I think it's probably about that time in the campaign season, just before you hit the August beat down that activists in Texas tend to have, where we tap the brakes twice, take three breaths, and get ready to take a step forward.
A great many activists have expressed disappointment because our Democratic Candidate for Texas Governor, Bill White, will not appear with Democratic President Barack Obama. The President — for who I donated, block walked, phone banked and voted for — appears to be swooping in for the traditional hand in the cash register moment that happens every election cycle, so often that Texas Democrats have come to be immune to these sort of fundraisers.
I don't blame Bill White a bit for not going; this is not only smart political strategy, its smart personally, too. I want to explain why – and then also give others the chance to weigh in with their thoughts, because as I discovered bringing this up just among other BOR writers, there are lots of ways of thinking about this trip.
The fact is that right now President Obama is unpopular for most southern Democratic candidates, both incumbent and challenger, due to his sagging popularity nationally. We love our President and we support him, but he sure ain't helping our cause right now politically. That's not our fault, and it's not really the President's, either. He has – in the words of one speaker from Netroots – stood up and offered to drive the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. A great many of us have done plenty to help in any capacity we can and we continue to do so today.
But politically speaking, the best way we keep championing the policies and priorities of our party is to avoid visits that drive a wedge into state-focused races. That's true in some other states, but is especially true of Texas where the President is even less popular. Given those political realities, Bill White made the only move he could make. His is not a campaign about Washington; his is a campaign about Texas and its future. Bill White said those words at our state convention in Corpus Christi. Don't you remember? Nothing has changed; this IS the campaign about Texas and its future. These DNC fundraisers are a convenient reminder to us all that we Texas Democrats operate a different political and party strategy than Washington does. That makes White's decision that much more impressive, if you ask me.
Personally speaking, we know by White's record, his public statements, the way he governs, and most certainly the way he leads, that Bill is simply a different type of Democrat than our friends at the DNC. We are Texas Democrats! And we think differently, strategize differently, message differently, organize differently, mobilize differently, and it's about time that our years of work get respected and appreciated. We Texas Democrats have worked to rebuild our Party here for quite some time without the DNC's help. Although we have struggled, a great many of us have the scars and memories of how hard it took for us to get here, and appreciate that we are in a position to make a serious run not just for the governorship, but the legislature as well. Bill White made the right move not only for himself, but for Texas Democrats.
If it were up to me, everyone would tap the brakes a bit here, take three very deep breaths, and get ready to take a step forward again. We've got a great deal of work ahead of ourselves. We have the hot August weather, the September blur, October sprint, and early November Red Bull and 5 Hour Energy moments ahead of ourselves. The sweetest moment of all won't come from a high-dollar fundraiser. It will come from the exuberant feeling we'll all have when Texas Democrats win with Bill White, when we win back the legislature, and when we remind the rest of the Democratic Party that we Texas Democrats know how to win too!