Left of center: is there a Texas political “center” and how’s it doing?

Packed house at #tribunefest for Kay Bailey and discussion of the Texas political "center"

Can the Center Hold?

To be (in the center) or not to be? Thus is the question today discussed with Evan Smith (Tribfest) with those listed above. Quotable quotes:

The system is dominated by money.

We don’t have any idea where we are going to. Republicans are talking nonsensical garbage.

Hutchinson – redistributing and gerrymandering. The primary system. If we are going to have the current primary system as it is in Texas, you have to appear to a narrow section of the voters, the ones who vote the primaries. Voters should VOTE in the primaries. (Compares the Texas system to the one in Louisiana, where the primaries are open to all voters.

Various quotes, typed off the cuff, filling in some missing bits and consolidating the various speakers without direct quotes, ideas to think about:

Because of social media, you now hear every insult cast, everything that used to happen behind the curtain is now out in the open. This gives more strength to [those looking for all the facts). But when it’s all out in the open, it seems like the angrier you are in public, the more likely you are to win.

But the bottom line is that you must vote. If you care, vote.

Money talks, the political center walks...to the right. #tribunefest

Bill Bradley  Jon M. Huntsman Jr.  Kay Bailey Hutchison  Ron Kirk 
Kasim Reed  Evan Smith (mod.)

Things are bad. Clinton said The subheading for the US Constitution ought to be “Let’s Make a Deal.” It used to be that you could make a deal and get a decision made, so that progress could be made. Compromise is not a four-letter words. Without the ability for compromise, America is in danger of not being considered an effective country in the eyes of others in the worlds.

Now, there are no more battles: there are only wars. Example: passage of the debt ceiling, congressional authority. These types of things did not used to blow up as they do now. Everything is escalated.

This might be caused by the constant money chase, as reelection is always on the minds of the elected officials, polluting their minds. There is an “opportunity cost” to this, politically.

For example, what did we do about the debts related to the civil war. Thomas Jefferson did not want to “bail out” the “spendthrifts.” Hamilton resolved it with Washington by offering to move the capital of the US. The deal was cut and the feds assumed the state debt. This is compromise at a very high level and an excellent example.

Try this one: we sold Louisiana, based on a deal that was struck. Now, no one can make any kind of deal, however small, these days. It’s just..unpopular and some would claim, un-American.

We’ve lost the balance of powers. The 2/3 rule, the 60 percent or 75 rule forced compromise. The reduction of the voting threshold in the US Congress, and the proposed threshold reduction for Texas Lege, is a negative for compromise.

When you are in government there is no place to run or hide. If you make an error you are bounced out of office. But in every organization, you have to cut deals and make compromises. But in the US Congress, there is no willingness to sit down and solve problems.

So, how do you change the culture from animosity to compromise seeking? But you have to give the people who WANT to solve the problems something to do, instead of making them sit on the sidelines watching the gridlock.

There is never an acceptable reason for not solving problems. If you fail to solve problems, you will be voted out of the Senate or the House. If there was a viable third party, everyone on this stage would be in it. This group is the center – in theory, the most liberal of the conservatives and the most conservative of the liberals.

Let there be no labels. In America, there is this belief that everything can fit into one of the other label of Democratic or Republican.

Duck, lie, and dodge – not an option as a mayor. Because the voters will see you in the streets and in a grocery store. You have to stand and deliver, and be willing to defend your words and actions to the people you meet in the street.

We are a country of disruptors. None of the existing labels work to realistically cover the immediate situation we are in right now in this country and we have to throw out the labels if we want to see discussions occur and compromises made that allow forward movement.

Ross Perot and that separate party – doomed not to succeed. The other parties will smash any attempts of Perot to success as an alternate to Dem/Rep. You will never defeat power except by power itself. There should be a third congressional party that stands for three or four key things, such as election finance reform. This group should run in selected districts and present the problem to the country: the problem is in congress. Let’s fix it by bringing in a candidate from this third central party. This could work as a six-year strategy, funded by interested parties. (wondering just who these people would be if campaign finance reform were to take place).

We need to have actions taken by people who are not the current “Gang of Six.”

During a spirited discussion, Kay finally interrupts one speaker to say, “May I say…may I interject and say…because I was ….there…” Yes, being there does have some weight, I hope, in this discussion about “what happened” in a political struggle.

Discussion of the Tea Party versus the President. What if we woke up tomorrow and the Tea Party was gone. Or, the current President was gone. Is this what it would take to get things moving again in congress?

Extremist who will not cut deals reveal themselves in voting situations when they block major infrastructure deals to move forward in congress and in similar situations. We could not come together during this very difficult, challenging time for America and this shows how serious the problem is.

The power of no – harness it for progress and not for stalemate. No, no, no, does not get it done.

Interesting that most of those on the stage are not going to run again for a political position; this might be a factor in their candor.

“I smile when I fight.” Let’s organize the angels in our fight to win for the good of the country. I love the fight, I love campaigns, as long as we do it such as way that it leads society forward.

I’m exited about helping the next generation of leaders. Every great revolution was started by someone in their twenties. The stock market is higher than its ever been. Our economy is growing. Our unemployment rate has been cut in half. We have millions of people with health insurance who did not have it before.

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