Tag Archives: Texas tea party

Can the state can cut taxes too deeply? Yes

Oil revenue is falling in Texas. The state depends on it to pay for state government.

Yet the bean counters in the Comptroller’s Office are being told by lawmakers — namely Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick — that the state is not going to ease up on providing tax relief for Texans.


Comptroller-elect Glenn Hegar’s task is to provide the Legislature with an estimate of how much money the state will have to spend the next two years.

But those darn oil prices make these projections so very tricky.

Should the state keep cutting taxes when its revenue stream has been put in jeopardy by forces beyond its control? I don’t think that’s wise government policy.

That doesn’t deter Patrick and his tax-cutting allies in the Legislature. Patrick told panelists at a Texas Public Policy Forum gathering: “We expect to be bold and we expect to be big in tax cuts and then I’m going to trust my good friend here the comptroller.”

The state Legislature, populated by a super-Republican majority led by a TEA party faction that just cannot cut taxes enough — even if it puts important government services in jeopardy — ought to resist the temptation to keep slashing revenue just for the sake of slashing revenue.

I doubt seriously, though, anyone in Austin will follow that course. It’s politically popular in Texas to cut, cut and cut some more.

Good luck, Mr. Comptroller, as you prepare to deliver the bad news to our elected representatives.

Next up in tea party sights: Sen. Graham

Lindsey Graham might be the next sitting Republican U.S. senator headed to a runoff courtesy of a tea party challenge from his right.

Last week we saw Mississippi U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran forced into a runoff with challenger Chris McDaniel. The smart money, such as it is, says Cochran’s in trouble in the June 24 runoff. McDaniel is well-positioned to knock off the six-term Republican incumbent, who the tea party says isn’t conservative enough for Mississippians.

Instead, the Mississippi Republicans may nominate someone backed by fanatics who broke into a nursing home where Cochran’s wife has lived for more than a decade and who sought to produce an anti-Cochran campaign video that included images of his bed-ridden wife. Disgusting.

And what about Graham, another conservative who’s been deemed too squishy because he has the audacity to work across the aisle at times? Why, that turncoat even has supported some of President Obama’s judicial nominees, which angers the tea party faction in South Carolina to no end.

He’s got a boatload of challengers. The South Carolina GOP primary is Tuesday. The question there is whether Graham can be re-nominated without having to go to a runoff. If he doesn’t get the requisite 50-percent majority, can he prevail in a runoff in which the turnout usually is a whole lot lower than it is in the primary?

This is big news just about everywhere, it seems, but Texas. The tea party wing of the GOP is running strong here, so it’s no big deal to see “establishment” incumbents getting thumped.

Elsewhere? That’s another matter.

Stay tuned for the latest drama to play out Tuesday in South Carolina.

Tea party hangs on in Dixie

It looks as though the national tea party still has a dog in the hunt, as the saying goes.

At least for now.

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel is holding to a slim lead in the Republican primary race with incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. If the challenger fails to get to 50 percent when all the votes are counted — he stands at 49.6 percent with 97 percent of the ballots counted — the two men are headed for a June 23 runoff.

It was thought that perhaps the tea party perhaps could lose this one, too, as it had in other states — that are not Texas. McDaniel has been campaigning against Cochran’s influence in the Senate and the seniority he’s built and, oh yes, all that public money that he directs toward his home state. McDaniel’s one of those “outsiders” who will shake things up.

From where I sit a few hundred miles west of Mississippi, it appears McDaniel would like to become one of those folks who wants it done his way or no way at all. Well, the results aren’t in. We’ll have to wait a few more days, perhaps weeks, to know whether the Mississippi Republican Party has snapped out of it.


What is most astounding is that McDaniel still holds a lead after the hideous story broke about his campaign goons breaking into a nursing home to photograph Cochran’s bed-ridden wife to make an anti-Cochran campaign video highlighting the senator’s alleged “infidelity.”

It’s one of the more bizarre political blow-ups I’ve seen in some time.

Decency seems to have hit the road in Dixie.

I am anxious to see how this nastiness plays out.

Seliger may be in a bind

Texas state Sen. Kel Seliger just might find himself in a tough spot as the general election campaign gets going full blast.

He’s an Amarillo Republican who’s already beaten back a stout challenge from his right. Former Midland Mayor Mike Canon lost narrowly to Seliger in the GOP primary in March. One of Canon’s top back-room advisers is a guy named Michael Quinn Sullivan, an arch-conservative activist who is believed to have talked Canon into running against Seliger.

The senator has no love — or even a modicum of “like” — for Sullivan. He’s said so publicly.

So, who do you think is one of Sullivan’s top stable horses this year? State Sen. Dan Patrick, the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, the guy who wants to preside over the Texas Senate where he and, oh yes, Seliger serve. Patrick faces a probable slugfest this fall running against Democratic nominee, another state senator, Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio.

Here’s the quandary.

Suppose Patrick ventures to the Texas Panhandle this summer and fall to look for votes. Who will appear with him on a stage, at a dinner dais, at a Labor Day picnic or a political rally at, say, Dick Bivins Stadium? Will it be the senator from Texas Senate District 31, who has a known disdain for one of Patrick’s main backers?

I tend to think not.

Whatever support Patrick gets from the Panhandle — and it will be substantial, given this region’s strongly Republican leanings — he’ll likely have to acquire it without Seliger’s help.

Unless, of course, Seliger changes his heart and mind and climbs aboard the Patrick bandwagon.

Don’t laugh. Politicians of both parties have been known over many years to have these “awakenings” when the spirit — and the thought of choice committee assignments — moves them.

Texas tea party stands tall

I always thought “Texas tea” referred to oil.

It now has a political connotation, as in “Texas tea party.” Ladies and gents, the tea party has taken the Texas Republican Party hostage. It has swallowed it whole and has produced a slate of statewide candidates that’ll make the hair stand up on some of us Texas residents.

Texas Monthly’s Paul Burka is one who is very afraid of what the future might hold.


I concur with his assessment.

He seems to be conceding the November election already to one tea party candidate in particular: state Sen. Dan Patrick, the Republican/tea party candidate for lieutenant governor.

I’m not yet ready to go there.

Democratic nominee, fellow state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, well could turn out to be the most formidable Democratic candidate on the statewide ballot. She’s Patrick’s opponent this fall. I’m going to wait until all the ballots are counted before declaring him the all-but-certain lieutenant governor.

Of all the assertions Burka makes, the most interesting is this: “One thing I believe with absolute certainty: Dan Patrick as lieutenant governor will hasten the day Texas turns purple. His personal history is one of recklessness and carelessness. There are going to be train wrecks along the way. I have serious doubts about whether the tea party can govern or whether Patrick can get along with his peers without having a meltdown along the way.”

Meltdown? I keep thinking of the release late in the campaign of Patrick’s medical records, which included some time with a shrink who counseled him about his depression. It was a low blow at the end of a tough campaign to bring that stuff up … but is this part of Burka’s calculation about how the Texas Senate might be run under the leadership of a Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick?

Tea party candidates have bitten the dust all over the country. Not in Texas, though. They’re riding high.

One bit of cheer is worth passing on: At least Republicans had the good sense to toss aside Steve Stockman’s challenge to John Cornyn in the U.S. Senate primary.