Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 1, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

TEXIFICATION....Via Jonathan Singer, the Economist's Lexington notes a delicious irony. A few short years ago it was the Democratic Party that was supposedly in danger of shrinking into a merely regional party, but today it's the GOP that looks to be headed for that fate:

The extent of the southernisation of the Republican Party is astonishing....The problem for the Republicans is that a regional stronghold can become a prison. The South has one of the most distinctive cultures in the United Statesfar more jingoistic than the rest of the country and far more religious.

....But for every non-southerner who waxes lyrical about southern charm there are many more who associate the South with racial bigotry and cultural backwardness. The 2006 electionwhich saw social conservatives such as Rick Santorum and Kenneth Blackwell go down to humiliating defeatsuggests that non-southerners have grown particularly impatient with the South's brand of in-your-face religiosity.

Kevin Phillips calls this the "Texification" of the Republican Party, and I actually prefer that term. I explained why several years ago:

The heart and soul of Republican grass roots activism can be found pretty easily: it's in Texas. The New Model radical right took over the Texas Republican party a decade ago and elected George Bush governor. They have since taken over the entire state and propelled one of their own to the presidency and another to leadership of the House of Representatives. They bring a messianic fervor to their task, and after successfully taking over the second biggest state in the union their sights are now set on the entire country. This is not a fringe group. It is the biggest, most active, most energetic, and most determined segment of the Republican party today.

Click the link to read a summary of the Texas State Republican platform for 2000, the one they passed after six years with George Bush at the helm. Like so many revolutionaries before them, they're perfectly happy to proselytize their plan to the world openly with no hemming or hawing. You don't have to guess what their goals are, you just have to read what they themselves say they are.

The South has always been with us, but it's the Texas strain of militant conservativism that's made the South so toxic in recent years. If the country is finally starting to tire of their messianic insistence that you're not a real American unless you worship at their churches, watch their sports, and raise your family the way they tell you, it's not a moment too soon.

Kevin Drum 2:24 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (157)

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Comments

Excellent post.

Will the last Yankee Republican Congressman turn out the lights after being defeated in 2008?

Whoa, hope New England doesn't become like Texas for the Democrats...

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 1, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

"But for every non-southerner who waxes lyrical about southern charm there are many more who associate the South with racial bigotry and cultural backwardness."

As a Chicago native with a wife from Alabama, I have to do both. I can see the good in the South; I wonder why they can't extend the same courtesy to us Yankees.

Oh, and Frist?

Posted by: brewmn on December 1, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

The South isn't all that bad, except for the heat, the football, and the religiosity.

Posted by: Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? on December 1, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Give till it hurts, to the Republic of Texas:

http://www.republic-of-texas.net/

The sooner they succeed (at seceding) - the better off the rest of us will be.

Posted by: impeach.remove.convict.punish.justice on December 1, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

The next House Intelligence Committee Chairperson will be from Texas. A former border patrol agent, too. I am curious who the American people give more respect to, border patrol agents or bug sprayers?

Posted by: Hostile on December 1, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Parts of the Mountain West are just as Republican as the South despite having many different cultural features.

Posted by: Peter on December 1, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

. . . and in case y'all forgot, the jackass who got us into VietNam (LBJ) was also from Texas.

Kennedy was shot in Texas.

Texas is the source of all that is evil in this country.

Except for ID Software.

Posted by: impeach.remove.convict.punish.justice on December 1, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK
"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
-- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1952
Posted by: impeach.remove.convict.punish.justice on December 1, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't we let Texas go? Who needs all the "big hat, no cattle" types participating in civilized discourse.

Seriously, most of the country, even Texas, is purple. What happened in the midterms is that those very purple people decided they had enough with the Texas Republican brand of arrogant self-aggrandizement. Democrats will do well if they continually remind themselves that they are servants of the people.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 1, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

It's worse than you think -- believe it or not, in the early 90's, Bush was actually on the (relatively) moderate side of the R party in Texas, and occasionally at odds with this side. Not to give him credit -- (he was happy to sweep them under the carpet with a wink and nod just long enough to get elected Pres). But just to add some perspective to how nuts they really are.

Posted by: anon on December 1, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

It would be very effective for every non-Southern Dem running against an incumbent Repug, in a New Hampshire Senate race for example, to match the Repugs voting record with someone like Trent Lott then run on the slogan, "John E. Sununu, the best Senator Mississippi ever had." Do it with a Foghorn Leghorn voiceover for good measure. Most of the rest of America grinds its teeth on hearing a syrupy southern drawl, and within 2 cycles there wouldn't be a Repug Senator outside of Dixie.

Posted by: BillFromPA on December 1, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

I lived in Texas for a while, and I realized there are two kinds of people: those who love Texas, and those who hate it. Coloradans, particularly, hate Texas.

Posted by: KathyF on December 1, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Alabama" is one of the English language's beautiful words. I noticed this listening to Sinatra singing "Stars Fell On Alabama."

Posted by: Ace Franze on December 1, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

It's just kind of funny to see the ultimate outcome of Nixon's "Southern Strategy": a party popular only in the South.

I'm not sure it's what he had in mind.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 1, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

"Alabama" is one of the English language's beautiful words
Um, I think it's one a them Injun words.
Just sayin'

Posted by: crazy horse on December 1, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

it's the Texas strain of militant conservativism that's made the South so toxic in recent years.

And which made Bush's pointing to his record as a "uniter" as governor -- uniting conservatives (Democrats) and ultra-conservatives (Republicans) in Texas' Lege -- immediately suspect.

Not that our so-called "liberal media" saw fit to question his claims...

Posted by: Gregory on December 1, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

As my uncle likes to say, Texas would be fine if it weren't for all the Texans. As a transplanted Californian in Texas for the last 12 years for work and love, it's not as bad as you think. It's not as good as you think, either.

This is a 60-40 Rep/Dem state right now. All you have to do is convince 1 out of 6 that the Dems have a better way, then next thing you know... To be fair, 3 out of those 6 are too hard-core to crack, so call it 1 out of 3. Longer odds, but not impossible. That's why I support Howard Dean's 50-state strategy. There's plenty of blue in this state and money and organization can get it to the polls. But it's going to take a while. Things are alright economically in the state now (no real housing bubble to speak of), so there is no press for change. Keep making the case, keep the facts front and center, and I can get that 1 out of 3.

Posted by: Todd on December 1, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

one a them Injun words.

http://www.alabamainteractive.org/alabamainteractive_shell/Welcome.do?url=http://www.archives.state.al.us/aaa.html

" ... The Rev. Allen Wright, a Choctaw scholar, translated the name as 'thicket clearers' ..."

Posted by: mister pedantic on December 1, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

....But for every non-southerner who waxes lyrical about southern charm there are many more who associate the South with racial bigotry and cultural backwardness. The 2006 electionwhich saw social conservatives such as Rick Santorum and Kenneth Blackwell go down to humiliating defeatsuggests that non-southerners have grown particularly impatient with the South's brand of in-your-face religiosity.

Hey, he's talking about me!

And I would add, I'm sick of people waxing nostalgic about treason, which is what the Confederacy was and is.

Posted by: craigie on December 1, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Based on the approval ratings of Bush and Cornyn in Texas, I'm not sure Texans are all that enthusiastic about the implementation of the ideology called "conservatism".

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on December 1, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you are so right about this. It cuts away the ideological divide and points to the most crucial factor in the politics of the next decade: fatique.

People are really tired of being hectored, lectured, frightened, and bullied with nothing to show for it. Perhaps the Dems' wimpiness will even work in their favour as Mr and Mrs Sixpack remember that some pols avoid conflict and prize reasonableness over winningthe way most people see themselves, I believe, when they drop their temporary Top Gun fantasies.

Also, they like to take drugs and have sex. And I'm not just saying that as an afterthought.

Posted by: Kenji on December 1, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

From the article: "One should be wary of reading too much into the result of a single electionparticularly one conducted during the sixth year of a presidency and during a disastrous war."

Bingo. I welcome the article and the hand-wringing of the Republican Party members, but at the end of the day, I just cannot give this the significance that some others have. Now if 2008 exhibits this same trend, then, yeah, there really will be something to it.

Posted by: PaulB on December 1, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Any of the Monthly trolls want to put their money where their mouths are?

Intrade baby. Let's start some markets up!

Posted by: patience on December 1, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to point out that we also create folks like Amanda at Pandagon.net, Molly Ivins, Bill Moyers, and Ann Richards. There is a strong undercurrent of blue here, but it's the frothing mouthbreathers who get all the TV time.

Posted by: emjaybee on December 1, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Am also a transplanted Californian living in Texas, (8 years) and at times feel like I'm a missionary to a 3rd world country...the ignorance and misinformation passed around is astounding...I am relieved to find that the rest of the world has not lost its' mind.

Posted by: Survivor on December 1, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, emjaybee, because they keep letting us know we'll be sorry if we don't give them all the marbles. Maybe they should be sorry for a change.

