1. The White House
After a barrage of bad news and negative press, President Bush has not surrendered the lead versus John Kerry. Of more immediate concern is a matter TCR previously addressed in the right track, wrong track poll which now has plunged into the 40's for right track. Traditionally that means the President is in trouble. Add to that the fact Kerry is on the lookout for the pre and post-convention bounce. If he gets it, he will blow past President Bush in the polls.
On the plus side for Bush, he is more engaging, more focused and more consistent than Kerry. On the other hand, if events in Iraq, the domestic terror front and the economy tank we would be in serious trouble. The good news is the economy is in full recovery, the Democrats just have not noticed as they continue to talk down the economy. On the terror war, events are unfolding - the hope is we will not pussyfoot around and real progress will be noticed in September - October of this year by the voters. Let's look at the 17 battleground states to see how we are doing.
Of the 17 states - Kerry leads in 12 with margins so tight that the slightest change would flip the electoral vote balance.
Kerry looks strong in Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Bush looks strong in Arizona, West Virginia, which leaves true toss-ups in Nevada, Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maine, and Florida - in other words those states will probably determine the winner.
2. The Senate
Since we last looked, the U.S. Senate races have tightened everywhere and will be more dependent on Bush's success than first thought. In other words, a Kerry victory probably would come with a Senate shift to the Democrats.
A review of key states today reveals the following races by category:
Illinois, Indiana, California,
Wisconsin, Nevada, New York, Oregon, North Dakota, Vermont, Connecticut,
Utah, Kansas, Arizona,
Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Alabama
Missouri, Kentucky, South
Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania
Louisiana, South Dakota,
North Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma, Alaska
The U.S. Senate control for 2005 today is a toss up.
3. The U.S. House
With the success of artful redistricting there are few true competitive districts - this year it's estimated that less than 35 out 435 seats are in this category. It is important to see where the races are in the red state-blue state divide and the Bush impact on the races. With an inordinate number of GOP retirees in our districts, the majority is in danger. The key for survival is Texas and the six races (which TCR will focus on by individual races in forthcoming issues) that resulted from redistricting - a GOP sweep insures a majority, a split and we could be in some difficulty.
U.S. House control today leans to continued GOP control.
Dismal Poll Numbers for Key Statewide Republican Officials and Legislature
Following the recent unsuccessful special session on property tax relief and educational funding reforms, the Legislature's approval rating is in free-fall - just 22% of Texans in a recent Texas Poll approve of its performance. The good news here is that we will still be in charge after November, but the bad news is we are getting hit hard in the media and by the Democrats and have not done a good job of directly or indirectly through the state Republican Party to tell our good news story.
The Republican National Committee has proven one can be of substantial help in getting the message out, it's time the RPT does its job here.
It's also time for our key leaders to get together and develop a bold plan to achieve property tax relief and educational funding reform in a creatively conservative way that doesn't start and end with an increase in education funding. In fact, it should start with true accountability for spending the funds our schools get now. It's time to quit patching a system that's broken and instead to create a new way - the Texas way to do what needs to be done. The public will be supportive of bold leadership initiatives as they've proven over and over again.
Emerging New Divide in Politics
Spenders vs. the Tax Cutters and Spending Hawks
There is a new divide in our political culture - between not Republicans and Democrats but between the spenders and the tax cutters and spending hawks. This division finds party members in both camps. This divide is present in the U.S. Congress and the Texas Legislature.
The big argument in Washington and to a lesser extent in Austin is whether taxes are too high or about right versus those who want more taxes to spend. The other battle is whether government spending should continue to grow in an accelerated manner.
Many are asking what happened to the GOP of Ronald Reagan with his policy of lower taxes and smaller government? Many are asking why some GOP'ers in Texas want to increase overall education spending as part of the program to lower property taxes. Many are asking why the current rules called paygo, where any federal tax cut must be "paid" for by either raising other federal taxes or reducing other federal spending, but paygo doesn't seem to apply to existing entitlement programs. If paygo is not followed per current Senate rules, 60 votes are needed to keep the tax cuts from expiring. Given how the spenders vote, you know how impossible it is for 60 votes in this Senate and tax increases could be on the way.
It's simple - the system has broken (bring back Gramm-Rudman) - spending is seemingly on autopilot, up 43% in the last four years and with paygo the hard fought Bush tax cuts will be gone over the next few years.
If we let this happen, then really what does the GOP stand for anymore?
How Things Were Different in 1904
The average life expectancy in America was 47.
Only 14% of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.
Only 8% of the homes had a telephone.
Sugar cost $0.04/pound. Eggs were $0.14/dozen. Coffee cost $0.15/pound.
There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S. and only 144 miles of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California.
The average wage in the U.S. was $0.22/hour.
The average American worker made between $200-$400/year.
More than 95% of all births in the U.S. took place at home.
90% of all U.S. physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard."
The five leading causes of death in the U.S. were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
4. Heart disease
One in ten American adults couldn't read or write.
TCR Comment - I don't think we are any better today.
Only 6% of all Americans had graduated from high school.
There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S.
Thanks to Richard Russell - dowtheoryletters.com
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who recently completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his ninth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last three years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant and can be reached at (713) 621-6335.
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