The State of Texas: Feb. 20, 2014
Quote of the Day
“So I think there’s a lot more animosity between the Mavs and the Spurs, and they still have that muddy ugly-ass River Walk that you have to contend with.”
— Mark Cuban being Mark Cuban. Because nothing says basketball “smack talk” like insulting a pretty promenade.
Photo of the day
Texas Monthly‘s own John Spong has posted example 5,763 of Willie Nelson being the coolest. He was mocking Russian Olympics way before Sochi.
Rumblings and Grumblings — There could be some political aftershocks from the numerous earthquakes. StateImpact Texas has an interesting, if a bit circumstantially based, piece examining how the rash of quakes (almost certainly) caused by well injections might come into play in the normally boring Railroad Commissioner race. As the story notes, “Every Republican party candidate this primary season for the Railroad Commission denies that there is a link between [oil wells and earthquakes],” while “only Mark Miller, a Libertarian, and Steve Brown, a Democrat, agreed with the body of scientific evidence [showing the cause and effect].” At the very least, Brown—like any smart politician—isn’t going to let a good disaster go to waste; he’s using residents’s concerns to bolster his own candidacy. Meanwhile, in Denton, more political rumblings have begun. Namely, the people are taking direct action, beginning a petition to ban fracking in the city. It would be the first such ban in Texas.
With Republicans Like These … — Who needs Democrats? Texas’s favorite U.S. Representative, Louie Gohmert, has set up a PAC to protect Republicans against Republicans. The PAC “defends conservative Republicans from the attacks that come from the mainstream [GOP],” Gohmert told The Daily Caller. “That’s been a problem, we’ve seen in some races, where we’ve had leadership come and play and there was no counterbalance. So I’m going to do something about it.” Gohmert says “there’s a war against the tea party. There’s a war against conservatives,” like himself. This isn’t the first time a PAC has been set up to specifically assist the far right. Still, it’s interesting that much-discussed Republican rift continues to crack. Not that mainstream Republicans are under any real threat. Slate‘s Dave Weigel has a great piece looking at how Senator John Cornyn isn’t really facing much of a tea party revolt. Even if Gohmert’s finger pointing is half-true—mainstream maverick John McCain once said Gohmert had “no intelligence”—it surely has nothing to do with folks like Gohmert making nonsensical comments about “terror babies,” and mass shootings being God’s wrath.
Undercover Battles — The Texas political battleground might be one of espionage. Famed conservative enfant terrible Jame O’Keefe’s on-going project to “expose” shady Democratic practices has released another Texas-based undercover video. This time, it purports to show an organizer with Battleground Texas, “apparently flouting state election code by suggesting voluntary deputy registrars take the phone numbers off voter registration applications for future political use,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. A spokesman for Battleground Texas—which has been the driving force behind Democratic efforts in Texas—duly noted that O’Keefe doesn’t have the best record when it comes to truth and accuracy. That said, it’s pretty naive to think that the organization, of which “half of its 10,000 volunteers statewide have been deputized as voluntary registrars,” wouldn’t try to influence elections in as many ways as possible. That’s politics!
The Green Candidates — It’s the best of both worlds: The Texas Tribune‘s insistence on exposing readers to raw data, and the Houston Chronicle‘s love of slideshows. The result this time is a look at the state’s top campaign war chests. Some of the list-makers are obvious: Greg Abbott is the money-king and King Perry is still a big player despite maybe-maybe-not running for something else. More interesting is the fact that Wendy Davis has several independent organizations/corporations attached to her campaign and George P. Bush, at number twleve, has $2.87 million cash-on-hand for his land commissioner race. And once you have all that money, the next thing you do is spend it on TV ads, which, apparently, Texans are really good at. In light of quioxotic efforts to unseat Senator Cornyn, the Washington Post has highlighted some efforts, “especially Dwayne Stovall, who released a video this week that perhaps represents the apotheosis of the art form that is the Texas campaign ad.” WaPo is slightly mocking Stovall’s visual comparison of Mitch McConnell to a turtle (also, the dog and pick-up truck). But Amazon’s Daily Newsletter does include some real classics in its list of great Texas ads.