From the diaries. This ad is truly bizarre. And infuriating. What is up with people IN congress running AGAINST congress? What do you mean bring "some Texas common sense to Washington"!? Dude, you're IN Washington. Make Cornyn pay by giving to Rick Noriega today. - Todd
For as much money as John Cornyn has, he sure is spending it in the most bizarre ways, and on some of the most ineffective TV ads I can imagine. After mucking up his launch by running ads immediately after Hurricane Ike and running them for two weeks statewide with seeing a negative bump in the polls, his campaign unveiled their latest ad.
John Cornyn has moved from a canyon- to a field of cows.
And the best part- here's what the message of the ad is supposed to be according to Cornyn's latest twitter.
Just released a new ad which discusses the economic stabilization legislation passed last night. See it at www.JohnCornyn.com
I don't think cows have much to do with bailing out Wall Street and they are so distracting in the ad (which is titled "Cows"), between them and the black and white film noire, it's hard pulling out any message from this ad.
As Dean Rindy commented on the new direction of the campaign.
"I can't read their minds, but it does seem like a conscious decision to abandon the gauche technicolor Big Bad John cowboy-in-drag look that they went with earlier this year," Rindy said, referring to the campaign's much-publicized video. "Bumptious macho John has been replaced by plain, sensitive, kind-of-sad John. He looks like a 55-year-old unmarried liberal arts professor, hanging out at the corner laundromat, trolling for sadder but wiser divorcees."
Maybe black and white cows and canyons aren't the best way to go to keep yourself from looking old, boring, and bland.
This is one of those videos in politics that I wish never had to be produced. But it's borne out of the tragedy of Hurricane Ike and the fact that Lt. Col. Noriega has been spending time the last week with his National Guard servicemen helping with relief efforts instead of campaigning.
Many have asked what it's like for a campaign to suspend. For Rick, it's personal, because he's done this before after Hurricane's Katrina & Rita. For the families affected, it's personal, because their life, family, and possessions have been disrupted directly.
It's also personal in the political arena, even though this in and of itself isn't a political issue. But what we expect from our elected officials and their vision of how government should serve the people does matter. What resources for prevention and recovery we expect of our government does matter. And the character of those we elect does matter.
When I came back to Texas nearly a year ago, to join in supporting Rick's campaign here on the ground, it was because I saw someone who in times of great need put service above self.
"Service above Self" is a message that resonates with me specifically because it is the motto of Rotary International, of which, I am a (rather young) Paul Harris Fellow, for service offered to the Hunger Plus program in high school. It's a message that everyday citizens understand because it is an ideal that embodies how we can make a better world by being better people.
Service matters. And it's why Rick Noriega is qualified to speak directly on so many important issues in this election. It's why as we begin to return back to an election that is less than a month and a half away, we remember his service and do our best to restore people's lives and people's hope in our government.
If not for tort reform, John Cornyn could sue the makers of this video shown at the state Republican convention for -- what? Malpractice? Wrongful death of his image? The deliberate infliction of pain and suffering on the voters of Texas? Or maybe he could sue his own campaign staff. Because this is just cow-pie-awful.
Words don't do justice to this campy, over-the-top, 2 1/2 minute video. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn's campaign cooked it up to introduce him to the Republican faithful at their state convention in Houston.
Could it possibly reek more of malt, hops -- even sour mash? Surely a good deal was drunk at the brainstorming session that produced it -- not least by Cornyn, described by a deep-voiced narrator as a manly man "who can shoot straight and talk straight and enjoy a good brew."
Cornyn media consultants at Strategic Perception in Los Angeles took images of him on horseback at the Houston rodeo parade and a similar event in Brownsville. Then, through the miracle of film editing, they created Senator Cowboy! You may have thought of Cornyn as a paper-pushing lawyer, judge, attorney general and now lawmaker. Behold the leather-skinned tamer of the wild frontier!
But wait, some 25 seconds into the video, what's that we see, in the close up of his hands holding the reins? Could those be ... paper cuts?
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, voted to approve $165 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but provided one of 22 votes against the domestic spending measure that is paired with the war spending bill. The Senate bill would add about $50 billion through 2017 for veterans' education benefits.
John Cornyn provided one of just 22 votes against this bill which was an expanded version of the GI Bill, called the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Act, to increase education benefits for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Even Texas' other Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison voted for it along with many of the Republican Senators up for re-election this year who are trying to moderate their positions in an election year.
But not John Cornyn. Here's what he's had to say about this bill.
"The anti-war crowd is determined to use our men and women in uniform for their political advantage, even if our national security is jeopardized in the process," Cornyn campaign spokesman Kevin McLaughlin said.
While those arguments will no doubt be repeated often between now and November, they are as empty as the arguments that the World War II era GI Bill cost too much. How much is too much for people we ask to walk into bullets?
