Burnt Orange Report
George Bush: The Leader of the New Texas GOP?

Texas Republicans have an answer to critics who charge they are ignoring demographic changes and are unwilling to evolve. They have an answer to those who claim that Republicans need a fresh start and a significant re-branding if they hope to survive. They have found the answer of who can be a leader of the Texas Republican Party through this difficult time. Their answer, is George Bush.

No, unfortunately I’m not talking about the “misunderestimated” former President in hiding, but his nephew, George Prescott Bush.

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Ted Cruz Calls Hurricane Isaac a “Blessing”

at an event with the evangelical Faith and Freedom Coalition in Tampa Bay, Republican Senate nominee Ted Cruz made this appalling comment:

"You know, we have so many things to be thankful for, so many blessings. Including, even, we can be thankful for Hurricane Isaac. If nothing else, it kept Joe Biden away."

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22 Texas Republicans Co-Sponsored Todd Akin’s “Forcible Rape” Bill

Attention, poor women of Texas: your Republican Congresscritters want you to know that if you’re being raped, you’d better make sure you get beat up real good, or they don’t think you should be able to get an abortion if you get pregnant.

22 Texas Republicans co-sponsored the "Forcible Rape" bill that has gotten Missouri Congressman and Senate Candidate Todd Akin — and his BFF in lady-shaming, Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan — in so much hot water this week. The bill seeks to prevent any taxpayer funding from being used to pay for abortions. Currently, the Hyde Amendment allows public funds to be used for women to access abortion if they are a victim of rape or incest.

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Sen. Cornyn’s “I Built This” Team riddled with Corporate Welfare Recipients

Yesterday Sen. John Cornyn was in my hometown of Beaumont, TX for what was billed as a “roundtable discussion” to “highlight how local business owners in Southeast Texas have achieved success due to their own hard work and personal creativity, contrary to the President’s recent claim.”  When I saw the participants I couldn’t let this assertion go unchallenged. A little research revealed that at least a few of these entrepreneurs did in fact have direct government help in developing their businesses. 

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Extra! Extra! Read All about it! Newspaper Editorials Choose Sides in Runoff Elections.

With runoff early voting kicking off on Monday, major newspaper editorials are weighing in on the contentious races throughout the state.

Republican Senate Runoff:
Dallas Morning News: David Dewhurst
Houston Chronicle: David Dewhurst
San Antonio Express-News: David Dewhurst
Austin American-Statesman: Ted Cruz

The Austin American-Statesman stood alone in their endorsement of Tea Party star Ted Cruz. The Statesman’s endorsement had little to do with substantive differences (as there are none), but rather their distaste for how Dewhurst has run his campaign. The board was bothered by Dewhurst ducking events and instead focusing on an expensive ad campaign. In their endorsement of Cruz, the editorial board wrote “We’ve supported Dewhurst in the past, but cannot recommend a candidate who plays hide-and-seek with voters.” The Statesman endorsed the obstructionist and inexperienced Cruz simply because Dewhurst wisely chose to hide the fact that he is about as interesting as a jar of sand. Dewhurst is a much more appealing Republican candidate wearing a cowboy hat and admonishing undocumented immigrants in a 30 second TV ad than giving a substantive policy speech, but that is hardly a rationale for endorsing Cruz. The Statesman’s editorial board should be embarrassed, as their endorsement appears to have nothing to do with how either candidate would govern.

The Dallas Morning News and San Antonio Express-News focused on Dewhurst’s more substantive record in explaining their endorsements. The Dallas Morning News described Dewhurst’s experience as Lieutenant Governor as “invaluable” and went on to describe him as a “fair minded problem solver.” The San Antonio Express-News wrote, “Both GOP Senate candidates are solidly conservative, but Dewhurst has a track record of effectively working in the legislative process to translate goals into accomplishments.” The campaigns truly have no divide on the issues. Choosing which of these empty suits to send to Washington is no simple task, but comparing records should make the choice pretty easy. Dewhurst served in the Air Force, ran a business, has served as land commissioner, and as Lieutenant governor for a decade, while Cruz has been an attorney shouting at government from the sidelines.

The Houston Chronicle joined in an endorsement of Dewhurst but it seemed to reflect fear of Cruz more than admiration of Dewhurst. The Chronicle’s editorial board wrote “Texas doesn’t need an obstructionist in the Senate. It needs a constructive voice.” The endorsements of Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum and Sean Hannity should inspire a great deal of fear. Cruz is exactly what Texas and the nation do not need, another politician who views compromise as a dirty word and is only content in stalemate or victory. Cruz represents the inexperienced and clueless Tea Partiers that thought the debt ceiling was a “blank check.” The Chronicle editorial writers are right to be afraid of Cruz. Hopefully Texas wakes up and joins them.  

Democratic Senate Runoff:
Dallas Morning News: Paul Sadler
Houston Chronicle: Paul Sadler
San Antonio Express-News: Paul Sadler
Austin American-Statesman: Paul Sadler

The Newspapers found consensus in the Democratic race for Senate and all touted Sadler’s impressive legislative record. The Austin American-Statesman pointed to Sadler’s work on legislation that established public school employee health insurance for the first time in the history of the state. The Houston Chronicle pointed to his ability to cross party lines, writing, “He is smart, experienced and independent, the latter an important attribute if lawmakers are going to escape Washington’s poisonous partisanship.” The San Antonio Express News wrote, “Texas Democrats are lucky that a candidate as qualified as Sadler is willing to seek this high-profile office in an era dominated by Republicans.” Texas Democrats have hardly felt lucky in this Senate race, but Grady Yarbrough reminds us why the San Antonio Express-News makes a valid point. Yarbrough has previously run as a Republican and used the Berlin Wall as an example of how we should deal with immigration. Sadler may not be electric, but he is undoubtedly qualified and would make an effective legislator that Texas could be proud.  

See some of the newspapers’ local endorsements below the jump!

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You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: Republicans Opposed to Teaching Critical Thinking

cartoon

Well, at least they’re finally admitting it.  In an effort to ensure that Texas’ next generation of leaders have ideas as bad as theirs, the Texas Republican Party has included in this year’s version of the party platform a gem almost too outrageous to be true:

Knowledge-Based Education - We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

It might be funny if so many of the people supporting this platform wouldn’t be elected to public office this year, or if Texas had a stellar track record on education that couldn’t be compromised by a few partisan blowhards.  But as it is, Texas ranks consistently in the bottom half of states on numerous education indicators, and in many of these areas is declining. Read More

VIDEO: Rick Perry Unsure What Year It Is

We all knew he couldn’t count to three. Now, it’s clear that Rick Perry doesn’t even know what year it is. In a recent TV appearance talking about Mitt Romney’s campaign, Perry said people are “ready to have a change in Washington DC in 2015.” Tuesday morning, Joe Scarborough aired the clip and literally laughed until he cried over Perry’s gaffe.

Meanwhile, has it dawned on anybody else that Rick Perry often talks about 2016 — and his own potential presidential campaign — as if Mitt Romney will not be running for re-election?