Rick Perry

Texas takes the lead on e-mail privacy

While not a remedy for the NSA’s broad surveillance of Americans, Texans can at least take some comfort in knowing that state and local enforcement officials are now prohibited from rummaging around their e-mail without a warrant:

Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) signed HB2268 into law June 14, preventing all state and local law enforcement from rummaging through Texans’ email inboxes without a warrant.

The ground-breaking legislation gives Texas residents more privacy over their e-mails than anywhere else  in the U.S.

Pushback against law enforcement snooping came after 29-year-old state Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-92), who represents an area between Dallas and Ft. Worth, added an amendment to the Texas House bill barring authorities from unwarranted email searches.

“Because of the overwhelming support the bill received in the House and Senate it is effective immediately. Before this landmark legislation, state and local officials had the ability to read your emails without a warrant if the email had been opened or had sat unopened in your inbox for longer than 180 days. That just didn’t make sense,” Stickland told Russia Today.

This law obviously has no impact on federal law or law enforcement agencies. That’s been an issue raised recently in Congress, and it could get a look due to the recent revelations about the NSA’s surveillance of Americans.

CPAC 2013: Some of the Best Speeches from Yesterday

It took me until about 2:30pm yesterday to realize that the American Conservative Union, the group that organizes CPAC, was putting up video of speeches and panels on its YouTube channel. While I can’t go through and transcribe each one, I thought I’d post some of the best speeches from yesterday. And in case you missed it, you can read my write-up on Sen. Rand Paul’s speech here.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA):

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL):

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX):

Matt Kibbe: Cruz’s win is for the people

Matt Kibbe

Tuesday’s runoff in Texas, where Ted Cruz defeated David Dewhurst, is certainly one of the most active discussions in the political world right now. Not only have the results of the race further diminished the political popularity of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who backed Dewhurst, but for Senate Democrats, who have made that chamber completely worthless, are using it to say that the Tea Party movement is taking over the Republican Party.

But Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, would tell you that taking over the GOP is precisely the goal of the Tea Party movement. Kibbe, author of Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government’s Stranglehold on America, explained yesterday at Politico that Cruz’s win represented more than a notch under the belt of the Tea Party movement. Rather it was one for the “people”:

The political playing field has changed. It turns out the tea party movement’s sophisticated grass-roots ground game was what finally tipped the balance.

TX Senate: Cruz internal poll shows 9-point lead over Dewhurst

On Friday, Ted Cruz, a conservative running for United States Senate in Texas, released the results of an internal poll showing that he has a 9-point lead over David Dewhurst just a few weeks out from the July 31st runoff:

Ted Cruz led Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst by 9 points in a recent internal poll conducted for the former Texas solicitor general’s campaign, a Cruz source has confirmed.

From the earliest days of the race to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), Dewhurst has been the frontrunner. But in this survey, 49 percent of respondents said they would vote for Cruz. Forty percent supported Dewhurst, and 11 percent were undecided.

The poll surveyed 750 likely Republican runoff voters June 24-26 with a 3.6-point margin of error. Cruz had 96 percent name identification among those voters and Dewhurst had 98 percent name identification.

Sixty percent of those surveyed viewed Cruz favorably, with 21 percent saying they had an unfavorable opinion of him. Dewhurst had an almost identical favorability rating, 59 percent, while 30 percent viewed him unfavorably.

Unsurprisingly, Dewhurst’s campaign says that there internal polling shows him with a “comfortable advantage” over Cruz. Dewhurst, who took 47% of the vote in the May primary, has also received some support from Republicans in the Texas Senate, which he, as the state’s Lt. Governor, oversees. The Republican Senators are taking issue with attacks by Cruz on Dewhurst’s record.

Gingrich, Romney in a tight race in South Carolina

With just a couple of days to go until the South Carolina Republican primary, we’re seeing some movement of the anti-Romney vote in the state back to Newt Gingrich as Rick Santorum falls back to earth.

This is reflected in several surveys, but to show you the numbers, here is a look at the last four polls out of South Carolina conducted by Rasmussen, who has done the most frequent polling in the state.

PollRomneyGingrichSantorumPaulPerry
1/1831%33%
11%
15%
2%
1/1635%21%16%16%
5%
1/1228%28%
16%16%
6%
1/527%27%24%11%
5%

What is exactly is happening to cause this second Gingrich surge? While Romney benefited from a fractured conservative base and many Republican voters accepting the “inevitably” of his nomination, recent strong debate performances and questions about Santorum’s fiscal conservatism and electability are bringing anti-Romney vote back into a one camp.

Gingrich will no doubt be aided by Perry’s withdrawal and endorsement even though his numbers weren’t all that great. The fiasco in Iowa, a state that Santorum seems to have now won — though some ballots have been lost, has showed us that every vote matters in this election. As I noted earlier, Perry’s supporters may just be what pushes Gingrich over the top in South Carolina.

Perry to drop out, endorse Gingrich

CNN is reporting that Texas Gov. Rick Perry will drop out of the race for the Republican nomination today, just a couple of days ahead of the South Carolina primary, and endorse Newt Gingrich:

Rick Perry is telling supporters that he will drop his bid Thursday for the Republican presidential nomination, two sources familiar with his plans told CNN.

