Tribpedia: Tea Party

The Tea Party is a conservative movement made up of loosely affiliated groups unified around the central principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility.  While most of the various groups that compose the movement agree on the Tea Party principles — limited government, fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, the rule of law and national sovereignty — they often disagree on ...

What We're Worried About

The economy, unemployment and jobs are the most important issues facing the country, according to the new UT/Texas Tribune poll, while immigration and border security top the list of the biggest problems facing the state.

Rick Perry and Bill White
Rick Perry and Bill White

Washington Weak

The battle in the 2010 governor's race is about the battleground itself: Rick Perry wants to bind himself to voters in opposition to an intrusive and profligate Washington D.C. — meddling liberal Yankees, in other words. Bill White wants to motivate voters in opposition to what he portrays as the sorry condition of the state under Perry, the self-serving "career politician." For White, Washington is Perry's bogeyman to divert attention from his failures at home. For Perry, Washington is the root of the evils the state confronts — foremost, issues he says White ignores.

A Wave or a Tsunami?

A surge in Republican enthusiasm nationwide has the GOP hopeful about taking back the U.S. House and, maybe, the U.S. Senate in November. In Texas, that high tide has turned a handful of what are usually considered safe Democratic House seats into live targets. Ben Philpott of KUT and the Tribune reports.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Ramsey on whether Bill White at the top of the ballot helps Houston-area candidates, Aaronson and Stiles present a treemap of Texas political ads, Stiles and Ramsey on the latest campaign finance filings, Aguilar on the Laredo mayor's race, Hamilton on anonymous tweeters who make mischief, Ramshaw interviews a disability rights activist with a thing for iPads and bibles, Hu on the accidental release of Rick Perry's "secret" schedule, M. Smith on the bitter back-and-forth over a voter registration effort in Harris County, Philpott's micro-debate on education between two House candidates, Grissom on this week's twist in the Cameron Todd Willingham investigation and, in our latest collaboration with a big-city Texas newspaper, Stiles, Grissom and John Tedesco of the San-Antonio Express News on what kind of Texans, exactly, are applying to carry concealed handguns: The best of our best from Oct. 4 to 9, 2010.

Results of the September 2010 University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll in the general election for governor.
Results of the September 2010 University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll in the general election for governor.

Perry by 6 in Volatile Race

Gov. Rick Perry leads Bill White 39 percent to 33 percent in the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, whose most interesting finding is a restless electorate dissatisfied with conventional choices up and down the ballot. In the governor's race, 22 percent of respondents said they were undecided about which candidate to support with only seven weeks to go in the fall campaign. Third-party candidates are capturing enough of the vote to affect the outcomes of some statewide contests. And 31 percent of respondents — nearly one in three Texans — consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement.

The Sting of the Killer Bees

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The rules of the Texas Senate are designed to create an orderly process that respects the rights of individual members. They have lasted this long because they do the job well and consider the need for compromise in the legislative operation. Trampling the rights of the minority is never a good idea — and yet it has happened over and over again. An excerpt from the forthcoming How Things Really Work: Lessons from a Life in Politics.

Dick Armey: The TT Interview

The former University of North Texas economics professor, U.S. House majority leader and hired-gun Washington lobbyist, now the head of the conservative activist group Freedom Works and the co-author of the new book Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto, on what the Tea Party is and isn't, why a GOP majority in Congress isn't enough, where George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush went wrong, what Rick Perry did right and why Barack Obama won't be re-elected in 2012.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Galbraith on grass, federal money and efforts to prevent another dust bowl, Ergenbright on school suspensions and who gets punished; Aguilar's interview with Alan Bersin, whose job is to keep the U.S./Mexico border secure, M. Smith on why it would be harder than you think to ditch the 14th Amendment, Adler and me on whether controversy is politically contagious, Ramshaw on the flap over funding for the state's institutions for the disabled (it's not about the money), my meditation on the state's fiscal woes (including a $1.3 billion deficit in the current budget), Philpott on proposed cuts to the state's food stamp program, Grissom on the push by Hidalgo County officials for a special election that might not be legal; Hamilton on the seven Texas universities that are making a play for Tier One status and Stiles on the mid-year cash-on-hand numbers reported by campaigns and political action committees: The best of our best from August 16 to 23, 2010.

The Map: Get Out the Vote

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El Paso and Hidalgo are the largest Latino-majority and Democratic-leaning counties in the state, and they rank near the bottom when you compare the size of their voting age population to the actual number of people who show up at the polls. Collin and Fort Bend are growing suburban counties with larger Anglo populations that tend to lean Republican and produce some of the highest turnouts of eligible voters anywhere in Texas. Guess which pair gets the most attention and has the most clout?

