Where can Hutchison possibly go from here?
For those who are involved in the Republican Party, it is known that there are three legs to the stool: Fiscal, Social, and National Security. Now for races on a state level, only the first two legs receive attenion….and will the candidates get questioned on. So, considering national security will not be playing a big roll in the Texas Governor’s race, Senator Hutchison’s campaign is perhaps the most dire of straits since it began.
Starting with Fiscal Conservatism, there isn’t a case that can be made that she falls in line with the fiscal cons in this race. As recently as this last week, Stephen Moore wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal where he said:
Mr. Perry is rated one of the top conservative governors in America, winning kudos for turning down federal stimulus funds on grounds that the temporary money would permanently ratchet up state spending. Peggy Venable, Texas director of Americans for Prosperity, says: “Thank goodness we didn’t take those funds. We would have had to raise our unemployment insurance tax on employers if the governor had taken stimulus money.”
Texas is now ground zero for the revolt against Obamanomics and it’s clear that Mr. Perry’s stand for states rights against Mr. Obama’s constant threats has made him a state hero. “Why would Texas vote out one of the best governors in America?” asks Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform. It’s a good bet they won’t.
Senator Hutchison is trying to make the case that she is the true conservative, that Governor Perry has no track record…but when you read two stalwarts in the conservative spectrum (Stephen Moore and Grover Norquist) making a firm case that her accusations don’t hold water, you have to be extremely worried if you support Kay.
But just saying the Governor isn’t conservative isn’t Kay’s only issue, because when you examine her record – one can argue that it doesn’t fall on the side of fiscal conservatism either.
One – the Citizens Against Government Waste has given Kay piece of kryptonite she has to be hating hearing, being nominated as a Porker of the Year award.
Two – voting for $700 billion in federal bailouts after telling everyone you wouldn’t does not give her a case for being a fiscal conservative. During the debate, she made the argument that she had to vote for it because President Bush sold her a bad bill of goods and the Republicans were making the wise decisions. Problem is, many in the conservative movement has rightly made the argument that the GOP lost it’s way fiscally and embracing that way by Hutchison will not win favors amongst the Tea Party movement.
Now on to the problems with the Social Conservatives in Texas. Thursday before the debate, Texas Right to Life sent out a mass email showing in her own words that Kay Bailey Hutchison agrees with abortion by saying “I agree Roe v Wade is working very well.” This is precisely why social conservative leaders Kelly Shackleford, Kyleen Wright, Ann Hettinger, and Joe Pojman have all come out strongly endorsing Governor Perry over Senator Hutchison. They have known all along that the Senator has a record of voting against life and for abortion, which I have written about here. Here is the video that was included in the mass email:
Considering this was distributed to hundreds of thousands of Texas GOP Primary voters, the Hutchison camp had to know that abortion would come up in the debate. When it came time for candidate specific questions, Dave Montgomery asked the Senator to clarify her position on abortion (19:30 in) and whether it should remain in force or be overturned as written in the Texas GOP platform. “let me say my record is one of always coming down on life.” A question she should have been ready to answer but failed to four times.
“let me say my record is one of always coming down on life” was the first thing out of her mouth, perhaps she doesn’t understand her record doesn’t match her rhetoric. As I outlined in a previous post on how abortion will play a big role in this primary, Senator Hutchison voted to affirm Roe v Wade as good constitutional law with her Sense of the Senate vote in 2003. Four tries and now answer, in fact Shelly Kofler said “is that a yes or no to this” and the Senator couldn’t answer. It’s hard, because she is trying to run away from her own record and Texans know that.
So when it comes to the two most important aspects of conservatism in a State Gubernatorial race, the Senator’s record is far from conservative and you’ve seen more and more Kay supporters switch and poll numbers reflect that. The bottom line is there is no explanation she can possibly give right now that will erase the fears Texas GOP voters have that she is anything but a Republican in Name Only (RINO) and that Governor Perry has the true conservative bona fides. If this race comes down to, as many predict, a decision on whether or not Republicans will vote (which by the way, 99% of all candidates for Republican office advocate to be a conservative) with conservatism in mind – Senator Hutchison’s chances are bleak at best.