Or not. As you prefer. Of course, if you'd just rather not fight back, then please take a seat in this lovely handbasket.
The Dallas Observer has a piece -- it was forwarded to me by my nearly favorite blogger -- about Richard Ford and Kelly Shackelford, one a lion in winter, the other a Christian Soldier on the rise. These two men have and will continue to affect moderate -- a precarious definition itself, from the liberal view -- Texas GOP politicians in their inimitable way: by playing the "Who is the MORE Religious Conservative?" game. ( Go read the article. )
That made me think of a passage in Lou Dubose and Molly Ivins' Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush where they detail the takeover of the Texas Republican Party in the '90s by the likes of Tom Pauken, Dr. James Leininger and others. Even W. wasn't pure enough for them at that time ( the litmus test for party chairman in 1994 was whether or not you had attended an anti-abortion rally. You haven't? Too bad. ) I found my copy so I'll excerpt the cogent part:
George W. Bush was not Phi Beta Kappa at Yale, but he understands: you got to dance with them what brung you. He has learned to dance with the Christian right. It has been interesting and amusing to watch the process. Interesting because it's sometimes hard to tell who's leading and who's following; amusing because when a scion of Old Yankee money gets together with a televangelist who suffers from too much Elvis, the result is swell entertainment. Dubya's skillful handling of the Christian right -- giving them just enough to keep them in line -- is probably his most impressive political credential. ...
In the end, the Christian right gets more sermons than blood, seat, or policy out of Bush. He talks the talk but rarely walks the walk -- and still gets the support of the Christian right. Among other things, it's very shrewd politics. Although Gary Bauer and Dr. James Dobson have figured out his strategy -- feed the lions just enough to stop them from attacking -- it is, as Sam Smoot says, a dangerous game. These disciplined political Christian soldiers have spent the last ten years taking over the the machinery of the Republican Party, precinct, county, and state. Now they want a ring, not just a promise.
The authors go on to describe how Karl Rove engineered the ascendance of Dim Son without selling out to the Jesusoidz; how John Cornyn came to be our Senator ( and not Pauken -- thank God for small favors ) and a few other kernels of wisdom.
Here's my point:
It will take at least a decade of hard work and long hours, not to mention a shitpot of money and some hurt feelings and bruised egos and maybe even some skinned knuckles in order to beat back these zealots.
And don't forget: their jihad is just. They've got God on their side.
I ask those who intend to stand for office on the progressive side one question, whether you run for precinct captain or Governor:
Are you ready to rumble?
We don't have time for any more John Kerrys -- and by that I mean Democrats, on ballots local and national, who won't fight back ( for whatever reason ). And one more thing: unless you're quite a bit younger than I am, you won't live long enough to see the fruits of your labor. Is the fight still in you?
Let's get going, then. We've got a country to take back.
P.S. There's a Houston Democratic Underground Meetup, above ground, tomorrow afternoon. Click on the link in my header. Warning: we're probably weirder in person.