Sunday, March 13, 2011

The mess is here.

A sad yet brutal truth about our beloved Great State, the 17-year one-party Republican rule of it, and the state of the opposition. The Texas Tribune:

In recent weeks, an idea of Houston attorney Geoff Berg's turned into a Facebook page and then became a website that he hopes might spark a movement. The message: "Draft Tommy Lee Jones for Senate."

Berg, a left-leaning commentator and host of the radio show Partisan Gridlock on KPFT, says he is "absolutely serious."

"I can't think of another Democrat in Texas," Berg says, "that has the necessary name ID, that has positive name ID, that would be able to raise money, and that would have at least the potential to attract swing voters and a substantial number of Republicans."

Berg says he would "love" to see former Comptroller John Sharp or former U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards replace retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. The only problem, he says, "neither one of them can win, and I'm certain they know that."

As the Trib notes, Berg hosts "Partisan Gridlock" on Houston's KPFT radio and is accurately described as a political southpaw with a mostly low opinion of the Democrats in general and the Texas Democratic Party specifically. He floated this idea three weeks ago in his blog post at the Chron. Continuing with the Trib...

Assuming Berg's right, does that say more about Jones or the state of the Democratic Party? "It probably says a lot about both," Berg says, "and it also says a lot about the state of our politics."

So far, Berg does not believe the Republican field for 2012 is particularly inspiring either — but "whatever right-wing extremist they nominate is going to waltz right in if the Democrats don't have a credible candidate."

A legitimate Democratic star could change that, he believes. Think of it this way: the three-plus minute YouTube video former Republican Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert released after jumping in the race doesn't hold a candle to Jones' The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.

To make this point, Berg recently released a YouTube video of his own:

Berg is, as usual, dead solid perfect in his analysis. The Texas Democratic Party is in the same shape as the California Republican Party: impotent, toothless, and all but extinct. There's lots of excited liberals and progressives throughout Texas -- just look at the rallies taking place yesterday and next Tuesday --  but the TDP has spectacularly weak management at the top, little money, less enthusiasm, and no improved prospects for the future. All that after seventeen years of 100% Republican rule at the statewide level, all nine SCOTX justices, and in the wake of the 2010 Red Tea Tide, near-supermajorities in the Texas House and Senate. The Texas Green Party achieved ballot status for 2012 based initially on the impotence of Boyd Richie failing to recruit a candidate to run for Comptroller in 2010, an inexcusable mistake (yet he continues to head the TDP to only the most perfunctory objection and with nothing but a handful of opposition).

Personally I support a Jones candidacy for all of these reasons, but deplore the Schwarzneggar-ization of American politics. The only way the CA GOP managed to get someone in the governor's office was to recruit a movie star, and he was of course an epic failure. Every time a famous person's name gets floated for office anywhere, it makes me cringe.

Still, seventeen years wandering in the desert is too long. It's past time for a saviour, and Jones will do until one gets here.

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