"Austin has a lot to answer for, whether you're a Democrat or a Republican. Ponder for a moment the strange course the presidential campaign has followed these last 18 months. Judged by the simplest, crudest criterion--comparing the state of the world as it was the day he took office with the world as it will be on the day he stands for reelection--George W. Bush should be the most easily beatable presidential incumbent since Jimmy Carter. A frontal assault on Bush's record, repeated endlessly and packaged cleverly, might well have resulted in a walkaway win for whoever the Democrats had chosen to oppose him.
"It hasn't worked out that way, as we know. Bush's opponents instead find themselves in a tight race they well might lose. There are lots of reasons why, but one surely is that instead of mounting a substantial critique of what the president has done and hasn't done, his Democratic adversaries have obsessed over piecing together odd, paranoid caricatures of the man who's driving them nuts--Bush as the agent of Halliburton, Bush as the idiot son of Robber Baron privilege, Bush the religious crank, the right-wing ideologue, the draft-dodger, the front man for Enron or Rove or the Saudi royals or J.R. Ewing. The caricatures are familiar now to the millions of moviegoers who saw Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, but they have an Austin pedigree; the fantasies were nurtured in the hothouse of Texas progressivism before they caught on nationwide. A large number of the most popular anti-Bush books--and many of those Moore used in assembling his movie--were written in Texas by veteran Texas activists who have grown bitter from the endless frustration and resentment that is their unhappy lot: Bush's Brain, Boy Genius, Cronies, The Politics of Deceit, The Dirty Truth, Unfit Commander, The Mafia, CIA, and George Bush, Immaculate Deception: The Bush Crime Family Exposed, Bushwhacked, Shrub . . . the list is very long. Surf the DNC website or Buzzflash.com or listen to one of Terry McAuliffe's press conferences, leaf through an issue of Vanity Fair or scan a columnist on the op-ed page of the New York Times, and you see at once how deeply the Austin fantasy has penetrated the Democratic mind."
"The good news for Texas progressives is that they've finally purged the Democratic party of right-wingers and now have it all to themselves. The bad news is that the party is roughly the size of a well-attended kegger."
"REPUBLICANS learned this lesson themselves, suffering a lengthy, and equally pointless and debilitating, epidemic of Clinton-hating for most of the 1990s, when it bubbled up from the fever swamps of Arkansas and laid waste to vast stretches of the national party. Like Clinton-hating, Bush hatred is the creature of a marginalized mentality--the irritable gesture of the perennial loser. I saw it in action one morning when I was invited to a demonstration staged by Travis County Democrats outside the Austin Club, on Brazos Street downtown. The word was that Tom DeLay--second only to Bush as an object of liberal revulsion--would be appearing at a fundraising luncheon.
"First they got the date wrong, then they got the address wrong, but by the time the actual event rolled around, the Democrats had gathered outside the club, sweating under a glazed sun, reasonably confident that at last they had their coordinates right. There were about fifteen of us--several slacker youth, a larger number of middle-aged women with close-cut gray hair, dressed in jeans or wraparound skirts and sensible shoes, and a handful of men in T-shirts showing a large "W" with a red slash through it."
""That's it!" one of the women shouted suddenly. Tired of waiting, she marched to the front door of the Austin Club, opened it, and stepped inside, bullying her way past a pair of Austin businessmen, looking puzzled in their blazers and slacks.
"A minute later she marched back out.
""The son of a bitch!" she shouted. "The son of a bitch! The Son. Of. A. Bitch. He was here for breakfast!"
"Steeped in anger, inflamed with passion, crippled by incompetence--our national Democrats should hope the Austin contagion doesn't spread much further."
Yes, the piece is obviously biased, but the idea is still interesting.