Tuesday, September 26, 2006
I’m really pissed off right now. The weekend events surrounding Ann Richards’ memorial reminded me over and over about why I do this work. I’ve spent my entire life working for Democrats and the Democratic Party.
Ann Richards taught me a lot. I worked in her campaigns, I served as a Texas legislator during her tenure, and I worked on lots of issues with her over the last 25 years. It was hard to listen to all the great stuff about her this weekend… and think that we’ve actually regressed in this state in the last decade.
While it made me feel good about what we accomplished, the bigger thing gnawing in the pit of my stomach was this: We’ve let it all slip away, and most aren’t willing to expend the energy or resources to take it back.
I have neither the time nor the energy to ruminate about what went wrong or whose fault it is. But I do know one thing as clearly as the sparkle in Ann Richards’ eyes. This year, we can turn it around. Polls say it. Demographic shifts say it. Damn, even Republicans are saying it.
So what are we doing?
For a lot of us, it’s sitting back and bemoaning this or that. I’m sick of people worrying about little shit, when we could be about the business of taking back our government.
Oh, but Glen, the naysayers whine: “We don’t have the star candidates. We don’t have the money. We don’t have the …. “ Whatever. Give me a friggin' break.
This for the armchair politicos who would rather worry and talk than do anything:
You want the entire ticket to win in 2010? Of course. So let’s put that in motion now.
You want to run a credible candidate against Cornyn in 2008 and put Texas in play in an open presidential race? Of course. Everything we do now is a step forward for 2008.
This is for you issue-oriented folks who can never see the big picture because we’ve siloed and targeted our efforts so narrowly that we can make about as much noise as a BB in a boxcar:
Want to stop the coal-fired plants?
Want to say no to the Trans-Texas Corridor?
Want to tell Jim Leininger and Bob Perry, and the rest of the “buy me the government” crowd to go to hell?
Want to make sure that this scary trigger law issue doesn’t show up on the books in Texas if Roe v. Wade goes down?
Worried at all about these pricks taking away your children if you’re gay or lesbian?
I’m with you 100% on all that. But what the hell are we doing about it?
It’s pretty easy.
Democrats will win in Texas when we show Texans a Democratic win statewide.
Presidential politics will play out in Texas when we show the nation a Democrat can win in Texas.
All it takes to change that litany of issues (which I stopped typing because it makes me too angry to keep listing this crap) is to put someone in office with the power of appointments and a veto pen.
And what are we doing?
Well, I guess that’s the question.
I’m so tired and pissed off about folks worrying about swing voters and targeted crap that we can’t just turn out our base vote.
Chris Bell is running against three Republicans.
We’re about seven weeks out from the election.
Color me clueless on campaigns (only worked in 200 plus), but if you’re the incumbent and you’re stuck at 35% for over a year, you ain’t gonna git any better.
So it comes down to who can win this thing among the other three.
First, for all of you NOT paying attention, it only takes one more vote than Perry for the winner to be Bell, Kinky or Carole. There aren’t any run-offs or majority votes.
We know that even in the worst of the Bush tidal wave, we were getting over 30% of the vote for the Democrat in Texas.
The best shot to take out Perry is the person with the most “base” vote behind him. And by definition the other two Republicans don’t have a base.
This is the most doable statewide race since Ann Richards’ 1990 campaign.
We now have the tools, the technology and the ability to phone, and walk and register voters in every precinct in Texas. This stuff doesn’t happen by itself. Each one of us makes it happen.
If you are ready to live with Rick Perry for another four years, sit on your ass.
But if you’re like me and just plain pissed as hell, ask yourself one simple question:
What could I have done to have given Chris Bell that last handful of votes in my county or precinct or church or bar that would have pushed him into first place? (And you’re really out of it if you even think that by election day Kinky or Carole will be in that position. Ain’t gonna happen. No way.)
So as I sat in the Erwin Center and listened to Liz Smith deliver that one-liner of “What would Ann do?,” I have to tell you that I know. Because she has been saying it for a long, long time.
“Get off your butt and make something happen.”
And you can make it happen in a million ways. Pick up the phone. Turn on the computer. Print out a walk list, use the new statewide online phone bank. There are voters to call NOW in your precinct. Activists all over this state are looking for things to do.... educate them where to find the tools.
You can find lots to do in your precinct at new website at
Just do something. Anything.
And when we all start working on turning out our base voters again, Democrats will win in Texas.