For this week’s nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked about the immigration positions of the GOP presidential candidates. Specifically, we wanted to know which candidate best reflects the stance of the majority of the party's primary voters on that hot-button issue.
The insiders were evenly split, with 25 percent saying Donald Trump most reflected the beliefs of the primary voters and 24 percent saying Jeb Bush's views are most representative. Rick Perry and Ted Cruz were each cited by 21 percent while 10 percent nominated someone else.
State Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, made some news this week by calling for a special session to address the decision by state agencies to fund benefits for same-sex spouses in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.
On this, the insiders have the agencies' backs. Close to three-fourths thought the agencies have done nothing wrong in going ahead without prior legislative action. And 90 percent didn't think the issue would spur Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session.
And with the controversial (in some quarters) Jade Helm 15 military exercise kicking off this week, we asked if Abbott's response is doing long-term damage to Texas' image. On this question, the insiders were almost evenly split with 46 percent saying that damage has been done and 47 percent saying no.
We collected comments along the way, and a full set of those is attached. Here’s a sampling:
Who in the GOP presidential field is closest to the majority of primary voters on immigration?
• "Marco Rubio"
• "GOP primary voters nationwide do not view immigration the same way Texans do. Jeb and Perry both reflect an intelligent approach."
• "It is Perry that serves the red meat and Jeb serves the solution. Has Trump even been to the border?"
• "No one wants to say it out loud, but many GOP primary voters believe that Latin American immigration, legal or not, is bad for this country."
Are state agencies wrong to fund benefits to same-sex partners without legislative action, as state Rep. David Simpson suggested this week?
• "Texas is also WRONG to accept the bogus SCOTUS decision. It's as bad as blindly accepting Dred Scott."
• "They are complying with the law. As a public employee, you have an obligation to comply with rules, regulations, legislative mandates and court ordered rulings."
• "You can make a technical legal argument that the Legislature should speak, but is Mr. Simpson going to fund the legal challenges?"
• "The law is absolutely clear on this. No legislative action is needed, as the definition of spouse is automatically changed by operation of law. It's simply bizarre that so many supposedly educated people have suddenly gotten amnesia on basic law."
• "Simpson's comment was intended for primary voters, not for serious policy discussion."
Will Greg Abbott call a special session to resolve the same-sex benefit funding issue?
• "Texans are waking to the SCOTUS decision and the more they understand the ramifications, the more angry they become."
• "If we didn't have the money — maybe, but still not likely. When we have lots of unbudgeted money — why?"
• "He was lucky to get the Lege out of town the first time — he doesn't want them back."
• "It Democrats are smart enough, they'll force Abbott to call a Special. Then watch Patrick vs. Abbott."
• "The gay thing is too good an opportunity for grandstanding to pass up. For both sides."
With the Jade Helm 15 military exercise starting this week, does Abbott's response cause long-term damage to Texas' image?
• "We need answers to simple questions like: Has this kind of exercise ever happened before? Why is it surrounded by secrecy? Why not NYC where terror has already struck?"
• "Had to wonder how that was playing with the New York business crowd..."
• "I think people would expect Texas to respond this way. I also think most people outside of Texas already have their minds made up one way or the other about Texas."
• "Most people think Jade Helm is on the Bachelorette."
• "Who cares what anyone else thinks? Texas' image to everyone else is that we are the place to come and be free, and if you don't like it, leave."
Our thanks to this week's participants: Gene Acuna, Cathie Adams, Clyde Alexander, George Allen, Jay Arnold, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Chris Britton, Raif Calvert, Lydia Camarillo, Snapper Carr, Janis Carter, Corbin Casteel, Elna Christopher, Harold Cook, Randy Cubriel, Curtis Culwell, Denise Davis, June Deadrick, Glenn Deshields, Tom Duffy, Richard Dyer, Jack Erskine, Tom Forbes, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Stephanie Gibson, Eric Glenn, John Greytok, Clint Hackney, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Ken Hodges, Steve Holzheauser, Deborah Ingersoll, Mark Jones, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Ramey Ko, Dale Laine, Pete Laney, Dick Lavine, James LeBas, Luke Legate, Leslie Lemon, Ruben Longoria, Matt Mackowiak, Steve Minick, Bee Moorhead, Mike Moses, Nelson Nease, Sylvia Nugent, Todd Olsen, Gardner Pate, Robert Peeler, Tom Phillips, Wayne Pierce, Allen Place, Gary Polland, Jay Pritchard, Patrick Reinhart, David Reynolds, Chuck Rice, Carl Richie, A.J. Rodriguez, Grant Ruckel, Jason Sabo, Barbara Schlief, Stan Schlueter, Robert Scott, Ben Sebree, Christopher Shields, Nancy Sims, Ed Small, Mark Smith, Larry Soward, Leonard Spearman, Dennis Speight, Colin Strother, Sherry Sylvester, Sara Tays, Jay Thompson, Trey Trainor, Corbin Van Arsdale, Ware Wendell, David White, Darren Whitehurst, Seth Winick.