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Volume III Number 6 - April 20, 2004
A Periodic Newsletter for Committed Texas Conservatives

In This Issue

Texas Election Roundup

Runaway Highway Spending Bill Loaded with Non-Highway Pork

The Battle for the Future of the GOP in Texas

What are the Democrats Plans Today?

How Kerry Would Change Our Tax Bill

What's Ahead

Hard Hitting
Conservative Commentary
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Gary Polland
1331 Lamar #1550
Houston, TX 77010
(713) 621-6335







Texas Election Roundup

The voters were heard in the primary run-offs. The key winners - Victor Carrillo Railroad Commissioner, for Congress Arlene Wohlgemuth. Mike McCaul (it's ok to elect GOP lawyers), and Louis Gohmert.

Turnout was not great and for this round, "big name" endorsements trumped everything. TCR wishes all the candidates good luck in November and asks they not forget their strong conservative rhetoric. We all will be watching, won't we?

Runaway Highway Spending Bill
Loaded With Non-Highway Pork

President Bush's drawing the line in the sand on the highway bill has been proven he's correct again and it appears a veto is coming. The recent House bill passed 357 to 65 includes billions for non-highway expenditures (now awaiting conference committee action). Some highlights (or low lights):

  • $4 million for graffiti removal in Brooklyn and Queens,
  • $3.5 million for horse trails in Virginia,
  • $2.2 billion for two bridges to virtually nowhere in Alaska,
  • $5 million for a garage in Bozeman, MT,
  • $503 million for a recreational trails program,
  • Texas shortchanged again on highway funding and limited in the Senate bill to 90.5% of contributions (taxes) and the House bill limits Texas to an effective 78% while most states get 95%!

This runaway pork barrel spending must be stopped where it is found, in the highway bill, in the energy bill and also in the omnibus spending bill. Bring on that veto.

The Battle for the Future of the GOP in Texas
Can the Grassroots Conservatives Get Control?

TCR has been wondering if whether this year principled conservatives will get to run the Texas Republican Party or will the establishment/big business types run it through willing surrogates?

First, TCR urges all delegates to the state convention in San Antonio to actually show up and have an open mind about party leadership. Just because someone holds office, doesn't mean they should continue to. Look at what he or she has actually accomplished - like the financial state of the party, what the party is doing to advance conservative principles, what vision do the candidates have about the future and do they have a plan to get us there? Go and make up your own decision. Don't be part of the flock of sheep who do as they are told, be independent. Your party, and ultimately your state, and country are at stake.

It is critical that our delegates elect true leaders of the conservative grassroots, not the ones selected by the establishment for the RPT.

TCR ran across an article that was put out a few years ago by Kirk Overbey (former SREC member from Austin) lamenting the grassroots loss of an open process due to conservatives who carry the establishments water. Here are the excerpts:

Legal Fiat vs. The Grassroots

"Many of us came into the Republican Party as grassroots activists. We were motivated by our desire to promote important conservative issues. We were in essence pro-life, pro-family and anti-tax. We confronted a political party that was primarily being run by large financial contributors, who appeared to have little interest in our key issues."

"We spent more than a decade organizing the grassroots to bring about reform in the Party organization. Most of the reform came through amendment of the Party Rules, so that the voice of the grassroots would not only be expressed in the Platform but openly advocated by Party officials and delegates who were freely elected from among the grassroots."

"Since 1998, a new type of subjection against the grassroots has appeared that circumvents the rules reform and effectively blocks an open, deliberative, grassroots process. For want of a better term, I refer to it as "Legal Fiat." Basically, it involves stifling the deliberative process within the State Convention Committees, where the important work of the State Convention takes place."

Examples of Legal Fiat
In State Convention Committees

1998 Platform Committee

"The Chairman of the Platform Committee this year (that) was also serving as General Counsel for the Republican Party of Texas (appointed by then Chairman Susan Weddington). The Temporary Platform Committee placed the "Lambert Resolution" in its report by unanimous vote. Before the Permanent Committee met, an RPT staffer warned a Committee member that "an attorney might be sitting in on your meeting tomorrow." During the Permanent Committee meeting, no attorney attended, however, the Committee Chairman suddenly took on that role. The Chairman claimed that the Lambert Resolution should not be placed in the state platform because it was not enforceable. A Platform Committee member asked for a legal opinion and the Committee Chairman stated "I am the legal opinion for this committee." The Permanent Committee voted with the Committee Chairman and removed the Lambert Resolution."

2002 Rules Committee

"The Chairman of the Rules Committee (interim RPT Chair) Tina Benkiser was aided by two attorneys and the hired convention parliamentarian. This was the first time that the new 2000 edition of Robert's Rules of Order was in use. A change had been made in the blocking provision used by the junta. The 2000 edition now states: "Motions that conflict with the corporate charter, constitution or bylaws of a society, or with procedural rules prescribed by national, state, or local laws, are out of order." (10th edition, p. 332) Concerned about the heavy-handed behavior of past Rules Committees, several Committee members confronted the parliamentarian privately to make sure he understood that procedural laws were only "concerned with the process by which a deliberative assembly arrives at a decision" and not with the legality of a proposal (10th edition, p. xxi). If a blocking technique was to be used, a new method for doing so would have to devised. With remarkable creativity, the junta devised the following: 1) the Committee Chairman asked the attorney's opinion; 2) the attorney advised that the proposal was illegal; 3) the parliamentarian opined that the Republican Party of Texas is a creature of the Texas Election Code, the Texas Election Code serves as the charter for the Republican Party of Texas, and no other rules can be in violation of the charter; 4) the Committee Chairman ruled the proposal out of order based on the junta's interpretation of the law. This action was so outrageous that the ruling was appealed. (I believe this was the first time that a ruling by a Committee Chairman had been appealed since the 1988 Credentials Committee). The junta's legal maneuvering did not stop there. The Chairman ruled the appeal out of order on the grounds that it was dilatory. Under Robert's Rules of Order, this can be done only if "there cannot possibly be two reasonable opinions" on the question. Since the Committee had debated the question for over three hours, the junta was basically saying that in three hours of debate and testimony, only one reasonable opinion was expressed. Thus, another new precedent was established which effectively cemented the total authority of the Committee Chairman - the right to block an appeal."

