportunities and power that flows from it.

          • Kozmo

            Well, to drip some rain on this parade a bit:

            i) For all the enlightenment of the Constitution, it still left a lot to be desired, in that our representative democracy, like ancient Rome’s, had a severely limited franchise. It helped to be a landowning, free white male, for one thing. In that, we were no better than previous systems. Took a long time to work out the kinks, and some would say we’ve even been backsliding in recent times.

            ii) This seems an oversimplication. Europeans could own land. The US had and has as much de fact serfdom as any European feudal state. It helped that early Americans could simply TAKE land that was vacant — or that had been rid of pesky Indians — that was an option not available to average Europeans. The US had indentured servitude and outright slavery for a long time, before and after the revolution. Big landowners were a problem even in the Old Days (e.g., why do you think there were sharecroppers?) Cities were full of landless immigrants as the 19th century went on. Energetic souls might keep moving West — again, once the original landowners, the tribes, had been eliminated or removed — but even then, squatters were always having their land rights stolen by unscrupulous land agents and shady claim jumpers. David Crockett spent much of his congressional time advocating for the rights of humble squatters in Tennessee to retain the land that was deeded out from under them to lawyers and land speculators, who knew how to work the laws and play the system to their own advantage.

            It has ever been thus.

          • BCinBCS

            Kosmo, everything that you say is true but I was comparing the different outcomes of New World countries that allowed land ownership for (most) of its citizens – the English model – versus the system that gave almost all of the land to elites – the Spanish model. The system that allowed property ownership resulted in a society with greater wealth, upward mobility and equality (eventually).

        • dormand

          Student outcomes have long taken a back seat to success on the football gridiron.

          ( You might have noticed the section on football skills is notoriously slim in your local help wanted section of your hometown newspaper. )

          One root cause is the generations long tradition in Texas public schools when there is an opening for a science teacher of hiring a history major who can help coach the football team.

          • SpiritofPearl

            My grand daughter is in second grade at a school on Austin’s east side. The school is 80% Latino, 10% black, 10% white. I’m continually impressed with the dedication, professionalism, and affection of her teachers. We must support our teachers and schools, not continuously criticize them.

            If we want better schools, we must cough up the money.

          • Kozmo

            Indeed. As another example, look to the city of Temple — must be over 80,000 residents now — which to this day only has ONE high school simply because the people there refuse to break up the football team among different schools.

      • donuthin2

        Well there is certainly a difference between stupid and ignorant, so maybe ignorant is a better way of describing those who do not support smart government. But I think it goes beyond just being ignorant. Can just being ignorant make one buy into the crazy rhetoric that is going on. At some point ignorant, becomes stupid.

        • Jed

          ignorance plus all the world’s communication power controlled by about three outlets can accomplish … what it has accomplished.

          qed.

    • Don Baker

      Paxton is under politically inspired bogus charges. He will prevail. He is doing an excellent job as Atty General and will have my vote.

  • donuthin2

    I like the Maverick John McCain much better than the moderated John McCain. I wish more would vote for some reason other than the way if affected their political future.

  • WUSRPH

    Is there blood in the water? Are the sharks circling?

    Elements in the GOP hostile to Texas House Speaker Joe Straus have pledged an all-out war against him and legislators who support him in this upcoming primaries in which they hope to elect new members who are either already opposed to Straus or who, at the least, might be open to considering voting for someone else for Speaker.

    Straus’ challengers know they can rely on the money and resources of such groups as Empower-Texans and the Tea-Party and their behind the scene financiers. But, they also hope which they hope to be able to draw on at least the behind the scenes help of Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick, both of whom have sharp disagreements with Straus.

    How effective that effort will be is uncertain, but, as you may have seen, there were two developments Friday that foretell possible bad news for Texas House Speaker Joe Straus…

    .First, the House GOP caucus voted to “study” the way the speaker is now elected and, second, Rep, Phil King announced that he is running for speaker—presumably against Straus who says he is seeking re-election.

    The two developments actually go together since what the caucus is studying is whether to adopt a system under which only 48 members of the House could effectively determine who will be speaker. And because just opposing Straus is not enough without being able to offer an alternative.

    Currently the speaker is elected by the full 150-member House which requires 76 votes. There are now 95 Republicans and 55 Democrats so, in theory, a GOP candidate should win . This would be guaranteed if the House were organized along what is called “strict party lines” in which all the members of a party are committed by rule (and practice) to vote as a bloc on questions such as who should be speaker.

    However, because the House is not currently organized along party lines, all 150 members are free to vote for any candidate for speaker, no matter what their party. This means that who becomes speaker is not necessarily determined by what party a speaker candidate belongs but by which candidate, from either party, can pull together a coalition of 76 members which could include both Democratic and Republican legislators as it did when Straus was first elected. (In fact, there has never been a speaker elected along strict party lines. All have been elected with votes from members of both parties.)

    Another effect of the House not being organized along party lines and because speakers reward their supporters, it is that a member of the “minority” party (in this case a Democrat) can rise to a position of power in the House, including a committee chairmanship. (Under a strict party line system, all important posts in the House—including all the committee chairs—would be restricted to members of the majority party.)

    It also—according to some more radical right Republicans–means that the speaker may take into account the views of Democratic members in making his decisions and not actively push some of the radical rightist’s more radical agenda such as vouchers and the bathroom bill.

    All three of these possibilities disturb the more radical right and they have set about trying to change them—-which, in their view, requires that they defeat Straus. Yesterday’s developments are part of that effort.

