The Texas GOP is floundering. With the same tired message and nothing to show for it they’re in a bind. Â But as Harvey Kronberg says in his latest News 8 commentary, it’s nothing the average person would notice from the outside.
Texas Republicans held their state convention in Houston a couple of weeks ago and to all outward appearances, everything was fine.
He goes on to point out what he looks for at a convention is “the temperature of the activists” and states that “this convention did feel different”.Â The problem is with the workers of the party, the grassroots/activists, the lack of enthusiasm in their candidates, and for their future.
Since 1994, our state Republican conventions have been buoyed by conviction that they were part of a broader conservative movement that had history and popular support on their side.
Republicans might fault their leaders on the margins but they never doubted the forward motion of their cause. At this convention, speaker after speaker took shots at their national leaders. If this convention was any indication of how Texas Republicans feel, the party’s presidential candidate has a lot of work to do.
Speaker after speaker noted that while McCain was not their first choice, they had stuck to uniting behind him.
Not the most ringing endorsement.
The relatively subdued State Republican convention is probably not symptomatic of much in either the Presidential or United States Senate race.
But this year, the battleground is four Texas Senate seats and more than a dozen House seats.
If Republican malaise persists and Democrats remain excited, we could have a very different statehouse when the Legislature reconvenes next January.
Which plays right into the strategy that Barack Obama will be employing in Texas, Obama plots to reverse DeLay’s plot.Â State and local races is where there is the best chances for change and where Democrats will win in November.Â Especially if the Democrats outwork the GOP.
But it’s key to remember what has brought this malaise over activist Republicans and “conservatives” in Texas. Their party controls every branch of government in Texas and our government is functioning worse than when they took over. Public schools are worse off, energy prices for our homes and cars are much higher, home insurance rates have skyrocketed, college tuition is way up, more Texans are uninsured, and the Governor’s mansion burned. And I didn’t even mention transportation. It’s the reality of the Texas GOP’s inability to govern, much less govern well, that’s caused the temperature change.
The other problem is that the one “win” they had recently was tenuous at best, and has irked the far right/activist wing of their party. Yes, the new GOP business tax. Most are running away from it, or want to tweak it, or kill it. Tweaking it will, more than likely, only make a bad idea different. This back-and-forth between Paul Burka and Texas Rush is worth a read, (the comments too). And Burka’s final comment sounds familiar.
But I think we have to recognize that the reasons the tax became law are (1) the Supreme Court was holding a gun to the Legislatureâ€™s head, and (2) this tax was, to paraphrase Churchillâ€™s observation about democracy, the worst possible system, except for all the others.
In essence, without a state income tax, there will have to be some form of corporate/business tax in Texas or a highest in the nation sales tax, if property taxes are to be lowered. But that’s not the snake oil they’ve been selling all these years. That was we can pay no taxes and have everything, the free market will take care of us.
What the Texas GOP’s failure has done is really put off the grassroots/activists of the party. Many of them have been working there “roots” off since Goldwater. They finally attain what they’ve been aiming for all these years, controlling every branch of government in Texas, and this is the thanks they get? It’s no wonder they’re mad. You can read more on their reaction to the GOP convention here and also The Real Story
of Kyle Janek’s Resignation.
The Texas GOP may have “topped-out” in 2002. Since then their political gains have stopped, and began to wane. Whether it was the blatant power grab of the 2003 redistricting, the budget cuts of 2003, their terrible policies, the inability to govern, the arrogance of power, or all of those combined, that has slowed the momentum we can only guess. But it’s understandable that the grassroots/activists will stop spending their free time working for a party that has givens little, if anything, to show for it.