Category Archives: Republican Party of Texas

The Hottest Under-The-Radar Political Campaign In Texas

It is rare that the internal struggles of a major political party are contentious enough to draw public attention. After all, the participants are all members of the same organization. The differences between candidates are often so nuanced as to leave the outsider baffled as to why there is a contest at all. Sometimes the outcome of these internal contests have consequences that are so enormous, that it can reshape the political map in fundamental ways. Nowhere is this principle more readily observable than in the current race to see who will lead the Republican Party of Texas — one of the largest and most influential state parties in the country.

After presiding over historic gains while leading RPT, James Dickey now faces an unlikely opponent — the anointed successor to Tom Mechler, Cindy Asche.

Let’s review.

After the sudden resignation of the wildly unpopular Tom Mechler (defeat in all but name), Dickey, the former County Chair for Travis County, found himself in charge of a Republican Party that seemingly had lost its way.

At the mercy of highly leveraged and well-funded special interests, faced with plummeting fundraising, and suffering from a lack of transparency and accountability indicative of a tottering establishment clinging to perceived power, Mechler was killing the party.

In stark contrast to the corrupt politics of destruction practiced by Mechler, Dickey brought a renewed sense of purpose to the party. His victory as chairman energized the base, motivated the most dedicated party activists, and reengaged peripheral constituent groups long neglected by the elitists formerly in control of party leadership.

The result? Fundraising increased to levels not seen in years and turnout in the March 2018 Republican Primary was higher than any in recent memory.

It’s hard to imagine that anyone would believe that all of that was a bad thing. But those who previously supported Mechler and were caught off-guard by his resignation, think success is a very bad thing — if anyone but Mechler is responsible.

Enter, Cindy Asche.

Out of Nowhere

To say that Asche was “recruited” is perhaps a dramatic understatement. In fact, until she announced that she was running for RPT chair, there were no indications that she had any intention of doing so.

When candidates are preparing to run for any elected office, they conventionally make use of every opportunity to show their faces, shake hands and kiss babies — unless they are a dark horse (i.e., someone else’s political avatar).

The comedy comes when a candidate, laying the groundwork for their last-minute run, begins to show up at events and meetings — as if they’ve been there all along — feigning concern for the major issues. Asche’s theatrics are indeed consistent with the MO of a dark horse candidate.

Asche previously showed little concern for how the RPT was being run until she announced that she was running — much like local judges who voted for BHO twice, but need to win a red bench in a red district. It’s amazing how quickly candidates “get religion” when they need other people’s money and support.

Instead of being driven by a desire to advance the RPT and concern for the status quo, Asche’s motivations are arguably less than altruistic. Delegates still upset that their hand-picked successor — Rick Figueroa — didn’t get the job when glorified accountant Tom Mechler resigned, begged Asche to run.

It’s the same old story in Texas politics. The political class hates two things – transparency and accountability. In the short time that Dickey has been Chairman, he has instituted an unprecedented level of both. In doing so, he posted record numbers for the party and got results. For those on the State Republican Executive Committee who prefer the party to be governed as a closed-loop system, open only to those deemed worthy by themselves, Dickey’s openness, even-handedness, and results-driven strategic thinking are like sunlight to a vampire.

Who Are You?

One of the by-products of being a candidate plucked out of the ether, is that no one knows who you are. This is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you have to work overtime to build your name ID. On the other, you have the opportunity to, in the absence of an actual record, create your own story. It is the latter which has proven problematic for Asche.

While her biographical information and work history have been fairly consistent, her credentials within the Republican Party have not. Instead, in the early days of her campaign, Asche’s party credentials changed depending on where you saw her speak. She has been fond of claiming that her experience in the Republican Party goes back to when she was a child when she attended a convention with her father. While exposing your child to the political process at an early age is laudable, it doesn’t qualify as party engagement. Using Asche’s logic, the child of a corporate CEO who goes to the office on “bring your child to work” day, is qualified to run a company.

That can be chalked up to the puffery that is a normal part of political campaigning and used car sales. What is conspicuous, is her total absence from party engagement over several decades. Should we call that a slump?

Asche was such a ghost in the Republican Party, that when she announced that she was running for RPT chair, social media was flooded with messages from long-time active party members asking one question – “Who in the hell is that?”

One would think that someone who has made her concern for the principles and platform of the Republican Party the cornerstone of her stump speeches would have been, at the very least, visible in her legislative support of those principles and platform planks over these decades. Instead, Asche is nowhere on record as having testified in front of any committee in the Legislature on any issue related to the Republican Party platform or principles at any time.

An Offensive Offensive

It is far too often that political campaigns devolve into mudslinging and negative attacks. It is rare that you get a candidate like Asche who promises that she will not stoop to those levels, preaches unity in the party, and then immediately and publicly breaks the promise while simultaneously doing her dead-level best to fracture the party by marginalizing and insulting the most active members.