    The most dangerous to Straus would be if, as a result of the “study” announced by the GOP Caucus, the caucus were to adopt a rule that would bind ALL GOP members to vote for the candidate endorsed by the caucus instead of allowing them to vote for any member they chose. Under this system, the speaker would not be determined by which candidate can round up 76 votes from among the 150 members of the House, but by which one could get the votes of 48 of the 95 GOP members since all 95 would then be expected to vote for the same candidate on the Floor.

    At the present time, according to most estimates, there are no more than 35 members of the GOP Caucus (centered around the self-named “Freedom Caucus”) who, given the right opportunity, might vote against Straus. By themselves this is not enough to defeat Straus or change the caucus rule. However, a bloc of that size would only have to pick up about 13 more votes to take over the Caucus and adopt the new rule on how to vote for speaker.

    But to attract those votes it has to have a candidate to run against Straus who is acceptable to less radical members… And, this is where Phil King comes in.

    While not as radical right as the Freedom Caucus his 54% score on Empower-Texans rating scale is 7 points above the House average. This probably makes him at least acceptable to the group while not frightening
    away the semi-mythical “moderate” and “business conservatives” who would be needed to defeat Straus. King
    has been a member of the House since 1999 and currently chairs one of its minor committees which, under normal circumstances, would be supposed to make his local to Straus

    How much support King can expect is uncertain…but it is unlikely that he would have entered the race without at least some indication that he can expect support from the Freedom Caucus and Straus’ other enemies.

    The fact that he is entering the race against Straus suggests that he expects that Straus’ opponents may be able to weaken the speaker by defeating some of his supporters and electing new members opposed to Straus
    in the primaries. They would then hope that would frighten enough incumbents to make them consider abandoning Straus. Whether this is possible is uncertain but it is clear that all of this will be fought out over
    the coming months in the GOP primaries. The outcome could reshape Texas politics for years to come.

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      Geez, you should be writing for Burka blog.

      • WUSRPH

        Writing “on” the Burkablog is more than enough for me….In fact, I probably do too much of that.

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    • donuthin2

      Corresponded with my state rep, complimenting him on his low Empower Texas score and ask that he not support changing the system of electing the speaker. That was before King announced but he indicated almost unequivocally that changing was not going to happen. He has been a Straus supporter until now, but I will be watching.

      • WUSRPH

        Glad you did…I would hope that more would do the same….The fact that their constituents are aware of the situation and support Straus might have some effect on a rep. who is “thinking” about deserting Straus. I would almost suggest that JJ ask The Great Listener how he intends to vote but I would hate to seek him have to find another legislator to become enamored with if the answer is not what he would like…

    • Kozmo

      Straus might as well change parties and see if he can resurrect the Democrats, seeing as how many powerful Republicans have launched a vendetta against him. Or like Caesar, is he going to wait for the knives to come out on the floor of the House?

  • John Bernard Books

    The “Obama Shakedown”
    “An estimated $640 million has been diverted into what critics say is an improper, if not unconstitutional, “slush fund” fed from government settlements with JPMorgan Chase and Co., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp., according to congressional sources.

    The payola is potentially earmarked for third-party interest groups approved by the Justice Department and HUD without requiring any proof of how the funds will be spent. Many of the recipients so far are radical leftist organizations who solicited the settlement cash from the administration even though they were not parties to the lawsuits, records show.”
    http://nypost.com/2017/09/23/how-obama-is-funding-the-anti-trump-resistance/

    no one can steal like a democrat….

  • WUSRPH

    Up until Trump over the last few days I do not think there has been a national leader so angry at black athletes since Adolph Hitler had a (private) hissy over Jesse Owens wining those medals at the Berlin Olympics of
    1936 that were supposed to be the showplace for White Aryan Supremacy. Hitler, however, hide his anger in public, unlike Trump….and didn’t call anyone an SOB, at least not in a public gathering…. I guess Hitler had enough self-awareness to understand why blacks might not like him…while It seems Trump has a problem relating what he says and advocate to any disdain American blacks, browns or even Whites might have toward him.

    • John Bernard Books

      I’ve been curious why so many companies seem to hate their customers. I think I’ve finally put it together. The new owners/CEOs are 2nd or 3rd generation and they didn’t “earn” their wealth, so the have a lack of appreciation for what it takes to build a business. The new owners of NFL teams are the same way, many are 2nd or 3rd generation owners or in some cases entertainers. They think by sticking their finger in their fans eyes their fan base will grow. Idiots…..
      Remember when Texans elected dems to statewide office…..neither do I.

    • Don Baker

      It is not a race issue and you are intelligent enough to know that. It seems to be more important to you to be a left wing propagandist than be factual

      • WUSRPH

        You must not be looking at the color of skin of most of those protesting….

        • Jed

          Or WHY they are protesting.

  • John Bernard Books
  • WUSRPH

    As mentioned in previous posts a good politician needs to be a master of the old magician’s trick of distracting the viewers from what is really happening by distracting their attention. Trump has used this tactic several times…and with this attacks on “disloyal” and “un-American” football players and his demands that they be fired is certainly doing his best now to take attention away from such things as:

    *Another potential failure of the effort to repeal the ACA;

    *The likelihood that “his” candidate in the Alabama US Senate election on Tuesday may get slaughtered; and

    *North Korea and Iran

    Among other issues of greater importance……
    But stirring up the base by attacking unpatriotic football players, especially if they are blacks, is sure to fire up his base…..

