…leaving no-one in particular to challenge the Republicans.
Instapundit has reminded me of this story about retired General Ricardo Sanchez’s dropping out of the Democratic TX-SEN primary. The very short version: Sanchez was the handpicked recruit of the DSCC, much to the cynical amusement of hardcore partisan Republicans who looked forward to savaging rabidly anti-war DSCC chair Patty Murray for recruiting and running the guy who ran the infamous Abu Ghraib prison. And then Sanchez’s campaign… pretty much went nowhere, to the point where the man has decided to drop out from the race three days before the filing deadline. As to his possible replacements… well, as Lawrence Person’s BattleSwarm Blog put it: “So, Texas Democrats: Right now the only two candidates on your side who have filed are Sean Hubbard and Daniel Boone. Or a guy that doesn’t look old enough to drink, and a guy who’s been dead for 191 years.”
In other words, it’s not quite at Alvin Greene territory; more like Tara Hollis territory. Tara Hollis, for those who don’t remember, is a schoolteacher who ended up being the Democratic sacrificial lamb in Louisiana’s last gubernatorial election; her party leadership adamantly refused to send someone up against Bobby Jindal to be slaughtered, so they let that poor woman do it for them. As you might guess, I respect Hollis for that; and I’m pretty disgusted with her state party leadership for their cowardice. And now the Democratic Party of Texas, too.
Of course, there’s also a larger problem there in Texas besides the fact that the ostensible opposition party is spineless; it’s that the opposition party is impotent as well. We need a healthy Democratic party down there, honestly: look at what happened in Massachusetts and California when the Democrats managed to take and keep control of what are effectively now one political-party states. Unfortunately, the only way to have a healthy Democratic party in Texas is these days to put them permanently at odds with its national parent. Don’t believe me? Well, consider these three statements, which I think are the bare minimum needed to run successfully statewide in Texas:
- Texas is awesome!
- Increased energy production is awesome!
- More government in your lives is not awesome!
…looking at those items in reverse order: the Democratic party has been the big-government party for a while. Texans could tolerate that, but the recent institutionalized nagging from the aging Boomers now running the party has not been as welcome. As for energy production, two words: Keystone pipeline. The Democrats had to be threatened before they acquiesced to a jobs-creation project. In this economy. And then there’s “Texas is awesome!” Try to imagine a national Democratic politician saying that – and not immediately following it with five minutes’ worth of caveats, exemptions, parsings, exclusions, and general rear-covering. Go ahead. Try.
All in all, it may be time for a true third party in Texas: and not one like that absurd Democratic-Farmer-Labor party nonsense that they have in Minnesota, either. True independents, that can prevent overconfidence by Republicans on the state level; and require moderation by Democrats on the federal one. I note this because it’ll never happen, of course: the Democratic party in Texas would wither on the vine in such an atmosphere. More accurately, the Democratic party’s leadership in Texas would wither…