In a speech she delivered near Victoria, Texas, Asche did all of this. Starting off by promising “not to go negative” and talking about how the party needed to “unify,” Asche then went on a toxic tirade against Dickey and subsequently attacked the party’s grassroots activists.

What was missing from her speech? Answer: anything about how she would lead the party.

Her attacks haven’t been confined to stump speeches. Perhaps channelling Josef Stalin, who said that “quantity has a quality of its own,” Asche is sending a relentless stream of mailers insinuating that voting for her opponent will hand Texas to the Democrats and touting the generic labels of “proven leader,” “dedicated conservative,” and “proud Texan.” After all, who in the Republican Party wouldn’t also fit those descriptors? All of these mailers are attempts to convince convention delegates that she is just like them, with the unspoken assertion that Dickey is none of those things.

When Jeb Bush decided to place an exclamation mark after his first name in all campaign literature “Jeb!”, memories were not altered. Americans did not forget that Jeb is the son of “read my lips,” and the brother of “is our children learning.”

In much the same way, the elevated and sensational syntax of Asche’s mailers do not make her claims more true, or her own candidacy more desirable.

Moreover, Asche’s attacks and junk mail haven’t been reserved for mailboxes. Many delegates receive unsolicited emails from Asche’s campaign accusing Dickey of securities fraud. Ignoring the publicly available facts and the easily rebutted assertions, the misinformation and half-truths contained in these emails are still defamatory and legally problematic.

It is this email, and what happened as a consequence, that definitively proved that Asche has a fast-and-loose relationship with the truth. Within days of sending that email, Asche claimed that the email account that was used to send that had been shut down at the request of Dickey. All that came to mind was the line from the GEICO commercial with the senior citizen who showed her friend her wall of pictures. “That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.”

It turns out that while Asche’s email account may have been closed by the provider, it wasn’t Dickey who was responsible. Rather, it was Asche’s own incompetent and possibly illegal use of the service that was to blame. Asche’s campaign used a popular email list service called Mailchimp. The terms of uploading an email list into the Mailchimp include a provision where you attest that all of the email addresses that you add to the system have given you permission to send them email. Mailchimp, like all other reputable email services, requires list owners to attest that recipients have “opted-in” to receive emails. Further, when uploading a list you are again reminded that you may not upload lists that have been acquired or purchased from third-party providers. Asche literally had to ignore multiple warnings and falsely attest to her compliance to send the email claiming that Dickey was unethical. The irony burns.

As Asche’s email began to hit email boxes, most people do what they normally do with unsolicited email. They mark it as SPAM. As Mailchimp tracked the ever-growing percentage of SPAM complaints, they did as they promise they will do in their terms of service – they suspended Asche’s service. Contrary to Asche’s assertion that Dickey was responsible, the fact is that it was Asche’s unethical and irresponsible use of the service which got her suspended. It seems inconceivable that someone who can’t follow the rules of an email service, who willfully ignored the federal laws against spam emails, and who cannot manage a simple email list would be asking to manage the Republican Party of Texas.

Since the email debacle, Asche has ramped up her rhetoric, claiming that Dickey is cooking the books and lying about the financial health of the organization. Her claims have been repeatedly and conclusively proven false, yet she continues to make them. Her willful choice to ignore record-breaking fundraising and electoral results, leads to one of two possible conclusions. Either she is comfortable with repeating a lie or she is simply bad at math.

In public forums, after her attacks, Asche is being pressed to explain how she would manage the party differently. She says that she would make the party more transparent. At this moment, as a result of Dickey’s leadership, it is more transparent than it ever has been and is the most transparent state party in the United States. She claims that she would bring “unity” to the party. It is hard to see how that promised unity can happen when Asche’s entire campaign is predicated on driving wedges between every segment of the party. She claims that she would be more effective at fundraising and in electoral contests. It’s hard to see how she could do it any better than it is being done since Dickey took the reins. It will definitely be infinitely more difficult for Asche since she is going out of her way to alienate the heart of Republican efforts in the field – grassroots activists.

Cue The Boogeyman

As Asche’s attacks are failing to resonate with convention delegates, she is implementing a new strategy. While her campaign began by insisting that electing her as chair was the only way to withstand the “blue wave” of Democrats, when the much-touted “blue wave” failed to materialize, she introduced a new boogeyman – Libertarians. Asche’s grand conspiracy theory goes something like this.

“The Libertarians (or libertarians) are taking over the Republican Party.”

That’s it. No context, details, or proof are necessary in Asche-world. When pressed for details she lists a set of characteristics that fits everyone in the Republican Party who share a legitimate concern about the size and scope of government and its intrusion into the lives of Texans. Asche commits a political bait-and-switch by labeling those who are lovers of liberty as “Libertarians” and seeking to demonize those who want the Republican Party to value liberty as much as the it was valued by the Founding Fathers. By her criteria, the ascension and election of Ronald Reagan constituted a “libertarian takeover” of the Republican Party.

