Its a pretty safe bet from a Texan’s point of view that fracking has a promising future in our state. The practice has, as Governor Perry states, “been used for years” in Texas. Its also clear judging by recent news stories and a controversial study by the EPA that the federal government has every intention of regulating the practice. Texas and its current governor in particular have had a rocky relationship with federal regulators. Earlier this year the EPA threatened to take away the TCEQ’s ability to grant ‘flexible’ permits to refineries citing non-compliance with the Clean Air Act. The TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality), is Texas’ own environmental regulating body.
When it comes to the fracking method of natural gas extraction most of the national attention has been focused in more heavily populated areas where average citizens are more likely to come into direct contact with the industry. In this shrinking window, Texas has an opportunity to show the EPA and other federal regulators that we can set the standard for appropriate state regulation and avoid expensive off-sets that could derive from a different set of federal standards.
When the head of our State makes comments like, “this is a fear tactic that the left is using and the environmental community is using” and refers to coverage of the EPA’s study as “stories that do not scientifically hold up”, it actually hurts our case that we are prepared to take on the challenge and address the tough issues that effect or energy security and the public trust. On the bright side his first line was, “We can have this conversation”, and I think that’s a good place to start.
I have been following the Texas redistricting lawsuit quite closely and I’m appalled every time I read a new article by a national publication that doesn’t contain a quote from an elected official who occupies an African-American opportunity district. The general public would naturally believe that because the Democratic Party is arguing the case for the Voting Rights Act that it is carrying the water for its African-American base, but this is not necessarily the case. I don’t blame the media in this case, but those who represent the silent minority, with the understanding that they do see this as a serious issue but for various reasons lack a consensus to take a particular public position.
I feel privileged to have a close enough relationship to members and other significant players to get the inside perspective and legal arguments that are being shaped and therefore will err on the side of not divulging sensitive information of the pending cases. But I think it’s safe to say that this will be a landmark ruling on how the courts view protections afforded to “protected classes” under the Voting Rights Act. The main issue at hand is the effect of replacing “African-American opportunity districts” with “minority opportunity districts.” If the Voting Rights Act was passed to grant African-Americans, as well as other individual minority groups, the ability to “elect representatives of their choice,” what happens when, say, a historically African-American district becomes a majority non-African-American minority district? This is the inevitable case for African-American representatives – especially in Texas. Will the future see all non-Anglos packed into “minority” districts without regard to any particular minority’s ability to elect a representative of their choice, be they black, Hispanic or Asian? It appears if the Texas attorney general gets his way, this will be the effect. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in Austin Tuesday expressed concern over a couple of issues regarding minority voting rights. He warned that voter identification laws may not pass muster and that Hispanic growth must be properly recognized by any new maps, but to my knowledge made no reference to how African-Americans specifically may be affected.
The worst thing that could happen may not be African-Americans losing their protected status, but that African-American and Hispanic leaders allow the Republican Party to systematically make electing candidates more difficult for their constituencies while exploiting a wedge between these two groups – who despite deserving their own individual protections, are still stronger when they act together.
Deshotel, political director for Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, is a managing member of the public relations firm BGP Strategies. He has more than a decade’s experience in Texas politics.
Head Figure Head: The Search for the Hidden Life of Rick Perry is a book released today by Glen Maxey a former openly gay Texas Legislator from Austin who served with Rick Perry in the Texas House. I first met Glen when he was a state Rep. and my father’s desk mate (also a state Rep.). According to Glen he was contacted about the topic by a national reporter last summer. He then decided to take up the search for answers. What he found can now be instantly downloaded onto your Kindle while you await the hard copy.
Rumors abound about the Governor’s sexuality. There were rumors that many believe led to Texas Secretary of State stepping down. This was the one Texas Democrats, capitol insiders and other close observers thought might grow legs but nothing above ground or ‘out’ in the open ever surfaced. There was however a “support rally” in front of the Governor’s mansion with supporters wielding signs that read “Its Ok to be Gay!”. Most people in Austin probably remember earlier this year when a known political gadfly published the now infamous full page “Have you ever had sex with Rick Perry?” ad in the Austin Chronicle.