Posted by: Kenji on December 1, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Radical conservatism originates in Texas because it was born from reactionary terrorism. Folklore informs us American patriots liberated Texas from Mexico, but they were neo-con predecssors who wanted to create the perfect state for white supremacy by stealing another nation's territory.

Posted by: Hostile on December 1, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

As a non-American, my jaw dropped when I saw they were for a return to the Gold Standard. No one is for a return to the gold standard. Talk about a recipe for civil war -- wages would have to be rolled back every time gold flowed out! It would be pouring out under today's conditions, so wages would be heading to Chinese territory.

Then the other planks.

They don't have a clue about reality, do they?

Posted by: Bob M on December 1, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

That's the reason that Texas is shaped like a toilet. It is the cesspool from where all the present Republican tactics are formulated.

Posted by: phil on December 1, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Simon Legree didn't come from Texas by accident.

Posted by: Hostile on December 1, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

The political divide in the United States isn't regional in the way the essay describes. It is urban vs suburban/rural. Take a look at the political map from the 2004 election if you don't believe me. The cultural differences between rural New York and rural Texas are not as great as one might think. The Democrats do better in the Midwest and Northeast because those areas are more urban, and the suburban parts in those regions are older and more connected to the central cities than they are in the South, Southwest, and Mountain West.

The Republicans screwed it up in 2006 because of their corruption while in power and Bush's mistake of invading Iraq. Problem 1 will no longer bother them since they lost power, but Iraq will continue to haunt them.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on December 1, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

emjaybee's right, of course. And don't leave out Jim Hightower. And a Republic of Texas on our southern border, especially one from whom the Ivins and Hightowers have been ejected, might be scarier than Mexico.

But when I hear from my Southern colleagues about the "war of northern aggression" I want to hurt someone. Awful damn sorry those damn Yanks came and took away your God-given right to buy and sell Negroes!

Posted by: thersites on December 1, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Problem 1 will no longer bother them since they lost power

Yancey's faith that losing power will cause the Republican Party to cease being corrupt is...touching.

Posted by: Gregory on December 1, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory,

It is almost as touching as your belief that Democrats will be uncorrupted by power.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on December 1, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Quite true. The political parties have now completed their historical switch. The GOP is now the party of Andrew Jackson and the Democratic Party is the party of Lincoln.

Michael Lind proposed this in his Made in Texas and pointed out the many problems of the United States becoming a Dixie Nation with its capital in Houston. You get an irresponsible aristocratic government of low taxes, low infrastructure investment, militarism, xenophobia, religious orthodoxy and an unhealthy focus on antique extraction economies like oil, coal and farming. It is a culture that actively embraces anti-intellectualism. The current crop of Southern politicians have adopted libertarian jargon without getting into the finer points of Hayek et al. The natural epicenter of Dixie Republicanism is Texas if for no other reason than it is the largest and wealthiest southern state. For Lind there is the Texas of the patrican landowners and the Texas of Lyndon Johnson progressive populism.

Posted by: bellumregio on December 1, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Problem 1 will no longer bother them since they lost power

Yeah, right.

Corruption is embodied in their authoritarian platform. It is what their ideology is based on:
"Do what daddy tells you, and don't question daddy."

The reason why Republicans like WAR, is because when we're at WAR, we tend not to question those who are supposed to be fighting for us and protecting us. They ABUSE that tendency.

The reason why Republicans want deregulation, is because they want to be able to get away with their bribery, their incompetence, their nepotism, and their passing money under the table.

The reason why Republicans want a flat tax, is so they can reap the benefits of public investment in infrastructure, without having to pay their fair share back into the system.

The reason why Republicans want to build a wall to look like they're stopping illegal immigration, is because they know that a wall WON'T stop it, and as long as they can continue to hire illegals, they profit.

The reason why Republicans want a theocracy, is because they are immoral enough to scam religious people into thinking they're the "Party of God" - when, in fact, they are Satan's helpers.

The reason why Republicans want people to think they're "Strong On Defense" is so they can take advantage of official secrecy in national security matters, to cover up the fact that their really just war profiteers and purveyors of pork.

The Republican Platform is nothing more than a con job, as cover for their criminal enterprise.

Republican Culture of Corruption.

Just because they're out of power, doesn't mean they won't be corrupt.

Posted by: impeach.remove.convict.punish.justice on December 1, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Oh right, blame it all on us. I suppose you're gonna try to tell me that Vince Young sucks and Romo is a fluke too.

I absolutely agree with Todd - I think my state could be in play if the party was buttressed a little bit by the national organizations - maybe not in statewide elections just yet, but congressional elections definitely.

Although the traditional line is that hispanics are socially conservative and are always 'on the verge' of going broadly Republican because of it, I don't see that happening now with the GOP's recent illegal immigrant bogeyman-ism.

There are a couple of other factors that make me optimistic: Texas republicans are in a bit of an organizational disarray because of Gov. Perry - he won re-election easily, yes, but he had a Republican challenger (who called herself an independent so she could stay on the general ballot), and was very nearly challenged by Senator Hutchison. The state is a comparative disaster in education, poverty, etc. People are just now realizing that that re-districting fight of a few years back SEEMED advantageous since the GOP held power. But now that they're out of power, all those senior dems that got purged in 02 aren't there to assume leadership roles in the House.

A couple other notes: Texas is young - I believe in the top 5 in terms of %population under 18, which is a HUGE plus for state Democrats. And second, there are some liberal bastions in the state: Austin and the Rio Grande Valley from which to start our conquest.

Don't give up on the Lone Star State y'all!

Posted by: ssdagger on December 1, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

As the late and great Davy Crockett said:

"You can go to hell. I'm going to Texas."

Posted by: Jim Watts on December 1, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

craigie,

And I would add, I'm sick of people waxing nostalgic about treason, which is what the Confederacy was and is.

Absolutely correct.

Posted by: Edo on December 1, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Davy Crockett was a terrorist.

Posted by: on December 1, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

It is almost as touching as your belief that Democrats will be uncorrupted by power.

Ah, another ruggedly individualist straw man from Yancey Ward. I forget, Yancey -- where did I express this beleif you cite? I'll wait.

I just love it when loony libertarians like Yancey show the intellectual dishonesty endemic to them right off the bat. In a ruggedly individualistic fashion, of course.

Posted by: Gregory on December 1, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

I spent my grad school years in NC, in Chapel Hill. After that, I never want to go back to the south. All that disgusting religious crap just sticks in my craw. Religion should be a private matter, and I do not like it crammed down my throat.

Right now, I am contemplating applying for a job in Nashville, and am really reluctant to do so. Do I really want to work in the South again?

Posted by: POed Lib on December 1, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

The "War of Northern Aggression" is the "War of Southern Degenerate Traitors" in my opinion.

The main problem with the end of the war is that we didn't shoot the lot of them.

Posted by: POed Lib on December 1, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

The "Texification" of the GOP and the attempt to"Texify" the nation are thoroughly and entertainingly described by Michael Lind in his book "Made in Texas," which is mandatory reading to understand what happened in our country under Bush.

Posted by: delphos on December 1, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

emjaybee: I would like to point out that we also create folks like Amanda at Pandagon.net, Molly Ivins, Bill Moyers, and Ann Richards.

I've long enjoyed Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower. IIRC, historically Texas has a strong populist tradition. What happened to it?

I don't know about Amanda, but Richards is deceased and the other three aren't exactly kids. Hopefully they aren't the last of a dying breed.

Posted by: alex on December 1, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to point out that we also create folks like Amanda at Pandagon.net, Molly Ivins, Bill Moyers, and Ann Richards. There is a strong undercurrent of blue here, but it's the frothing mouthbreathers who get all the TV time.

My take is that Texas Democrats (meaning those among the political classes) are basically more civilized Republicans, but full-throated Texas liberals are an amazing-if-rare breed, and a great gift to the rest of us.

POed Lib, Nashville's okay if you don't expect anything more than technocratic governing competence from local Dems. It's certainly possible to avoid the nutjobs-- I've done it for a decade now-- but it helps if one is in a fairly creative field or nonprofit. If you do come here & also have kids, you'll have to make some hard choices about schools & home location, though, because the collar counties are all very red and extremely annoying.

Posted by: latts on December 1, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

If not for freeing the slaves we could have just let the traitors go and had a buffer between us and Mexico. And Texas? I agree with the sentiment above...The sooner they succeed at seceding, the better off we'll all be.

I'll drive around that god-damned state to get to Mexico.

Posted by: Professor Chaos Switched the Soup on December 1, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

I give Texas Republicans points for being open and honest about their goals but that is about it.

I am so SICK of lies and misleading rhetoric.

Posted by: Tripp on December 1, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Professor Chaos Switched the Soup: If not for freeing the slaves we could have just let the traitors go and had a buffer between us and Mexico.

See Harry Turtledove's Timeline 191 books.

Posted by: alex on December 1, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, my 4:20 is a reasonable post about Texas politics, but as a Yankee I can't resist my favorite line about Texas.

"If I owned both Texas and Hell, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas."

