State & Local Politics

State & Local Politics

Texas politics, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio and the GOP 'retoot'

Rick Perry will not be reelected governor of Texas. Odds are 60 percent he does not run for reelection, 60 percent he is defeated in a primary if he runs, and 50 percent he is defeated by a Democratic nominee if Perry wins a primary and Texas Democrats choose a strong candidate. 

Meanwhile, the speech by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) answering President Obama means nothing politically, while his conduct in the coming immigration debate means everything, which brings me to the GOP retoot. Contrary to assertions from many there is no GOP "reboot," which implies the machine is turned off and turned back on with defects removed. Instead we have a GOP "retoot," a slight change of tone masking an underlying blood war within the GOP as Karl Rove declares war against the right and Roger Ailes glides towards the center.


'Virginia in the Vanguard': California and Texas should also cast coins

“It’s starting to look like Virginia could yet emerge in a leading role among the states in respect of monetary reform,” say the editors of the New York Sun. “The lower chamber of its general assembly has passed a bill to underwrite a study of the feasibility of a monetary unit based on a metallic standard. It is one of a number of states that are reaching deep into the Constitution of the United States to protect themselves in an era when the value of the dollars issued by the federal government is collapsing.”

After a 237-year effort, Virginia has come to the righteous conclusion that it is not God, guns and guts that makes the earthly kingdoms — it is money. And Virginia’s are not the first citizens in our times to call for states to cast their own coin. Vermont’s are. California and Texas should follow.


Rick Perry, Ted Cruz and the Democratic future of Texas

Demographics are destiny. As I have recently written, Texas is headed blue; the only question is when. I have also correctly asserted that Karl Rove shares a good bit of my thinking about this. Texas Democrats are increasingly excited and Texas Republicans increasingly worried. Have you noticed how Texas Republicans have been traveling the nation suggesting “Come to Texas if you don't like Rahm Emanuel harassing banks, come to Texas if you don't like women being helped and respected by Planned Parenthood, and come to Texas if you are a polluter”? This attempt to import reactionary voters to Texas won't work. Perhaps next they will suggest Texas Republicans have a lot of (white male) babies and indoctrinate them young!


Bobby Jindal steps up: A ‘supercommittee of governors’

Rightfully declaring certain recent Republican challengers to be “the stupid party,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) steps up and claims that anyone thinking of running for president in 2016 now, when there is work to do, is crazy. And then he takes the first steps himself. And it is so good to have him. Jindal belongs to that rank of able and optimistic intellectuals that left conservatism with the passing of William F. Buckley Jr., leaving a bitter wake. He bristles with new thinking and the abilities to see it through. And with Jindal, you also get Rick Perry and Ted Cruz without the Texas talk. His is a new vision of America, so fresh and new it is hard to grasp its full potential. He appears potentially like one of those leaders the world has seen through millennia, who appears out of nowhere and leads a benign horde to a new awakening, as if deposited there by a force of nature.


Will New York secede?

There seems no exit now from the “monster of Monticello” — the headline that blazoned across the unbearably light op-ed pages of The New York Times not long ago. Not since George III has there been such a deep and venomous chant hurled at Jefferson, the father of American vision and transcendence. And coming from these thin reeds — Bono visits these pages on occasion — it brings palpitations. The piece was soon followed by another op-ed proposing America acknowledge that the U.S. Constitution is filled with “archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions,” and we should extricate ourselves from its bondage and move toward an “unwritten constitution,” like that of Britain. Got the picture. And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, from one of the newer royal New York families, says he intends to ban guns there and other states will follow. Note to the young prince: I’ve been to the other states. Probably Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont will follow. Most of the others pack.


California’s reverse alchemy

I have a confession.

I was born and raised in California. I was educated in the state, and attended the University of Southern California.

I have spent decades defending the state against the charge that it is the land of flakes and nuts.

But there is a reason why California has become a national laughingstock.


Angus King: New England finds its Chamberlain

Angus King may be the most important and influential of Virginians to travel north to us since Bronson Alcott brought up his doctrine of “inner light” and passed it on to Emerson and Thoreau. There is today on the op-ed pages of The New York Times a profile of him by Jennifer Finney Boylan that compares Maine’s former governor, who is running as an Independent for the Senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe (R), to Maine's Joshua Chamberlain, who singlehandedly held off the Confederates at Gettysburg. It brought the critical turning to the Civil War and you could therefore say that Chamberlain brought forth with arms the modern age.


Does America still need a president?

California heads toward "nation-state" status as it moves to link its carbon markets with Quebec’s. But as Douglas A. Kysaw and Webb Lyons report in the Huffington Post, as much as California may envision itself a global player, “the fact remains that it is a state, and as such operates under a set of constitutional restraints that limit its involvement on the international stage.”

Has the American presidency become an anachronism? Does centralized government today hinder the progress of mature states like California? Ours has become a government of political tribes and generations, not states — that idea was killed in 1913 by the 17th Amendment. But centralized government might become a thing of the past. Tea Party is not just for us New Hampshire hillbillies any more. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie are signing on.


A federation of sovereign realms: Arnold Schwarzenegger starts the world again

“I’ll be back.” – The Terminator

California is the land of second chances. Too bad Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t get one. There was perhaps never a better match between man and place in the new world than Arnold Schwarzenegger and California. He might today be considered to have been well ahead of his time. He urged California to go its own way. The federal government hovering like a UFO overhead often seemed to him a useless nuisance. Arnold has recently started his own world called R20, an organization of regions united in climate action which completely ignores fixed national and international boundaries. Imagine a world born again of original, authentic sovereign regions instead of those inherited from generations past and drawn from ancient contention, some beyond even our human memory.


‘Armed revolution’? A century of states’ rights ahead

“States rights’, states’ rights, states’ rights!” — Texas Gov. Rick Perry, April 16, 2009, at The Alamo

A Zen history or anthropology of current times can be drawn on events that have occurred in the past three years that will undoubtedly change our American world, possibly for a century or two.

Three historic events have occurred, and one was iconic: Speaker Nancy Pelosi in October 2009, shouting, her face contorted in disbelief, at a reporter when asked if there were any constitutional problems with ObamaCare. "Are you serious?” she replied. The idea had never, possibly in decades, dawned on her or her Congress. But just before, in February 2009, New Hampshire state Rep. Dan Itse proposed that New Hampshire need not participate in ObamaCare, citing Thomas Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolutions. Twenty-nine states followed, held fast and brought their case to the Supreme Court. Nowhere in the past century did states bloc together so convincingly. The third came this week when President Obama used his “bully pulpit” to endorse same-sex marriage. Thirty states had already brought pre-emptive legislation in opposition. This time the states were ahead of history.