Asche doesn’t seem concerned with the one infiltration of the party that should cause concern for Republicans – Democrats. Over the last two decades Texas has seen a tsunami of elected officials and voters switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. It is understandable. When a political party, which is no different than any other organization, shifts its mission, methods, and values and they no longer align with the personal mission, methods, and values of an individual, they will leave that political party and join the one that does. Asche seems to ignore those who defected from the Democrats and continue to think and act like Democrats but do so under the cover of the Republican brand. Instead, she embraces them and wants to protect them by repealing provisions of the Republican Party rules created to solve this problem and protect the Republican brand.

Asche seems so desperate to find a boogeyman, she overlooked defectors from the party which she used to cause alarm early in her campaign and jumped to those who actually joined the Republican Party because they value the Constitution and liberty. But Asche’s lack of understanding and her constantly moving targets prove one thing. Neither her outrage nor her concern are real. They are just more manipulation tactics in a campaign full of them.

The Race Card

Despite endorsements for James Dickey that reflect more racial and ethnic diversity than a magazine ad for Benetton, Asche has gone out of her way to manufacture a racial divide within the RPT. Asche has launched direct and repeated attacks on how Dickey has handled engagement to the Hispanic and Black communities. Through proxies, her campaign has been even more divisive stirring up accusations of racial bias and creating racially-charged animosity where none existed before.

One Asche campaign operative, in an apoplectic social media tirade, exposes just how divisive Asche’s campaign is on the issue of race. Bianca Gracia, in response to a Dickey supporter on Facebook, said, “…keep telling yourself that and you and your little race as its disappearing while Hispanics become the majority minority…”

While those words would be expected from a member of LULAC or La Raza, they actually came from a high-level campaign operative for someone who is running for chair of the Republican Party of Texas. Cindy Asche has yet to disavow or condemn these remarks.

All of these attacks are calculated to create the impression that Dickey is a racist. If this line of attack seems familiar, it should. It’s a favorite of the radical left and is employed with great skill by the Democrats. It hard to believe that anyone running for chair of the Republican Party of Texas, especially one who professes an undying love for Donald Trump, would deploy this favorite tactic of the left and one used relentlessly against Trump. Yet, Asche has made this a cornerstone of her campaign.

Hamburgergate

When candidates at any level fail to connect with their political punches, they often resort to the ridiculous. This is exactly what Asche did at the final candidate forum hosted by the Harris County Republican Party. Asche used her allotted time in the first few minutes of the forum to take Dickey to the whipping post for adding a hamburger and ice cream to his expense report while traveling on party business.

Dickey easily deflected the attempted attack by clarifying that it was a cheap hamburger and that his expenses were far less than his predecessor, Tom Mechler, who had endorsed Asche. Despite the fact that those in attendance could barely contain their laughter and astonishment that the race had come to this, Asche went “all in” by bragging how she was wealthy enough to cover her own expenses. This line of attack did not endear her to the crowd. They were able to read between the lines and understand exactly what Asche meant.

Asche’s unspoken argument was that the only people deserving to manage the Republican Party of Texas were those who those who were wealthy. This was a backhanded insult at all of those within the Republican Party of Texas who are on fixed incomes, work two jobs to make ends meet, and those who make just enough to get by, but still share the party’s values and give what they can of their time and money. In Asche’s world, they are unworthy to hold the top job in the party because they don’t make enough money.

It wasn’t until after the forum that it became abundantly clear that Asche was a raging hypocrite on this issue. The first blow came when people began to review her campaign expense reports from the Texas Ethics Commission and saw that despite her claims of wealth, she wasn’t even self-funding her own campaign. Instead, she was receiving infusions of campaign money from former Chairman Tom Mechler and the chief apostle for amnesty for illegal aliens, Norm Adams. After all, someone with her stated wealth and self-professed concern about the financial health of the party should be able to self-fund her campaign and direct those contributions to the party. She didn’t.

The real blow came when reviewing her contributions to the RPT. Much like her engagement with the party has a serious gap, her financial contributions to the party before her run for city council in Frisco are almost non-existent. One would think that someone who claimed that her “HOA has a bigger budget than the RPT” would be able to squeeze out regular and substantial contributions to the party, especially when she has criss-crossed Texas feigning concern for the financial health of the party. She hasn’t.

Everything That Is Wrong

In the September 1948 issue of Frontier Times, Adina de Zavala, granddaughter of the hero of the Texas Revolution Lorenzo Zavala, suggested a meaning for each point of the star on the Texas flag. According to the article, Zavala believed that the five points of the star represented the characteristics of a good citizen: fortitude, loyalty, righteousness, prudence, and broadmindedness. Cindy Asche has run a campaign that is the antithesis of these characteristics.