    We’ve had attempts to amend the US Constitution to ban the burning of the US flag….but it looks like we would
    have to go further to ban kneeling as a political protest as well under Trump. We also have had loyalty oaths that public employees, particularly teachers had to sign or be fired…..but that did not extend to the NFL. If this keeps up I may have to actually watch a game or buy a ticket or something to defend the First Amendment.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Why do we have the anthem played almost exclusively at sporting events? I’ve never heard it played at the symphony, the theater, movies, rock concerts, religious services, weddings, civilian funerals. Is it because sporting events simulate battle of some sort?

      • SpiritofPearl

        Roy Moore is a theocratic whack job, but I’ll enjoy seeing DJT fail yet again. Moore will also drive McConnell ravers. Popcorn.

      • Jed

        the major US sports leagues are paid as propagandists by the US military branches.

        no lie.

        • SpiritofPearl

          Saw that on the news yesterday – a recruiting tool used by the military to get recruits.

      • Don Baker

        Like most democrat extremists you hate our national anthem.

        • SpiritofPearl

          You know nothing, bubba.

        • WUSRPH

          Actually, since it was written by a distant cousin, I kind of like it…..but, unlike you, I pay attention to all the lines such as the one that says “For conquer we must WHEN our cause it is just”. I have no doubt that America is No. 1…and I love my country…and have no plans to leave it (voluntarily at least) but that does not blind me to the things that need to be improved.

          P.S. But you have to admit they could have picked a better tune to which to apply Cousin Francis’ words. The song they used is it very hard to sing correctly and results in a lot of mangled presentations. Some folks prefer “God Bless America” which actually declares the US to be “the greatest nation on earth”…..but it probably isn’t bombastic enough for people like you. But it might have had a chance since it was written in 1918 some 13 years before “The Star Spangled Banner” became our official anthem…. (We didn’t have one until then…although some folks were using that song in place of one before then.)

          • Kozmo

            I like the original words (“To Anacreon in Heaven” — find it on YouTube, it’s a hoot), and it tickles me that the national anthem is based on a British club drinking song.

        • BCinBCS

          you hate our national anthem.
          ..presenting facts not in evidence.

      • Kozmo

        I don’t like it. Forced, reflexive, public displays of “patriotism” is no patriotism at all. It’s two-faced and grandstanding and shows how easily people can be manipulated and turn off their minds. Orwellian, like “Two Minute Hates.” We shouldn’t pat ourselves on the back so much or emulate Nuremberg rallies.

        • donuthin2

          I’ve always thought bowing in prayer at a sporting event is sacrilegious. I am not a religious soul, but if I were, I would not like it.

        • SpiritofPearl

          Yeah. The NFL only started the anthem ritual in 2009 at the request of the DOD to enhance recruitment.

  • Jay Trainor

    Joe Straus ought to take on Greg Abbott for governor. Of the three top Texas elected officials, only Joe Straus acted like an adult during the last regular and special session plus in 2015.

    Haven’t we all realized by now just how bad the far right has scammed the average Texan? Dan Patrick, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump show they can’t be trusted to address serious issues.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Acting like an adult gets you nowhere in Texas.

      • donuthin2

        Unfortunately, it will set you back in many cases.

        • SpiritofPearl

          I’ve met many wonderful Texans since I moved here. Why do they shoot themselves in the foot when they step into the ballot box?

      • Kozmo

        That’s right. Stop making sense!

    • John Bernard Books

      I hope Straus challenges Abbott and runs as a democrat….so dems can continue their losing streak. Almost 30 years since a dem has won a statewide race in Texas.

  • WUSRPH

    Assume you saw that the Texas GOP State Executive Committee is going to put an item on the GOP Primary ballot that asks GOP voters whether they want their state legislator’s to vote only for the speaker candidate who is endorsed by the House Republican caucus? It is part of the campaign against Joe Straus. Another part is the drive to get Republican county executive committees to pass resolution’s that, in effect, condemn Straus….50 have done so already. It looks like they really intend to go all out to get him….

  • WUSRPH

    Don’t you just love the way the Republicans in the US Senate continue to make hypocrites of themselves in their desperation to find some proposal to repeal the ACA?

    Of course, few remember how back when the ACA was passed how the GOP screamed about there not having been enough debate or committee consideration….or how they viciously attacked its Democratic sponsors for “buying” the vote of a wavering senator by including special provisions for his state…..

    But today we have a bill that has not been considered by a committee for as much as a single second—-and wasn’t even sent to one for consideration—and a bunch of last-minute tinkering to try to “encourage” Senators Collins and Murkowski by adding special provisions for their home states. But it was different when the Democrats did it.

  • John Bernard Books

    Another in a long list of dem pedophiles goes to prison…..
    “Anthony D. Weiner, whose repeated sexting scandals cost him his seat in Congress, his bid to become mayor of New York City, and possibly Hillary Clinton’s chances at the presidency, was sentenced on Monday to 21 months in prison.

    His inability to control his habit of exchanging lewd texts and pictures with women fueled his long and tortuous downfall. But it was his most recent exchanges with a 15-year-old girl that were the most personally ruinous, ending his marriage and resulting in his criminal conviction and a prison sentence.”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/25/nyregion/anthony-weiner-sentencing-prison-sexting-teenager.html

    Hildebeast next…….

  • Don Baker

    Abbott certainly has my vote. I cannot think of a single issue I disagree with him on. Conversely I cannot think of a single issue I agree with any democrat on.

    • José

      High praise, indeed. By that measure Abbott is every bit as qualified as a paperweight.

      • WUSRPH

        Actually, I would prefer a paperweight…It could do less harm to the State even if someone threw it at all the voters.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Are you don764550?