-- William Tecumseh Sherman

Posted by: alex on December 1, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Did he write the book where the southerners are given M-16's by South African time travelers? I can't remember the name of it, or how I came across it. I think it just got left in my car or something and no one ever claimed it.

Posted by: Professor Chaos Switched the Soup on December 1, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

The cultural differences between rural New York and rural Texas are not as great as one might think.

as someone who lived in rural SW Va (mitigated only by a university), and who now resides in rural northern NY, i can attest to the veracity of this statement. people like to make fun of the south as a bastion of racism and ignorance, but come close to the Canadian border and see what you get.

Posted by: e1 on December 1, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

e1: I'll vouch for that. My Nana lives a mile from the Peace Bridge.

Posted by: Professor Chaos Switched the Soup on December 1, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Professor Chaos Switched the Soup: Did he write the book where the southerners are given M-16's by South African time travelers?

AK-47's. "Guns of the South". Never read that one, but it sounds kind of wacky.

Just finished "How Few Remain" though, which is the start of Timeline 191 (see my link above). It's alternate history, rather than sci-fi. I liked it. Lincoln becomes a socialist. Teddy Roosevelt fights the Canucks. It's fun.

Posted by: alex on December 1, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Having lived in Texas for 17 years, I can say authoritatively that there are pockets of enlightened humanity in the state, but that they are rare and surrounded by a pulsing ring of malignant conservatives.

Posted by: Baldrick on December 1, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Yancey Ward writes in response to Gregory:
It is almost as touching as your belief that Democrats will be uncorrupted by power.

And Gregory responds:

Ah, another ruggedly individualist straw man from Yancey Ward. I forget, Yancey -- where did I express this beleif you cite? I'll wait.

I'm a bit confused here, Gregory. By deduction, are you therefore saying that you DO believe that Democrats will be corrupted by power?

Posted by: pencarrow on December 1, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans are crying in their Iraqi-blood lattes.

Pelosi for President 2007!

Posted by: Balzac on December 1, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Texans make really great music. Bob Wills, Robert Earl Keen, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Nancy Griffith. The list goes on and on. Really good barbecue too.

But politically, the state sucks shit, mainly because the typical Texan is an asshole.

Posted by: brewmn on December 1, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Damn, Alex beat me to General Sherman's line.

I'm another Californian transplanted to Texas, but I've got 26 years in. There are many good things about Texas, but the conservatism is oppressive. If you aren't a winger, it's best just to keep your mouth shut.

After you get to know some people real well, you'll find some are pretty open minded, but the right-wing rhetoric is absolutely everywhere.

Posted by: Pug on December 1, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Guns of the South. Yep, that's it. That was good escapist fun for a few hours. Maybe I'll check out some of the others now that I know who wrote it and that it's a series-type thing.

Posted by: Professor Chaos Switched the Soup on December 1, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

You didn't ask me - but I'll bite:

Yes, OF COURSE individual Democrats will be corrupted by power. Power corrupts! Absolutely.

And we may even see the emergence of a widespread, structural corruption on the scale of the Abramoff scandal.

But here's the difference:
The Democratic Party Platform is NOT based on greed and con-artist enabling. (as the Republican ideology is).

Concepts such as Civil Rights, Equal Protection, Equal Opportunity, Progressive Taxation, - - all are rooted in an ideology that is based on fairness, and a faith in rule-of-law.

It's true that some Democratic policies have led to abuses and corruption, (welfare programs, etc) it's more often that those policies were rooted out of a desire to counter, or remedy existing systemic corruption. If there's an abuse, or a problem with the system, you fix it. (mend it, don't end it).

It's also true that ANY system can be "gamed" (it's a mathematical certainty, by Godel's theorem) - but at least these human-derived systems give humans a fighting chance. When you eliminate the system of human laws, there's always one system that remains: the law of the jungle. Only Republican Animals have an advantage in that system. And that's not why we came down from the trees in the first place.

Posted by: impeach.remove.convict.punish.justice on December 1, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Texans make really great music. Bob Wills, Robert Earl Keen, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Nancy Griffith.
Posted by: brewmn on December 1, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Sure - Stevie Ray Vaughn, ZZ Top. . .

Really good barbecue too.

No matter where you go in the US, there's people who claim to have the best barbecue. Don't know why that is. Don't know where the best barbecue is either. Don't really care. It's not rocket science. Chilis and molasses. Whoop-tee-doo.

Posted by: impeach.remove.convict.punish.justice on December 1, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

POed Lib, Nashville's okay if you don't expect anything more than technocratic governing competence from local Dems. It's certainly possible to avoid the nutjobs-- I've done it for a decade now-- but it helps if one is in a fairly creative field or nonprofit. If you do come here & also have kids, you'll have to make some hard choices about schools & home location, though, because the collar counties are all very red and extremely annoying.

It would be at Vandy.

Posted by: POed Lib on December 1, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

A joke for you:

A busload of politicians were driving down a west-Texas country road, when suddenly the bus ran off the road and crashed into an old farmer's barn.

The old farmer got off his tractor and went to investigate. Soon he dug a hole and buried the politicians. A few days later, the local sheriff came out, saw the crashed bus and asked the old farmer where all the politicians had gone.

The old farmer told him he had buried them.

The sheriff asked the old farmer, "Lordy, were they ALL dead?"

The old farmer said, "Well, some of them said they weren't, but you know how them crooked Texas politicians lie."

Posted by: Professor Chaos Switched the Soup on December 1, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

It would be at Vandy.

Probably depends on the job, then-- the staff are generally a lot more liberal than the students, of course. My sister's an adjunct there, so I'll pick her brain if you want.

Housing in the area isn't cheap, although your perspective depends on where you'd be moving from. East Nashville's still pretty affordable (and liberal), but the traffic across the bridges can be a pain.

Posted by: latts on December 1, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

I have never felt that the people of Texas had the same sense of reverence for the Constitution as others in the rest of the country, especially those on the East Coast. Texas' current Right Wingism is actually a sort of living history. Texas was a late member of the Republic and much of the the ethos for a long time was the identity of a separate nation. In fact, in a few incarnations that was a kind of reality. The whole myth of Texas in the "Lone" Star state is the isolated loose cannon cowboy kind of guy. It was Burr's "vision" to run off to Texas with his gang of zealots and forge his own empire. Then there was the "unfortunate" occurance of November '63, LBJ's thuggery, and, of course, W's famous quote that the Constitution was, "just a piece of paper." Add a little DeLay and Dick Armey's assault on Bill Clinton and you have a tasty treachery stew. I, for one, as an American, have always been offended by the phrase, "Don't Mess With Texas." Is that a threat to the rest of the country ?

Posted by: Lescoeurs on December 1, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Having lived in Texas in 14 years now, transplanted from the Northeast (having lived in Penna, Md, Va, NC, and Mass), I can speak with a mild authority.

The perception of Texas as some rabid base of Conservative radicalism is so far off as to be ludicrous.

Yes, the TxGOP is pretty whacked out, however, the reason it gets so much support here, is because the Democrats are, for all intents and purposes non-existent.

The type of tripe I have read in the comments here, is really no different from what I have read elsewhere, so it is not directed just here. Texans are not so pigheaded and ignorant as everyone seems to think. The problems is, that he ignorant and pigheaded are the loud obnoxious ones.

If even half the energy expended to denigrate and make fun of Texas was directed towards helping Democrats take back the state, it would be a much better place. Instead we get the "let 'em go" mentality that only ends up alienating Texans, and driving them away. This is not directed just online, I'm talking in general. There are a lot more people here who do not vote, and don't care, because between the anti-Texas mentality of most people, and the lack of support the Texas Democratic Party has gotten of late, most people who would otherwise join the cause, don't.

The same could be said for most Southern states, but it is particularly bad in Texas.

Posted by: David (Austin Tx) on December 1, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?: The South isn't all that bad, except for the heat, the football, and the religiosity.

And the bugs, which are related to the heat, and (anyplace more than 10 miles from a university, and sometimes closer than that) the willful ignorance, which is related to the religiosity, which is related to the football.

Lescoeurs: I, for one, as an American, have always been offended by the phrase, "Don't Mess With Texas." Is that a threat to the rest of the country ?

No, it's a slogan for their state anti-litter campaign that got picked up by everybody because they liked the bad-boy sound of it.

Posted by: anandine on December 1, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a bit confused here, Gregory.

I don't think "confused is the word I'd use.

By deduction, are you therefore saying that you DO believe that Democrats will be corrupted by power?

No, I'm saying I haven't said anything about it one way or another, and pointing out that it's intellectually dishonest of Yancey (quelle suprise!) to put words in my mouth.

(Not to mention a tacit admission -- in a ruggedly individualist sort of way of course -- that he doesn't have an honest rejoinder to my critique.)

And lo and behold, you do the exact same thing. What is it about your crowd that commits an obvious act of intellectual dishoensty and pats themselves on the back for their supposed - and wholly illusory -- rhetorical cleverness in doing so?

Posted by: Gregory on December 1, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Texans make really great music. Bob Wills, Robert Earl Keen, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Nancy Griffith.
Posted by: brewmn on December 1, 2006 at 5:04 PM

Sure - Stevie Ray Vaughn, ZZ Top. . .


