Heh, I never thought I would say that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst rocked anything. And I bet you didn’t either. But what a difference a year and a hard-fought campaign make. Gone was the board stiff, standoffish demeanor, replaced with a warm, confident, hand-shaking, back-slapping, fist bumping, relaxed candidate who entered the room to a standing ovation and ended his speech with another one. Running on his record and, as I’ve told him many times, just being David has been very, very good for him.
After he circled the room, he looked over, saw his wife Trisha, got an extra lift in his step, and clawed his way through the packed house to greet her:
He gave a brief speech, then took questions for as long as people wanted to question him. Obviously, the topic of the day was the signing earlier that morning of HB2, which implements a few commonsense measures to protect the health of women and protects five month old life in the womb. His first point was the most important and I suspect we’ll hear it a lot from his campaign:
Lots of people talk a good game but talk doesn’t matter without action.
That isn’t an exact quote but close enough. He noted that the level of activity on the issue from professional organizers like Moveon.org concerned him because they took over from well-meaning pro-choice Texans and started creating chaos. For some reason, the International Socialist Organization set up shop in front of his press office and his staff could hear them giving instructions on when and where to agitate. Interesting.
And he told a few jokes about the 250 troopers he brought in for the second session to insure Texas style law and order, noting that some of those guys were so big it looked like they had brought in the Houston Texans offensive line. And that if you ever wanted to speed on the highways of Texas, that was the week to do it.
He reminded us that he told the pro-choice crowd that mob rule will not control Texas government and that he respected their right to protest but that as a leader, he was going to pass that bill. And pass it he did. He gave a shout out to his favorite Houston senator, Sen. Glenn Hegar, for his help in getting the bill through the Senate and to the Governor. Favorite Houston senator. Get it? 😉
He also touched on some of the other accomplishments of the 83rd Legislature – the water infrastructure bill, education funding, ending/reducing teaching to the test, and forcing those on unemployment to undergo drug testing. He said that it isn’t right for someone to sit on their sofa playing video games while other Texans are working hard to support them.
As for his overall thoughts about the 83rd, he said that they had done more to cut taxes and preserve liberty in the last 130 days than Congress has done in years. He wants to continue his policy of keeping the regulatory hand the lightest in the county because that is what keeps Texas #1 in job creation.
He briefly touched on the Obama machine coming into Texas, saying that we’ve seen that they will stop at nothing to get their way, as we’ve seen in the news. We should fight back not with hatred but with dignity and that a life well lived is the best revenge.
He ended with four thoughts on why he is running again:
- Keep knocking down barriers for job creators
- Keep lowering taxes
- We are the Joneses – everyone is keeping up with us, let’s make sure it stays that way
- Conservatism is the compass for his pursuit of these goals
During the question/answer period, I thought that RW Bray asked one of the most important questions, not only for the Dewhurst campaign but for Republicans in the general election next year. RW wanted to know what Dewhurst was doing to reach out to minorities and youth, to expand the party. Dewhurst answered with some of the typical lines we hear and I’m not sure that RW was happy with the answer. Since RW is one of the upcoming young leaders in the Harris County Republican Party, perhaps the Dewhurst team should reach out to him and try to get a better understanding of his concerns.
In answer to another question about reaching out to the Latino community directly, Dewhurst answered in part by speaking in fluent Spanish. I have no idea what he said, but the large number of Hispanics in the room seemed very pleased by it.
All in all, it was a good day for Dewhurst and Dewhurst supporters. The biggest difference I saw between the last race and this appearance today was his relaxed demeanor. But Dewhurst himself says, this is a different race than his run against Cruz, so he’ll have to convince me that he’s still the right man for this job against these specific opponents. I like the youth and energy that Todd Staples brings. I like the solid record that Jerry Patterson brings. And Dannie, well, he’s Dannie. The race is on.
And once again, thanks to the Downtown Houston Pachyderm Club for putting on a great show. President Sophia Mafrige, Vice President Jack Lee, Secretary Tom Zakes, and Treasurer Alvin Walker are doing a great job and have a calendar packed with candidates in the next few months. (Alvin chided me for getting his title wrong, so I had to fix that!)