Earlier this year the presidential hopeful reassured evangelicals there is ‘nothing in my life that will embarrass you’. Coming straight (no pun intended) off his ‘Strong’ ad where he makes an appeal to evangelicals. The outrage that ‘gays can serve openly in the military’ certainly begs the question, can a gay serve openly as Texas Governor?
A new Rasmussen poll taken after the leak of sexual allegations shows Herman Cain actually taking the lead over Romney. Rick Perry doubles his numbers to 8% while Bachmann, Huntsman and Santorum bottom out. It appears Perry drew his support from the later candidates and Cain seems to be holding his own. Its also not clear if voters believe Rick Perry had any part in the leak as the Cain campaign contends.
Troubling headlines of sexual harassment allegations about Herman Cain beg the question -What happens if the Cain bubble does burst?
If Romney continues to waffle around 25% whoever is the beneficiary of a thinning field will have a real chance to tip the scale as we get closer to the early primaries. Could this be Perry’s window to reemerge? Time has yet to tell what effect Perry’s flat tax proposal will have on the race but it has received praise and ridicule from the usual suspects as this is not a new idea. Just recently it was given the thumbs up by Grover Norquist, a conservative thought leader with Club for Growth who pledges to hold inadequately conservative politicians accountable. In an election year that seems to be anything but typical and has bread strong anti-establishment sentiment, it is difficult to know what “leaders” will truly be the bellwether for 2012.
On the same day of reckoning for Cain the Texas Tribune published a poll that shows Herman Cain edging out Governor Rick Perry in the Texas primary. Jim Henson, UT professor and co-director of the poll, stated in the article that Cain’s most significant lead was among “conservative voters”. Interestingly though while Perry led Cain in most urban areas, Cain lead Perry in Austin where voters know him well. This does not bode well (at least in Texas) for the theory that Perry would be the obvious beneficiary of a Cain collapse. Nationally though, this could be where money’s role becomes more important. If Bachmann and the like heed growing calls to exit the race this opens the door for Perry or another (Newt?) to gain a fresh head of steam. Even with his mass of cash reserves Perry will have to make stronger and more convincing public appearances. His resent consideration of nixing future debates, which may have worked from the outset, probably comes far too late after a series of disappointing outings.
Also, headlining on Gawker is not the way you want your campaign to go viral. Governor Perry delivered a “passionate” speech over the weekend also included a complete dismissal of Herman Cain as a real candidate. “I love Herman, is he the best? I have fun with him, he is a great and interesting guy. And, thank you Herman for helping to pay for the event tonight.” If this Rick Perry had come out first and he avoided the debates altogether who knows if this would be a different race. But, perhaps at this point he should bother to take Cain a little more seriously. The media can make this mistake, but Rick Perry can’t afford too.
There have been major developments this week since I published this. Rick Perry has been accused by the Cain campaign of leaking sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain.
And this video masterpiece..well maybe not masterpiece but it was made before Cain actually accused Perry:
Interesting note:Ron Paul doesn’t completely rule out the possibility of a 3rd party run even before the first primary ballot has been cast. Could he be setting the right up to get Nadered?
It has already been widely reported, but Rick Perry has come out against the Confederate battle flag being placed on Texas license plates stating, “We don’t need to be opening up old wounds.” This is a departure from an earlier statement released by his staff that indicated, “The governor believes this is a decision for the board,” -referring to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Progress Texas has been pushing this issue for months and just last week 19 state Reps. (all Democrat, mostly minority) in Texas signed a petition urging the DMV not to approve the issuance of the specialty plates.
According to Sons of Confederate Veterans the DMV would raise money from the sale of the vanity plates to “educate the public” and create monuments to rebel soldiers. In most cases and in terms of freedom of speech I prefer to know where people stand. If you are willing to proudly display a “battle flag” buy a bumper sticker or where a ball cap. But, our state government which recognizes the legitimacy of the federal government should not be used to support a movement that sought to dismantle it. With immigration issues taking front stage this election its hard to imagine a worse idea, but that whole states rights thing is still as popular as ever right now.
I just had to throw this picture in to the left. This is my friend who posted this on facebook and I thought it was perfect.