Lyle Lovett. Don't forget him

Posted by: Wendy on December 1, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK


Yes, the TxGOP is pretty whacked out, however, the reason it gets so much support here, is because the Democrats are, for all intents and purposes non-existent.

So, um, why shouldn't we think of Texas as a "rabid base of Conservative radicalism," if you don't have an alternative to the whackos?

New Hampshire, Indiana, Colorado, Montana and Arizona were also regular dwellers on the Democrats' write-off lists, but, without any special encouragement from the national Democrats -- under the 50 state strategy, Indiana got a grand total of one permanent organizer -- the moderate-to-liberal portions of those states were able to generate candidates, energy, message and exposure for alternative candidates, and gave the Republicans a thorough hiding.

If, for example, Hoosiers, who routinely make it to the final four of the "Quiet and Unassuming People Tournament," can do this, why can't those big, bold, outspoken Texans?

(Now, I'm not disagreeing with your contention that, vote-wise, Texas is part of the vast majority of Purple America. But I'm mystified why the rhetoric never seems to reflect this -- the audience for Pandagon and Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower seems to be northerners with an interest in Texas, not Texans themselves.)

Posted by: cminus on December 1, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but those of you who are hating Texas are mainly full of shit, or at the very least too willing to buy into a collection of fables that only slightly reflect the real world here.

I am the son of a rust belt union organizer and before I was graduated from the Ohio State University in 1982, I was president of the gay student organization there and I worked as an organizer for the Democratic Party.

In 82, I moved to Houston and never looked back. Its been a blast!!

Yes there are conservative assholes in Texas just as there are in Penn, Mich, Utah, etc.

The current Texas Constitution was written during, and was a product of Reconstruction. It under went extensive revision in the 1880s. As such, it is a document that has tilted much of the governments powers away from urban areas and given them to the rural areas. Platform of the Texas Republican Party reflects this reality. It was written by and for ranchers and farmers and some suburban bible thumpers.

Finally, I am an AIDS patient. The support and love I have gotten here from employers, co-workers, neighbors and even strangers have at times moved me to tears.

There are a lot of great people here. They are my neighbors, they are my friends. Stop attacking them.

Posted by: Keith G on December 1, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Did he write the book where the southerners are given M-16's by South African time travelers?"

Harry Turtledove a/k/a H. N. Turtletaub--I particularly recommend his books under the latter name, although a lot of the stuff under the name Turtledove is hackwork. Anyone who dedicates a book to Patrick Neilsen Hayden can't be all bad, however . . .

Posted by: rea on December 1, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Gotta agree with Keith G. It's not the people, it's the policies, like the, oh lordy, wish to return to the gold standard. That's a keeper.

Posted by: Bob M on December 1, 2006 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

Dammit...more obligatory anti-Texas comments from commentors.

Let's not forget there are actual Democrats down here. Dallas turned blue over night this past election, and Texas Democrats are slowly but surely making a comeback against Republican dominance (though with no help from the national party, thank you very much.) Radical Republicans have dominated Texas politics (and through Texas, national politics) for years now, but times, they are a'changing.

Posted by: Xanthippas on December 1, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Phew! Thank god for Keith G! I can't believe Kevin actually wrote that stuff. You have to remember, Kevin, that there are people who think Scott Peterson and Valley girls represent California, that elderly men sitting on porches sighing "ayuh, ayuh" represent Maine. Ye Gods! To a native New Englander who's lived in both California and Texas, you sound like a real yahoo who's never been anywhere, clings to caricatures!

I'm with Keith. And would add that Texas kindness and sense of humor would be hard to move away from...

Posted by: PW on December 1, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Just had a look at the 2006 platform. The crazy stuff about Panama is out, but as a lovely bonus there is a commitment to the 'there is only on China and that is Taiwan' school of thought that Nixon abondoned 33 years ago. Amazing - that would do wonderful things for the State Department!

Posted by: JohnTh on December 1, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is right on about the Politics (with a capital P, i.e. the crazy radicalism of the Republican party of Texas), however, the people here hating on Texas, probably without ever having been there, are way off. You will find no place so liberal/libertarian, and I mean no place in the entire union, as Austin; Houston is a great city (I'll admit the weather is oppressive for four-six months of the year, and the mosquitoes are a bit much) and practices regular, technocratic, democratic, generally non-partisan (but leaning Democratic) governance, minus the zoning.

Most people in Texas, at least the parts I've lived in, frequented, or visited, are live-and-let-live, like to drink beer and watch football, listen to live music, and generally just want to be left alone. There is a very libertarian streak that unfortunately is not being plumbed politically. The major problem, as someone else on this thread has alluded to, is that the state Democratic party has been dead for so long. Also, the outer exurbs of Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston are VERY religious/evangelical and vote in very big numbers. Throw in the bad news that is far east Texas (which is much more akin to the old deep South, and is the most virulently racist place I've ever been), and it is much harder to compete state-wide.

But, I'd argue that Texas, due to the large black and Hispanic populations and large urban centers, is much more viable politically for Dems than Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, or maybe another half-dozen states.

It is the political elite in Texas that is reactionary bad news -- but their wave is cresting (the re-redistricting monstrosity was the nadir). Texas will break back well before many other places.

Posted by: Ron on December 1, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Well, a lot of folks consider the entire Muslim world to be filled with whack-job radical suicide bombers.

Islamic leadership needs to eschew, disown, and disavow the whack-jobs. And given Western Corporate Media coverage of such efforts so far, those efforts need to be redoubled, and re-redoubled.

Texas now faces the same problem.

Eschew the wackjobs, and you'll lose your reputation as a haven for wackjobs.

(of course, thanks to Bush, and especially the 2004 elections, pretty much all of America has that reputation now).

Posted by: impeach.remove.convict.punish.justice on December 1, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

There are some great things in and about Texas. Molly Ivins is one. The music scene in Austin is another. I wish every town and city in America had a thriving local music scene like Austin.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 1, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, more prominent Texas Democrats, in the mode of the great Jim Wright, would be such an improvement over those corrupt Texas Republicans who have held power for the past twelve years.

Texas has to led the nation in politicians who enter public service poor and leave it rich, and it has been that way for decades.

Posted by: Will Allen on December 1, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

When there is substantive cultural change occurring, people who are either ignorant or who are unwilling to change, cling to old and comfortable cultural norms. So it is with the Southern wing of the Republican Party. There are massive, global cultural changes underway and they are on the losing end of them. They are terrified and are fighting to avoid learning new ways. When WASPs are a minority in the USA by 2050 or so, their world comes crashing down.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on December 1, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

As a Californian who move to New Orleans in 2003 and then evacuated to Mississippi after the flood, I have very little good to say about the South. It does lead Mass. in divorces, sexually transmitted diseases, murder, violent crime, illiteracy, infant mortality and a number of other social pathologies.

Posted by: David Triche on December 1, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

My impression of Texas isn't positive, but it was formed in Wichita falls, and even Texans hate Wichita Falls (Where the hell are the falls anyway?)

I actually had a neighbor who shot tarantulas with a .22. I ran them over with the car, myself.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 1, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

I actually had a neighbor who shot tarantulas with a .22. I ran them over with the car, myself.
Posted by: Global Citizen on December 1, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

I run over them on my bike.

Anyway - Scott Peterson? WTF? First of all, he was a tightass conservative wife-murdering creep. How does HE represent California? He murdered two people. George W Bush; hundreds of thousands.

Posted by: impeach.remove.convict.punish.justice on December 1, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Many liberals think Americans that aren't like them are stupid, and many conservatives think Americans that aren't like them are amoral. Extremists on both sides have inflated egos and wish to force others to live their lives as they do. What we need is more respect for federalism. We need to quit bullshitting around and leave such issues as gays and guns up to the States.

Posted by: brian on December 1, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen: I actually had a neighbor who shot tarantulas with a .22.

Not a bad idea. A larger caliber would leave more splatter.

Posted by: alex on December 1, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

I recall a time before Alaska became a state that Texas and Texans always bragged about having the biggest of everything.

They were right.

We are stuck with their biggest fucking asshole in the White House.

Posted by: angryspittle on December 1, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Lescoeurs: Texas ... the ethos for a long time was the identity of a separate nation.

Vermont was also a separate nation (the Green Mountain Republic) but you don't hear Vermonters going on endlessly about it. And when they joined the United States, they took it seriously - no seceding.

Posted by: alex on December 1, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

A useful rule of thumb is that bad is stronger than good: it takes 5-8 good events to neutralize one bad one.

So, personally, I admit that I have known many fantastic Texans--funny, mellow, competent.

But against all these great people...George Bush & cronies. It will take several thousand fantastic Texans to equalize Bushco bad, in my book.

Posted by: PTate in MN on December 1, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Technically the original 13 colonies were 13 separate nations as well.

However, the circumstances under which Texas joined the union were largely unique from any other state. The problem here, seems to be that Texans, generally are proud of where they are from, rather than any other problem.