Asche’s campaign is a symbol of everything that is wrong with politics. Her motivations are self-serving. Her tactics are immoral, unethical, hypocritical, and sit contrary to long-established Texan values. She has worked to divide Hispanics, Blacks, and Caucasians within the dominant political party in Texas, using the worst form of race-baiting and enticing delegates to forget that we are all Texans. She has systematically insulted and denigrated those who love liberty, those who are not wealthy, and those who volunteer their time to advance the party’s objectives.

Given Asche’s actions over the past few months, it is reasonable to assume that an RPT under her leadership would leave the party in ashes at a time where we can ill afford to lose a bulwark against outside forces that would seek to render Texas a vassal state to the Federal superstate.

Her campaign is reminiscent of the fake campaign of “Gil Fulbright” except that Asche’s campaign is not a parody. It is, unfortunately, all too real as will be the consequences of her becoming the state chair.

Brett Rogers Answers the Republican Label Question

All of this from the current challenger to Chairman James Dickey  using divisive words to label those she disagrees with regarding the RPT Platform.

Brett Rogers – I’ve never heard of Duke Machado. Evidently, he has a blog. He wrote a post urging that we “end the Libertarian takeover in the GOP.”

He focuses only on labels: Libertarian and Republican. A wise man once taught me to crave function, not title. In other words, labels (nouns) mean nothing and activity (verbs) define us.

The Republican party was long known as the party of low taxes and smaller government. The Democrat Party was known as the party of higher taxes and bigger government. In the last twenty years, maybe thirty, the Republican Party shrugged off that reputation and simply became the party of slightly less growth of government, brief periods of lower taxes, but always increased spending.

That opened the door for an alternative, the Libertarians. They believe in less government, but are too lazy and unorganized to really win anything above mayor of a small town.

So people like Duke Machado get all itchy when real Republicans (the ones that want to do what Republicans used to do – shrink government) look like today’s Libertarians (who talk about shrinking government, but can’t win elections to effectively shrink government). The reason they get all itchy? They’ve shrugged off the Constitution and embraced big government. They loathe a republic and instead crave a centralized national government.

In short, they look nothing like Republicans. Because they aren’t.

Just as there is no compromise between a socialist and a capitalist, there is no compromise between big government Republicans and small government Republicans. People such as Duke crave the Democrat model of growing government as long as those doing so call themselves Republican.

Which is why real Republicans should completely ignore people like Duke Machado.

And Matt Armstrong chimes in –

Great post and Duke and his ilk are the “norm Adams” wing of the party talking!
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If you are not attending the Republican Party of Texas State Convention next week, why pardner, you’re missing out. Stay tuned. You, too, can chime in, leave me a comment.

Texas Republicans Face Existential Fight For Party Leadership (Asche Versus Dickey): Will The GOP Stand On Its Platform Or Let It Slide?

On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey spoke to the Harris County Republican Party candidate forum with his opponent for State Chair Cindy Asche sitting listening (right, under flag).

Austin, Houston, and Conroe, May 30 – Texas Republicans face an existential threat in their choice of the leader of the GOP at the State Republican Convention in June. Since 1968, Party leaders have steadily lost influence, thanks in large part to the shift away from Party caucuses and conventions for the selection of Republican candidates to Republican primaries where even democrats can vote for the Republican nominee should they decide to switch parties for the primary election. In 2016, however, Republican state convention delegates fought back for the first time in half a century in passing a mechanism to require Republican elected servants to follow the Party Platform.

The existential threat is in the race for State Republican Chairman. The incumbent is James Dickey. His opponent is Cindy Asche. In order to understand why Asche is a threat to the very existence of the Republican Party, it’s important to see the contest in its historical context.

Rule 44: should the Republican Party insist that Republican candidates and officeholders stick with the Republican Platform? 

In 2016, delegates to the Texas Republican Convention, which was the largest gathering of Republican activists anywhere in history (including national conventions), voted to adopt Rule 44 to the Rules of the Republican Party of Texas. Rule 44 empowered county GOP executive committees to vote (comprised of the Precinct Chairs) to censure a Republican officeholder or candidate by a mandatory 2/3 vote for taking actions which violate the Republican Party Platform while in office or as a candidate. The State Republican Executive Committee then could take the recommendation of the county from which the Republican officeholder or candidate came and vote whether, under Rule 44, to censure at the state level, which such censure would result in the Republican Party withholding funds or resources from the officeholder or candidate.

Rule 44 finally gave Republican grassroots activists a hammer by which the Republican Party could rap the knuckles of “Republicans-in-name-only,” or RINOs. 

