The Second Coming of Rick Perry's Manufactured Miracle

Categories: Politics

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Ever since his failed bid to be the Republican Party's nominee for President in 2012, Governor Rick Perry has been busy selling the rest of the country on Texas' economic policies, particularly as they relate to job creation. Perry's message to businesses across the country has been clear: Move your headquarters to Texas and we'll make it worth your while. (The general response from other states: "Fuck Texas.")

"Texas has cultivated a business climate that is second-to-none," his office likes to say, and he credits it to the state's numerous tax incentives, disdain for regulation and other pro-business policies. The state of Texas' economic policies are still being held up as a beacon of economic success across the country, particularly in states that are struggling to recover from the recession. In fact, that notion is more alive than ever, as Washington Monthly editor Philip Longman points out in a lengthy dissection this week:

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Seriously, Texas: Buc-ee's Is Not a Legitimate Campaign Issue

Categories: Politics

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Dan Patrick for Texas
We're voting for the beaver.
In case you haven't been following one of the stupider developments of the primary election cycle -- and there have been plenty to choose from -- Buc-ee's is officially an issue in the race to become Texas' next lieutenant governor.

To recap: Buc-ee's is a chain of enormous roadside convenience supercenters, most famous for its absurdist billboards, extravagant whiz palaces and Beaver Nuggets. (These, for the record, contain negligible amounts of beaver but lots and lots of corn derivatives -- think Corn Pops, only puffier.) Over the weekend, Dan Patrick announced the endorsement of the chain's co-founders Arch "Beaver" Aplin and Don Wasek, and its eponymous beaver mascot, Buc-ee.

Wait -- it gets dumber. In a tweet that appears to have since been deleted, U.S. Congressman/rising Democratic star Joaquin Castro pledged an informal boycott of Buc-ee's:

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Just Say What You Mean, John Ratcliffe: Ralph Hall Is Too Old to Be in Congress

Categories: Politics

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Ratcliffe for Congress
John Ratcliffe: Way less likely to keel over on the House floor.
Last weekend, John Ratcliffe kicked off his final campaign push by running -- and successfully completing! -- a 5K fun run in Rockwall. It was a strategic move, a chance to mingle with potential Republican primary voters while simultaneously reminding everyone that he, unlike incumbent U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, isn't 90 goddamned years old.

It was a subtle dig, but it was definitely a dig, a reminder that no matter how many times Hall claims to run two miles every day, no one can seriously believe him absent video evidence prominently featuring a dated newspaper.

Same with this campaign ad that Ratliffe released a couple of days earlier:

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We Get it, Greg Abbott: Your Wife's Latina

Categories: Politics

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Greg Abbott has made it clear: He is not using his Latina wife as some sort of "prop" to woo Latino voters, and he's outraged that a Lubbock City Council member may have suggested otherwise. Never mind that the only verification of the councilman's comment came from an anonymous source quoted by a conservative blogger. Abbott is outraged. See:

For a politician who swears he isn't using his wife as a prop, however, Abbott sure is using her a lot like -- well, a prop.

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Failed Senate Candidate Chris Mapp Is Suing the DMN For Saying He Wants to Shoot "Wetbacks" on Sight

Categories: Politics

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Last month we introduced you to Chris Mapp, a U.S. Senate hopeful from South Texas who would go on to be crushed by John Cornyn in yesterday's Republican primary. He's the guy who referred to illegal immigrants as "wetbacks" and said that ranchers should be allowed to shoot them on sight.

That's at least what The Dallas Morning News reported in its endorsement of Cornyn: "South Texas businessman Chris Mapp, 53, told this editorial board that ranchers should be allowed to shoot on sight anyone illegally crossing the border on to their land."

Mapp claims he never said anything of the sort and is now suing the newspaper for defamation.

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Texas' Tea Party Is Alive and Well

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This guy's probably going to be your next lieutenant governor.
In the weeks leading up to Tuesday's primary, there was a lot of chatter about how the Tea Party was losing its grip on Texas.

It was a nice thought, that Ted Cruz's antics and the constant demagoguing against the federal government had worn thin, nudging voters back to the middle. It just wasn't true.

Sure, sanity won the day in some of Tuesday's Republican races, with Senator John Cornyn and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions both skating past Tea Party challengers, but that outcome speaks more to the incumbents' staunchly conservative records and weak challengers -- even the Tea Party won't have Steve Stockman -- than to the waning influence of grassroots conservatives.

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Dan Patrick Just Accidentally Endorsed Gay Marriage

Categories: Politics

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In a wholly unexpected and incredibly bizarre turn of events, Republican lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick offered an endorsement of gay marriage so enthusiastic that he suggested doing away with heterosexual unions in the process.

Patrick, heretofore the most conservative candidate in the race -- a man who vociferously denies once showing kindness to an illegal immigrant -- expressed his support in a tweet delivered in the moments after a federal judge ruled that Texas same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

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Finally, a Texas Politician Is Calling For an End to the State's Roadkill-Eating Ban

Categories: Politics

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If Tink Nathan doesn't belong in the Texas Legislature, we're not sure if anyone does. The 72-year-old Republican from Kerr County, just northwest of San Antonio, has the whole package: scraggly frontiersman beard; monogrammed Texas flag shirt; an eponymous line of hunting products derived from deer urine. He's the guy New Yorkers conjure up when they think of Texas.

He's also the only candidate, apparently in the entire state, bold enough stand up and defend Texans' God-given right to eat animals they run over in their cars.

As it stands, picking up roadkill is a crime. Partly, this is because of health-and-safety concerns (hard to know what vile pathogens might be swarming over any given carcass), partly it's to discourage people from using their cars as hunting weapons. (This has actually been documented. In a 2012 Dallas Morning News story, a state game warden's staffer recalled a couple of incidents in which motorists intentionally ran over exotic deer in Kerr County, right in Nathan's backyard.)

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Texas Cops Really, Really Hate Bedford State Rep. Jonathan Stickland

Categories: Politics

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State Representative Jonathan Stickland is brash, young and cocky, just as he was when Tarrant County voters sent the 30-year-old Tea Party favorite to the Legislature two years ago.

In one instance -- his trailblazing email privacy bill -- Stockland's irreverence served him well, earning plaudits from civil libertarians and the national media.

More often, he comes across looking like -- well, a brash, young, cocky jackass. Like that time two weeks ago when he posted the home address of a random guy supporting his opponent, Andy Cargile.

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Dallas Wants to Host the 2016 Republican Convention, So Of Course It Turns to Jewish Democrats for Help

Categories: Politics

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PBS NewsHour
The time to start stockpiling balloons is now, Dallas.
In 2016, on a yet-to-be-determined date in June, Republicans from across the country will gather somewhere to pick their next presidential nominee. Maybe it'll be Chris Christie. Or Rand Paul. Perhaps a Jeb Bush-Ted Cruz ticket? Yes, that last one is stupid, but so is speculating on a race that's more than two years from being decided.

Considerably less stupid is trying to figure out where the Republican Party will decide to have the event. Dallas, we learned this week, is in the running.

"[A]fter careful consideration, the City of Dallas is enthusiastically throwing its hat in the ring!" Mayor Mike Rawlings wrote in a letter, cosigned by former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. "There is no better time than 2016 and no better way than this event to showcase our dynamic city to such an expansive array of media, delegates and families who will, in turn, bring great economic impact to our city while here."

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