Judgment on the Texas GOP
Posted by Mike O on June 13, 2010
We just finished the Texas State GOP convention where a number of us Tea Party types participated. In my own view, we were there more to judge the Party than to support it.
I would say the State GOP party came out of that convention more committed as individuals to conservative principles than they went in, and the structural considerations of the party improved a bit.
Good News: Specific actionable legislative bullet points to the Platform- ones to which legislators can be held to- have been added to the Platform and they are highly conservative in content. The Tea Parties now have a Party-provided scorecard on which to judge the effectiveness of the legislators of the GOP.
Bad News: A considerable amount of sloppiness crept into the platform process; there were small sections left out of the print job and the final document will have added back those line. Exactly what those lines will end up looking like (and they affect the Immigration plank, the hottest topic of the convention) is still unclear. A little of ‘We need to pass it to see what’s in it”; and should something surprisingly (and weakening) creep into the final document in the process, there will some really ticked off Tea Party types.
Good News: Major efforts to weaken the Immigration enforcement/border security planks were turned aside. And our North Texas Tea Party figured prominently in the testimony are key points. Wayne Richard came in right after Norm Adams, the main lead on trying to remove opposition to amnesty from the platform; Wayne was his usual eloquent self. But the real stars of the public hearing were the dynamic Latino duo of Terry Wade and Sylvia Acuff. Their eloquent defense of strong borders and immigration enforcement all but got a standing ovation, as well as inquiries if they travel to speak. I personally believe Terry and Sylvia were primarily responsible of driving a stake through Adam’s effort.
Bad News: Things got sloppy as people got tired toward the end of the Platform hearing process (and after public comments were closed). A proposal was put forward to add a plank to close the GOP primary, something that would NOT set well with those- like Tea Party members- who are losing confidence in the party organizations already. Too much like a Union tactic; in a right-to-work state. And to attempt that without public comment is rather stunning.
However, in the end, the fundamentals of how things are done underwent only minor improvement and the unwillingness to talk about the real structural problems is still there within the Party. The symptom is recognized- a massive falloff of donations to the Party itself. The new chairman understands a bit of this, in his emphasis on the grassroots, but they still don’t ‘get’ the fact that no one trusts the GOP Party organization not to give money to politicians that add to the problem by being ‘pragmatic’ and ‘reasonable’. And while much of the leadership claims to recognize the fiscal threat to this country, they refuse to recognize the GOP’s past role in both passively and even actively participating in the drunken-sailor spending of our future generation’s wealth. And the fact that the Party continues to support some of these ‘accommodaters’ in Austin (including our own State Senator, Florence Shapiro, whose fiscal rating can be found here) and in Washington.
My final judgment: some improvement but not yet enough support the organization as a whole. And every bit of my previous warning to the GOP is still relevant, although maybe the state Party now has leadership that will pay at least some attention to the issues. Campaign work will continue and should intensify for individual, reliable candidates that stand a chance to make a difference; but organizational party support is still in the dock. And that won’t change until I see things like signed commitments of EVERY Texas GOP House and Senate member to eschew earmarks (rather than just the 4 who do) posted on the Texas GOP website And 2011 budget information that verifies it. That’s just a very tiny part of the commitment the Republican must make AND KEEP to get trust back.