Republican activists spend tens of thousands of hours every two years in precinct, senatorial, and State conventions where they carefully write and adopt the Republican Party of Texas Platform. Republican activists have engaged in that process for decades. Adherence to that Platform – and nothing else – is what defines a person as a Republican. There is nothing that distinguishes Bill Clinton from Republicans other than hundreds of major and minor policy issues where there is a difference. Bill Clinton is not Pro-Life, in favor of the rights under the Second Amendment, or for reduced government spending and taxes. It’s in the adopted Planks of the Republican Party of Texas Platform where Republicans define themselves as Republicans, a definition Mr. Clinton could never meet.

Without the Platform, Republicans are little more than a social club. The failure of Republicans at the federal level to adhere to Republican principles is precisely the reason that so many Americans have become disheartened with all three branches of the federal government.

The primary distinction between the two candidates for Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas is precisely this issue. The incumbent State Republican Chairman, James Dickey, supports Rule 44 and voted in favor of a Rule 44 censure on the one occasion when the issue came to a vote before the State Republican Executive Committee on January 27, 2018.

His opponent for State Republican Chair is a nice lady by the name of Cindy Asche. Asche made clear in two important situations that she does not believe the Republican Party should censure or admonish candidates and officeholders who refuse to follow the Platform.

Dickey and the censure of Texas Speaker Joe Straus

On Saturday, January 27, 2018, the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) voted to concur with a resolution censuring Texas House Speaker Joe Straus that the Bexar County Republican Party had previously adopted.  The Bexar County resolution cited multiple occasions where Speaker Straus’ actions hindered and obstructed legislation that would advance Republican Party principles and priorities and requested the SREC to concur and apply the censure penalties available under the Republican Party of Texas’ Rule 44.

Since this censure resolution arose under Rule 44, it required a 2/3rds vote of the full SREC (43 in favor) to pass. After hours of debate, the SREC voted 44 to 19 to grant Bexar County’s request, concur in their resolution of censure, and apply appropriate penalties.

Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey and Vice Chair Amy Clark cast the deciding votes to pass the resolution. They acknowledged that this was a difficult vote on an issue that has received much discussion. Nevertheless, they ultimately believed it was appropriate and necessary for the Party’s health and unity to recognize the concerns which Republican voters and county parties had raised across the State by adopting this resolution and moving forward.

“Please know, we do not do this lightly, and it does not necessarily reflect any personal opinion on particular details in this discussion,” Chairman Dickey said. “This is us being committed to supporting the convention, the delegates, Republican voters across Texas in unifying our Party to move forward.”

During debate on the resolution, SREC Committeeman and Bexar County GOP Chairman Mark Dorazio stated, “In 1992 we passed the most conservative platform in the history of Texas, and that platform stands today. And all of those grassroots people that we represent have put in years, and money and their sweat and toil just to have their own elected representatives undermined. We have had control of the state legislature and we can’t get bills out of our house because of the obstruction of the speaker. This platform we have is to unify us. ”

“The Republican Party of Texas believes in its principles and supports the work of its delegates, voters, precinct chairs, and elected officials in upholding those principles,” said Chairman Dickey. “We must now move forward and focus on our goal of growing the Party and electing Republicans in critical races up and down the ballot in 2018. That is and will continue to be the Party’s number one priority in the weeks and months to come.”

Asche’s candidacy: the direct challenge to the Republican Party Platform and Rule 44

Less than one hour after Dickey voted with the SREC to censure Straus under Rule 44, Asche announced her candidacy to run against and try to defeat Dickey with Straus supporters Tom Mechler and Toni Anne Daschell endorsing her.

At least twice, Asche has made clear that she doesn’t believe the GOP should use Rule 44 to censure or admonish officerholders and candidates who refuse to follow the Platform. One of those occasions was in writing. The other occasion was at a candidate forum with Dickey just last week.

Empower Texans, one of the largest grassroots conservative organizations in Texas, sent a candidate questionnaire to Asche and Dickey for the Republican Party of Texas Chairman race. In response to one of the questions, the Rule 44 issue came to the fore. A screen shot of the question and the Dickey and Asche answers follows:

Liberty-minded Republicans become the new scapegoat in the RPT State Chair Race

Jeff LeBlanc of the Republican Liberty Caucus thinks that Cindy Asche’s comments are offensive to his group and urges members to vote for James Dickey.

james dicky cindy asche

From the InBox:

The Republican Party Of Texas State Chairman race is heating up. Recently, establishment challenger, Cindy Asche, has turned her fire on what she perceives as ‘Libertarians’ in the Republican Party who she would like to purge. The use of such language is nothing new for any Liberty-Minded Republican. It is quite common when one calls for adherence to the principles of the party over just ‘talk.’ Something must be amiss, so it/s time to scapegoat a group as infiltrators challenging the status quo.

