Texas and national politics face a pivotal year ahead

12/31/2013 2:49 PM

12/31/2013 2:50 PM

The political landscape of our country and our state is about to be shaped as we enter one of the most pivotal years in recent memory.

Lots of questions are going to be answered. Let’s begin the review right here in Texas.

Will the excitement of liberal state Sen. Wendy Davis’ supporters continue to build and stop our very conservative Attorney General Greg Abbott from moving into the governor’s office?

Or will her performance in those tennis shoes backfire, identifying her as perhaps the most pro-abortion candidate for any office anywhere in a state that has historically been pro-life?

Using the largess of lots and lots of out-of-state Democrats, she will mount a campaign that is designed to get voters to forget the substance of the stunt that sent her star soaring.

If she does prevail, then the question will be whether or not Texas will turn blue and award its huge cache of electoral votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016. If that happens, it will be at least another generation before the Republican Party has any hope of regaining its stature … if ever.

Like I said, 2014 will be a pivotal year.

Turning to the national scene, Texas will again be much in the spotlight. And that will start right now. The Republican primary election is March 4.

Will Sen. John Cornyn be elected for a third term? He hoped the answer would be an easy “yes,” as he mounted an aggressive media thrust touting his conservative credentials trying to ward off any Tea Party opponent.

That didn’t work, as U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman of Clear Lake, near Houston, entered the race just before the filing deadline. He declared Cornyn too liberal for Texans.

Texas’ senior senator has a huge war chest and a huge lead in the polls. It doesn’t appear that this will be much of a race, but that’s what a lot of people thought when Ted Cruz took on Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in last year’s Senate race. We know how that worked out.

In any event, we can ask how much further right Stockman’s challenge will move Cornyn. What effect will that have, assuming he does get reelected, in the U. S. Senate during the next six years?

And, speaking of Dewhurst, will any of his rather well-known opponents take him out of office altogether? Will the Tea Party get mobilized behind one of them?

The whole country is going to answer the next question. Will President Obama be facing both houses of Congress under control of Republicans after Election Day in November?

Obama’s popularity is at the lowest level of his presidency. Democrats hate to be reminded, but it’s even lower than all his predecessors, except Richard Nixon, after five years in office.

Republicans taking over the legislative branch won’t mean the Obamacare debacle is going to be repealed or even significantly revised unless the R’s come up with veto-proof numbers. It does, however, set up interesting questions about the future of the unpopular law beyond 2016.

A rejection of the liberal policies of the Obama administration, assuming voters will see beyond the national media’s malfeasance, could mean that Hillary’s plans have run into trouble.

Gallup, last week: “Seventy-two percent of Americans say big government is a greater threat to the U.S. in the future than is big business or big labor, a record high in the nearly 50-year history of this question.”

With a little twist to Bette Davis’ famous words (Millennials may need Google) — fasten your seat belts; it’s going to be quite a ride.

Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. mayorgreene@mayorgreene.com

About Richard Greene

Richard Greene

With long experience in government including 10 years as mayor of Arlington, an adjunct professorship in UT Arlington's School of Urban and Public Affairs and service as President George W. Bush's regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, Richard Greene is an expert on public policy, politics and decision-making on issues facing North Texas.

He has strong opinions about elected officials and those who would like to join them.

Email Richard at mayorgreene@mayorgreene.com.

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