It may seem like an eternity, but it's only been 100 days that Obama has led the country. TCR takes this opportunity to review the first 100 days.
First, the good things. Clearly, the country was very tired of President Bush and the GOP after eight years (six years in total control). So this was an easy one:
- Obama is successfully not Bush.
- The attitude of the American people is better than 2008 in right track-wrong track surveys, optimism about Obama's policies will improve the economy. (Pew Research Poll Mid-April 2009)
- The public is engaged with the First Family in a positive way.
- The White House has been able to define the GOP as being represented by Vice President Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who clearly are the GOP'ers the Democrats want to run against in the future. This is problematic for the GOP because of those three, only Newt Gingrich is a possible future candidate. The problem is it swallows the media exposure that newer faces need to have.
- The rescue of the American hostage held by Somali pirates by the U.S. Navy is a plus. There is a dispute as to how quickly the decision was made, but the end result was a plus.
Second, the real problems with Obama's leadership for the country:
Texas Legislative Update For May
- Foreign Policy is in complete disarray. We are being nice to our enemies and stiffing our friends. Relationships with Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are all deteriorating. Iran is still seeking nuclear weapons and fomenting revolution in Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and in Gaza. Faux pas are legion: the inappropriate gift-giving to the Prime Minister of England (a DVD's selection not usable on the European PAL system), bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia and glad-handing with Hugo Chavez (radical anti-U.S. President of Venezuela). One of the more unfortunate policies seems to be not talking about the importance of freedom in the world.
- Radical redoing of the federal government. Where do we start? Trillions in pork barrel spending, bailouts for reckless speculators, and the money supply is exploding along with unemployment. The era of a large federal government is back with a vengeance, with some saying, here comes socialism.
Conservatives cheered when the Republicans in the State House agreed to put the photo ID back into the Anti-Fraud Photo ID Bill.
Conservatives cheered when the compromise ultrasound bill now not mandatory, but doctors would have to offer them prior to abortions and in authorizing pro-life license plates with the money going for adoptions support.
Eminent domain reform
Conservatives cheered when eminent domain reform started moving in the Texas Senate but aren't we where we were two years ago and Governor Perry vetoed it?
No Property Tax Reform / Abandoning a Conservative Appointment
Conservatives jeered, as there has been no progress on property tax reform limits and abandonment by his appointer (Governor Perry) of the conservative Chair of the State Board of Education Don McLeroy, whose nomination is on life support in the Senate and attacks on the independence and areas of responsibility for the SBOE in regards to textbooks, curriculum, and management of the Permanent School Fund.
The Gross Receipts Tax (Margins Tax)
Conservatives cheered when the Texas House raised the revenue exemption of the gross receipts tax to businesses from $300,000 to $1 million. Then conservatives jeered when it was known that it's only temporary. If it's a good idea, then why didn't our conservative leaders make it permanent? If anyone thinks that the temporary exemption is a good thing, just remember what happened to the Bush tax cuts.
Democrats Paid by State to Challenge Republican Judges
Conservatives jeered as a Governor Perry-appointed administrative judge who appoints associate judges has apparently given permission for the Democratic appointees to keep their government jobs and run against Republican incumbent judges in 2010.
TCR Comment: It makes no sense for the opponents of our GOP judges to be paid to run against them. One interesting note, an elected judge who wants to seek another elective office must resign. TCR wonders, will anyone do anything? If not, it's not surprising that the GOP is in retreat in major Texas counties.
Jack F. Kemp, RIP
TCR mourns the loss of Jack Kemp, a giant of conservatism. The developer of the Reagan tax cuts, the guru of supply side economics, of growing the pie for all and not dividing a smaller pie, an innovator in bringing minorities into the GOP because we were the party of the American dream, former NFL star quarterback, Congressman, candidate for President in 1988, Republican Vice Presidential candidate in 1996, Secretary of HUD, and founder of Empower America with Bill Bennett and Vin Weber.
A favorite of Texas Republicans, Jack Kemp did events for the Harris County Republican Party when asked, like he did all over the country.
One brief experience TCR would like to share that occurred at the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston, your editor was privileged to be on the dais as Jack addressed an audience of 250+ packed into a room. Jack was at the top of his game and had the audience in his hand; listening to his speech and watching the audience locked in on every word was special, you could literally feel the energy flowing between them. We have lost an American giant, but blessed to have had Jack active and helping lead America.
Wicked Good Secrets by Janice Law
Former Harris County Judge Janice Law's post-judicial career is as an author. This is her third book that TCR has reviewed, including the groundbreaking Sex Appealed: Was the Supreme Court Fooled?, about the demise of the Texas sodomy law.
Her latest is a fictional thriller about a secret double-encrypted 18th century diary with a piece of Vatican art under the U.S. Capitol dome and someone dies. A former criminal court judge and an Indian chief unravel the historical mystery of the 200-year-old missing patriotic relic.
It is a good read, maybe it has a movie in its future. You can get it at any local bookstore (Brazos Bookstore in Houston) or at Amazon.com
TCR Back on the Air
Red, White & Blue, featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones has returned after a four-month hiatus. The co-hosts want to thank you, our loyal viewers, past guests, and the leadership of the University of Houston and its great Board of Regents who have been very supportive. Next week, a roundtable with the new Harris County Tax Assessor and GOP activist Leo Vasquez and Democratic activist Marc Campos. Coming soon, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, Chancellor Renu Khator, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia. As a new fun feature, visit Red, White & Blue on the Houston PBS website, where you can see commentary about the show and its guests by Gary and David.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who 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 twelfth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last seven years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.