The Map: The Giant Still Sleeps

Nearly 37 percent of the state's population of nearly 25 million is Latino, but only about 1.2 million Latinos who were registered to vote in 2008 cast ballots. Pinpointing when the emerging majority group in Texas will begin wielding its power at election time is no small feat. Scores of campaigns, party activists and interest groups spend millions of dollars each year trying to determine what will happen when that day comes. 

All Tea-ed Up

If the rainbow flavors of the Tea Party feature a common taste, it’s that of fiscally restrained government — and the anti-Washington and pro-state fervor that comes along with it. Not coincidentally, that was the overwhelming theme of the GOP's recent convention, setting the tone — as the Democrats did in their state gathering — for the November general election.

Gov. Rick Perry after his primary victory on March 2, 2010.
Gov. Rick Perry after his primary victory on March 2, 2010.

Dave Carney: The TT Interview

During last weekend's GOP convention in Dallas, the chief consultant to Rick Perry's re-election campaign talked to the Tribune about the strategy behind his strategy, why many people believe a Perry run for president is coming, the mistake that Bill White is making, the canard of the "39 Percent Governor" and the whole states-versus-the-feds thing.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

M. Smith's interview with the new chair of the Texas GOP, Philpott on Republicans and Tea Partiers living in harmony, Aguilar on Immigration and Customs Enforcement's not-yet-released strategic plan, Ramshaw's tragic tale of out-of-state kids in Texas treatment centers, Grissom on how budget cuts could impact juvenile justice, Stiles' awesome new population app, Galbraith on the decline of the Ogallala Aquifer, Hamilton's interview with the commissioner of higher education and the debut of Hu's new video debate series: The best of our best from June 14 to 19, 2010.

Debra Medina on stage, after introducing another speaker at a We Texans rally during the state GOP convention.
Debra Medina on stage, after introducing another speaker at a We Texans rally during the state GOP convention.

Let's Stay Together

Can the Republican establishment in Texas and the various Tea Party groups find enough common ground to keep the state GOP from splintering? Mississippi governor Haley Barbour told convention delegates this weekend that they have no choice. Ben Philpott filed this report for KUT News and the Tribune.

The Weekly Tribcast Episode 31

In this week's TribCast, Ross, Evan, Ben and Reeve discuss the summer political fundraising season, TxDOT's audit, how population projections will impact into redistricting and the politics of pollution.

Perry Up by 9 in New UT/TT Poll

Gov. Rick Perry leads his Democratic challenger, former Houston Mayor Bill White, 44 percent to 35 percent in the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, which was conducted May 14 to 20. Fifteen percent of the 800 registered voters surveyed are undecided about which of the gubernatorial candidates to support, while 7 percent prefer "someone else." Perry leads among men, women and Anglos. White leads among African-Americans and Hispanics. In five other statewide races polled, each Republican leads his Democratic opponent by a double-digit margin.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Thevenot on the ideological backbiting at the internationally famous State Board of Education; Stiles, Narioka and Hamilton plumb employee salary data in Texas colleges and universities; Grissom looks at the problem of insufficient indigent defense; Cervantes on the push for "veterans courts" emphasizing treatment and counseling over punishment; Aguilar finds border congressmen asking the governor for a fair break on federal homeland security dollars; M. Smith on another BP rig in the Gulf; Ramshaw reports on nurse practitioners trying to get permission slips from doctors; Hu follows up with lawmakers poking at whistleblower allegations of trouble in the state's workers' compensation regulation; Hamilton stops in on Luke Hayes and his efforts to turn Texas into a political powerhouse for Obama; and Ramsey writes on generation changes at the Capitol and on political pranksters: The best of our best from May 17 to 21, 2010.

Rick Perry, Bill White
Rick Perry, Bill White

2010: Poll vs. Poll

On the heels of a Rasmussen Poll that had Democrat Bill White well behind incumbent Republican Rick Perry in the race for governor, Austin-based Opinion Analysts released a survey showing a nine-point lead for Perry. But that Democratic polling firm adds a fat caveat, reading the Guv's favorability ratings as negative and pointing out that 48 percent of voters want a change in the state's top office, when asked if they prefer Perry or "someone else."

Neener-Neener

It's an impulse most of us learn to suppress in the seventh grade — the need give your enemies wedgies, to tape "kick me" signs to their backs, to put lizards in their lunchboxes. Political people don't suppress it — they channel it into goofy stunts to attract attention, ridicule opponents and blow off steam.

Paul speaking at CPAC 2010.
Paul speaking at CPAC 2010.

Bombs Away!

In November 2007, when the presidential campaign of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Surfside, raised more than $4.2 million in a single day, the grassroots-fueled "money bomb" became part of the national political conversation. But while the tactic was in greater use this cycle, the underwhelming showing of candidates who employed it reveals its limitations.