Heh, I thought about making the title of this post “Dannie does the Pachyderm” but figured the humor would be lost on some. Plus the SEO for Google would be all messed up. So I’ll just tell you about the day that Sen. Dan Patrick spoke at the Downtown Houston Pachyderm Club. Which was today. Roughly 100 people turned out to hear their hometown Senator tell them why he is the right person at the right time for the job.
My love affair with Dannie
For those of you that are not evangelical Christians or are squeamish with your Christian faith, please jump to the next section because you will either not understand this or you will be very, very uncomfortable.
I love Jesus. That is a fact. But it wasn’t always so. Raised as a preacher’s kid, I did what many preacher’s kids do – made sure that you knew Pop was the preacher, not me. So I wandered in the wilderness that people wander around in when they reject the faith of their youth and try to make their place in the world. Part of the wandering was becoming involved in politics, conservative politics specifically. And if you lived in Harris County in the 1990′s, that meant you listened to KSEV 700.
And Dan Patrick was the voice of conservatives. But it wasn’t just Dan. It was an entire cast but most significantly for me, it was a guy named Mike Richards. Mike also loves Jesus and isn’t afraid to say so. Day after day I listened to this guy talk about joy and love, even as he talked about politics. Never backing down from his faith, never afraid to discuss his faith, always striving to glorify Jesus.
Mike’s sheer audacity, his never ending proclamation of Jesus as Lord, changed my life. Forever. I didn’t just go back to the faith of my youth, I understood what it meant. For that, I will ever be grateful.
So when Dan told me today, “I can never figure out whether you love me or hate me”, I thought I’d make it clear. I love you. And that will never change, no matter what happens in politics. Thank you for the gift that you have given me and my family.
Why Sen. Dan Patrick decided to run for Lt. Gov.
Dan started his speech by telling the crowd that he didn’t start the year with a plan to run for Lt. Gov. He had drawn a two year stick in the redistricting process and could have easily won reelection and then retired at the age of 68. And he acknowledged that he had three capable opponents.
He said that he is running because of the things we haven’t done as a state and that he sees the window of opportunity to do those things closing. If “it” (name your conservative legislation) hasn’t happened, it is because the leadership of the House and Senate didn’t want it to happen.
Dan decided to run the night of Wendy Davis’ filibuster. He said there was no reason whatsoever to make her a rock star, which is what happened when Lt. Gov. Dewhurst bungled the situation.
Issues that Dan would focus on
Property taxes – Dan brought up the signature issue that he ran on in 2006, capping appraisals on property. He told the crowd that during his time in the Senate, he had no chance of getting his bills on the issue out of committee because the committee chairs, appointed by the Lt. Gov., didn’t support them.
Border security – Dan stressed that he is not an open borders candidate.
Education reform – No one on the ballot knows more about education than Dan does and I would agree with that assessment. Dan has worked extremely hard, first as Vice-Chair of Public Education and then as Chair to learn the issues involved in Education and conservative ways to address them. If you look at the reforms included in HB5, they will be remembered as a seminal change in Texas education for years to come. Dan also fought very hard for school choice – we didn’t get what we wanted but we got more than we’ve gotten in almost two decades.
Dan is a rock solid conservative
Dan made sure the crowd knew that he doesn’t wake up in the morning wondering what he stands for. He said that since he has been in the Senate, he has been ranked the most conservative. He touted Michael Quinn Sullivan’s naming of him as one of three Senators that received A grades for the session.
Dan will pass bills on these issues
Dan made it a point to say that he will address and pass bills on these issues:
- Sanctuary cities
- Border security
- School choice
- Continue to reform education
- Reduce property taxes
Dan stressed that he is not running just on some grand vision, but to get things done.
Dan will not appoint half of the Democrat senators as committee chairs
Committee chairs decide what legislation will pass. Republicans have great conservatives on the bench but they cannot be effective because the Democrat committee chairs block their bills. Although this theme doesn’t play well with me, it will play well among the majority of Republican primary voters. I’d hate to see Austin become as partisan as Washington, D.C., but I’m in the minority on that one.
The election is not about friends – not electing a 12th grade president
This is about electing someone with an impeccable conservative record, someone that has demonstrated themselves to be a conservative and has proven he can get things done. In God We Trust in the Senate, Under God in the Texas pledge, cutting business taxes $172 million, passing the sonogram bill.
Messaging to ethnic groups
Dan says that we are the party of minority groups and need to get this message out to them:
- Pro family
- Pro marriage
- Pro life
- Pro work
- Pro American
The primary thing I was looking for today was how well the crowd reacted to Dan. This club is full of judges and lawyers, but also precinct chairs and grassroots activists. And because of the location, everyone knows or knows of Dan. He received a standing ovation when he was introduced, which is not common but not rare either. And during his talk, he received a lot of applause. At the end, he received another standing ovation, which is fairly rare with this group. There were a lot of SD7 folks in attendance, so that helped and but I still got the impression that he was on target and well received.
One other note, his energy level was back to normal. He had worked so many hours during the session passing the education reforms that he looked very fatigued. But a couple of weeks off seems to have refreshed and energized him.
HCRP Chair Jared Woodfill managed to extract a public promise from Dan to engage in and work hard in areas that are traditionally ignored by Republicans. It was not only an interesting move by Jared, it was bold. But the problem for Dan is that he has been in office since 2006, hasn’t reached out to these communities, and in fact has supported the very people that have made it virtually impossible for the party to reach these communities. And Jared has done the same thing even longer. How these two will accomplish what they promised today is unknown but I do hope that people hold them to their promises.
During the question/answer period, I asked him to address the theory that if Dan is elected Lt. Gov., the Senate as a whole will strip him of his power. Dan dismissed this out of hand, saying that it would take all 11 Democrats (assuming Wendy Davis’ seat turns Republican) plus 5 Republicans and Dan didn’t think that 5 Republicans would turn on a conservative Lt. Gov. because they would have to go home and face the voters.
Like I said above, I love Dan as a person. He didn’t address his tendency to bring his emotions into legislation – forced generators, state intervention in education, checkpoints, etc., so I remain skeptical about his candidacy. But I’m reminded of what I wrote in May of 2007 in the midst of his first fight on property appraisal caps:
From the very moment that Dan Patrick declared his candidacy for Senate District 7, he has faced overwhelming odds. Three polished, experienced and connected politicians ran against him in the primary. News media ridiculed him daily, laughing at the audacity of a radio talk show host daring to run for public office. There was no way, they said, that his “small” base of listeners could propel him to victory.
After crushing his three primary opponents, their message changed to “of course he won, he has the bully pulpit of a radio station every day”. And “even though he won, he’ll be a joke in the Senate, no one will listen and he won’t get anything done”. Or “Patrick is just grandstanding and won’t devote time or effort to legislation”.
All I can say is thank you Sen. Patrick. And thank you to the voters of SD 7 who put him there.
Ineffective freshman my arse.
Regardless of any reservations I might have, if Sen. Dan Patrick does make it to the top of this mountain, I’m certain that he will be an effective conservative Lt. Governor.