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Volume VII Number 6 - March 12, 2008
A Periodic Newsletter for Committed Texas Conservatives

In This Issue

Lessons Of 2008 Texas Primaries

Early Voting Statistics Paint A Disturbing Picture

William F. Buckley, Jr. RIP

Iraqi President Talabani's Spokesman Warns A Precipitous U.S. Troop Withdrawal Could Be Disaster By Joel C. Rosenberg

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Gary Polland
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(713) 621-6335







Lessons Of 2008 Texas Primaries

March 4th has come and gone and now it's time to review the lessons to be learned.

The record Democratic turnout around the state if replicated in November spells real trouble for the GOP.

Party unity alone will not do it. Glen Bolger, respected pollster at Public Opinion Strategies says the GOP is not badly splintered and is solidly behind Senator McCain now. This is confirmed by a recent Pew Center poll, which showed in trial heats that McCain gets 87% of the GOP vote versus Obama and 91% versus Clinton.

The same Pew poll shows the real problem: 38% say they are Democrats and 24% say they are Republican and after adding in leans, it's Democrats 55% and Republicans 34%!

The challenge per Glen Bolger is for the GOP to grow the Republican Party quickly, or do a lot better with independents.

A look at the votes in Harris County (which are indicative of the state) shows a record turnout for the Democrats, outvoting the GOP 4 to 1. Okay you say, didn't a lot of Republicans voting in the Democratic primary skew the results? They were only 9% of the total, but then you say, didn't we have a record turnout of young voters? The fact is it was around 8%, so there were still a lot of Democratic voters and that's a problem (see chart below for the early vote statistical analysis).

To recapture our past magic, why not have a Texas contract or compact with the voters? In the May 26, 2006 TCR Vol. V No. 9, we laid out ideas for seven issues to run on. They are certainly a starting point for 2008:

  1. Residential property tax cap will be reduced to 5% less an index adjusted for inflation (just like income tax benefits are adjusted for inflation.)

  2. TABOR type state spending controls limiting state increases in spending to no more than the increase in inflation and population.

  3. Repeal the new gross receipts business tax (which could mean taxing a business that makes no money) and instead institute a broad based consumption tax at lower than the current rate.

  4. End bilingual education in Texas to be replaced by an English First curriculum.

  5. Support a constitutional amendment to require a super majority before the raising of any taxes.

  6. Eliminate the top 10% rule on college admissions as it discriminates against students going to better high schools.

  7. Institute a pilot program for school choice for students in under performing schools.

If the GOP, locally and statewide, can layout an agenda of five to ten points, get approval from candidates, elected officials and the Republican party itself, we will have something to run on and something to win with.

As we all know, one big problem is GOP officeholders who campaign one way and govern another. This program would set up an easy to understand agenda and a whip for the GOP activist to enforce it with.

What else can we do? Any ideas?

Early Voting Statistics Paint A Disturbing Picture

A review of the primary early voting totals (non-absentee) in Harris County, Texas is an eye opener. The silver lining, the GOP primary vote was a record by 5,000 votes:

Total early vote 4-1 Democrat
Independents Primary vote 6-1 Democrat
Republican voting Democratic 9% of the Democrat vote
Democrats voting Republican 1/2% of the GOP vote
New voters 7-1 Democrat
Under 28 voters 6-1 Democrat
Voters 29 - 40 6-1 Democrat
Voters 41 - 65 3-1 Democrat
Voters 66 and up 57% Democrat

All in all not a pretty picture. It does reflect the campaign by Rush Limbaugh and others to get Republicans to vote in the Democratic primary (9,428 of those voting early did so), but the GOP is losing in almost all categories!

This confirms TCR's belief that we need a massive effort and the right message to assure success in November.

Former SREC member for Texas Senate District 17, longtime GOP and conservative activist, Jim Hotze, commented as follows recently:

"We are facing a political tidal wave that is possibly going to destroy 20 years of conservative progress in Harris County, Texas and across the nation in every state and county along with the US Congress, House and Senate. How does a filibuster proof US Senate make you feel?

"With the Obama new voters combined with traditional Democrat voters in November we are faced with losing more seats in the House/Senate, losing our majority in the Texas House & Senate and all county-wide's in Harris County.

"We all need to set aside any petty "he is not conservative enough BS" and get a hold of an oar and start pulling.

"There will be no magic way out of this, we are going to have to get every one of our voters out and find some more that have not voted for us yet.

  • Harris County Democrat 2008 primary turnout 405,784
  • Harris County Republican 2008 primary turnout 169,178
  • 2.3 Democrat to every 1 Republican

If only half their voters come back in November we are in trouble."

William F. Buckley, Jr. RIP

The father of the modern conservative movement in America has passed away. For young students in the sixties he was critical in forming the intellectual basis of a movement that culminated in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. An author of scores of books, your editor was most impacted by the classics, God and Man at Yale and Up from Liberalism.

National Review, which along with Human Events, were both founded at the beginnings of the modern conservative movement and were critical in providing the intellectual firepower for activists for over fifty years.

Since retiring years ago, Mr. Buckley continued to write a column and books essentially until last week when he died, it's clear his mind was as vital as ever.

This is a great loss to our movement and it reminds us how we got to where we are today and we can remember his great lessons to refocus our conservative efforts in the future.