Supporting the troops is more than plastering a yellow decal on a car. Real support means a commitment of money. Mere money doesn't match the commitment we asked the troops to make.
President Bush is now threatening to veto the legislation. But Cornyn has already indicated he's willing to vote against overriding the veto. You should sign Rick Noriega's petition calling on Cornyn to vote to override that veto.
I think this is a fair read of the lay of the land for Senate races we are challenging by DSCC chair Sen. Chuck Schumer. From MSNBC's FirstRead...
Here's the picture for the DSCC provided by Schumer:
Top targets: VA, NH, NM, CO, AK. (Schumer says they are ahead here.)
Second tier: OR, MN, ME. (These are blue states; Democrats are not ahead, but are competitive.)
Red-state seats in striking range: KY, NC, MS.
Good candidates with an outside chance: NE, KS, OK, GA, ID, TX. (Schumer says of Texas that he likes Noriega as a candidate and that incumbent Sen. John Cornyn is polling surprisingly low.)
The note on the fourth set about Noriega is actually from Schumer and included in the article so it's nice to see him pointing this race out in particular. There is good reason for this because the Texas Senate race is competitive, possibly as much or more so than other races listed in higher tiers. I use Maine for an example.
Maine is a lot smaller than Texas and Tom Allen represented half of Maine in Congress verses Rick Noriega representing 1/150th of Texas in the state house. And even with that and the fact that the Texas numbers are pre-primary it seems clear that Texas is well positioned to be heading on up those charts.
No offense intended to my friends in Maine and the good folks at Turn Maine Blue! We suffer from an embarrassment of riches this year.
Disclaimer: I work for Democrat Rick Noriega's Senate campaign but believe the results of this poll indicate the opportunity any Democrat would have in defeating Republican John Cornyn in 2008.
I'd like to announce some really great (and even surprising) poll results regarding the Texas Senate race here in Texas. The following poll was conducted a couple weeks ago by Lake Research, a highly regarded polling firm. Analysis of each major point will be below the section.
The survey was conducted among 500 registered voters in Texas who are likely to vote in the 2008 General Election. The survey was conducted November 13-18, 2007. The margin of error for the full sample is +/- 4.4 percentage points.
1. Opinion of John Cornyn
24% no opinion
14% never heard of him
Cornyn has been a statewide elected official since 1990- he's been a Supreme Court Justice, Attorney General, and Senator. Given all that, only 62% of Texans know enough of Cornyn to have an opinion of him. That's pretty shocking but verifies the rumors I heard earlier this year from other polls that said about a 1/3 of the state has no idea who he is. So even though Rick Noriega, like most Texas Democrats, is not well known by the general electorate yet, Sen. Cornyn does not enjoy as large of an name ID advantage as we might think.
A few hours ago Rick Noriega filed the paperwork necessary at the Texas Democratic Party headquarters here in Austin in his efforts to take on Sen. John Cornyn as a Democratic candidate for change here in Texas.
"It's time that we quit having show horses and that we have work horses for the people of the state of Texas," Noriega told an enthusiastic group at the Democratic Party headquarters.
Party chairman Boyd Richie said he wasn't endorsing Noriega in the primary, but spoke beside him at his news conference and called it "an exciting day."
In launching his campaign he spoke to some of the principal reasons for why he's running.
Noriega, a lieutenant colonel in the Texas Army National Guard who spent 14 months in Afghanistan, said he supports firm timetables for withdrawing troops from Iraq. He said the war -- which he insists on calling "an occupation" -- has been mismanaged. He said he wants to tie funding for the Iraq war to a "logistically reasonable" timetable for withdrawal that includes the safe removal of troops and equipment.
"When we are at war, America wins wars. We are in an occupation of a country currently," Noriega said. "The American people are tired of being misled and misinformed, and not one more drop of blood of one of my brethren is going to bring a political resolution in that region."
I've included his prepared remarks for his announcement below the fold but I want to highlight two paragraphs from it that really put this campaign into perspective.
We enter this campaign under no illusions. Few people today, if asked, recognize the name Rick Noriega. But when you go beyond the superficial questions, you'll find that millions share what our campaign stands for. This campaign is not about making my name a household name. It's not about a Democrat versus a Republican. It's not about two people, Rick Noriega versus John Cornyn. As we prepare to spend the next 11 months traveling this state, we plan to talk about who this campaign is really for. This campaign is for the moms, dads, and grandparents who are caring for the children of troops who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan over and over again. It's for our veterans who have served our country, but return home and carry on without adequate medical care, or health insurance for their children. And it's for the countless Texas families who work hard, yet find that health insurance, and college, and housing remain just out of reach.