The Republican Liberty Caucus of Texas has always stood for Liberty above all else. We function in our party because we believe that the GOP was founded on liberty and remains the best avenue for promoting freedom for the nation. We don’t seek solutions from government, but a reduction of it. We’re proud our platform includes issues such as: Abolish the Federal Reserve, Sound Money, Ending blanket Foreign Aid, Abolishment of the IRS, The NDAA, the War Powers Act and many other pro-freedom ideas from the right to buy raw milk to the ability of citizens to purchase automobiles directly from manufactures.

Liberty is not a new idea and it is not an alien idea to the GOP. Many of us have worked in the Republican Party in some form or fashion for decades. It is disingenuous to be branded as not the party we belong in. Such comments do nothing to grow the party. In fact, we would argue, seeking to purge any voices in disagreement with you is, in fact, secluding and shrinking the party. Once we fall into the trap of no longer allowing the freedom of ideas to be discussed and debated, we have lost all Liberty we claim to be champions of.

This caucus made the decision to proudly support James Dickey. We will continue to stand by that endorsement. James has given the grassroots a renewed enthusiasm. It continues to baffle us why the challenger sees things as a negative when the body functions as intended. The chair allows the body to work. He allows open debate without placing a thumb on the scales for a desired outcome.

For us the choice was clear, and it should be to anyone who believes in the basic principles of the party. One leader offers a party that works from the bottom up. One leader believes that we should trust our delegates and SREC members with their decisions. The other seeks to instill top down leadership. The other seeks to return to a time that only leadership has the answers to all issues, despite the will of party members and their representatives. And, according to recent statements, even gets to define who can belong and be called a Republican and who cannot.

Additionally, last night in Harris County Ms. Asche continued her assault on the RLC. You can view the video below:

 

We continue to urge all our delegates and all our partner organization delegates to vote for James Dickey at the upcoming RPT State Convention.

In Liberty,
Jeff LeBlanc
Chairman – RLCTX

To Kill a King: the Unmaking of Speaker Straus

(Updated below!)

Regular readers of Texian Partisan will recall last week when we reported that Governor Abbott had cut Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus out of the planning for the special legislative session. Additionally, we theorized that this may have started in motion events that could lead to Straus’s ouster from leadership. Well, that process may actually be underway.

Reported on Tuesday (07/11/17) in the Statesman, in a 36-28 vote, the Bexar County Republican Party’s executive committee passed a resolution of no confidence in Straus, calling for his departure. This vote was opposed by the GOP County Chairman (and Straus ally) Robert Stovall, who “attempted to rule it out of order.” However, he lacked the support to do so.

As a leader, Straus’s unpopularity has steadily been growing for being seen as (at best) a weak advocate for many conservative causes, but also his petty vindictiveness towards house members who don’t toe the line well enough. Until recently, no GOP legislator had seriously opposed him, and he was even reinstated as Speaker, unanimously. The reason for this is simple. As Ralph Waldo Emerson observed, “When you strike at a king you must kill him,” and Straus was too strong to risk direct opposition that would likely fail, leaving the opposition to suffer his wrath. But like an aging alpha-lion, Straus is now showing signs of weakening, and those in the pride who have long chafed under his leadership are circling for an attack.

The resolution is the latest in a series of challenges for the beleaguered Speaker. In addition to the governor pushing him out of the special session, presumably for killing much of Abbott’s agenda through administrative channels, the Speaker also recently endured an uprising of conservatives. In an event dubbed the Mother’s Day Massacre, the House Freedom Causus slaughtered the remainder of Straus’ approved agenda in retaliation for his quiet garroting of the caucus’ program. Additionally, the election of James Dickey as the new Texas GOP chairman, who was considered the non-establishment candidate, could also be seen as a rebuke of Straus and his ilk. With recent events in Bexar county, Straus’ home turf, it’s starting to look as if Republicans from top to bottom are holding Straus culpable and an affirmative obstacle to achieving the kind of reform desired by Texas Republicans, ensconced in their party platform.

It is yet uncertain whether more counties will jump on the dump Straus bandwagon, but currently it is difficult to foresee ends where Straus comes out on top without humbling himself, confessing mea maxima culpa, and reversing much of his past conduct and positions. Unlikely. When and if Straus is replaced, hopefully it won’t be with a member that he’s personally groomed, but rather an outsider that will shake things up and deliver on change long-promised.

UPDATE!!

The Texian Partisan has recently learned that a similar vote of no-confidence has been issued by the GOP leadership in DeWitt County, Texas. Spurred on by the Bexar county resolution, Tuesday night, DeWitt GOP had their County Executive Meeting where they unanimously declared (with only 3 out of 10 members absent): “We the DeWitt County Republican Party, resolve that there should be a change in the Texas House speakership due to non-support of the RPT platform by the current incumbent.” Commenting on the vote, DeWitt County GOP Chairman Regina Cowan said, “We may be a small county here in DeWitt, but we have no right to bellyache about Straus or our Representatives that vote for him if we aren’t willing to back [our beliefs] up. This just lets them know we have their backs and it’s time to do the jobs we elected them to do.”

