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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

"Look, we can't stand for this."

I'm exhausted.

As I'm sure most of you picked up on, I took a break from writing a few months before the election -- one more guy on the ground, right? Then November came, and I as everyone else needed some recovery time. But watching cable news for that next month or two sucked away any chance at recovery; the ridiculous quantity of poor punditry, of Republican talking points and Democrats second-guessing Democrats, was just too frustrating. Then a new year comes, and with it a renewed spirit and the desire to address all the burgeoning issues that come from an at times merely misinformed, and at times downright malfeasant elected Republican majority.

And then -- Arizona happens.

Feature Articles

Giving the Texas Two-Step the Old One-Two

Silly me -- and here I thought that the big floor debate in today's general session of the Texas Democratic Party convention would be over the race for state party chair.

Civic Engagement and Voter Turnout

I bet a number of you guys are down here in Corpus, slogging through the heat and humidity to attend the TDP state convention. If you missed the Young Democrats caucus earlier this afternoon, you may have missed your best chance to see just about every elected official and candidate in attendance -- the speaker list was long and colorful.

State Representative Mark Strama's time at the microphone was spent telling the story of one of his staffers that left the campaign to volunteer for Edwards in Iowa, struck a chord with me.

In Favor of Prop 4 and Prop 8

When Texans go to the polls today, they'll have the chance to vote on two propositions that could help make our state a leader in higher education and veterans' services. Proposition 4 would provide funding to enable emerging universities in Texas to develop into major research universities. Proposition 8 would forge a partnership between the state government and the federal government to bring a VA Hospital to the Valley and help boost facilities across the state.

Sine Die: The Aftermath

After finally (seemingly!) conquering our particularly ill-timed technical problems, we're back just in time to give you a run-down of what did and didn't happen this session -- and what may happen in a special session later this year.

Perry's Options for 2010

The Houston Chronicle continues to report on the back-room preparations for the 2010 elections in Texas. As we have previously noted multiple times (among them here and here), how the election cycle unfolds really revolves around what happens in the governor's race. There seems to be little doubt that Perry is going to try for an unprecedented third term, but there are a few things still up in the air:

Sarah Palin Did Not Cost McCain The Election

Now that the McCain/Palin ticket found the bottom of the downward spiral to an electoral defeat of Mondale proportions, journalists, campaign operatives, and others looking to make names for themselves are all sagely pointing the finger of blame at Sarah Palin. Granted, she made things easier; I will enjoy few things more than seeing her consigned to the Dan Quayle Institute of Forgotten Novelty Candidates. One thing that she did not do, however, was cost the Republicans the election.

Races To Watch: '08 National Edition

Why are you paying so much attention to your television? Watching minute-by-minute changes in Idaho won't change who ends up winning the presidential election. And inauguration still won't happen until next year. Just make an early night of it and pick up the paper tomorrow.

What, you're going to bite your nails and watch anyway? Yeah, we will too. To give a little order to your Election Night madness, here's the Blue's guide to national races this year.

A Hypothesis on Why Palin's Cosmetologist Is Paid So Much

I wanted to introduce this post with a riddle, but the punchline was too juicy not to use in the subject heading. The New York Times decided to go through the FEC reports from McCain/Palin 2008 and see what they could find. Highlights:

Not Randy Scheunemann, Mr. McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser; not Nicolle Wallace, his senior communications staffer. It was Amy Strozzi, Gov. Sarah Palin’s traveling makeup artist, according to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday night.

Ms. Strozzi, who was nominated for an Emmy award for her makeup work on the television show “So You Think You Can Dance?”, was paid $22,800 for the first two weeks of October alone, according to the records. The campaign categorized Ms. Strozzi’s payment as “Personnel Svc/Equipment."


Staff Articles

Reforming the Nominating Process

Now that the last primary is done, it's time to look at the nominating process, what went right and wrong, and how to do better next time.

Reforming the Caucus System

The precinct, county and state conventions are a wonderful way for committed Democrats to meet, network, celebrate our common goals, and build the party. For political junkies like me, they’re also great fun. But they are an incredibly inefficient and frustrating way to register a presidential preference! We need to streamline the presidential selection process while enticing as many people as possible to stick around for the party building.

Here are nine reforms to do just that.

The Turnout and a New Habit

Recently I wrote a piece for Quorum Report about how the massive Democratic turnout in Texas would affect the dynamics of the general election. I mostly concentrated on the capabilities of the Texas Democratic Party to make use of the new information collected during the primary and gave very few words to what the overall turnout picture would look like.

Recent Blogs

TPA Roundup, Week of 1/10/2011

I might be back, but I'm sure not the only one writing -- and thank goodness, considering the mess that this coming legislative session is going to be. So here's a highlight reel of stories from the rest of your bloggers at the Texas Progressive Alliance.

Have a Pre-existing Condition? You're Now Insurable

Texans and Americans are seeing visible changes. Thanks to health care reform, Americans who have been unable to obtain health coverage due to a pre-existing condition will now be able to apply for reasonably priced health coverage under a new plan. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will administer the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP). The PCIP will offer a benefits rich, moderately priced health package that does not base eligibility on income and does not charge a higher premium because of a medical condition.

Bill White at the 2010 TDP Convention: Speech

Bill White just closed out tonight's convention with a well-written, well-presented speech. I would give you some greatest hits from it, but the Bill White campaign apparently was looking to save me the trouble with the press release they just put out giving the entire speech. Presser after the jump.