    • BCinBCS

      I cannot think of a single issue I disagree with him on.
      You must not have children or grandchildren in public schools.

      • dave in texas

        Hell, the dumb stuff he’s already done should be enough to convince folks not to vote for him. Jade Helm, anyone?

  • WUSRPH

    I have a meeting at 7 pm. tonight which means that I will probably miss tonight’s edition of Ken Burns’ Vietnam film so I will not be able to bore you with my babbling about those days….However, I certainly hope that tonight he covers one of the most disreputable and disgraceful acts in American history—-Richard Nixon’s deliberate sabotaging of the Paris Peace Talks in the hope that it would help him get elected. Burns did not mention it in last episode that covered the first half of 1968 but tonight he should talk more about the election of 1968
    and, as I said, I hope he covers it when he does.

    For those who are too young to have heard about it (or who have had your head buried in your life and
    missed the news later)….After LBJ got the North Vietnamese to go to Paris for peace talks, Nixon feared that, if an agreement was reached before the election, he would probably lose the election to the Democratic nominee VP Hubert Humphrey….As a result, he sent Mrs. Claire Chennault to deliver a message to the generals in Saigon that, if they dug in their feet and raised all kinds of objections to the talks and he was subsequently elected, that he would insure that they got a better deal in any peace agreement……They took the bait and the talks accomplished nothing…..whether it turned out to be good for the generals is uncertain because all they eventually got from Nixon was seven more years of war and a treaty that gave the US “a decent interval” between our withdrawal and a North Vietnamese victory.

    Just before the election the CIA discovered what Nixon had done—which was technically an act of treason—but LBJ declined to go public because he could not then disclose the source of the intelligence and, as a result, he feared the news would be labeled, to use a modern term, “false news” in a desperate last-minute attempt to save the election for Humphrey…and after the election he did not want to be seen as attacking the president elect. .(In retrospect the country might have been better served had he gone public as Humphrey, who had started out way behind, was closing fast and the election turned out to be one of the closest, if not the closest, in American history.)

    Nixon of course was campaigning claiming he had “a secret plan” to end the war that he would implement if elected. What it was is still unclear….but, in any case, no agreement was reached UNTIL after he had been elected to another term in 1972 and more than 20,000 more American deaths.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Can you tape the show?

      • WUSRPH

        My device to do that kind of stuff died a couple of years ago…and I have not replaced it…but I may be home earlier enough to see the second showing on the other channel.

        • José

          You can watch it on pbs.org as well. Any episode that has already aired.

          • WUSRPH

            I was happy to see they did talk about what Nixon did to prolong the war for his own political benefit….We must never forget that such a man could rise to the presidency….Of course Trump reminds of that danger every day he is in office.

          • BCinBCS

            As the years have passed, my hatred of Richard Nixon has moderated a bit and the good things that he did (EPA, opening China, etc) have helped but Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s series has rekindled the burning fire of hatred that I developed for him while in college. Man, I truly, truly hate that guy. So much for my “chill”.

          • SpiritofPearl

            I read Stanley Karnow’s “Viet Nam” when it was first published. Such a boondoggle by all concerned, not just Nixon.

          • WUSRPH

            If you are not saturated with Vietnam I would suggest “A Grand Delusion: America’s Descent into Vietnam” by Robert Mann. It was published in 2001 and was able to take advantage of a lot of things learned (or released) since Karnow wrote his book.

          • SpiritofPearl

            “Saturated” is not the word – more traumatized about the horror and foolishness of it all.

          • BCinBCS

            Reliving Viet Nam through the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick series has brought tears to my eyes a couple of times but being reminded of Mỹ Lai, Kent State and Jackson State brought me to sobs. My god, my god.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Was just back in STL for my annual grade school reunion. More than half of the men had been in VN, some as grunts, some as officers. Young people today fail to realize how that obligation affected not just the men, but their families.

            Mr. P. was an engineer and worked in the defense industry, as did many of his classmates, but he became 1A after the Tet offensive. Scary times . . .

  • WUSRPH

    Don’t you just love how some politicians can “spin” anything to make it look good for them and their side?……We saw one of the best examples today in the various reactions to the US 5th Circuit’s action on the “sanctuary cities” bill which upheld part of the lower court’s ruling (probably the most important parts) but allowed other parts to go into effect. Depending on which side they were one this either was either a great victory for Texas (or so says Atty. Gen. Paxton) or more proof that Texas deliberately and unconstitutionally discriminates against Hispanics. One would hope that somewhere in the middle some truth might be found.

    Of course, I must admit that I was probably a fairly good “spinner” in my time…..However, I did at least try to live by a standard that said that I would never LIE to the press, etc…although, when pressed, I would admit that not lying did not always mean telling the full truth…..I am not sure that many of today’s spinners even could meet that limited of a standard..

    • dave in texas

      I worked on a campaign some years back where the campaign’s press guy was named Cpin (pronounced ‘spin’). One of the most appropriate name/job matchups ever.

      • WUSRPH

        He knew his calling in life…..unlike like an Army sergeant I met back during the Vietnam War whose last name was Conquest. We weren’t doing much of that at the time

  • Kozmo

    This speaks to the current state of patheticness of the state Democratic Party, if they simply give up on the guv’s race. There’s not much hope for a one-party state.

    You’d think a determined Democratic populist would stand up — he doesn’t have to have bags of money, just a decent message.

    Where are the past viable candidates? What’s Bill White doing these days?

    • WUSRPH

      The last I heard he was bailing out his house….but I would not call him a viable candidate evan when he ran in 2010….You may forgotten that he got only a fraction of 42% of the vote. The sad, sad reaility is that when it comes the offices at the top of the ballot there is probably no such thing as a “viable candidate”.