How The Texas Solution Was Defeated At The Texas GOP Convention Part 1

How The Texas Solution Was Defeated At The Texas GOP Convention Part 1

I can give you an inside look at how this went down. I interviewed and took notes from the delegate who authored the minority report, TJ Scott.  I spoke with the grassroots activists working the floor. This is meant to be an amalgamation of our grassroots experience, opinion, and impressions.  We at RagingElephantsRadio.com expose the inconvenient truths of the plutocracy of Texas.  We are the voice of the Texas grassroots! Here’s what I can tell you thus far…
Originally, it was a strike and replace amendment of the platform committee and voted on 15-15 (hardly a “pass” as Mechler presented it to the body).  The Chairman of the platform committee, Tom Mechler (who has designs on the RPT Chairmanship when Munisteri resigns), refused to break the tie (which he had done previously to pass medical cannabis).  A tie kills the amendment, and thus it became the minority report signed by 12.  One of those 12 was a reluctant (by his own admission) Mark Ramsey, SREC of SD7.

Tom Mechler wasted about three hours of TJ’s time by not assisting him with filing the minority report on Friday.  No one seemed to know what to do or how to do it.  Finally, a frustrated TJ attempted to pin Mechler down on the procedure, but could not get an answer.  On Saturday morning, TJ called Mechler and again asked how to get the minority report submitted to the floor.  Mechler told TJ to not worry because Mark Ramsey was going to “take care of it.”  (Why Ramsey?  He didn’t even really support the minority report, so why not one of the minority report authors who could really champion it?) When TJ questioned the tactic, and said he was planning to present it at one of the floor mics, Mechler revealed that Ramsey was going to present the minority report from the stage “with some compromises”.  TJ asked “who had compromised what with whom?”  Good question! TJ had spent four hours Friday morning and early afternoon in meetings with people on the other side trying to hammer out a compromise but TJ would not give in on granting legal status to anyone in the country illegally and the talks broke down.  Oddly, Mechler proceeded to lecture TJ about “working with people” and that he needed to get off the phone.

TJ and several other activists tried to reach Ramsey – he did not return their texts or calls, thereby leaving them in the dark about his intentions.  That made them very worried.  Ramsey had voted against similar language to the minority report in the subcommittee meeting. And now he was the one who was going to present it to the body?!  Something was very wrong.

We activists were warned on Saturday morning that Ramsey may sabotage the minority report.  We were told we needed to vote against anything that was substituted for the minority report. Instead of properly presenting the minority report, Ramsey used his stage time to propose an amendment to the Texas Solution plank, thereby accepting the 2012 plank by default and then tweaking it by adding a so-called “trigger”.  He was out of order by the rules, and no one corrected him.  However, it created mass confusion when the vote was called.  Were we approving an amendment to the Texas Solution plank of the platform or the minority report?  Where was the dang minority report?!  Ramsey never properly presented it (though he did tell us he didn’t like it).  By the way, I thought it was strange that his “trigger” amendment to the Texas Solution passed, until I talked to delegates afterward who thought they were voting for the minority report!

Other amendments were proposed. We lost one made by Pastor Terry Holcomb. Then someone made a motion to accept an amendment that was currently on the floor and the minority report in the same vote.  Good grief!  The mass confusion over that lasted for a half hour!  Eventually, the vote was separated  – and the amendment was approved, but the minority report was already botched and therefore killed.

At this point, we had just lost two keys votes – a striking amendment and the minority report. We believed the chaos was intentional due to the switcheroo with Ramsey – the fix was in!  Delegates questioned the fact that they never got a chance to debate the minority report – or see it even!  Overruled. We had folks waiting in line at the mics to try and strike further language from the Texas Solution.  It was our last hope.

And then this is what happened (as I posted on my FB page):

After debate on the minority report was denied, and then killed due to the mass confusion, things were very chaotic! Then unexpectedly, a pre-filed amendment to the platform was proposed. What was this, who was this, what should we do?! I was busy running between activists and groups, when I realized that the new amendment had been proposed from the microphone nearest to me. I went straight to the author, Peter Batura, and got a hard copy which I was able to share with JoAnne Fleming and Larry Korkmas before it ever went up on the screen. It looked really good! Strong! We didn’t know Peter, the minority report was dead thanks to Mark Ramsey, but this amendment gave us new life!

We quickly confirmed with other groups via text and Facebook – who had reached the same conclusion – and the word went out: vote yes on the amendment, it will kill the Texas solution!

It’s a true testament to the grassroots adapting and overcoming, using every available means to network, and literally flash mobbing the vote!

And more than anything else, it was a God-thing!