The Texas governor will make the announcement before the CNN debate in South Carolina, the sources said.

It was incredibly unlikely, given his poor debate performances and gaffes, that Perry would be able to make a comeback in the race. Perry had hoped for a decent showing in South Carolina, but polls there had showed him at the bottom of the pack.

Many influential conservatives had been calling on Perry to drop out of the race so the anti-Romney vote could coalesce behind Gingrich, who has been surging in South Carolina in recent days (I’ll have more on that later today).

Given Perry’s numbers may not be significant, but it could be just enough to put Gingrich over the top on Saturday.

#SCDebate: Obama’s Happy Hour

First off, I think the hashtag should have been #OhJesusChristItsAnotherDebate, but unfortunately that was too long for many tweets.

Second, my pessimism from last November and December has returned. During the summer of 2011, I was pretty sure that Obama had it. Even with the killing of bin Laden, after the support quickly evaporated, I figured his support was going to continue to fall. But then, after seeing the rise of Herman Cain and the ridiculous tomfoolery in the back half of the year, I figured Obama had it in the bag. Lately, I was thinking it’s a more 50/50 thing, but last night’s performance has me thinking again that Obama is going to steamroll this election in November.

Why? Because none of the candidates—aside from Paul, natch—had any real divergence or difference, nothing truly remarkable that sets them apart from either each other, Obama, or even George W. Bush. Cut taxes, increase defense spending, some paltry attempts at entitlement reform, and oh, civil liberties, who needs those? They may play well with the base, but they are utterly disastrous with the general electorate. I for one agree on the taxes thing, but you will have Obama and the left point out that taxes are the lowest they have been in years, and unless Republicans shoot back with the OECD taxation charts, I don’t think that will sell very well (though obviously, yes, if we’re going to remain competitive, cutting our business tax rates to ~20% and getting rid of capital gains and payroll taxes would be good—though we have to balance that by massively cutting spending.)

Moving on from New Hamphire

In my brief primer yesterday on the New Hampshire primary, I noted that Mitt Romney needed at least 40% of the vote in order for his “win” not to be considered a “loss.” By that I mean that conservatives in the anti-Romney faction of the GOP were going to point to that as a “proof” that Romney winning the nomination isn’t inevitable.

With 98% of precincts reporting, Romney won 39.3% of the vote — a slightly higher percentage that John McCain took in 2008. While it’s not quite 40%, based on what I’m hearing and reading this more from many anti-Romney conservatives (many of whom where firmly behind him four years ago), it’s close for them to read the writing on the wall.

So what does this mean? I suspect that we’re about to see things get very nasty with Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich stepping up their attacks Romney. Rick Perry will probably wind up attacking everyone, particularly Gingrich and Romney.

Huntsman’s has a ceiling. If he doesn’t catch fire in the next two or three weeks, he’ll have a tough time justifying sticking around until Super Tuesday. That’s just reality. You may say, “Well, he finished third in New Hampshire. That counts for something.” No, it doesn’t. Huntsman based in campaign there. That’s why his poor showing in Iowa didn’t matter.

For Huntsman, a third place finish in New Hampshire is no better than finishing last since Gingrich, Romney, and Santorum weren’t really contesting the state. Those three have their eyes set on South Carolina, where Huntsman isn’t going to be nearly as competitive. He will, at best, cut into Romney’s numbers and possibly hand the state to Santorum or Gingrich.

National Review, Ron Paul defend Mitt Romney against anti-capitalist attacks

We’re beginning to see some backlash against Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry’s (and to a lesser extent, Jon Huntsman) anti-capitalist attacks against Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital. The National Review, an influential voice in the conservative movement, lashed out at Romney’s critics:

Gingrich and Perry have between them about eleven minutes’ worth of relevant private-sector experience — Perry being subsidized by the federal government to farm cotton, Gingrich subsidizing himself by farming his political connections — and therefore may not know (or care) what a private-equity firm such as Bain does. (Gingrich might consider asking his friends at leveraged-buyout firm Forstmann Little, where he was on the board.) Bain is involved in, among other things, leveraged buyouts, meaning that the firm and its investors borrow money from banks to acquire companies, usually firms that are in trouble but believed to be salvageable. These firms generally are bought on the theory that they represent fundamentally sound underlying business enterprises that are for one reason or another performing deficiently, usually because of incompetent management. Strong, thriving companies rarely are targets for leveraged-buyout acquisitions — if things are going well, there is no incentive to sell the company. If the firms are publicly traded, they often are taken private, their stocks delisted from the exchanges, and then reorganized. Once the company has been returned to profitability, it is taken public again or sold to a private buyer, in the hopes of turning a profit on the deal.

New Hampshire Primary Live Blog

We’ll begin coverage on the returns this evening from New Hampshire within the next half hour or so. You can follow along via CNN or WMUR. You can read Jason’s primer on what to look for out of New Hampshire here.

 


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