A couple of weeks ago, following reports that Democrats are making a concerted effort to make Texas a more competitive electoral battleground, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said, “Over our dead bodies are we going to let this state turn blue.”
That sounded a bit extreme under the circumstances. Dewhurst probably wasn’t being literal, but the notion that someone would rather die than let a state go Democratic is just a little over the top.
But Dewhurst isn’t the only Texan talking this way. Take state Attorney General Greg Abbott, for example.
“One thing that requires ongoing vigilance is the reality that the state of Texas is coming under a new assault, an assault far more dangerous than what the leader of North Korea threatened when he said he was going to add Austin, Texas, as one of the recipients of his nuclear weapons,” Abbott said. “The threat that we’re getting is the threat from the Obama administration and his political machine.”
Insofar as North Korea couldn’t possibly threaten Austin, I suppose there’s some truth to that, though comparing the Obama administration and its “political machine” to a rogue, authoritarian nuclear state seems a bit excessive.
But the fact that we’re hearing such rhetoric at all reinforces the fact that Democrats really are taking a look at Texas, they’re seeing an opportunity, and they’re making Republican leaders in the Lone Star State a little antsy. The Wall Street Journal recently ran an interesting item on the “Battleground Texas” effort, led by former Obama field director Jeremy Bird.
Wiry and bespectacled, Mr. Bird likes to describe how the past two Obama campaigns were littered with foot soldiers from Texas laboring in other states. Texas volunteers made more than 400,000 calls into Florida in the final weeks of the 2012 campaign, he said.
“For years you have been giving to the national campaign,” he told a packed ballroom of 300 or so Texas Democratic volunteers in San Antonio recently on his first public swing through the state. “Now it’s time the national campaign gave back to you.”
Ready or not, Texas GOP, here they come.