    • SpiritofPearl

      The Castro brothers shyly dance around the subject of running for statewide office.

    • dave in texas

      Hell, even Democrats with bags of money face a seriously uphill battle. Tony Sanchez spent $80 million of his own money to get 40% of the vote. Of course, 2002 was a wave Republican election across the country, but still.

  • SpiritofPearl
  • SpiritofPearl
  • John Bernard Books

    No dems do not get tired of losing….
    “Attorney General Ken Paxton today praised a unanimous 3-to-0 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit that allows Texas to enforce the core provisions of Senate Bill 4 while the state appeals a lower court ruling that blocked the law banning sanctuary cities from taking effect September 1. Senate Bill 4 affirms the right and duty of law enforcement agencies throughout Texas to detain individuals pursuant to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) federal detainer program.”
    https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/news/releases/ag-paxton-5th-circuit-sides-with-texas-on-senate-bill-4

  • SeeItMyWay

    Things haven’t changed much here I see. The thread topic gets railroaded by the Professor missing a TV show which he feels a compulsion to expound on. He then runs wild with definitive statements with no references or footnotes. More of his believing what he wants to believe; more history based on something someother malcontent wrote.

    I will acknowledge that Nixon made life miserable for troops in Vietnam. Troops on and sometimes over the Cambodian border, sent on recon missions to search for black pajama clad North Vietnamese regulars operating in the area, were instructed to “call in and ask permission” before opening fire. Often, depending on what Kissinger was up to, they were instructed to stand down. Of course, the NV regulars were under no such orders and some of my friends got killed, and their friends got killed. Bitterness and hate for the political games being played enveloped them.

    There is no such thing as a fair fight in war. The goal should be to use all might to end the conflict as soon as possible. I cannot imagine any parent sending a child into harm’s way not agreeing with this statement. Political games and calls being made by some politicians who have never experienced the thros of war is goofy.

  • WUSRPH

    I understand the Workforce Commission had a roundtable presentation in Houston this week to talk about the finding a way to get people back to work, etc. in the Harvey flooded areas…and the problems created by such
    things as the fact that several hundred thousand cars were flooded out in Harris County alone…which has made it impossible for many to get to the jobs that do exist. Part of the answer is, of course, money…The problem is that NONE of the federal money in those checks that Gov. Abbott is handing out when he makes a public appearance in the afflicted areas CAN BE USED to meet those needs. It will require STATE DOLLARS…but Abbott is blocking the use of any of the Rainy Day Funds and does not seem to be even doing something about using (stretching) the existing Interim Budget Execution system to provide it. This is just one of the many UNMET NEEDS that few appear to be paying attention to….It might be nice if some news media looked into even the needs of even the Workforce Commission……

    • SeeItMyWay

      Great, but very obvious to all. Do you think any of the people posting here are not aware that the $12B or so just sitting there is called a “Rainy Day Fund”?

      You state the obvious here to a basically liberal group, and a few like me with conservative leanings.

      I agree with you…to a certain extent…but is the state supposed to spend this money before the Feds come through?

      We release $5B or so and expect the Feds to repay us? Not going to happen. How much did NJ kick into the Sandy recovery?

      We contribute to the Fed funds…we should expect it back before we spend a savings account that others did not have.

      This said, we have spent $1B each year on sending state troopers to support border efforts that is the Feds responsibility. Have we billed them for it? Are we getting repaid? Of course not.

      Tell us how you see this situation in more detail. Your prognostications for the last five years or so have, quite frankly, sucked; you nail history on the head. Most of us who make our living by looking forward instead of backwards cannot compete with you on what happened 20 yrs ago, but know a hell of a lot more about what we need to do and what to expect.

      • SeeItMyWay

        I will add that I am no session fan…but the argument is that if we have to spend all of our massive savings account before the Feds pay up, we are getting hosed. How much was spent on just the rebuilding of New Orleans and the reconstruction of their levy’s and pumping stations by the Feds?

        New Orleans, the entire city limits of which are under sea level, should never have been built. Developers in Houston should never have been able to pay to have flood contingency plans ignored.

        We are an ignorant lot. We are controlled by special interests who pay for votes and get what they want. When the Dem’s in Texas were in control and sucking up special interest money, you were the head Dem guy’s spin meister. You must be proud.

      • WUSRPH

        Just a few points:

        First, I fully agree that the duty to police the border belongs to the Federal Govt. and not the state. In fact, the US Constitution makes that clear. But since Texas took on that task for itself, I think it can hardly expect the feds to reimburse us.
        Second, the question of tapping the Rainy Day Fund has NOTHNING to do with using it to cover expenditures while we wait for federal funds…It has to do with the STATE of Texas accepting that it too has a role to play in dealing with the immediate crisis BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY in the steps that will be required to help insure that future Harvey’s will not cause as much damage. To date, Abbott has refused to even publicly discuss this…Only Joe Straus—who Abbott wants defeated for re-election—has shown leadership in his field…..In fact, two committees of the Texas House will hold hearings in Houston next week to talk about just those things. (PS Have you asked The Great Listener about where he stands on the proposal to change the House GOP caucus rule and the challenge to Straus…or are you too afraid of the answer you will get?)
        As to my “prognostication skills”….All I can say is that if you check the back records of this blog you will find that as early as July of 2013—long before she declared for governor—I was publicly predicting that Wendy Davis would be defeated and suggesting that her best course of action was to either run for attorney general of for re-election to the Texas Senate. You, at that same time, were loudly proclaiming her as the best member of the Texas Senate and strongly advocating that she run… You were especially enamored with both her and her legislative program and when I pointed out that virtually none of it had even been reported from committee much less passed, loudly proclaimed that she was a victim of a vast conspiracy by the lobby, the lt. governor and the Republican Party to keep her from succeeding……Of course, you began to move away from her as the campaign developed along lines you did not approve….In the meantime, you found an new enamoree in the person of The Great Listener whose politics and voting record are totally contrary to everything you loved so much in Davis.

