This week, the insiders focused on Texas Republicans, starting with their assessment of which group dominates the Party. Social conservatives led the list among the government and political insiders, followed by grassroots and then fiscal conservatives.
The Texas GOP’s platform plank on immigration is up for debate, and nearly half of the insiders said the delegates should leave it alone. Almost one in five said the party should advocate for more lenient laws and enforcement, and 10 percent said it should push for stricter immigration laws and enforcement.
The Log Cabin Republicans, a group that advocates for gays and lesbians in the GOP, was denied space for a booth at the convention in Fort Worth; 87 percent of the insiders said the GOP should allow them to rent space.
Finally, we asked about the importance of party platforms to the voting public. Platforms make no difference, according to nearly three-fourths of the insiders.
As always, we have attached a full set of verbatim comments from this week’s survey. Here’s a sampling:
The Texas GOP is holding its state convention this week. Based on the primaries and the runoffs, how would you describe the dominant forces in Republican Party politics in Texas right now? [Check all that apply]
• "When the candidates for Ag Commissioner have to come out in support of traditional marriage (one heifer for every bull?), and property tax reform, I think it's clear who's running the show."
• "What is best description for evangelical, theocratic, gun loving, gay baiting, government hating beneficiary, wimmin belong in the kitchen, fence off the brown people throw backs. It ain't 'conservative'. Perhaps that's the code breaking definition for 'true conservative.'"
• "If you look at the statewide winners it will be clear that the 'abortion issue' played a significant role in who emerged from the crowded fields."
• "All of the first four are well-represented, though the establishment conservatives are a bit stunned at their loss of historic control."
• "Tea Party"
• "Combination of fiscal and social. People just tired of government."
Republicans are expected to debate their immigration platform at the convention. What would be the best outcome?
• "The surest way to undermine the party's state-wide dominance is to backtrack on the current immigration plank."
• "Best outcome for whom? The Democrats are of course hoping for a series of Patrick Buchanan you tube op moments of gun waving, race baiting lunacy to galvanize the sleeping minority majority, and the Y and X gen- ambivalents, (however futile.)"
• "Best outcome for whom? For Dems, the best outcome would be a platform of stricter immigration law and enforcement--the better to drum the Republicans. For Republicans, it would be to leave it as is--the better to appear to be solving a problem and not creating huge divides and tension."
• "A hybrid approach supporting strong enforcement measures, coupled with a guest worker program (without citizenship) to fill some jobs we don't want to do, such as agriculture jobs, construction, landscaping, and service industry jobs would the most pragmatic resolution. Realistically, I do not see this version of language gaining enough support of the delegates attending this week's convention in Ft. Worth."
• "Leave Texas Solution in platform"
Should the Texas GOP allow the Log Cabin Republicans, a group that advocates for gay and lesbian rights, to rent a booth at its convention?
• "Republicans believe theirs is the party of the better ideas. They should not be afraid to test that in the marketplace."
• "The GOP should be supporting civil unions and protecting the definition of marriage. These are two different things. The party is alienating the only conservative group that can spread this message."
• "Few will stop by, but yes, allow them. To disallow them will hurt the GOP more than it hurts."
• "They should allow for symbolic purposes. By not allowing it, they clearly indicate that their tent is closed. It may give them one more election but ultimately, it will hurt."
• "You might not agree with them but why act like the fascists on the left and completely shut out another voice on issues."
• "They can decide to do whatever they want."
Do political party platforms make any difference to the voting public?
• "Candidates invariably must emphasize the key points of the platform. THAT affects what voters think of the GOP."
• "Platforms matter only when their contents include examples of rank extremism - AKA the Texas GOP Platform."
• "Voting public??? Only those that care about party platforms vote anymore."
• "To most voters, no. No one even reads those silly platforms. And once elected, few legislators give them much weight."
• "Platforms are developed by the diehards - and then quickly forgotten."
• "Of course not. Second-biggest waste of time in politics (next to legislative interim hearings). But it gives the party apparatchiks something to do and it gives them a (false) sense of importance, so platforms serve a purpose for the officeholders that need the apparatchiks' support come election time."
Our thanks to this week's participants: Allen Blakemore, Allen Place, Andrew Biar, Andy Sansom, Bee Moorhead, Bill Hammond, Billy Howe, Bill Stevens, Bradford Shields, Brandon Aghamalian, Bruce Gibson, Bruce Scott, Barbara Schlief, Tom Duffy, Cathie Adams, Chris Britton, Charles Bailey, Cal Jillson, Clyde Alexander, Colin Strother, Corbin Van Arsdale, Carl Richie, Christopher Shields, Dennis Speight, Dale Laine, Darren Whitehurst, David White, David Cabrales, Deborah Ingersoll, Denise Davis, Doc Arnold, Dominic Giarratani, Robert Kepple, Elna Christopher, Ed Small, Jason Sabo, Gary Polland, Gene Acuna, George Allen, Gerard Torres, Stephanie Gibson, Glenn Deshields, Gardner Pate, Grant Ruckel, Hector De Leon, Holly DeShields, Jack Erskine, Jenny Aghamalian, James LeBas, Jay Arnold, Jay Pritchard, Jeff Eller, Pete Laney, Jerod Patterson, Jerry Philips, John Greytok, Jim Grace, Janis Carter, J. McCartt, Jon Fisher, Jim Sartwelle, Jason Skaggs, June Deadrick, Ken Whalen, Karen Reagan, Keats Norfleet, Kinnan Golemon, Ken Hodges, Kathy Hutto, Kim Ross, Keir Murray, Kraege Polan, Nick Lampson, Laura Huffman, Lydia Camarillo, Lisa Kaufman, Leslie Lemon, Luis Saenz, Larry Soward, Luke Legate, Marc Campos, Matt Mackowiak, Mike Moses, Mark Jones, Martha Smiley, Michael Quinn Sullivan, Myra Leo, Nora Del Bosque, Nef Partida, Nelson Nease, Norman Garza, Nancy Sims, Pat Nugent, Dave Beckwith, Wayne Pierce, Jay Propes, Peck Young, Raif Calvert, Randy Cubriel, Richard Pineda, Richard Dyer, Richard Khouri, Richie Jackson, Bob Strauser, Robert Jones, Robert Scott, Royce Poinsett, Robert Peeler, Ruben Longoria, Seth Winick, Steve Minick, Snapper Carr, Steve Scurlock, Stan Schlueter, Jason Stanford, Sherry Sylvester, Tom Blanton, Thure Cannon, Tom Kleinworth, Tom Phillips, Trey Trainor, Eric Glenn, Vicki Truitt, Victor Alcorta, Corbin Casteel, Wayne Hamilton, Ware Wendell, Woody Widrow, Angelo Zottarelli.