Cal Jillson's Notable Quotes

The Nation logo

"Until three years ago, the Texas Democratic Party was just brain-dead and prostrate. They were beaten down. During the Bush years, people wouldn't even admit to being Democrats in Texas. Now they're up on their hind legs, feeling confident. It's the Republicans who are sullen and downcast."
-- On the resurgence of the Democratic Party on Texas, July 21, 2008

AP logo

"Circumstances are certainly improving for the Democrats." Cal Jillson said if Democrats win some county and legislative victories this November, they may become competitive for statewide offices in the coming decade.
— On Texas Democrats' hope that Obama will lift their political fortunes, July 17, 2008

"The odds of that are slim to none (that the next president will influence housing prices)." If the next president can make people more optimistic about the future, "the slow rebuilding of confidence will help to increase home values."
— On whether home foreclosures can be stopped by the next president, July 7, 2008.

"All of the candidates are being generally supportive of Bush in his positions, but none want his imprimatur. That suggests if he were to toss his endorsement out there, they would scatter. No one would dive on it."
— On President Bush not endorsing anyone in the primaries, Jan. 7, 2008.

"[The Texas Restoration Project] is trying to enjoy the protections of being religious leaders and representing tax-exempt institutions, but acting as a political interest group. I think their principal responsibility is transparency, and that is to be sure people know who they are, where their money is coming from and how they use it."
— On the voter-registration efforts of Texas preachers' groups, Nov. 3, 2005

"The question of whether (poverty) is sufficient [as a campaign issue] is answered with the question ... 'When is the last time you saw John Edwards on the evening news?' I think the answer is, 'It's been awhile."'
— On Edwards' possible 2008 presidential ambitions, Oct. 9, 2005

"This is the biggest potential shake-up in Texas politics. When a very senior position, particularly a Senate seat, opens up, every other politician statewide sees an opportunity to move up, and that's what is happening here."
— On a possible Kay Bailey Hutchison gubernatorial run, May 25, 2005

"Governor Perry and his people are just not as good as Bush and Rove. Governor Perry knows the steps, but he's got no rhythm."
— On Rick Perry's re-election strategy, June 10, 2005

"McCain is a Republican nominee who has to appeal to the base but he is much queasier on social issues with the exception of abortion. He is much less confrontational on things like gay marriage."
— On the issue of gay marriage, June 19, 2008.

Cindy (McCain) falls under the "classic mould" and has her own version of the "Nancy Reagan stare," the adoring gaze that the former first lady perfected. "If you look at Michelle Obama, it appears that throughout their married life, she and her husband have been very much equals."
— On the wives of the presidential candidates, June 15, 2008.

Christian Science Monitor logo

"She (Hillary Rodham Clinton) certainly faces an Alamo moment in Texas and Ohio. This was a significant win for Obama, because it was 17 points and he cut into her base. If that continues in Ohio and Texas, she will be done."
— On Clinton's need to do well in Texas, Feb. 20, 2008.

"Even if [Bush] did show up [for jury duty], almost certainly he -- like senators and other high-profile people -- would be struck during voir dire [the process by which attorneys determine whether prospective jurors can weigh the evidence objectively]. ...From all we know about Bush, once he gets an opinion about something, it's there for good. There's no changing it."
— On George W. Bush's rescheduling of his Texas jury service, Jan. 9, 2006

"His legacy as a two-term president of the United States hinges on bringing an acceptable stability – no one's talking Jeffersonian democracy – but an acceptable stability in Iraq. He really can't back off that, no matter what his Republican members of Congress think they need."
— On the Bush Administration's defense of the Iraq War, Nov. 17, 2005

"This is a vastly different deal for a person who left her job as a reporter in Fort Worth to go into working with George W. Bush and crafting his message. Here, you're asking for Karen Hughes's ear to be tuned to the European, Middle Eastern, African, and Asian publics. Nothing suggests to me that she has the background to know how to shape the message with nearly the facility she had in tuning [Bush's] message for the American ear."
— On improving America's image abroad, March 16, 2005

Clinton is "very clearly the establishment candidate ... and will not be able to shed the label of the establishment candidate."
— On Clinton's attempt to cast herself as the underdog in the race against Obama, Feb. 10, 2008.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram logo

"I think Texans are somewhat underinvested in this campaign because there’s not a Texan on the ballot, or, for Republicans, a Republican they are not very excited about. Texans have been ambivalent through the campaign.  . . . Republicans will have to work hard to match the enthusiasm on the Democrats’ side."
— On Texans' financial support for the Presidential campaigns, July 28, 2008.

Dallas Morning News logo

"For major-league skullduggery, you always have a cost, but simply playing politics and holding information back? Voters don't change their mind on unresolved issues." . . . "A lot of Americans understand how devastating cancer can be (for McCain). If cancer concerns became more prominent, that could do him a lot of damage."
— On candidates withholding personal information, March 26, 2008.