Obviously having this debate is kind of pointless, just as I have found everywhere I see it engaged in.

I just know, that if Texas Democrats are going to be basically ignored and shunned by the rest of the country, it is going to prolong any attempt to fix what's wrong here.

Posted by: David (Austin Tx) on December 1, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

David (Austin Tx): The perception of Texas as some rabid base of Conservative radicalism is so far off as to be ludicrous.

Austin is in Texas? Only technically.

Sorry, but those of you who are hating Texas are mainly full of shit, or at the very least too willing to buy into a collection of fables that only slightly reflect the real world here.

Xanthippas: Dammit...more obligatory anti-Texas comments from commentors.

Quite yer whining. If there were no Texas jokes, it would mean you were being ignored. Hey, before Clinton, how many people realized Arkansas was actually a state?

Being a New Yorker, I can say that a country without NY jibes would feel weird. The Thanksgiving after 9/11 I took a vacation in Nevada, Arizona and Utah. People selling FDNY t-shirts. Folks in diners asking how things were in NY. It was creepy.

Even TV and country music pulled their punches. Finally, after a year or two, the country got back to NY bashing. Like other NY'ers I spoke to, it was a relief to get back to normal.

Posted by: alex on December 1, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Many seek only to satisfy their private work -- wants; to satisfy their private interests. But this is the great danger America faces -- that we will cease to be one nation and become instead a collection of interest groups: city against suburb, region against region, individual against individual; each seeking to satisfy private wants. If that happens, who then will speak for America? Who then will speak for the common good?"
-The Late, Great Barbara Jordan (D-Texas)

Posted by: mj on December 1, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Although "If I owned both Texas and Hell, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." is indeed a great quote, it was not Sherman who coined it, but rather a different Union general, Philip Henry Sheridan.

Posted by: S Ra on December 1, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

David in Austin - I fight the good fight wherever I find myself. All the time my husband was activity duty USAF, I joined with the locals wherever I was because I had kids in school.

Now I'm in Missouri, my husband is retired, and I deal with a state lege daily that makes the Texas Lege look like Rhodes Scholars and Mensa members.

We all have our crosses to bear, if someone of my heritage can even say that...

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 1, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

We all have our crosses to bear, if someone of my heritage can even say that...

Mel Gibson told me you made a man named Jesus bear a cross and I think he wants to have a word with you, darlin'

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 1, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Yes. That was me. I personally and singlhandedly crucified Jesus.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 1, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Many, many years ago a local radio comedian ran for governor in AZ, and one of his issues was the state was not adequately prepared to defend against attack by Texas. The Texas invasion plan consisted of balooning over New Mexico and occupying Arizona. I know this because he was invited to the TV debate and was the third candidate between the Rep and Dem.

Posted by: Hostile on December 1, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

One of the curiosities of Texas, and of the rest of the South, is that much of the country music they love (and I love it too) makes fun of them. I have never figured out whether it's a sign of sophistication or they miss the sarcasm. But few things are more surreal than watching several hundred drunk red-blooded Texans merrily sing along with a country singer

And it's up against the wall redneck mother
Mother who has raised her son so well...

And he's not responsible for what he's doing
'Cause his mother made him what he is.

Posted by: JS on December 1, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

Some reasons not to kick Texas out of the union, whether they want to leave or not:

1.) Fresh shrimp and "ersters"

2.) The Vaughan Brothers

3.) Louann Barton

4.) Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets

5.) Molly Ivins

6.) Barbara Jordan

7.) Ann Richards

8.) ZZ Top

9.) Antoine's in Austin

10.) Ninfa's shredded beef tacos

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 1, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile - I was exiled to Davis-Monthan for a while too - would I have been exposed to this hilarious mother fucker? Please?

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 1, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

There for a minute I couldn't get away from the damned tarantulas.

My best "Mom" lesson ever was taking the kids out in the desert and giving them the desert safety lecture (my dad was in the Navy I had to learn about the desert the hard way - as an adult on a bicycle) anyway, I took the kids out in the desert and was explaining how they shouldn't pick up rocks and things, and I flipped over a stone with a stick and there were three scorpions. They got wide eyed and impressed and stayed out of the ER the entire time we were at DM the 2nd time. (The first time we were in Tucson, the oldest one learned to walk and climb and got stitches three different times, but no bites or stings.)

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 1, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

pencarrow writes: I'm a bit confused here, Gregory. By deduction, are you therefore saying that you DO believe that Democrats will be corrupted by power?

Of course they will be corrupted, you yahoo. The only question is the speed and the extent of the corruption.

And on this they would be VERY hard put to surpass America's current Let-Me-Line-My-Pockets-I'm-Okay-Fuck-You Republican Party. The current crop of Democrats seem more constrained by ethics (though some will be in at the trough more quickly than others and there will come a time when they too need to be kicked out; though I sure as heck hope your country has something better than the RDW Loony-Tune Moonbeam Texas Party to offer as an alternative when the time comes).

Posted by: snicker-snack on December 1, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

I was a brief guest of the authorities at a place called Fort Huachuca. There was this thing they did where they sent us there to learn about "military intelligence" and it all backfired. To keep people from going to Mexico, they made the drinking age on post 18 and promptly ended up having to put out so many prospective members of the military intelligence corps that this caused a brief shortage of linguists.

Long story short, do you know why there's a shortage of qualified Arabic linguists in the military? Well, after a year at DLI, six months at Goodfellow and two months of hell at Fort Huachuca, I knew at least a half dozen of them who were sent to such Arabic-intensive places like Hawaii, Korea and Fort Lewis.

Ah, the good old days...

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 1, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

though I sure as heck hope your country has something better than the RDW Loony-Tune Moonbeam Texas Party to offer as an alternative when the time comes

Did you know that rdw has been posting about Saint Ronny Reagan, Kyoto and old Europe for the last fourteen hours straight on the "Marching Orders from the House of Saud" thread?

Apparently, the US is better than Europe because our homes have more appliances than theirs do.

Yep.

I shit you not.

More Appliances.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 1, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

The question should be is : What will the US be like as a single party state? How will politics function with only one relevent political party. Will all of the Republicans and conservatives have to start voting in the Democratic Primary?

Posted by: superdestroyer on December 1, 2006 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

Ah good old Military Intelligence - between the tales you and my husband can (and do) tell without fear of reprisal, I always get a chuckle out of that oxymoron. Why the hell did a nukes specialist end up in the Balkans exactly? He was there for a year and never really had a purpose, but hey, it gave him the right to join the VFW so he could walk in and quit 'em in protest and in person when they endorsed Major Duckworths opponent, so it all worked out okay...

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 1, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

The other lesson for us is what would the liberal/left/progressive equivalent to Texasization look like it were ever to happen and how do we avoid that?
In other words, what is the general human lesson here?

Posted by: Kevin Rooney on December 1, 2006 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

More Appliances.

Yeah, I know. My dishwasher always makes me feel all warm and fuzzy...

Oops. Except I don't have one.

Nah, I missed this soliloquy.

Posted by: snicker-snack on December 1, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Texans make really great music. Bob Wills, Robert Earl Keen, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Nancy Griffith. The list goes on and on.

Let's not forget Buddy Holly, Willie Nelson and Joe "King" Carrasco.

But while Texas has been a cross to bear for the national Republican party, at times the Democrats have been held hostage by Massachusetts -- a byproduct of the Kennedys' influence -- resulting in the lackluster likes of Michael Dukakis and John Kerry, neither of whom would have been considered presidential timber had they hailed from any other state.

Posted by: Vincent on December 1, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

It took me hours to argue Wooten down on a global warming thread, and when he finally said we were pretty much in agreement, at least on more things than we weren't I quit. It's like lightning, it ain't going to strike twice, he'll never yield again, at least not to me, so I'll invest my efforts elsewhere. Besides, I doubt it did any good anyway.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 1, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

They told us that if you served in Korea, you could join the VFW.

I don't think I will. First of all, who wants to hang around with a bunch of old combat veterans? My Republican friends tell me that if you're a combat veteran who served your country honorably and came back with grievous wounds or the ability to articulate the horrors of war, you're LESS of a man than someone who got student deferments or went AWOL from their National Guard duty or worked on a dude ranch.

God, I'm in a baaaad mood tonight.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 1, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen: We all have our crosses to bear, if someone of my heritage can even say that...

Considering the most famous victim of that practice, who better to say that than someone of your heritage.

Posted by: alex on December 1, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Geesh: 114 comments and no one's mentioned Kinky Friedman yet?
OMG, what could they be thinking???

Posted by: Jay C on December 1, 2006 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Kinkster, is that you????

Posted by: Jay C on December 1, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Geesh: 114 comments and no one's mentioned Kinky Friedman yet?
OMG, what could they be thinking???

I lived in Texas for about three years--I know the governor of Texas is a figurehead.

Kinky's run was harmless, but it sure would have been nice for there to be a viable alternative to Rick Perry, you know, a Democrat, who could have actually won.