I will say that this was not a planned strategy, but a miracle.  Because we had our communication lines wide open, and activists from around the SDs pre-positioned with vote placards we were able to take advantage of an unforeseen blessing – the pre-filed amendment very closely matched the minority report!  It was about 98% of the minority report we wanted and we took advantage of our networks to spread the word throughout the delegates.

Also, it took split-second judgment from the grassroots activists and leaders who had to decide whether to put their hard-won reputations on the line for an unknown person and unforeseen amendment.  Peter Batura’s amendment might have failed because he was an unknown to all of us who had been working on this issue in Texas.  He stood there quietly and calmly answered every question I asked as I tried to ascertain his intent.  Remember, the Texas Solution lobbyists had been intentionally sowing confusion to deceive the delegates into accepting the Texas Solution again.

At the end, the vote was called.  The ayes had it (by my ears), but Munisteri said the Parliamentarian and the Secretary disagreed on the results, so then called for a stand up vote.   A confused Norm Adams and Dr. Steve Hotze had previously taken to the mics to protest and now were working the crowd to suppress the vote.  Norm, the big bad lobbyist, was reduced to running up and down the aisle flapping his arms to signal people to stay seated.  Hilarious.  Again, I thought it was obvious that we won, but Munisteri said it still wasn’t clear and wanted there to be no doubt and then called for a roll call vote!

THIS WAS IT!  Our chance to shine!  We knew the people didn’t want the Texas Solution but most were so confused at this point. They looked for clarity and found it in the leadership of the grassroots activists who had been involved from the beginning.  We worked the SDs hard in the minutes before the vote, but so did the lobbyists and Mark Ramsey.  (He whipped the votes in SD7 against the Batura amendment, as did the other SD7 leaders.) We lost only a few SDs, and won all the rest!  The vote on the amendment was 4763 for 3735 against.  We struck down the Texas Solution with over 1000 votes – it was not even close!

I will have Batura on my radio program on Monday, June 9th, to discuss how this all went down from his perspective, which is heretofore unknown.  (www.RagingElephantsRadio.com). I will have TJ Scott, the author of the minority report on as soon as he is available.

Also, Peter Batura sent me the language of the approved amendment.  The Texas Solution was replaced with the following language (most of it taken from the minority report):

Amended Text
America is proudly a nation of immigrants. Throughout our history, our nation has attracted productive, industrious and gifted people to America because she is exceptional, and those immigrants and their descendants helped make America the world’s unrivaled economic and military superpower. It remains imperative to create fair and consistent procedures that will again enable freedom-loving, hard-working and law-abiding immigrants to join us, by providing them an efficient, practical method of legal entry, so they can lawfully take positions where their labor is needed, without exploitation or harassment.
Our national interests are poorly served by our broken, embattled, and outdated immigration system, and patchwork attempts to mend its deficiencies will not prepare us to continue to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex global economy that demands the legal movement of people to fill jobs at all skill levels. An efficient, pro- family and market-based system will provide a more workable solution that is compassionate, equitable and respects the rule of law.
But by failing to create a rational and effective system that encourages and facilitates legal immigration to the benefit of the nation, Congress has forced states to deal with the consequences of a broken immigration system, including human, sex and drug trafficking, the direct criminal activities of cartels and gangs. This situation must end so America can, once again, enjoy the fruits of a vibrant and beneficial system of legal immigration.

In addition, with 92 million Americans not working, the labor force at 36-year low and a lethargic economy, the United States of America can ill-afford a guest worker program designed to depress wages.
The following outlines specific actions needed to address these critical issues:
• Secure the borders through

o Increasing in the number of border security officerso Increasing joint operations and training with local law enforcement, DPS and the Texas State Guard

o Contiguous physical barrier coupled with electronic, infrared and visual monitoring

• Ending In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants

• Enhancing state smuggling laws

• Prohibiting sanctuary cities

• Prohibiting the knowing employment of illegal immigrants

• Providing civil liability protections for landowners against illegal immigrants

• Protecting the ability of law enforcement officers to inquire of the status of someone in custody

• Modernizing Current Immigration Laws to address the following:

o Any form of Amnesty should not be granted, including the granting of legal status to persons in the country illegally

o We support replacement of the current employment visa system with an efficient cost effective system

o We support ending country of origin quotas

o We support ending the annual green card lottery

• Once the borders are verifiably secure, and E-Verify system use is fully enforced, creation of a visa classification for non-specialty industries which have demonstrated actual and persistent labor shortages.

http://www.heidifortexas.com/how_the_texas_solution_was_defeated_at_the_texas_gop_convention

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Tune-in on June 9, 2014 to hear Peter Batura who authored the amendment that killed the Texas Solution on RagingElephantsRadio.com with Heidi Thiess

Peter Batura with Heidi on RER June 8, 2014

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Tanya Robertson elected as the new SD11 SREC Committeewoman!!!!

Tanya SREC Election

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