"There's a great deal of concern out there in the public, particularly among the middle class and working class, that things are getting tighter. Everybody wants to get on board quickly and get money into the hands of people so they can get credit for it."
— On the political implications of the economic stimulus package, Feb. 4, 2008.

"The council just broke and ran over the last couple of weeks, and that led voters to say, 'If you're not confident in this, neither are we.' The council's erratic behavior has engendered doubt in Dallas voters."
— On the defeat of Dallas' strong-mayor initiative, Nov. 9, 2005

"DeLay wants to treat it as a political fight rather than a legal inquiry."
— On Tom DeLay's Texas indictments, Oct. 18, 2005

New York Times logo

''That sort of limited the impact in Texas politics to the environmental. It affects the way people think about the Republicans' practice of politics in Texas. If the speaker or sitting members had been indicted, that would have produced a much stronger backlash against Republicans.''
— On the lack of charges against Texas state political figures and the impact of the Tom DeLay scandal, Oct. 2, 2005

Los Angeles Times logo

"[This will] embolden those who are baying at his heels in Washington. These are DeLay's organizations. It is not possible from a political perspective – even if it is from a legal perspective – to separate DeLay from this."
— On a Texas judge's ruling that Tom DeLay's fundraising operation received illegal campaign contributions, May 27, 2005

The Hill logo

"[Sam] Brownback is trying to lock up the social conservative wing of the party, so he felt that he needed to come out strong on this one."
— On Harriet Miers' Supreme Court nomination, Oct. 6, 2005

Atlanta Journal-Constitution logo

"If [Bush] is going to go out on the campaign trail, which he clearly wants to do, he has to argue that the war, although messier than expected, is going to be a success in the long term. His only alternative is lock himself in the White House and not come out. He can't do that. He's got three years to go."
— On the 2006 mid-term elections, Dec. 10, 2005

Philadelphia Inquirer logo

"[Bush Administration officials] are very loath to reconsider actions in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. The message is, the President never approved of torture, but the question is, did you play with the definition so that almost nothing qualified as torture?"
— On U.S. interrogation practices concerning non-U.S. citizens, Jan. 26, 2005

New York Post logo

"Roberts can't be blocked. This is a mainstream, pro-business conservative, not a social jihad warrior. A filibuster just wouldn't resonate with the public."
— On John Roberts' Supreme Court confirmation hearings, July 21, 2005

Chicago Tribune logo

"The Bush administration is in significant difficulty, and the leading figures in both the House and the Senate are in significant difficulty. All of these difficulties are going to go on. ...People have real reservations about the Republicans, but they aren't clear what the Democrats stand for. There is a widely perceived general disarray in the Democratic Party. It's too early yet for a leader to emerge."
— On the GOP's White House woes, Oct. 30, 2005

Wall Street Journal logo

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And the winner is...

...President Bush? Well, yes, of course he won that election three months ago, but a common theme in the news coverage of the Iraqi election is that it is a victory for the American president. "Analysts: Bush Could Be Big Winner of Iraq Election" reads the headline of a Reuters dispatch:

President Bush, who has seen Iraq erupt in almost daily violence in recent months, could emerge as a big victor of Iraqi elections that could shore up his position both at home and abroad, analysts said on Monday.

"In the short term, this is very good for an administration just beginning its second term," said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

The Houston Chronicle

"[Texas] is still Bush country. Republicans in Texas have nowhere to go. They have to support the president and the Texas administration in Washington. These are their guys, their policies taken to the national level."
— On Texas senators' support of the Bush Administration, Oct. 25, 2005

"[Texans] sometimes value people who will get in the way of government and slow it down to question, to prod and sometimes steer for the ditch rather than down the center lane. [Paul] doesn't work the mechanism and play the game. He is the guy sticking the broom in the spokes. There are enough people in his district, the old and the new, who know who Ron Paul is in the context of American politics and think that's fine."
— On libertarian-leaning Texas Republican Ron Paul, May 21, 2005

"It's hard to take Tom DeLay at his word that he has a nonpolitical reason for doing things. All of us who watch Tom DeLay closely know that Tom DeLay is always looking to push the issues that have the sharpest angles for his Republican base."
— On the Congressional response to the Terri Schiavo case, March 22, 2005

“Having started this ball rolling, he needs to get something accomplished. If not, there will be more blood in the water that attracts [Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton] Strayhorn and a possible re-election challenge in 2006.”
— On Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s legislative record, May 17, 2004

The Boston Herald

“The choice of Boston is a choice to meet in the heartland of the Democratic Party.”
— On the future of the Democratic Party, Nov. 9, 2003

USA Today

“Nader is not a person people look to govern but one to articulate the issues.”
— On the Nader 2000 campaign, Oct. 24, 2000

CNN

“This is a tortoise-and-hare race, with Ron Kirk being the hare, spurting out, sometimes catching, becoming even, which in Texas, was really astounding, much better than he was thought to do.”
— On the Texas Governor’s race and the Democratic challenger, Oct. 24, 2002