Texas

The Promiscuity Of the Very Rich
February 01, 2012

Sorry, Florida, but the biggest political news Tuesday was not Mitt Romney’s predictable win after his carpet-bombing of Newt Gingrich, but the long-awaited release of the financial disclosures for the Super-PACs that, courtesy of the Roberts Court, will utterly dominate the 2012 campaign. As Dan Eggen and Tim Farnam lay out in today’s Washington Post, Barack Obama’s record-breaking small-donor machine will be sorely tested by the big-dollar Republican donors who, liberated by Citizens United and other rulings, are giving in truly eye-popping sums.

The Rude Welcome That Awaits Rick Perry Back in Texas
January 21, 2012

Rick Perry’s departure from the Republican presidential primary was, by any standard, the result of a walloping. Simply put, he was terrible at running for president. In fact, I probably owe the readers of TNR a mea culpa. Back in September, I wrote that Rick Perry probably wouldn’t be a catastrophic debater. Sorry, guys. Perhaps I didn’t consider just how much the local view of Perry—I’ve been following Perry from Austin for years—would fail to translate to the wider, and in some ways stranger, landscape of national politics.

Is Lone Star Money Cursed In Politics?
January 19, 2012

God knows Rick Perry was his own worst enemy as a presidential candidate--always spoiling for a fight but never mentally agile enough to win one. But Perry entered the race with one substantial asset: He was really good at raising money. Perry had reportedly raised more than $100 million in campaign contributions since he entered the Texas governor's mansion in 2001. Paul Begala estimates that Perry ended up spending at least $1,477 for every vote he received in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The Perry-Newt Nexus
January 19, 2012

I don't have much in the way of a grand valedictory for Rick Perry as he returns to Austin to prepare for Texas' coming war with Turkey. I already penned (Romney word!) my Perry farewell out in Iowa, when the aura of defeat was all over him. But I will offer a thought on Perry's decision to throw his parting endorsement Newt Gingrich's way.

What Will Rick Perry's Homecoming Mean?
January 19, 2012

It’s all over, folks. Rick Perry, who so confidently muscled his way into the GOP frontrunners’ pack this summer, is bowing out. But while Perry’s overhyped, underperforming presidential campaign may be over, his third term as Texas governor doesn’t end until 2014. What can we expect when Perry returns to Austin? A study of Perry’s past budget maneuvers provides some insight. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Texas is in the midst of a $9 billion shortfall for its current two-year budget period—only slightly less than the state’s projected shortfall in 2004/2005.

Reports of the Religious Right's Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
January 19, 2012

The political fumbling by Christian conservatives has been even worse this presidential cycle than it was in 2008, when their blood-enemy, John McCain, won the top spot on the Republican ticket. The Christian Right’s fatal failure this time was its inability to form a consensus behind a single candidate. Last weekend’s Texas conclave of religious conservatives, engineered by Family Research Center president and Christian Right warhorse Tony Perkins, initially appeared to have generated a united front behind Rick Santorum.

What Makes a GOP Debate Audience Cheer? Or Jeer?
January 18, 2012

What do Republican voters think of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell? What about income inequality? There are certainly more scientific ways to take the temperature of a political party, but we have found the audience reactions at recent GOP debates somewhat instructive. The following clips, all taken from the past few months of debates, show the statements that caused audiences to cheer or boo. So what gets the Republican Party riled up these days? Likes include: waterboarding, executions, and Andrew Jackson’s belligerence.

TNR Exclusive: More Selections From Ron Paul’s Newsletters
January 17, 2012

Ron Paul has recently suggested there was only a “total of about eight or ten sentences” of “bad stuff” in the newsletters that he regularly used to publish under his name. This assertion was patently false: As TNR has shown, the newsletters contained dozens of statements marked by bigotry and conspiratorial thinking.

The Real N.H. Showdown Comes In November
January 10, 2012

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Barack Obama needs to get himself to New Hampshire, pronto. There are some awfully discombobulated voters up here, and if he has any hope of holding onto the state next fall, he’s going to need to have a serious talk with them. That’s my main takeaway from Mitt Romney’s successful wearing down of a skeptical electorate to the point where, after six years of having him showing up at their tiniest parades and showering cash on their lowliest of elected officials, it finally said: Uncle.

Rick Perry, Texas Governor And Iowa Goat
January 01, 2012

SIOUX CITY, IOWA -- The big question coming out of the Des Moines Register poll released Saturday night is whether social conservatives who were leaning towards Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich will move in large numbers to Rick Santorum, whom the poll showed to be rising fast. I went yesterday to the town Boone -- hometown of Mamie Eisenhower! -- to see Perry and see what he's offering to voters to keep that sort of desertion from happening. I came away fairly flabbergasted. What in the world had happened to Rick Perry, the campaigner extraordinaire of Texas legend?

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