The Brief: Top Texas News for March 18, 2013

Ted Cruz speaking at the state Republican convention in Fort Worth on June 9, 2012.
Ted Cruz speaking at the state Republican convention in Fort Worth on June 9, 2012.

The Big Conversation

Brandishing his fiery style and flair for oratory, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz told conservatives over the weekend that their comeback is already well under way.

Delivering the closing speech on Saturday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, Cruz — who in three months has earned a reputation as one of the brashest new members of Congress — told an eager audience that conservatives may have turned a corner.

As he put it: "Something that hasn’t happened in a long time has happened — we’re winning right now."

Cruz said conservatives in recent weeks had scored wins by refusing to cave during sequester negotiations, forcefully challenging the Obama administration over its drone policy and continuing to fight federal health care reform. (Watch the speech here.)

 

With liberty "under assault from every direction," he said, Republicans should harness their newfound momentum by defending the Constitution and trumpeting "opportunity conservatism," a term he coined last year

Throughout his 35-minute speech, Cruz also touched on guns, the national debt and spending, whipping the crowd into a frenzy at various points. 

Hours before, Cruz had introduced former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who endorsed him during his primary fight last year.

"The mainstream media is absolutely convinced that women cannot be conservatives," Cruz said, according to The Dallas Morning News, adding, "That’s why Gov. Sarah Palin drives the mainstream media bat-crap crazy. It shakes up their entire world view."

In the presidential straw poll conducted at the conference, Cruz placed seventh, behind the likes of Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who finished first, and Marco Rubio of Florida, who finished second. As the Morning News notes, though, voting ended before Cruz's speech.

Culled

•    Rick Perry's actions inspire bipartisan push to rein in some practices (The Dallas Morning News): "Republican Rick Perry’s cross-country politicking as he contemplates a fourth full term for governor is doing more than making headlines. It’s making legislation. In bills, constitutional amendments and budget decisions, lawmakers are pushing back against the most powerful governor in Texas history, daring in their own way to tug on Superman’s cape."

•    Texas trial lawyer eyes New York storm cases (Austin American-Statesman): "From his Austin office, Steve Mostyn looks east. Immediately before him, he sees the Texas Capitol, the domed building in which the state’s most powerful politicians have toiled for more than a decade to hobble the business of trial lawyers like himself. Much farther east, Mostyn sees potential riches on the horizon. The lure of New York, and all those insurance claims spawned by the destructive wrath of Superstorm Sandy, is irresistible for an ambitious litigator with political connections, piles of money and a fearsome reputation."

 

•    A Senate Plan Alters Waiting Periods for Immigration (The New York Times): "The nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants would have to wait a full decade for a green card but could earn citizenship just three years after that, under a provision being finalized by a bipartisan group of eight senators working to devise an overhaul of immigration law, several people with knowledge of the negotiations said."

•    Charter School Expansion Effort Faces Big Hurdles (The Texas Tribune): "Sen. Dan Patrick's Senate Bill 2 is the most ambitious attempt to expand the state’s charter school system since it was established in 1995. It will have to pass a Legislature that defeated more modest proposals in 2011. Despite seemingly fertile ground in Texas for policies based on a philosophy that low regulation and high competition encourages innovation, related policies have struggled to take root."

•    Television star turns an ear to radio (Houston Chronicle): "Janine Turner has declared her new radio show 'the no-blame-game zone.' Turner, a Texan — and yes, the actress who played Maggie O'Connell in "Northern Exposure" — has spent the past few years mastering politics and American history. Monday, she makes her Houston radio debut with a two-hour talk show. … Bill O'Reilly of Fox News will be one of her first guests. Also lined up for this week are Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, Larry Kudlow of CNBC's 'The Kudlow Report' and George P. Bush, who has just announced he's running for Texas land commissioner."

Quote of the Day: "He comes to town, he chews barbed wire, he spits out rust. That’s what we need." — Sarah Palin at CPAC complimenting Ted Cruz, who introduced her

Must-Read

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.