For a righteous man may fall seven times
And rise again,
But the wicked shall fall by calamity.
My fellow Texans,
I woke up this morning in a state of fatalistic resignation. I almost did a post linking to the movie Jeremiah. Then I read this piece in today's American Spectator:
Arnold Schwarzenegger won re-election handily in 2006, defeating his hapless opponent Phil Angelides by a 56% to 38.9% margin. Yet this sizable win was a meaningless victory for the GOP. Similarly, Chris Christie’s thumping victory on Tuesday night over an equally forgettable candidate contains almost no national meaning, save that Chris Christie is good for Chris Christie. Like Schwarzenegger, Christie cruised to re-election not as a real Republican but as a preening non-partisan moderate. Like Schwarzenegger, Christie’s popularity hasn’t translated into any support for Republicans in his own legislature.Bingo.
Which raises the question: How could Christie turn blue states red nationwide if he can’t turn his own legislature red?
Like Schwarzenegger, Christie is a useful idiot for the Democrats—a needy, politically correct, ruling-class Republican who is trending liberal on everything from “climate change” to gay marriage to size-of-government issues. Christie loves the liberal limelight—a trait that will only intensify over time. The Democrats know a Trojan Horse when they see one.
Of course, establishment Republicans—the same geniuses who parachuted Schwarzenegger into office to the long-term detriment of their party—will ooh and ahh over Christie’s victory and argue that Tuesday’s results, in which the moderate in New Jersey won and the conservative in Virginia lost, illustrate the wisdom of ideological flexibility and the value of distance from the Tea Party. Never mind that Cuccinelli, who ran a lame and scared campaign, had made a point of avoiding Ted Cruz, even though it was Cruz’s brave stance against Obamacare and the consequences of its buffoonish rollout that ended up making the race much closer than anyone expected.
“In the clearest sign yet of the potent effect of the government shutdown on the Virginia governor’s race, Republican Ken Cuccinelli avoided being photographed with Ted Cruz at a gala they headlined here Saturday night—even leaving before the Texas senator rose to speak,” reported Politico in early October. Republicans who behave in this craven fashion don’t deserve to win. Cuccinelli didn’t lose because he hewed to the Tea Party line; he lost because he didn’t. Had he played up his conservatism instead of running away from it while lashing McAuliffe as a pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage socialist, he might have galvanized conservatives and won the race.
Even the media found it a little difficult to sustain the this-is-a-defeat-for-the-Tea-Party narrative after the Virginia results came in, as they showed a race that the Republicans could easily have won, had the Libertarian not run, had Cuccinelli actually tried, had stingy Republican fat cats donated money to ad campaigns, had Republicans bothered to expose McAuliffe’s radicalism, etc.
I don't need to run through last night's parade of horribles. In addition to Virginia, Joe Straus' Water Slush fund passed easily. The city of Austin "Housing" bond passed. A bunch of other local government debt passed. So what, pray tell, has changed since yesterday?!?
We've known since (no later than) March that the Republican leadership in the legislature, which put Prop. 6 on the ballot in the first place, is more interested in personal enrichment than sound policy. We've known for at least a year that low turnout in local elections threatens our economy. We need better Republicans and higher citizen participation.
Here's the good news: Steve Munisteri believes in open, contested primaries.
With the constitutional amendments elections over, today is the first genuine day of primary season. While statewide races will get more ink, we must clean out the Republican caucuses in both houses of the legislature. We need better Republican legislators to drive sound policy.
Concerning turnout, remember the following three words: Identify. Register. Persuade.
- Identify -- Every one of us knows people in day to day life who thinks like we do but doesn't vote. You need to figure out who those people are in your circle of influence. Start with your Sunday school class and your workplace.
- Register -- Once you identify the people you already know, you need to get them registered to vote. In order for this to happen, you need to become a deputy voter registrar. In Travis county, there is a deputy voter registrar training EVERY SATURDAY at the Unitarian "church." [Author's Note: If some Unitarians get saved out of this process, so much the better.]
- Persuade -- This is the tricky, but really fun, part. Having identified and registered the appropriate people, you now need to get them to show up. Regular phone banks and social events (like Liberty on the Rocks here in Austin) are key.
November 6, 2013
P.S. On a related note, David Barton is going to make a big announcement in the next few hours.