But no, can't have that. Just as we have to go and spend millions as a party just to piss off Joe Lieberman and hand him the entire deck of cards so he can run the table in the US Senate for the next two years (thanks again, Jane Hamsher--how are you and Ned doing these days?), we have to have the Kinky Friedman episode.

Well, it'll sell some books. But it doesn't really add up to keeping power out of the hands of Republicans, now does it?

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 1, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

That's what got me about Texas government...The real power is with the Lt. Governor rather than the governor, iirc.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 1, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

While I haven't lived in TX in several years, I'm more inclined to fall on Keith G's side of the argument. I lived in Houston 1992-96 and left about the same time my brother wound up in Ft. Worth with a new employer. We both grew up in Louisiana in the 1980s, and I was the brother willing to go back and visit the state sometimes, which tells you a bit about him. And, like Keith G, he's gay. I figured he'd hate it there.

Surprise! He's quite happy there and bought a house in Dallas, has many friends, doing well at his employer, and seems to have found a home in Big D. Yeah, they vote for nuts statewide, but unlike in Louisiana (where our candidates tended to lose all through the ballot), things are slowly changing. Dallas County (not just the city) elected an out lesbian sheriff in 2004, and the Dems swept there this year up and down the ballot (the only ones they lost were the unopposed ones). And maybe that can be partially explained by the right-wingers moving to surrounding counties like Collin and Rockwall.

But that doesn't explain how we almost won Harris County, too (Houston, with much suburbs). Slowly, the state is changing as the percentage of minorities increases and they vote more (particularly Hispanics). It's not a quick process, and Dems still get stomped in many areas, but it is happening. Tom DeLay's redistricting plan wasn't only because he wanted more nutcakes in Congress; it's because he wanted to make it harder for Dems to win as the state changed. Even he knew, with current trends, sooner or later the jig'll be up for the right-wing Republicans. (He didn't think his would come up so fast, however.)

It's also possible this trend may stop or (somehow) reverse. I think that's less likely, especially since the fastest-growing group in the state (Hispanics) saw a Republican campaign that wasn't very positive towards them, and voted accordingly. Ask California Republicans how that came out in the long term (excepting Ahnuld).

Posted by: noplot on December 1, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

noplot, thanks for pointing out the Dallas successes. Now Austin isn't the Lone Blue Island. It should be noted also that Dallas was the first city in the old Confederacy to elect R's since Reconstruction to local offices. Dallas started the Red Tide; let's hope it starts the pushback.

I'd like to point out also the the biggest Republican assholes we've elected -- Dick Armey, Phil Gramm, The Chimperor -- weren't actually born or raised here. The actual native-born Texans were people like my personal hero Sam Rayburn, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, and LBJ. Of course, we elected the former, so there is some responsiblity. Still, it bears noting that all of 'em developed their political philosophy elsewhere and imported it.

Finally, I think it's worth noting that for the first time since 1978 D's increased their number in the state lege. This includes my favorite election, the rematch between Hubert Vu and Talmagde Heflin. Heflin was the chairman of a very powerful committee, and lost by fewer than 50 votes. This time he stomped Heflin.

Posted by: Karen on December 1, 2006 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Karen, don't forget Ralph Yarborough (if you're old enough to remember him), along with Jim Hightower, Henry Gonzales, and Mickey Leland who died as he lived, while leading a relief mission in 1989 to an isolated refugee camp, Fugnido, in Ethiopia, which sheltered thousands of unaccompanied children fleeing the civil conflict in neighboring Sudan. I might add that Lloyd Doggett deserves kudos for his philosophical consistency.

Hopefully, we'll start to see more of these kinds of Dems again in Texas, if the tide is indeed turning.

Posted by: DevilDog on December 2, 2006 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

Willie Nelson...
'nuff said.

Posted by: cnylib on December 2, 2006 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

Bashing Texas is fun. Lord knows they deserve it. If the world took a dump, it would wipe itself in Texas, say the wags. (What the heck is a wag, anyhow?)

But Im here to argue that the GOP is in worse shape than anyone even thinks they are. They think they won big in 2004 because of their values, their toughness and all that. But, amazingly, they seem to have forgotten the elephant in the outhouse: 9-11! Before 9-11 the Repuglies were going nowhere. Thanks to Gorbachev their traditional way of winning elections, scaring people about the looming Communist takeover, was about dead. Then came 9-11 and gave them a new lease on life. The Americans curled up in fetal balls and relinquished their brains to GWB. The fear factor worked one more time.

But there aint going to be no more 9-11s and even if there were, the Repucchs would get the blame, this time. With national security gone from their arsenal, there is nothing left that appeals to most Americans.

Goodbye Repugnicans. I look for the Democrats to eventually split into two or three sub parties, which is how it should be. Even David Brooks is looking for a new home. Let Repukes have the South, with its fear and hate, the Dem righties can represent the conservative parts of the north, mid and west, where the governing philosophy is not based on assault religion or race hatred and xenophobia.

Posted by: James of DC on December 2, 2006 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

This is a 60-40 Rep/Dem state right now. All you have to do is convince 1 out of 6 that the Dems have a better way, then next thing you know... To be fair, 3 out of those 6 are too hard-core to crack, so call it 1 out of 3.

This is exactly right. Republican here in Texas is just the default position. Their neighbors vote Republican, so they do too. The ones who are not politically active, just show up and vote, really have no idea how insane their own party is. Oddly enough, they think Democrats are the extremists. Bill Clinton got a blow job, John Kerry is aloof, and George Bush is a good Christian. Unfortunately, they don't even think much past that. By contrast, the Republican activists ... man, those guys are scary.

Posted by: blank on December 2, 2006 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

HELP!

I'm a real liberal in the "liberal media" trying to escape Texas.

Posted by: Socratic Gadfly on December 2, 2006 at 2:58 AM | PERMALINK

Texas is essentially four different states. West Texas (El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley) are very close in philosophy to Western states like New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern Cal. Residents of the Panhandle and North Texas are closer to Oklahoma philosophically than to someone from Corpus or Houston. East Texas may as well be Mississippi or Alabama (THAT's where Jasper and Vidor are), and central Texas is a land unto itself. Both central and West Texas are, if not majority Dem, an even split. In addition, the major cities all lean blue, with the exception of Dallas.

The fundies who hijacked the Texas Republican Party are exactly the same as the loons who hijacked Kansas, and it is no more of a reflection on the state than those extremists were in the Jayhawk State (Anyone so callous as to call for the removal of Kansas from the Union among you?) Texas is an incredibly diverse state with a dramatic variance in political views. The state is far more diverse than such openminded enclaves as Massachusetts or New Hampshire. In addition to the Texans you know and ridicule, we've brought you Sheila Jackson Lee, Lloyd Bentsen, and numerous other pols who are as reliably Dem as any in the USA. Anyone so ignorant as to denigrate 30 million people based on their address is as much of a fool as someone willing to denigrate based on skin color. Get to know someone before you mouth off simplistic platitudes. Every Texan is different -- just like the rest of you.

I am honestly surprised how most of you don't seem to realize the drawback in deliberately ridiculing every Texan -- you are not exactly winning them over to your side. Much like the Republican's constant harping of Taxachusetts and San Francisco values have regionalized the party because no one in New England or NoCal is willing to vote for a party that repeatedly insults them because they are from a certain region, you are alienating a huge swath of people that may be inclined to agree with you.

Posted by: Tom in Texas on December 2, 2006 at 3:58 AM | PERMALINK

(the audience for Pandagon and Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower seems to be northerners with an interest in Texas, not Texans themselves.)

Further astonishing ignorance on display for the world to see. Hightower was elected to public office in Texas. That kinda says his audience may reside, at least in part, in Texas. The Texas Observer, where Ivins got her start, is the single greatest progressive journal I've ever read -- and virtually no progressive outside of Texas gives a damn about it.

And Kevin, as to this statement:

"The South has always been with us, but it's the Texas strain of militant conservativism that's made the South so toxic in recent years."

If you really believe that Texas has made the South more toxic rather than vice versa than you have got to leave DC more. Mississippi was the way it is llllooooonnnnggg before the Texas GOP platform called for banning evolution, and Texas has always been and will always be a far more progressive state than any in the old south.

Oddly enough, I'm pretty sure it was some other state that actually banned evolution, and it wasn't a southern state barren of religious influence before those Texas fundie's forced the idea on them.

Posted by: Tom in Texas on December 2, 2006 at 4:30 AM | PERMALINK

Yancey:
The Democrats do well across the northeast, in rural areas as well as urban ones, so there's something beyond your urbs-suburbs dichotomy. In fact, Vermont and Maine (the two states I grew up in) are reliably progressive, if not always democratic, whereas New Hampshire is by far the most conservative of the New England states; yet Vermont has neither urbs nor suburbs, Maine has only a single urban area (which produced the state's last republican governor), and New Hampshire has more urbanites than either of the others.

