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A matter of perspective

The Trib’s Thursday morning brief begins as follows:

Competing rallies on Wednesday provided a stark backdrop to the House vs. Senate tug-of-war playing out in the Capitol.

While one group of protesters called on the Legislature to roll back its proposed sweeping budget cuts, others demanded that lawmakers cut even further. The warring protests, which together attracted thousands, mirrored the debate playing out between the House, which on Sunday approved an austere budget bill that cuts billions of dollars from nearly all areas of state government, and the Senate, which has refused to cut as deeply as the House.

If you click on that second link, you see the following:

The first gathering on the north steps of the Pink Dome featured speakers representing conservative causes. They praised the lean version of HB 1, the general appropriations budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, that is on its way to the Senate.

“It’s not a perfect bill, but it’s a bill that stays within our revenue,” said Talmadge Heflin of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Fiscal Policy, the main organizer of the rally. “What (the Senate now) needs to do is focus on cuts rather than look for more revenue.”

He was joined by representatives from Americans for Prosperity-Texas, Americans for Tax Reform, Empower Texans, the Heartland Institute, the Liberty Institute, the National Federation for Independendent Business-Texas, and Tea Party leaders from Waco and San Antonio. Each speaker warned the Senate to not tap the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

The crowd included about 50 supporters who held up signs with slogans like “Teach fiscal responsibility; support the budget cuts!”

“They don’t need more revenue. They need to get government back in a Constitution-sized box,” JoAnn Fleming, chair of the Tyler-based Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee, told the crowd to loud applause. “You cut off the fluff and get down to business.”

The “Texans for a Conservative Budget” rally had barely finished when thousands of public employees descended past them toward the south steps, chanting “No cuts!”

Organized by Texas Forward, the “Save our State” rally attracted citizens from around the state representing the Texas State Employees Union, Communication Workers of America, Texas Organizing Project and religious groups. Their concerns ranged from overtaxing the poor to the current version of the state budget, which proposes closing nursing homes and cutting education spending by $8 billion.

So fifty people attended the conservative “rally”, while thousands – Postcards cited rally organizers claiming 6,000 to 7,000 attendees – came to the rally against deep budget cuts. One was primarily populated by lobbyists, the other by real people. And they’re both lumped together under that unassuming “together attracted thousands” label. This is like saying that Hank Aaron and I together combined to hit over 750 home runs – absolutely true, and completely misinformative. Surely there was a better way to summarize this, even if it required a few more words. You can see photos from the real rally, the one that had actual people attending it, here, and some video of Sen. Kirk Watson addressing the crowd here. EoW has more.

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