Texas GOP Has Issues, Democrats Must Exploit Them

Posted in 2008 Primary, Around The State, Commentary, Election 2008, US Senate Race at 10:40 am by wcnews

The Chronic’s piece yesterday, Welcome to Election ’08! , about Rick Noriega’s announcement and a Texas GOP trick to try and take away from the announcement makes it obvious that the GOP is worried about this Senate race. The excerpt below does a pretty good job of showing just what kind of mess they’re in:

It was scarcely an ebullient exercise. In one of the smaller conference rooms in the Omni, to a crowd that was mostly party operatives, Perry announced that his former secretary of state Roger Williams will head up the fundraising and grass-roots campaign (everyone had been wondering why he’d quit in June, and the rumors that he was seeking office seemed a bit premature.) They’d be targeting traditional conservative values and traditional conservative voters and make a traditional conservative grassroots campaign. So, no shockers there.

But there was a tacit admission this will be a hard campaign: Three million new voters, many from out of state, who may not be hardcore Republicans and would need winning over. Hispanic voters who might not be very interested in backing the Republican immigration policy. Of course, no-one was churlish enough to mention Iraq, but even Cornyn was commenting that the GOP had never really treated Texas as a state that needed a big investment of time and money – an implicit statement that now it may be “in play”.

Then there’s the lack of pizzazz. It’s always said by campaign gurus that a good candidate needs a little bit of Elvis, and it seemed fairly missing today. (More than one hack noted that it had all the woo-hoo factor of Chris Bell’s abortive campaign for governor last year.) And then there was the thought of who wasn’t there – not just the state officials were AWOL, but the heavy hitters that had shaped so many Republican campaigns in recent years. No Rove, no DeLay, the heavy-hitters that put real fire in the fundraising belly. Fair enough – Williams is no noob, having been a cash-gatherer and grassroots planter for every major Texas campaign in a decade and a half, but there’s a question of where the big motivators and big visionaries may be. Plus the bad news that, in the presidential primary race, the GOP is currently trailing the Democrats by $30 million.

A campaign starting this early to rally the base, to try and attract new voters, and attempt to hold independent and Hispanic voters shows the trouble the Texas GOP is in for ’08. After ’06 some said that Texas is usually two years behind national political trends. If Texas keeps going the way it did in ’06, in ’08, that will prove to be correct. Sen. Cornyn’s and the Texas GOP’s intolerant stance on immigration will keep the base, aka “wing-nuts”, on board, but it won’t do much to keep or bring in new voters. The fact that America’s biggest issue - IRAQ - wasn’t even mentioned shows had scared Cornyn and the Texas GOP are of that issue, which won’t help either.

The article points out that the GOP is saddled with a dud for a candidate in the 2008 Senate race. A candidate who didn’t have to worry about that issue in 202 and was elected then because he was able to tie himself to, at that time, an extremely popular president. Now that candidate is running for reelection - not only without a popular president, but he’s trying to distance himself form that president - and has a record of incompetence and destruction that he has to try and run away from.

The Texas GOP should have no trouble keeping it’s base with it’s stances on the “war” - even though they don’t want to mention it - and their intolerant immigration stance. But they will struggle mightily with independents, Hispanics and new voters. It’s a party without a “rock star” or any of the “characters” it once had that gave the party more appeal. It’s message of tax cuts has not only grown stale and been proven wrong, see toll toads for example. It’s a party that’s strapped nationally - as the Democrats continue to out raise them - that will have to defend everywhere, with many US Senate seats up for grabs, and won’t be able to help the Texas GOP much when it finally needs it. (Hap tip to DNC Chair Howard Dean and his 50 state strategy, by the way). Not to mention the fact that it’s a party in turmoil, (remember Craddick’s meltdown), that’s less unified than it’s been since taking power in Texas.

Well it’s no doubt that the Texas GOP has issues. But for these issues to matter they must be exploited by an opposition party. As EOW has pointed out before let us begin. There’s no better way, nor a better candidate to begin exploiting those issues than Rick Noriega. Start today by donating to Rick Noriega’s run for the Senate.

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