After spirited battles for RPT Chair, and National Committeeman and woman, the party has made its choices. Generally, all the races were closer than expected. Congratulations to the winners - Tina Benkiser, Denise McNamara and Bill Crocker. May you help lead our party with vision, strong conservative principles, inclusiveness and with a forward looking agenda for the future. For the second place finishers - Gina Parker, Cathie Adams and Mark Cole, you are all good conservative leaders and TCR hopes RPT finds a positive way to get you involved.
This convention brought to the surface some areas of concern for conservatives in Texas that we all need to help address:
The Father of the Modern GOP
- Declining convention attendance, which either demonstrates lack of interest and/or too many delegate and alternate slots. Maybe we need to adjust the total numbers to reflect who really wants to go and it will save RPT money for fall campaigning.
- A convention schedule that somehow pushed key speeches for the National Committee to past 5 p.m. when the estimated attendance on the floor was 500 or less. Our candidates deserve better.
- No nationally renowned speakers to excite the troops.
- A platform that is over twenty pages long and deals with issues our local and state officials have minimal or no influence on. Some conservatives have suggested we divide our platform into two parts. One, a Compact with Texas that details our plans for Texas that we can accomplish if the GOP is in power the next two years and Two, our statement of national principles. One big plus, Paul Bettencourt's (Harris County, Tax Assessor-Collector) success in putting into the platform support for property tax appraisal caps.
- As a party we have many non-utilized or underutilized outstanding people. The State Party leadership is not an exclusive fraternity and should not be treated as such. It's time to stop sidelining great Republicans who can help if we only take the time to ask them.
- Finally, the convention points out we have some major schisms among some of our elected officials. We need to heal and then we have our work cut out for us in November to elect our key congressional candidates. If our turnout is not up to speed we could have problems. To that end the standard old victory program won't do, TCR has definite ideas here that we can share with the powers that be.
Ronald Wilson Reagan RIP
It's very difficult to find the words to express our gratitude for the life, leadership and vision of Ronald Reagan.
A generation of conservatives woke up and got active in 1964 because of "The Speech". The man who brought optimism to America restored our role in the world, beat inflation, ended the Carter malaise and defeated communism. He was truly one of the all-time great Presidents.
I had the privilege of being with the man a number of times starting in 1967 and my most treasured political artifact is my photo with the President.
To this day, Reagan has set a high standard for all Presidents to reach for. President George W. Bush also is one who came of age as a strong admirer of President Reagan and has modeled a lot of his key actions after him. There can be no greater tribute to Ronald Reagan than to win one more for the gipper in November.
2006 is Sooner Than You Think
Even though the 2006 election is over two years away, the political pot is heating up. Some statewide GOP'ers are already casting glances of where they can go next.
TCR suggests everyone take a deep breath and focus on November 2004 and not on 2006. There will be plenty of time for state politics later. So, no one needs to declare for another office at this time.
As for our friends the Democrats, speculation is they might look to the newly bipartisan Mayor, Bill White of Houston as their standard bearer. If he can maintain his pro-business bipartisan image he could be formidable.
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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