The Texas Straw Poll is one for the history books. The failure of the legislature to move up the Texas primary date, the scheduling of the event on Labor Day weekend and the first day of dove-hunting season, the limiting of participants to past convention delegates rather than Republican primary voters, and the lack of participation by the leading candidates all contributed to an extremely low turnout.
The event ended up being a showcase for Texas Congressman Ron Paul and California Congressman Duncan Hunter. Expectations were high for Ron Paul, and no doubt his supporters are disappointed by his third place showing. But Duncan Hunter, despite his lack of standing in the polls, gave an inspiring speech. And the fact that he took on the border problem in San Diego, got a wall built on the border to stem the tide of illegal immigrants, and was instrumental in the Secure Fence Border Act (which has yet to be implemented) made him a favorite with the grassroots of Texas. Here in Texas, the immigration issue rules. Memo to the other candidates: If you want to fire up the base, commit to securing our borders and our ports. Ordinary Americans are concerned about our national security. Congressman Hunter is right on this issue, and if he had the funding and the organization, he would go far. He also focused on the war on terror and the trade imbalance with China. The fact that China continues to capitalize on the trade imbalance and invests so heavily in military buildup is another national security issue, and one that needs to be addressed.
It is always good theater to attend a political event such as this, and the speeches of all five of the candidates were interesting. The fact that Senator Fred Thompson came in second and, since he is not yet an official candidate, did absolutely nothing to try to win this straw poll, demonstrates his undeniable appeal to the party faithful. And I would recommend that, as he officially launches his candidacy, he follow the example of Congressman Duncan Hunter and be a strong proponent of the Secure Fence Act. Those who say it will only be climbed over or tunneled under are missing the point. We have to close our borders, and a wall is the starting point. No system is perfect, but we must do something. It has helped curb terrorism in Israel, and it will help slow the illegal traffic of both humans, drugs, and terrorists into the United States. Just ask Duncan Hunter. It has worked in San Diego. And if you build it, Republicans will turn out to vote.