TCR's Comment - This year when you make your choices, a major factor ought to be these past occurrences. Our Party needs independent, principled, conservative leadership who possess a vision of how to advance our common sense philosophy and elect officials who will help achieve those goals. We don't need conservatives who carry the water for the insiders.

What are the Democrats Plans Today?

It's time again for TCR to visit our "friends" at the Democratic Leadership Council. This month they have advice in a memo for John Kerry and it's interesting, so let's see what's there in TCR's excerpts:

"Bush is diminishing himself and the office with a relentlessly negative campaign that makes him look more like a political hatchet man than a president. The hollow Republican strategy hands Democrats a golden opportunity to be the party of ideas and Americans' only hope for change. That high road is your best path to victory."

Rule No. 1: Hope Beats Anger

"Don't forget how you got this far: Democratic primary voters rejected the old politics of anger, and chose the politics of hope and opportunity instead. The optimistic, New Democrat formula that worked for Bill Clinton worked for you as well. Democrats wanted a candidate who had real answers to their problems, from jobs to health care to education. They also desperately wanted a candidate who could dispatch the biggest problem in their lives: George W. Bush."

Rule No. 2: Swing Voters Need a Home

"A recent study by the authoritative Pew Research Center identified fully 29 percent of the voters this fall as swing voters who could go either way. Because both you and Bush are likely to win more than 90 percent of your hardcore partisans, these swing voters will be the decisive factor."

"To survive the general election campaign, you will need to avoid the traps that your adversaries will set for you. Don't let the White House lure you into an ideological election between liberals and conservatives. Plain and simple, there are more conservative than liberal voters in America. That's true even among swing voters."

"The Bush campaign would like nothing more than for you to abandon the Clinton-New Democrat formula. After all, it's the only Democratic formula in nearly half a century that has appealed successfully to both the Democratic faithful and to swing voters. Republicans will try to define you as a pre-Clinton old Democrat because that's the kind of candidate they'll always beat. Don't give them that opportunity. Finally, define yourself on your own terms, not theirs."

Rule No. 3: Ideas and Results Matter

"We've heard Bill Clinton say it a hundred times: "Elections are about the future, not the past." That's a battle Democrats can win, even against a popular incumbent, because Bush's best days may be behind him. This White House believes timing is everything. The trouble with that is that sacrificing Bush's ability to solve tomorrow's problems to gain today's headlines will leave him worse off over the long haul."

"The country's future, even more than its present condition, is Bush's greatest weakness and Democrats' best chance in 2004. The Democratic opportunity is simple: Americans face real problems that Democrats see and Republicans don't; Democrats offer the country real answers and Republicans don't."

"Bush's failure gives you an opportunity to define the agenda for the campaign and offer a new contract with the forgotten middle class. Your new contract should lay out how we make America safer and more respected; restore job and income growth and expand the middle class; reinforce the mainstream values of work, family, responsibility, faith, and tolerance that most Americans believe in; unify all Americans in service to each other; and launch reforms that tackle the greatest challenges our country faces."

Rule No. 4: Reform Is the Key to Results

"As Clinton showed in 1992, if Democrats couple a populist critique with real answers to expand opportunity for all Americans, Republicans lose the argument on both counts. So Bush's White House will try to force a different argument - the one they used effectively in 2000. Time and again, Bush argued that the federal budget surplus was the people's money, not the government's, and that Democrats in Washington thought they knew better how to spend people's money than taxpayers did. Now Bush will reprise his favorite whoppers from last time around: first, that Democrats are the ones playing class warfare, and, second, that the special interest the little guy should most worry about is government."

"Without a reform component, the best Democratic ideas too often sound like big government. Democrats need to reassure the little guy that we want to fix government, not just expand it. It's not enough to keep markets and privilege in line with the values and interests of ordinary people. We need to keep government in line with those values and interests, too."

Rule No. 5: Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

"From the beginning, you have never forgotten that the goal isn't just winning the nomination, it's winning the election. Keep your eyes on that prize for another seven months, and it will be yours."

"The American people want a president who will reform their government, not just expand it; increase their incomes, not their share of the tax burden; and make them feel more secure in these dangerous times, not more frightened. George W. Bush broke his promise to be that kind of president. It's up to you to make America's best hopes come true."

TCR Comment - It is important to know what they are up to so we will be better prepared to achieve victory in November.


How Kerry Would Change Our Tax Bill

Capital Gains 15% 20%
Income Tax Rate
35% 40%
Income Tax Rate
25% 28%
Income Tax Rate
10% 15%
Child Credit $1,000 $600
Marriage Penalty Gone Back
Death Tax 0% 55%
Tax Dividend Tax 15% 40%

Thanks to Steve Moore - Club for

About Your Editor

Gary Polland is a long time Republican spokesman, fund-raiser and leader who recently completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chair. During his time as Chairman, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events. For six years, Gary put out a bi-weekly newsletter which he has continued due to requests from many Republican activists.

Tune in Thursday Nights - Houston Warner Cable channel 17 for Texas Politics-The Real Deal with co-hosts David Jones and Gary Polland, awarded Cable T.V. personalities of the year by the Houston Press.

© 2004 Texas Conservative Review

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