We haven't heard much from the Secessionist after his humiliating crash and burn in the Republican presidential primary, but I had to laugh when I saw this at The Corner.
“Texas changed, because it became a very economically strong state …. as people become more affluent, I will suggest to you, they make decisions about their political positions based on their economics and as a state becomes more affluent, as it becomes wealthier as jobs are created that in turn creates the wealth and people sit back and they go, well wait a minute. Why are they taking that much of my money away from me? …. And I believe that those individuals may be thinking about becoming Republican.”
Let's leave aside the fact that the Secessionist is basically branding the GOP is the party of selfish rich people -- his history is all wrong.
1. Since 1972, Texas has only voted Democratic in a presidential election once (1976). So what happened in the '60s? Did Texas Democrats enact a bunch of high taxes? Did Texans suddenly become less conservative? Of course not. What happened was the Civil Rights Acts and the Great Society. And just like every other state in the Old Confederacy, Texas flipped and joined the party of Lincoln in revolt. It's true that it took another 20 years for that shift to be complete throughout state, city and local politics, but that was the reason.
2. The last Democratic governor in Texas, Ann Richards, wasn't defeated in 1994 because Texans were annoyed she was "taking that much money away" from them. She was defeated, according to Karl Rove, because of guns and girl scouts.
Karl Rove, the Bush campaign strategist, listed three specific reasons that may have contributed to Richards's defeat: (1) her opposition to the concealed weapon bill authored by State Representative Suzanna Hupp, which was adopted and signed by Governor Bush in 1995; (2) her attempt and then her reversal on a proposal to place five Texas waterways under federal instead of state control, a move that could have halted development in Central Texas, and (3) her remarks at a Girl Scouts conference in Austin in which she warned the young women to beware of "Prince Charming on a motorcycle with a beer gut and a wandering eye."
To that list, I would add Rove's nasty lesbian whisper campaign against her.
3. Texas hasn't gotten any less poor since Republicans took over the state. The poverty level is slightly higher than it was in 1980, and in fact, the state got much poorer under Perry.
Republicans like the Secessionist can run away from the Southern Strategy all they want, but they can't hide.