State Board Of Education Votes Down In-Depth Study Of First Amendment

Earlier today, the Texas State Board of Education, in a straight party line vote, voted down an amendment that would require Texas schoolchildren to study the reasons why the First Amendment prohibits the establishment of a state religion. The Board's seven Republican Board members voted against the amendment while the Board's five Democratic members voted for it. The amendment was proposed by Board member Mavis Knight (D-Dallas). For a group that has been running around Texas talking about how health care reform is unconstitutional and how Texas ought to re-affirm our sovereignty under the auspices of the 10th Amendment, it reeks of the deepest hypocrisy and the rankest moral dishonesty to privilege certain Amendments in the Bill of Rights while ignoring others. Welcome to Texas, where nothing is off limits for the Texas GOP.

Victor Carrillo: Hispanic Surname Caused Loss

Republican Commissioner Victor Carrillo has served on the Texas Railroad Commission for the last seven years. Commissioner Carrillo's defeat at the hands of accountant David Porter in the G.O.P. primary last night was one of, if not the most, shocking upset of the night for either party. The Texas Tribune's Brian Thevenot blogs this afternoon that Carrillo feels his Hispanic surname cost him the election. Anyone familiar with the xenophobic atmosphere of politics in the Texas G.O.P. these days shouldn't be surprised by such a statement; what is surprising is hearing it come from a Republican office holder.

Tweet This: Your November 2010 Statewide Election Matchups

Governor: Bill White ( @billwhitefortx ) vs. Rick Perry ( @GovernorPerry )

Lieutenant Governor: Linda Chavez-Thompson ( @ElectLinda ) vs. David Dewhurst ( @dewhurst4texas )

The Lay Of The Land, Early March 3rd Edition

Last night's primaries on both sides of the aisle were some of the more memorable ones in my political lifetime. There was contention and drama in both the Democratic and Republican primaries, with statement victories at the top of each statewide ticket with a few incumbents either getting very close calls or being defeated further down the ballot.

2010 TX Primary Elections: Races You Should Be Watching

EDIT: Patrick McLeod gives us a wee-hours rundown of tonight's events.

We have our Election Tracker sidebar up tonight, following a few of the biggest primary races tonight, but as always, there are turning out to be some sleepers and some surprises tonight. Click through to read more about these races.

Liveblogging the Health Care Summit

Today may mark the day that comprehensive health insurance reform lives or dies in the United States, as the President hosts a summit with congressmen from both parties at Blair House starting at 9am CST today to try and work out a bill that will pass both the House and Senate. And we've got it for you here, liveblogged after the jump.

2010 Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Debate

I hope you guys are watching this -- you're not going to get to see another one.

The two presumptive frontrunners for the Democratic spot in this year's governor race, Farouk Shami and former Houston mayor Bill White, are debating in Fort Worth tonight. The debate is hosted by KERA, the local public access station, and can be caught on TV, radio, and on the Texas Debates website.

My opinions after the jump.

Second 2010 Republican Gubernatorial Debate Liveblog

Two debates for Republican gubernatorial candidates in one month -- and Debra Medina in both of them? Who would've guessed that two months ago?

Well, as much as the upstart candidate must be loving the earned media, Democrats are likely equally excited about seeing Senator Hutchison and Governor Perry trade blows again this evening. So we'll be liveblogging tonight's debate here, starting shortly before the debate time of 7pm. Come join us after the "read more" jump!

Democratic Gubernatorial Primary Debate To Be Held Feb. 8

KERA, the Dallas-area public broadcasting television station, has announced that it will hold a debate between the two frontrunners for the Democratic nomination for governor, Houston mayor Bill White and hair care magnate Farouk Shami on Monday, February 8 at pm.

2010 Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Debate Analysis: KBH Wins, Thanks to Medina

Looking for coverage of the second debate, held January 29? Go to this link.

I think my first reaction to tonight's debate was that if this is what we have to look forward to in the Republican primary, political fact-checkers are on the gravy train. There was so much unsubstantiated he said/she said in this debate that there will likely be a feeding frenzy over parsing the "facts" the candidates were throwing out.

That being said, I'm going to have to give the win in the debate to Senator Hutchison. I'll tell you why in a second -- but first I have to say that I *want* to give the win to Debra Medina.

2010 Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Debate Liveblog

Looking for coverage of the second debate, held January 29? Go to this link.

No, they're not Democrats. But I'm sure I'm not the only one interested in what the three Republican candidates for Governor have to say about the state of the state and how they plan to get us out of the mess they got us into. Besides, the Tea Partiers are represented — how could this not be fun?

Candidate Musical Chairs

You know, if there's anything I've learned from watching Texas politics for the last couple of decades, it's that how the field looks before filing starts doesn't tend to have much in common with how it looks by the end of the filing period. So I tend to save prognostications for after some of the inevitable mayhem has hit the fan.

And now some of it has. Ross Ramsey, of Texas Weekly fame and now with the Texas Tribune, is reporting that gubernatorial candidate Tom Schieffer will be dropping out of the race this afternoon and endorsing Bill White.

Voting Guides: 2009 Constitutional Amendment Election

OK, OK. We know. It's an off-year election. You forgot to vote early. That's OK -- you can redeem yourself today. (Don't worry too much about voting on election day instead of early; the lines will probably be embarrassingly short anyway.)

What? You don't know what the issues on the ballot are, either? No worries: we've got you covered.

Top Ten Rick Perry Failures

Over the past week, the Texas Democratic Party has released a Top Ten list of the biggest blunders of Governor Rick Perry's tenure. You could go to their site to check out all ten -- or you could get the executive summary of Perry failures in their under-two-minute YouTube clip:

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

There were those who were originally thought that Chicago's loss in its bid to be the host city for the 2016 Olympics after Obama went to speak on its behalf was indicative of Obama's international standing not being as high as was originally thought. Those concerns can now be safely put to rest.

President Obama's Health Care Speech

The speech is being called by many one of the best of his career. Watch the full speech here, courtesy of MSNBC, along with our take on what it means for health care reform and for his presidency.

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