For them, we can no longer call this an Exploratory Campaign. This is a mission to reclaim our United States Senate seat. This is a mission to restore true Texas values. There will be those who sit back and judge from the sidelines. But week-by-week, month-by-month, they will be outnumbered by the regular Texans who are ready to reclaim America's global standing, Texas' true values, and the United States Senate seat that belongs not to the politicians, but to the people.
Given that I work for both Rick Noreiga and serve on Democracy for Texas's steering committee which submitted the proposal that drew Netroots Nations' eye to Texas, I could not be happier right now! We're going to have one heck of a time here in the Lone Star State when Netroots Nation is in Austin, TX from July 17-20, 2008.
Below is a statement on behalf of Rick Noriega's campaign regarding the announcement.
On behalf of all Texans, Rick Noriega congratulates the City of Austin as he shares in their excitement as host of the 2008 Netroots Nation convention. The Netroots community has not only proven that it can change the conventional wisdom of politics, but that it can change the conventional practices of politics as well.
We have the opportunity to enact meaningful change in the makeup of the U.S. Senate in 2008 and Rick is proud to be the candidate to put Texas in play. Our grassroots movement in Texas has garnered Democracy for America's first Senate endorsement, the support of John Kerry and Wesley Clark, the backing of the Texas netroots and Blue America communities, as well as contributions from over 2,400 online donors-- the most donors of any Senate challenger on ActBlue.
Welcome to Austin, Netroots! Rick and our entire campaign team look forward to meeting many of you in person next July 17-20.
-Sue Schechter, Campaign Manager Rick Noriega for U.S. Senate
Rick of course is no stranger to Netroots Nation (formerly YearlyKos) as he was liveblogging it this summer in Chicago. Martha, writing at Off the Kuff, provided us with a lot of pictures of Noriega at this year's convention as well.
Over at the Texas blog, Burnt Orange Report, writer Phillip Martin was absolutely right in his post that the Texas of today is a world of difference from the Texas of 5 years ago. That year we saw the rise of John Cornyn from Attorney General to U.S. Senator, defeating Ron Kirk 55-43. But thanks to hard work by a dedicated group of Democrats, the world of 2008 will indeed be very different than the world of 2002.
A large part of that has to do with President Bush. Having ridden sky-high approval ratings into the 2002 elections, he naturally helped prop up John Cornyn and every other Republican that ran (and sadly won) in so many Senate races that year. Now, Bush is no longer popular. In fact, there is not a *single state* in which he has over 50% approval anymore. Not one. In Texas, Bush's approval is just above 40%. That's now below John Cornyn's last measured approval of 43%.
But that change hasn't stopped Cornyn's allegience to Bush- he's continued to vote with him lockstep, one of the strongest pro-Bush voting records in the Senate. Heck, even Texas' other Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has broken with the president on issues such as SCHIP or the DREAM Act. But I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that Cornyn is welcoming Bush to and has already welcomed Cheney with open arms to come fundraise for him in Texas.
"It's in the eye of the beholder," Mr. Cornyn said, adding, "I'm pleased that the vice president would take time out of his schedule to assist us in that effort."
"But I believe that it's important in a state as big as Texas to raise the funds to tell people who you are and what you stand for."
Rick Noriega and Texas Democrats are fighting back. Just as they have been for the last 5 years, together we are going to push back- in 2007, 2008, and beyond.
Below I've included an email sent by the Noriega campaign...we'll be seeing a lot more activity this week regarding President Bush secretly arriving in Texas to fundraising for John Cornyn. This is what change looks like.
President Bush is arriving in Texas for two secretive, invite-only fundraisers for his Rubber Stamp: Senator John Cornyn.
We shouldn't be surprised that George W. Bush is coming in 3 days to help his #1 cheerleader for his Administration's failed policies.
But we're not going to let President Bush quietly slink into Texas to help Rubber Stamp Cornyn. Click the link below and help us reach our $50,000 goal in 3 days to Stamp Out Bush's Rubber Stamp.
I promise not to deluge anyone with just Rick Noriega stories now that I'm back in Texas supporting his campaign, but I really do want to talk about this. I'm a Democracy for Texas steering committee member which is why I'm additionally excited.
Democracy for America, the 700,000 person national progressive membership organization that was born out of Howard Dean's campaign, is doing something very big that affects Texas. They've put out the call, asking if DFA as a national organization should endorse Rick Noriega and make him their first Senate endorsement for 2008. That's huge- and it's totally possible.
As you may remember, Democracy for Texas endorsed Noriega in September after polling their membership which came back with a stunning 86% saying- YES. It was the first time DFT had ever endorsed a candidate as an organization and they are supporting the effort for DFA to endorse as well.
Getting DFA to endorse would be huge- not only for Rick Noriega, but also for Texas as it would help put an already exciting race on the national map. That would be key given that President Bush is coming to Texas next week to raise for Cornyn (and Cheney who was here yesterday).