With an appalling 8.79% turnout, Houston voted in the 2011 City Election. Conservative pundits like Paul Bettencourt lament the lost opportunities in a 60% Democratic city.
With such a low turnout, 59,000 votes elected a Mayor, 2,800 votes elected a Councilman in a moderate-vote district and an incredible 2,600 votes elected a Councilman in a low-vote district.
Once a traditional conservative district, District C is now impossible to win due to redistricting, which radically altered the district. For the future, our best hope is at large races, and Districts A, F, and G.
As for this year, conservatives supported by TCR won or are in a runoff. In At Large Position 1 where political chameleon Scott Boates barely finished ahead of Don Cook who spent little, both losing to Stephen Costello; At Large Position 2 where Andrew Burks Jr. leads going into the runoff against retread liberal Kristi Thibaut; At Large Position 4 where C.O. 'Brad' Bradford rolled; and finally, At Large Position 5 where Jack Christie is on the heels of embattled Jolanda Jones. In the District races, Helena Brown and Brenda Stardig in District A faceoff in a runoff and in District G, Oliver Pennington won big.
For Mayor Parker, she needs to continue to work to achieve her fiscal conservative agenda, avoid social issues, ensure Proposition One is rolled out as it was sold, with no diversions for hike and bike trials etc., and she needs to surround herself with some more "A" team talent.
Democratic Party - Senate And House Members Are Accountable For The Country's Sad Shape
Peter Ferrara in The American Spectator recently made the case for why Democratic members of Congress share responsibility with President Obama for our nation's sad shape:
"... four years after the last recession started, there still has been no real recovery. Unemployment is stuck over 9%, with unemployment among African-Americans, Hispanics, and teenagers at depression level double-digit rates for at least 2 years now. Real wages and incomes are falling, back to levels last seen over 30 years ago. Poverty is soaring to new records as well, with more Americans suffering in poverty than any time since the Census Bureau started keeping records over 50 years ago."
"As a result, we are on track now for an historic conservative victory in 2012, far bigger even than in 1980.
"The 2012 election has in the Senate many more Democratic seats up as opposed to Republicans 23 to 10. So there is much more turf to defend and with the GOP within four seats one would think the GOP if we work hard should take the Senate in 2012.
"The first act of the Republican House was to pass repeal of Obamacare, reducing future taxes and spending by trillions. The [Democratic] Senate has failed to act on this at all.
"The Republican House passed the budget proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, which would cut federal spending by $6.2 trillion over the first 10 years alone, and permanently balances the budget soon after that, as scored by CBO. Government spending as a percent of GDP would ultimately be reduced by 40% from current levels.
"The Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to pass any budget at all, as required by law, for the second consecutive year now.
The Democrat Senate has also fought tooth and nail against every spending cut. They even threatened to shut down the entire government … because the House Republicans funded emergency FEMA disaster relief spending with $1.5 billion in offsetting spending cuts, half of one thousandth of the entire federal budget.
The House also passed a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which would eliminate the government's power to run a deficit and increase the national debt. The Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to pass it.
"... the House passed the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, which would stop the imposition of federal regulatory burdens on farmers and small businesses that would impede job creation. The Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to do anything ...
"The House has also passed the Energy Tax Prevention Act, prohibiting any federal agency from imposing a national energy tax, which would only further destroy jobs and shortcircuit economic recovery. But the Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to act on it.
"To restore the production of American energy, creating new high paying jobs and producing increased federal revenues from the resulting increased economic growth, the House has passed the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act, the Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act, the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act, and the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act. The House has also passed the North American-Made Energy Security Act, which would require the federal government to determine by a date certain whether to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline bringing Canadian oil to America's Gulf refineries. That would produce tens of thousands of new jobs and billions in increased federal revenues, but approval has been pending for the entire nearly 3 years of the Obama Administration.
"But the Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to act on any of these bills either.
"The House has also passed The Consumer Financial Protection and Soundness Improvement Act, which would restrict the new unelected Consumer Financial Protection Bureau adopted in Obama's Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill from imposing any regulations that hurt job growth. Once again, no action from the Democrat-controlled Senate.
"Obama…is already trying to blame a Do-Nothing Congress for his failures. But the Republican-controlled House has already been quite active in passing legislation to address the nation's problems. It is the Do-Nothing Democrat-controlled Senate that has failed to act on any of the House's accomplishments or even pass a budget as required by law, effectively failing to show up for work."
TCR Comment: The only do nothing Congress Obama should be running against are the Democrats in Congress.
The Journal's Mistaken Immigration Position
By Bruce Bialosky, Contributing Editor
Every day for the past 35 years, I have religiously read the Wall Street Journal. When I'm on vacation, I have the papers saved and I read them upon my return. I've often told people that if they just read the WSJ's opinion pages, they would be well informed - but not in recent memory have the editors been as wrong as they are with their current position on immigration.
