| Fort Worth businessman and former ambassador Tom Schieffer is considering a run for Texas governor -- as a Democrat. This is extraordinary news, good for Texas, good for Democrats. Here's why.
First, a word about Tom. I met him back in 1988 while working in the Sen. Lloyd Bentsen campaign. I didn't know him well, but I remember him as intelligent, serious, and professional. Those are three qualities we need in the governor's mansion.
Some progressives may be tempted to ask why they should embrace a former business partner of George W. Bush, a man who was named by Bush as ambassador to Japan and Australia. Truth is, I haven't heard too much of this from members of an increasingly mature and pragmatic movement. But those who are tempted should consider the following.
If Texas Democrats are to complete their remarkable comeback, we're gonna have to welcome home a large number of Bush voters and backers. That's just reality.
I still feel some bitterness about former colleagues of mine who abandoned their core values to back Bush. That's not so much about Bush as it is disappointment that money and power meant so much more to them than their values or mine.
I am not a lifelong Democrat out of abstract party loyalty, though I do think loyalty is important. I am a Democrat because most Democrats share my Jeffersonian beliefs in pluralism, diversity, and an empowered citizenry. I simply don't believe mainstream Republicans truly believe in democracy any more. They believe in elite control and an obedient citizenry. That's why they can push restrictive voter requirements. It doesn't matter to them whether the citizens of a democracy have the power. They really do believe they were born to be in charge. Like kings and queens.
Despite some policy differences with me, moderate Democrats like Lloyd Bentsen and my real Texas political hero, Bill Hobby, shared these beliefs of mine. Right now, I choose to believe that Schieffer does too. He voted absentee in Democratic primaries while off in Japan and Australia. He is a moderate, of course, and I'm sure I'll have my disagreements. But I helped elect Ann Richards, and I had plenty of disagreements with her.