Iraqi President Talabani's Spokesman Warns
A Precipitous U.S. Troop Withdrawal
Could Be Disaster

By Joel C. Rosenberg

TCR Comment: A very important insider view of the Iraq situation today, from the best selling author of "The Last Jihad" and president of the Joshua Fund (

(Sulymania, Iraq, Monday, February 25, 2008) -- Are we making any progress in Iraq? Will the U.S. stay the course and help this country become a secure and truly democratic country? Or will we cut and run, and if we do, what will be the ramifications? What do the leaders of Iraq say? What do they really want from us?

I had, of course, heard the stories and the stats: 70% of combat operations are now led by Iraqi military and security forces, with U.S. assistance. Iraqis forces are increasingly battle-tested and successful. They are killing and capturing jihadists in impressive numbers. Iraqi civilians throughout the country are getting so disgusted by seeing so much Muslim-on-Muslim violence that they are turning against the jihadist leaders and demanding peace and quiet. They are calling the "tip lines," turning in radicals and helping U.S. and Iraqi forces capture key leaders and huge caches of weapons. Moqtada al-Sadr, the 33 year old leader of the vicious Mahdi Army who is under enormous pressure from coalition forces, has just announced another six-month cease fire. Violence in Baghdad is down 80%. An estimated 85-90% of Iraqi territory is now safe. As violence drops, the economy is growing impressively -- up more than 7% this past year. And of course, the sooner Iraqi units are properly trained and equipped, the sooner U.S. forces can stand down and begin coming home. There is beginning to be light at the end of the tunnel, and it no longer appears to be the light of an on-coming train.

That said, seeing is believing and I had to see it for myself. So traveling in a beat up old Chevy Impala, my Joshua Fund colleague John Moser and I toured five provinces on a nine-day journey, meeting with 19 Iraqi evangelical Christian pastors and ministry leaders, speaking at a rapidly growing Iraqi evangelical church, interviewing former radical Islamic terrorists and jihadists, doing humanitarian relief work, and sizing up the progress that has been made here. And the progress is real and palpable.

It will be hard for many of you to believe this, but we never once felt in danger. Nor did we ever see U.S. troops. Not once. We were welcomed so warmly both as Christians and as Americans. The economy, especially in the Northern provinces, really is booming. Housing prices are soaring. Construction is underway everywhere. Cranes building new high rises are everywhere. Yes, there is still tremendous, heart-breaking poverty. Yes, there are occasional flashes of severe violence even in the "safe" regions. True, we didn't choose on this particular trip to go into the worst regions of Iraq, including Baghdad. And true, we didn't wander aimlessly around the country. We were with Iraqi leaders who knew the political and geographic terrain and could keep us out of harm's way. So don't misunderstand what I'm saying. The bad news you're hearing in the news media about the violence and trouble in Iraq is not inaccurate. But it is incomplete. There is lots of good news here. It's just barely reported.

But this goes back to the very real question of our own presidential campaign. Are the American people willing to see this heroic effort through, or are we going to turn our back on all the sacrifice our brave fighting men and women have made in Iraq so far. Senator John McCain, the father of the surge, seems to have locked up the Republican presidential nomination. Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, however, are locked in a dead heat for the Democratic presidential nomination, fiercely battling over how fast to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq. The battle lines for the fall campaign are becoming increasingly clear, at least when it comes to U.S. foreign policy in the epicenter.

Mala Bakhtyar (The Iraqi president's spokesperson) says, "He believes the forces of extremism will be defeated. He believes we will solve most of the problems Iraqis are suffering with and that democracy will go forward...We think Iraq will eventually emerge as the central democratic country in the region. Other countries will look to Iraq as the model." He puts the chances of Iraq becoming a true success story at about 80%.

But, he warned, the worst case scenario is a full-blown civil war engulfing the entire country, not just a series of sectarian skirmishes in certain cities and certain villages.

"President Talabani thinks the relationship with the United States is strategic and related to Iraq's destiny," Bakhtyar said. But he added pointedly that "a part of American public opinion is mistaken. They think Iraq is facing struggles because of the presence of American forces. On the contrary, 80% of those problems have been contained by U.S. and British forces."

"Look," said the Spokesman, a man who himself narrowly survived an assassination attempt in October of 2005, "Iraq has been around for 83 years. We have fought against Israel four times. We fought Iran for eight years. We occupied Kuwait. We were under international embargo for 13 years...There has been continual fighting throughout Kurdish history [in the north of Iraq]. From 1938 to 1945, there were three [armed] uprisings in the Barzan region. From 1961 to 1975, there was even more fighting in Kurdistan. From 1976 to 1991, there were many military operations and revolts. So what is Iraq? Is it a country, or a butcher house? No one has experienced peace or happiness here. It's a country of bloodshed. So why do we blame America for our troubles? Terrorists are fighting against the democratic process in Iraq...The terrorists are frightened of what will happen if democracy wins in Iraq. The age of terror and [radical Islamic] fundamentalism will be over... But I believe the democrats in the Middle East will win this war in the next ten to fifteen years."

COMING Friday, March 21, 2008 at 8:00 pm on Channel 8 PBS in Houston, Texas - The Connection - Red, White & Blue, featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones with author and former Bush speech writer David Frum and on March 28, 2008 the liberal's version of Frank Luntz: George Lakoff, author of the book Thinking Points - Communicating Our American Values and Vision.

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 tenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last six years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.

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