The September 24th editorial entitled "The Illegal Immigration Collapse" claims that the Republican presidential debates were distorting the importance of illegal immigration on the American economy. The editors, illustrating their point with a graph, describe how border apprehensions have plummeted over the last eleven years. In fact, they state that apprehensions - of which there were 463,000 in 2010 - are at the lowest level in 40 years.
They argue that the decrease is caused more by the weak economy than by improved border security. But they then not only accuse Republicans of shouting that the border isn't "secure," but also that, by their definition, the border will never be secure. I have rarely seen the WSJ editors present more fatuous claims and more contradictory arguments.
The first problem with their line of reasoning is the assumption that there is a relationship between the number of apprehensions and the number of illegal entries into the country. While there may be a correlation, the editors provide no statistics to back that up.
Furthermore, they imply that these people are coming here principally to work - and if there's less work due to our anemic economy, then there'll be fewer illegals; therefore our concern is exaggerated. What a ridiculous position! Does that mean that we could resolve our illegal immigration problem by re-electing President Obama and driving our economy into a total ditch? Under that thesis, think of all the money we could save on border enforcement since foreigners will no longer want to live in America. By this logic, we will have a surge of illegal immigrants as soon as the economy perks up again - so let's just wait until then to bring up the subject.
They finish the editorial by stating - and here is where the WSJ editors join hands with the left - "Immigrants bring vitality and skills to the U.S. economy." This clearly implies what liberals have alleged for years: that Republicans are anti-immigrant. I have never once seen a statement by a Republican presidential candidate against immigrants, and the editorial did not (and could not) cite one.
The fact is that America has immigration laws that have been and are still being abused - not only by people pouring in from Mexico, but also people crossing from Canada as well as those who come here on airplanes (on vacation and student visas) and never leave. People from every country abuse the system, squeezing out millions who aspire to immigrate legally but can't get in because our system is strained by those who don't follow the laws.
Let's make this clear. Anyone who argues that people who are against illegal immigration are anti-immigrant are stupid -- just plain stupid. There is virtually no correlation. In fact, a strong argument can be made that those who willing accept illegal immigration are the ones doing harm to immigrants to this country and destroying the positive image of immigration.
It's not as if America has a miniscule number of immigrants. Our country is now home to 40 million immigrants - the highest number in American history - and twice as many as we had in 1990. That is a substantial amount by any calculation, and so a discussion of our immigration policies would seem to be in order for anyone seeking national office. But even broaching the subject too often brings hysterical charges of racism.
In general, Republicans oppose two things: acquiescing to illegal immigration and providing benefits to those individuals. I can't understand why Latino elected officials so adamantly defend illegal immigrants and want to provide benefits to them. And I really can't understand how Jerry Brown - Governor of an utterly bankrupt state - can sign a law to extend benefits to illegals and their offspring, in complete denial that these benefits are a magnet for other illegals.
Isn't it a little contradictory to tell someone that while it's OK to enter America illegally, we now want you to obey the rest of our laws? The basic principle of the United States is that we must follow the rule of law; while, regrettably, most of the people who migrate from countries to the south (for example: 12 million Mexicans) come from countries that don't. How can they tell their children (who everyone says are innocents): "I came here illegally, but you should follow all of the laws of our new country?"
Finally, the cost of underwriting illegals continues to mount even as we are staggered by government debt. The County of Los Angeles paid over $625 million in welfare costs for children of illegal immigrants in 2010, an obligation that will increase to $648 million this year - and that doesn't even include the cost of educating these children in public schools or the cost of their parents.
Los Angeles is, admittedly, a large county with a significant number of immigrants, but this gives you an indication of the expenses being borne by American taxpayers for our lax policies. In these days of budget crunches, most taxpayers wouldn't support this indulgence if they were fully aware of the financial implications, but (of course) the left-wing press doesn't publicize these facts. What they do instead is chastise anyone who questions the concept of providing benefits to innocent children who were brought here by no decision of their own. They just can't see the correlation between these programs and the continued flow of people over our borders.
Securing our borders finally became a matter of reality as Iran moved its program to enlist interests in Latin America against the United States as evidenced by the plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador. President Obama can now stop his snarky comments about moats filled with alligators and focus on doing his job securing the border.
We all embrace immigrants to this country, and all of us hope that they succeed beyond their wildest dreams. But there's a difference between legal immigrants and illegal immigrants, and it is right for Republican candidates to advocate policies that eliminate the incentives of illegal immigration.
The question is why the WSJ editorial board and the left do not?
Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former appointee of President Bush.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones, Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and replaying Sundays at 5:00 p.m. on PBS Houston Channel 8 and on the web at www.houstonpbs.org.
For a fun feature go to www.houstonpbs.org and under Red White and Blue, you can see commentary about the show and its guests by Gary and David each week. The current show as well as past shows are also available on YouTube.
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 thirteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last ten years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 6 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his ninth year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.