The Democrats do better in the Midwest and Northeast because those areas are more urban, and the suburban parts in those regions are older and more connected to the central cities than they are in the South, Southwest, and Mountain West.
Posted by: Yancey Ward on December 1, 2006 at 3:48 PM |


Alex:
Once you get beyond the goofiness of the concept, Turtledove's The Guns of the South works pretty well. It's weaknesses in characterization and repetition are endemic in Turtledove's work, and if anything, are more pronounced in the "World War" and "191" cycles. I'd heartily recommend Guns for anyone looking to test the waters before diving into the Turtledove ouevre. The Two Georges is also conceptually pretty interesting, but about halfway through, it begins to feel as if Turtledove and his co-author (Richard Dreyfus!) are getting tired of the exercise. And then there's Agent of Byzantium in which H.T. draws on his academic work, and which resembles as much as anything, de Camp's Lest Darkness Fall.

P.S. Good point about Vermont @ 7:33 PM!

AK-47's. "Guns of the South". Never read that one, but it sounds kind of wacky.
Just finished "How Few Remain" though, which is the start of Timeline 191 (see my link above). It's alternate history, rather than sci-fi. I liked it. Lincoln becomes a socialist. Teddy Roosevelt fights the Canucks. It's fun.

Posted by: alex on December 1, 2006 at 4:46 PM |

Posted by: keith on December 2, 2006 at 4:39 AM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider:
I don't know about Republican Congressmen, but neither of Maine's GOP Senators -- Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe -- are going to face defeat any time soon. You'll see them driven from the Republican party before you see them voted out of office.

Will the last Yankee Republican Congressman turn out the lights after being defeated in 2008?
Posted by: Pale Rider on December 1, 2006 at 2:27 PM |

Posted by: keith on December 2, 2006 at 4:43 AM | PERMALINK

I prefer Texassification.

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Posted by: 万维网火车站 on December 2, 2006 at 5:16 AM | PERMALINK

I spent my grad school years in NC, in Chapel Hill. After that, I never want to go back to the south. All that disgusting religious crap just sticks in my craw.

This is a little mystifying to me. I grew up and still live in Durham and went to UNC. I'm not sure when you were in grad school, but this is probably the most reliably Democratic area in the entire South. The two counties went 68-32 Kerry, and are dominated by the universities and the Research Triangle Park. Aside from the annoying can't-buy-alcohol-on-Sunday-morning laws, nothing about this part of NC is any more religious than anywhere else in the country.

Posted by: apostropher on December 2, 2006 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

Wasn't it the Dallas Cowboys who referred to themselves (still do?) as "America's Football Team"? God that used to bug me. What was that supposed to make MY team?

Posted by: DrBB on December 2, 2006 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Surprised that no one mentioned Bill Hightower - Fine man.

Global, don't know if you were in KC in 89 - There were a lot of "Texans" living in Johnson County - At that time, one could license their car in Texas with no proof in insurance, so many suburbanites went to Texas and registered their cars. The other popular place was Des Moines.

The Kansas State government types soon were hip to the scam. So, they set up near any border crossing into Missouri. They would watch for "Texans" going to work in the mornings. If they observed any vehicles doing so on a regular basis, they would stop them and check into where they lived and for how long. A whole lot of switchbacks to the Wheat State licenses occured.

It was similar to the Kansas State Alcohol board people sitting outside Berbiglia stores in Missouri and watching people with Kansas tags putting cases of booze into their cars. Once they crossed into Kansas on Southwest Boulevard, they would stop them and ask to see the Kansas Stamp on the bottles.

And yes, there are pockets of like minded people outside of Blaine as well as other small towns in Washington.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 2, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Jim Hightower, Uncle Paul. Bill Hightower was the guy who ran the Correspondence Course on Remembering Names and PsychoAnalysis by Mail who you used.

Posted by: stupid git on December 2, 2006 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

I am honestly surprised how most of you don't seem to realize the drawback in deliberately ridiculing every Texan -- you are not exactly winning them over to your side.

This is exactly the point that many are making. Texans are different- they are insecure to the point of insanity, and become ridiculously belligerent when anyone tries to make some constructive criticism.

Of course Texas has hot chicks, good football, and good barbecue. So What? That's like saying that Nazi Germany wasn't that bad because the strudel was really tasty.

Texas is still run by a lot of militaristic, anachronistic, moralistic idiots. And just because Texans are too stupid to realize how screwed up things are... we are supposed to forgive them? I'm sorry, but this Californian won't do so, because they have made things bad for all of us in the rest of the US with their rampant ignorance and moronic groupthink.

So quit whining about the lack of national support for the Texas Democrats- the reality is that your state is jacked up, and until you all do everything you can to challenge the status quo, you take us down to your abismal level as well. So screw Texas!

Posted by: CaliUberAlles on December 2, 2006 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Not a single one of you has nailed Texan conservatism. Conservatives here want isolation, freedom from communal concerns, and low taxes. Yes, it is a selfish view when you are aware of poor and immigrant neighborhoods, but it is not without self-interest. Large McMansions on gated properties in lily-white suburbs that didn't exist five years ago are the breeding grounds for this life; the fear of outsiders coming too close keeps it alive and keeps them moving to new communities the moment theirs becomes spoiled or untrendy.

Besides, if California is so great, why do you keep moving here?

Posted by: yocoolz on December 2, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

And screw "America's Team" - Now that Parcells has inserted Romo, the pundits are calling them that again.

Best thing one Texan, Lamar Hunt, did was to move the Texans out of Dallas and rename them the Kansas City Chiefs. And now, off to the land of Brownies.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 2, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

"If California is so great"

The white flight by Californians to western states, and even Texas, is by Republicans - They want lower taxes and have, for the most part, a fear of immigrants, whether legal or not, flooding California. This has been true of, whether it be in Northern Idaho east of Spokane, the suburbs of Salt Lake City, Henderson, Nevada (beloved by David Brooks), outskirts of Phoenix (also beloved by DB), Colorado and other pockets across the west. Oh, and I forgot Ashland in Southern Oregon and around Bend, Oregon.

Have yet to see any sudden skewing of political demographics by former California Democrats flooding any western locales.

David Brooks just loves those planned communities in the west filled by Republican transplants. Soooo pristine, sooooo little crime and the Stepford wives are such a delight.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 2, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

So quit whining about the lack of national support for the Texas Democrats- the reality is that your state is jacked up, and until you all do everything you can to challenge the status quo, you take us down to your abismal level as well. So screw Texas!

The recent election is a classic example of what's wrong with Texas politics: The democrat candidates polled around 39% of the vote in all the races regardless of who they opposed. Many of these candidates did not have the money to buy any media time while their republican opponents were awash with cash. This is the base that Texas Democrats start with--close to 40% of this state is still "yellow dog" democrats. This does not mean that the other 60% is solid Republican--it simply means that they tend to vote for the name that they recognize of the ballot as someone they've seen on TV. Texans have a history of voting based on name recognition--hence we've had candidates named Jesse James, Warren G. Harding, and a perennial candidate named Gene Kelly who has run for statewide office numerous times, once even capturing the nomination for the U S senate race.
If the national Democrat party ever realizes that the great bastion of ultra right wing conservatism Texas is a myth which the Republicans are only too happy to replay over and over again things might change. That takes money to match the millions that the small minority of ultra right wing Republicans are willing to shell out to buy the Texas elections--if statewide and national candidates in Texas can capture close to 40% of the vote on shoestring budgets, they can compete and win with adequate funding. Progressive Texans are already doing everything they can to challenge the status quo, but the status quo is weighted heavily in favor of the other side: they're in control of the governorship, the legislature, and the courts. Plus, they have a hell of a lot more money than we do. If the Democrat party ever decides to implement a southern strategy to break the GOP's chokehold on south, Texas would be a good place to start--this state is not as red as the DNC seems to think.
No better example of 'rampant ignornace and moronic groupthink' can be found than to look at Texas from the outside and assume that all Texans are right wing zealots. The are plenty of moderates, progressives, and even a few of us flaming liberals who fight the good fight every election even though the cards are stacked against us and will be until the national party decides to match the opposition dollar for dollar.

Posted by: sparky on December 2, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

OK I realize Californians ain't so bright, but seriously -- do you not see the difference between ridiculing an entire state for giggles and, as you put it "constructive criticism?" What if I were to say the only gifts your state has given the world politically are Dick Nixon and Reagan, and that as a result all Californians are fucking morons who don't know how to vote, and that I hope the state breaks off ASAP and, as Maynard put it, you all have to learn to swim. Would that be constructive criticism or would I just be acting like an ass? And remember, if you try to claim your state isn't 100% entirely populated by idiots, well then you are just being insecure to the point of insanity. What a tool.

Posted by: Tom in Texas on December 2, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

The best thing about Texas is the fact that if your car breaks down, you won't be on foot for more than 5 minutes before some guy in a camoflauge hat & driving a pickup, comes at picks you up. Roadside service is excellent.

The second best thing is the Mexican food(Why California seems to suck at this is beyond me)

The music's not bad either.

There are some downsides to the state however. Most of which have already been detailed.

But I love this great big (and getting bigger) state of mine. Warts & all.