        • SeeItMyWay

          You are all over the place, as usual. You want to paint me as an arch conservative Neanderthal, but you can’t. I supported Davis up to, and until she brought social issues into her run for office…until her pink shoed filibuster she had never sided one way or the other on the abortion issue. Richards and Annie’s List won out. At that point, she was the enemy. Bad choice. Was she yours?

          Other than this race, I have been on the right side. How about you? You are gotten virtually every major whatever wrong.

          • WUSRPH

            Oh, how easy is it for your memory to lie to you…which yours does over and over…I have several times challenged you to PROVE what you say…by as simple an act as looking through the archives of this blog. You have repeatedly refused. What are you afraid of? The TRUTH?
            Anyone who makes an effort will quickly find that I have predicted very few races…and that, for example, I have not predicted a win by a statewide Democratic candidate in over 20 years as I can read polls and can see what is happening…..That’s why when you were still blabbering on about how Davis could win, I was on the record as saying the opposite.
            In fact, about the only time in those years in which have not CORRECTLY predicted the outcome of a race in which I made a projection was the 2016 presidential race.. In that one I said I expected Hillary to win….but, as is easily proven by checking the record on this very blog, I expressed real fears several times over the few days before the election…Perhaps you were too dim to understand me when I said that I felt like it was already Jan. 30, 1933, and Hitler had been summoned the Reich Chancellery as subtlety seems beyond you.
            Since any check of FACTS proves that you are wrong I can only conclude that it is either a deliberate LIE or, giving you the benefit of the doubt, maybe you have spent far too much time in the 19th Hole at your country club.
            But, you will go on making that totally false statement because somehow it makes you feel good. To others, all I can say is check the record.
            Yes, I voted for Davis….because she was the Democratic alternative to Abbott. I, as proven by my comments from long before she entered race recorded on this blog, DID NOT believe she would win and consistently said so.
            As to what I think of you or your apparent non-existent political philosophy…I have never thought of you as being a conservative Neanderthal. Actually I gave up trying to figure out whether you have any kind of a political philosophy when you stopped slobbering all over Wendy Davis—who tried very hard to appear to be one of the MOST liberal people in public office—and became equally enamored with Rep Krause, one of the MOST conservative members. The only logical answer being that you are one of those people who are so desperate to have someone, anyone pay attention, that you can easily move from being in love with Davis one day to telling us how wonderful the Great Listener is the next.. All it apparently takes is that they pat you on the head.

          • SeeItMyWay

            You have selective memory; longtime participants here do not. You predicted doom and gloom for Texas after oil prices dropped, and you arrogantly rode along on Hillary’s plane as it took a nosedive into the ground. These are the two biggest prediction blowups you made. There are more.

          • WUSRPH

            I will let the record stand as it is…However, I think people should be reluctant to take the word of someone whose political leanings seem to be totally based on which politician will pat him on the head and at least pretend to listen to him.

            Your total shift of alliance in less than six months from having a virtual verbal love affair with Wendy Davis, a Democrat who labored hard to be considered one of the most liberal people in public office, to your proclaiming of the wonders of Rep. Kraus, a hard right radical Republican with a 98% score from EP and whose voting record and positions are totally opposite to hers, is astonishing….

          • BCinBCS

            JJ, I don’t want to gang-up on you but you need to realize that you’ve made some terrible choices as well, the greatest being your vociferous and uncritical support of Comrade Trump. That’s a failure well beyond anything anyone else has had. I’d think twice about haranguing others before examining yourself first.

          • Jed

            Predicting a race correctly does not put you on the “right side.”

            being on the right side has nothing to do with who won. But I wouldn’t expect a Christian to understand that.

      • Jed

        How many Puerto Ricans have to die for you to be satisfied that the money trail was appropriate?

  • dormand

    Due to Governor Abbott failing to take the needed steps to move the state from its long time focus on the extractive industries to the knowledge based economy that is driving employment and economic surges in other states, Texas now badly trails other states in economic progress, according to a piece in the New York Times:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/22/opinion/sunday/texas-unemployment-businesses.html?mcubz=0

  • WUSRPH

    London Johnson badly handled the War in Vietnam and thousands of Americans and many, many more South Vietnamese and even North Vietnamese, died as a result—and for that he will also have to carry a heavy burden in history….BUT, when you listen to the tapes and examine the record—as Ken Burns is giving us another chance to do with his film—you can see that Johnson CARED and that anguished over what was
    happening.

    Richard Nixon—as the tapes of his conversations and the record showed—had no feeling of concern or compassion for those who were suffering or dying, but only cold calculations of how it affected our national
    image and even more thoughts of how it would affect his presidency……

    I wonder whose “sin” was greater and who history in the long run will say was the better man….I’d bet that LBJ will come out on top in any such comparison.

    • SpiritofPearl

      I was touched to see letters at the LBJ Museum from him to his mother asking her to send ” . . . sugar, flour, underwear” for the children he taught in south Texas. Nixon would never have done that.

