Gov. Perry is throwing his weight behind the clear conservative will of Texas citizens on spending limits, which is excellent news for the state. Besides being great policy, the governor’s support makes an important political point. It says that conviction conservatism is on the rise. His support for spending limits was included in the unveiling earlier today of his new economic agenda.
Conservatism has always been the majority report in Texas. This is why the campaigns of everyone from conviction conservatives to semi-progressive crony Republicans, and even many Democrats, are couched in the rhetoric of financial discipline and moral rectitude.
However, only the conviction conservative crowd isn’t using this rhetoric to serve special interest. Others use conservative rhetoric to carry commitment to the growth of government fiefdoms or competitive marketplace advantages for lobby clients.
Spending limits, the kind in play in Texas, are serious; they are not one of the many gimmicky fiscal discipline measure that politicians brandish for budget credibility.
Why are these spending limits so serious? They make it so that the budget can only grow because of inflation and population growth. They cap the market for government largess, a market that normally enjoys unlimited growth potential. They force government growers will be fighting for a bigger piece of a fixed government pie instead of fighting for a bigger piece of a government pie that can grow indefinitely.
Spending limits also serve as a political bellwether because they are anti-crony, which is the tough kind of fiscal conservatism to advance. Their arrival says that show-conservatism isn't good enough anymore in Texas.
Secondly, the political establishment would much rather not lift a finger, and yet are quite active by their standards.
For example, Bryan Eppstein clients Vicki Truitt and Jim Kefer have filed ethics complaints with no chance of success in order to try to generate some negative publicity on conservative champion Michael Quinn Sullivan.
In a recent TV news interview, a prominent insider correctly said that even if this ethics complaint could succeed it would have an “Obi Wan Kenobi” effect. Sullivan would only come back stronger, with greater legitimacy.
Fading Texas political spinster Paul Burka recently told readers that the establishment’s inability to ignore Sullivan anymore is actually a bad sign for Sullivan.
On the contrary (as Burka knows), the preferred attack angle in establishment politics is always to ignore. Unfortunately for the establishment, there comes a time when ignoring an enemy is no longer in their interests, and it's always a sad day for them.
The task is made more difficult by the fact that Sullivan isn't a 'special interest' so much as he’s a ‘general interest’. He really is after a fair, limited, freedom-securing government, instead of a government that slowly transfers more and more money and power from citizens to special somebodies.
As a result, Sullivan doesn’t have to do things that are illegal or otherwise unethical in order to accomplish his ends, as special interests inevitably do. His activity naturally goes with the grain of our state laws and sound ethics. In fact, his activity largely consist in exposing the guys doing illegal and unethical things.
This means two things: 1) Future attacks will continue to be as baseless, hopeless, and silly as the first one was, and 2) Future attacks will give Sullivan more free publicity and improved legitimacy as a watchdog who protects Texans from the special interests in both parties.
Finally, the improvement we’re seeing in Texas politics is coming from one place: increasing involvement from average Texans. Groups that facilitate citizen engagement help, but are not themselves the reason for the shift.
As people continue to realize that the sustained effort that leftists have exerted over many decades must be matched in order to take it down, the shift in favor of Texans in state politics will continue.
--Gov. Perry's new "Compact with Texans" economic agenda, including spending limits