Posted by: DRR on December 2, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

As a firsthand observer to the the emergence of this strain of Texa-Fascism, I can tell you that the conditions were made ripe by a corrupt and vaccuous Democratic leadership and a serious lack of championing of ideas on the left. People were so desperate to break from the status quo that they decided to follow the dunces in the GOP for awhile. Consider the voting turnout across the country for this BS administration and its obviously not a localized phenomenon, so a big F-you goes out to those slagging my state. Quit spinning your wheels and get your own houses in order.

Posted by: Ten in Tenn on December 2, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Fucking carpetbaggers.

Posted by: san antone rose on December 2, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

I spent several years in Florida, and it is hard for me to believe that the overt religiosity counld be any worse in Texas. The classic example is the town in Central Florida that had signs on the main highway at their city limits to ward off the devil. Ever see that in Texas?

Having made numerous business trips to Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston I didn't see anything at that level. They were somehow more caught up in "The War of Northern Aggression" than Floridians.

Posted by: TiredOfTexas on December 2, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK


Further astonishing ignorance on display for the world to see. Hightower was elected to public office in Texas. That kinda says his audience may reside, at least in part, in Texas. The Texas Observer, where Ivins got her start, is the single greatest progressive journal I've ever read -- and virtually no progressive outside of Texas gives a damn about it.

Gosh, defensive much?

I subscribed to the Texas Observer for years, and I'm a midwesterner. I own every book Molly Ivins has ever published and half a dozen from Jim Hightower, but when I went to Amazon to buy them the "special ranking" announcements kept saying the books were selling particularly well in places like Ann Arbor, Northampton and Madison, not Galveston or Waco or Lubbock. Hightower may have done a brief stint as railroad commissioner in Texas, but it seems that he sells better in Wisconsin.

Posted by: cminus on December 2, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Jim Hightower doesn't sell in Lubbock or Waco, sure. He sells in Austin, Houston, and the Rio Grande Valley though. Congratulations, you cherry picked the most liberal areas of Michigan and Wisconsin and used them to "prove" your point. By your logic, I can point out that Hightower sells very well in Austin, so by extension he is beloved here in Texas. He also doesn't sell in upstate Michigan or Buffalo, but this doesn't "prove" that all New Yorkers or Michiganders hate the man.

I am not saying Texas is a blue, or even purple state. But it is far more centrist/leftist than any state in the old south, with the possible exception of Florida below Orlando. I have lived and traveled throughout these states, so I, unlike pretty much everyone else here, know first hand of what I speak. Anyone who thinks Texas' conservatives are the worst just hasn't shaken hands with, or listened to, David Duke, Roy Scott (I think -- the Alabama judge who refused to follow the SCOTUS decision re the Ten Commandments), Trent Lott, Jesse Helms, or dozens of others. There are, at the very least, a great variety of Texas politicians -- there have been at least 10 prominent LIBERAL Democrats from Texas mentioned in this thread already that served since the 1990's, in addition to those like Nick Lampson, Cisneros et al that are more conservative D's. No other state in the South can boast such breadth of political thought.

If it makes me defensive much to point out that the Texas bashing on this thread is no different than the Vermont bashing I detest in Free Republic, than so be it. It is simply ignorant and bigoted to paint all of us with the same brush -- to cartoonishly overgeneralize as many of you are doing. I am glad Dean doesn't listen to people like you and Carville and adopt a 49 state strategy.

And Kevin is asinine for suggesting that there is a militant conservatism in Texas' GOP that has infected other states. militant conservative fundamentalism did not start in Texas in the 1990's.

Posted by: Tom in Texas on December 3, 2006 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

As for a Texas Democrat as yet unmentioned that has really raised his profile post Katrina, Hoston's mayor, Bill White, is an admittedly business friendly Democrat who stands a real chance of rising in the party. If Texas wants a Democratic Governor, there are few candidates who stand a better chance than White.

And it fascinates me how people from states that watched Katrina from afar while Houston housed a quarter of a million evacuees can call all Texans xenophobes. I volunteered at the Astrodome. Believe it or not, there were thousands of evangelical conservatives that gave everything they had for those displaced New Orleanians. The exact people that have been maligned here as racist and as emblematic of everything that is wrong with Texas and by extension America gave everything they possibly could.

Posted by: Tom in Texas on December 3, 2006 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

Tom in Texas--You have been fantastic in this thread. Your analysis that Texas is really four states is exactly right.

When I last looked at census.gov, Texas was the second most populated state (second only to California) and the second fastest growing state (second only to New Mexico). Do you really want to grant ownership of that to the GOP?

Texas is also trending Democratic, though admittedly slower than I would like. We picked up one stae house seat in 2004 despite an unfavorable situation at the top of the ticket. We then picked up another 6 this year. We lost some CDs because of redistricting in 2004, but we picked up one and perhaps a second in a few weeks this year. Dallas County just went all blue.

Meanwhile Georgia is trending the opposite way.

But, what is so myopic about several comments made on this thread is how states flip. Seriously, when was the last time Virginia voted for a Democratic President? 1948? Kansas and 8 other states had a higher percentage of Bush voters than Texas. Meanwhile Kansas's Democratic superstar governor has revived the party. Idaho and Wyoming, two of the other 8, just had close house races. And Montana hasn't exactly been a bastion of liberalism either.

By the logic of several commenters, we should have said fuck Virginia, fuck Kansas, fuck Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. And had people like Howard Dean listened to jackasses like this, the GOP would be in much better shape than it is in now, and we wouldn't be talking about religating it to the South.

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Posted by: nikkolai on December 3, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

I don't hate Texas. Texas hates(and feels inferior to) America. That's why they think everything in Texas has to be bigger...like the guy with the small unit who needs to buy a huge pick-up that sits eight feet off the ground to drive to his job at Circuit City.
The phrase "Don't Mess With Texas" has been around far longer than their current litter and it smacks of some violent Wild West elitism. Sort of like Mafia with spurs.

Posted by: Lescoeurs on December 3, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK


Jim Hightower doesn't sell in Lubbock or Waco, sure. He sells in Austin, Houston, and the Rio Grande Valley though. Congratulations, you cherry picked the most liberal areas of Michigan and Wisconsin and used them to "prove" your point.

Yeah, well, Austin and Houston never showed up on the lists either; I left them out because, let's face it, if I'd said "he sells better in Northampton than Austin," you'd be turning out your one thousandth straight flame unless I could point you to the Amazon page (and the books came out too long ago for them to still merit special notices on sales levels anymore -- I checked).

Yes, on some level it's not fair to compare anything in Texas, even Austin, to liberal university towns in New England and the Upper Midwest when it comes to finding an audience for national liberal figures, which is what Hightower and Ivins are. And Austin may well be a better market for Hightower and Ivins than Buffalo; I've got no data either way there. (Although I should point out that John Kerry did just as well -- actually, slightly better, but probably not enough to make a difference -- in Erie County, New York as he did in Travis County, Texas)


I am not saying Texas is a blue, or even purple state. But it is far more centrist/leftist than any state in the old south, with the possible exception of Florida below Orlando. I have lived and traveled throughout these states, so I, unlike pretty much everyone else here, know first hand of what I speak.

As it happens, I have lived in the south, albeit Virginia, and am a regular visitor to friends in North Carolina, Louisiana and Texas. (I admit, though, that only in Texas have I spent much time in what is not considered a local liberal stronghold -- it's not fair to compare Laredo with Chapel Hill or Dallas with New Orleans.) Before that, I lived in the conservative Midwest. I ain't no lily-livered easterner.

Remember, I'm in favor of the 50-state strategy. I'm on your side here; I don't want to abandon anybody to living under hardcore right-wing maniacs unrepresentative of pretty damn near everyone, and I'm sure not going to take your knee-jerk assumption that I'm ignorant and malicious as somehow indicating that Texans are generally people I would never want to meet socially. But I would like to know why "we've been ignored by the national Democrats" is such a big issue in the South in general and Texas in particular, when, like blank points out, progressives in states like Wyoming, Kansas and Montana, all of which are even less on the radar of liberals in safe coastal strongholds and which lack the famous Texas progressive heroes and gumption, seem to be having so much more luck lately.

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The phrase "Don't Mess With Texas" has been around far longer than their current litter and it smacks of some violent Wild West elitism. Sort of like Mafia with spurs.


Whatever. From wikipedia.org: The phrase Dont Mess with Texas is a slogan for the Texas Department of Transportation, and was developed to reduce littering on Texas roadways used as part of a statewide advertising campaign in 1986. The slogan was created by the Austin-based advertising agency GSD&M, which handled the campaign until 1998.

Texas is a convenient scapegoat to take potshots at. But evn though 61% of Texas gave their support to Bush in 2004 (not surprising considering he was a former governor), ten states gave a higher percentage of their vote than that.

But no potshots need be taken at the Dakotas, Idaho, Utah, or the deep south. I realize that Texas often tags a big "ridicule me!" sign on it's back, but there are plenty other right-wing areas in the country.

San Diego, for instance. I couldn't wait to get the hell out of there and back to Austin a few months ago.

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