    • Kozmo

      Well, I dunno about that. My impression from all these candid tapes is that LBJ cared even MORE about what the public at home would say about him, how the spillover from the war would reflect on HIM. I never hear any concern about civilian deaths, the morality of the war, or questioning the received wisdom of the generals.

    • José

      They need to be judged on the basis of how they played the hands they were dealt. Their situations were different. LBJ certainly started his presidency with the understanding that the war was winnable. Even then he let it go on for far too long and it’s fair to criticize him. Nixon didn’t have that excuse. Thousands of American servicemen died for his personal political gain.

      • BCinBCS

        Thousands of American servicemen died for his personal political gain.

        Let that sink in: Thousand of service personnel died for his political gain.
        My hatred of Nixon burns like a million suns.

        • José

          It is incredible, isn’t it? I mean, Lincoln knew that he was sending thousands of men to their death. Eisenhower too. But those sacrifices were necessary and in pursuit of a well stated goal in the national interest. This was oh so different.

          Even though I lived through the Vietnam era (narrowly avoiding the draft) and paid close attention to the war as it was unfolding this series has offered some major revelations. I wasn’t aware of the extent of what the Johnson administration really knew and how unsure they were whether it was winnable. In hindsight they should have cut the losses earlier. It would have been a hard decision because of the political costs but in principle it would be similar to the whole civil rights thing. You go ahead and do the right thing for the good of the country and you take your lumps.

  • WUSRPH

    In George Orwell’s “1984” the main character, Winston Smith, was employed by the Ministry of Truth where his job was to “correct” the historical record when events or changes in the party line made what had really happened an embarrassment to Big Brother (the ruling party)…For example, when one of the leaders was purged, Winston would search thru newspapers, films and official records to find and remove any favorable references to that person (or often any reference at all) and/or insert the new official “alternative facts”. Trump’s removing of the tweets supporting Sen. Strange against Roy Moore suggests that someone, perhaps Trump himself, is playing the role of Winston Smith in his Administration (sic). Sadly, this is not the only similarity between America under Trump and Oceania under Big Brother.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Screen grabs exist now.

  • WUSRPH

    Isn’t it interesting that amongst all the talk about repealing the ACA yesterday the Senate quietly passed with no fan fare at all a bill that makes some significant improvements in Medicare and the ACA? It shows what they can do when they don’t get all tied up in partisan showmanship…Of course, we have yet to see if the House will follow suit….much less whether Trump will tweet in against it.

  • SpiritofPearl

    Sent a FAX to Ted Cruz asking him to advocate for life-saving relief for PR hurricane victims. Got back an e-mail thanking me for my interest in North Korea . . .

    • BCinBCS

      At least he’s paying attention to what you, as a constituent, want.
      /s/

  • WUSRPH

    I guess we will have to wait for those pesky little details, but a quick review of the GOP’s 9-page outline of is tax cutting plan suggests that it is likely to be a classic case of the situation described by former U.S. Sen. Russell Long from Louisiana back when the feds did the last big tax code rewrite in 1986:

    “Don’t tax me…Don’t tax you….Tax the man behind the tree.”

    The real question will be how they intend to pay for all these tax cuts….or whether they will play the game Ronald Reagan did by talking about all the budget cuts to be decided later…..which, of course, never happened. They may try to see if they can make Lafler’s Curve fly (again) but since history has repeatedly proven that it does not work, you would hope they won’t entirely rely on hiding behind it like they did with the Reagan and Bush tax cuts. But, since the Trolls of this world still fall for that argument, they may well try.

  • WUSRPH

    Have a good evening all

  • WUSRPH

    “We bombed them into agreeing to accept OUR concessions”….

    A top US Diplomat describing how Pres. Nixon brought about the “peace treaty” in the Vietnam War.

    Whether you supported of opposed the way….think about what that means.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Many Americans believe we should bomb anyone who disagrees with us back to the Stone Age.

  • RobertGartner

    What? What is this crap about Abbott not tapping in to the Rainy Day fund???? Better watch out Greggy!

  • WUSRPH

    On Sept. 28, 1924, two United States Army planes landed in Seattle, Wash., having completed the first round-the-world flight in 175 days.

    Think about how far we have come.

  • John Bernard Books

    Trump’s economy blows through the roof…..
    “As was the case with Trump’s claim, Roskam is right when he says that year-over-year GDP growth never topped 3 percent while Obama was in office.”
    http://www.politifact.com/illinois/statements/2017/mar/16/peter-roskam/rep-roskam-gdp-growth-obama/

    Look at those tax cuts……dems just don’t get it.

  • John Bernard Books

    Turns out Guv Abbott told the truth and Sylvester lied…..
    Sylvester:
    “Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s office issued a press release on August 24 decrying “false forecasts and irresponsible rumors on social media.” Turner reiterated that he was not considering evacuation orders for Houston, adding that “rumors are nothing new, but the widespread use of social media has needlessly frightened many people today.””
    and Guv Abbott:
    “(Meanwhile, Governor Greg Abbott contradicted Houston and Harris County officials, urging residents to strongly consider evacuating.)”
    https://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/houston-harvey-predictions/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Web+Social&utm_content=Harvey+Predictions

    Texas Monthly reporting a dem lied?

  • WUSRPH

    Three GOP State Senate races so —-Sen. Joan Huffman v Kristin Tassin in Houston the Troll’s county, Sen. Hall v. Rep. Cincy Burkett and the other Huffines (Phillip) v. Mrs. Paxton….The Huffman-Tassin Hill-Burkett races are notable because they will be a test of whether the mythical “moderate” Republican voter actually exists…..The only interest in the Huffines-Paxton contest will be whether she is able to insure that the Paxton family stays on the state payroll as neither candidate even knows what the word “moderate” means. It is way too early for even JJ to make a prediction, but based on past GOP primaries the more “moderate” Republicans should be definite underdogs.

    • John Bernard Books

      I met with the straus backed Tassin last week she begged for my endorsement…..it was hilarious.

    • BCinBCS

      (I believe JBB is from Ft. Bend County, not Harris County – but I could be wrong.)

      • WUSRPH

        He is but the district extends out from the River Oaks area of Houston to Ft. Bend—part of the GOP’s successful effort to increase the number of GOP districts and gerrymander Democrats out of any chance. Tassin is in fact the president of the Ft. Bend ISD,

        • BCinBCS

          Ah…I didn’t know that. Thanks.

  • WUSRPH

    Even Dan Patrick is now talking about at least studying how to minimize the effects of future Harvey’s with a series of charges to Senate committees for interim studies…A couple of weeks after Speaker Straus did the same and less than week a before two house committees will hold hearings in Houston but late is better than never. If this trend continues even gov. Abbott might take a break from handing out checks from that evil federal government and start thinking about the future (YEAH!).

  • WUSRPH

    “If we do not let ourselves be prisoners of the past”

  • WUSRPH

    Mike Haley’s Capitol Inside blog suggests that two other GOP state reps. may get into the speaker’s race…and perhaps even a token, show-the-flag Democrat. Adding two more GOPers is a classic divide-and-conquer move to try to deny Straus the votes in the GOP Caucus to block the move to a party-line vote rule. They only need 48 votes to totally change the way the speaker is elected—and perhaps the way Texas government has been run for its entire history..

    Still waiting to hear if JJ has had the courage to bring this up with The Great Listener yet.

  • WUSRPH

    The Texas Taxpayers & Research Association has produced a briefing paper that outlines some of the fiscal and economic realities facing Texans and TEXAS (the state government) as a result of Hurricane Harvey. It goes far beyond the question of how much we can suck out of Washington……I would hope that Gov. Abbott’s staff at least
    summarizes it for him.

    http://www.ttara.org/files/document/file-59ce820cb3477.pdf

  • WUSRPH

    Can someone explain this shoes and basketball scandal to me? Does anyone over the mental age of six really care what shoes some basketball player wears? Enough to make it worthwhile for a shoe company to pay out hundreds of thousands in “incentives” to players to wear its shoes? But, then, maybe I should not be surprised. After all, all some politician have to do to get someone to slobber all over them is to act like they are listening to what they are babbling… so maybe buying an athlete’s shoe choice makes others feel equally important and close to him. But still?

    • SpiritofPearl

      Coaches get paid big bucks to make their players wear a certain brand of shoes. What the cause and effect is is not clear.

  • WUSRPH

    Have you noticed that Discus has made it harder to block a troll….You can no longer just pull down the mark above the right hand corner of the offending entry…Now you actually have to go to Troll’s profile and pull down on the little block after the one for followers….

  • George Shawnessey

    It’s a foregone conclusion that Amazon will build their second headquarters in Texas. First of all, they want to locate in a state where the governor’s main issue for the last two years has been to regulate bathrooms. Secondly, they want to live in a state where Republican legislators override local ordinances to allow Frackers to spew their poisons within 200 feet of homes, schools, and hospitals. Thirdly, they will be convinced when the Texas Railroad Commissioners, who “regulate” the oil and gas industry explain how they “protected” the people in Chasewood TX where forty people died from cancer after their well water was contaminated. Watch the video where citizens tell the Railroad Commission Sunset Review Committee that oil and gas contaminated their groundwater, but Commissioners Sitton and Craddick claimed there’s never been a case of water contamination related to fracking.

    https://www.facebook.com/LiveableArlington/videos/1846013632347019/

    • George Shawnessey

      Amazon will really enjoy being in Texas where the Frack Quakes are caused by natural phenomena and where climate change is God’s will. Amazon believes in “Sound Science.” They don’t want to be associated with self avowed, liberal, environmental terrorists with agendas who claim that global warming is not a HOAX.

  • WUSRPH

    Another one of those could someone explain it to me items:

    North Korea is the only remaining Stalinist-Leninist-Maoist nation in the world.

    It is paranoid about its neighbors—-two of which occupied or dominated large portions of it for many years.

    It wants to be LEFT ALONE. It has been known as the “Hermit Kingdom” for centuries….Guess why?

    To achieve that it is trying to arm itself with as powerful of weapons as possible with which to strike anyone who threats its existence in the hope that will convince others to leave it alone.

    We don’t like its form of government….who would?

    But we—The Donald—cannot help threatening to “totally destroy” it…and subject it “fire and frenzy” unmatched in the history of the world.

    Has anyone explained to him that when you find a rattlesnake coiled up in hole rattling its rattles at you that the best way to deal with it is to ignore it….and not to poke it with a stick?

    And the Trump Administration (sic) seems confused about why NK doesn’t seem interested in talking to us…..at least until it is certain its fangs are fully charged.

    • WUSRPH

      Does the man what to kill people to show he’s tough?

      Today president Trump said that the Sec. of State is “wasting his time’ trying to talk to North Korea…..

      • WUSRPH

        Have I gotten way far too cynical if I have a feeling that as I write this some pollster for the Trump campaign is conducting a secret poll to find out whether it would help of hurt Trump with the voters if he attacked North Korea? I know it is a disgusting thought….but why am I having trouble shaking it?