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Screw the White House: Let's Focus on Keeping Texas from Becoming Teabagistan

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There's a danger in getting too invested in presidential debates and the whole national political saga, gripping as it may be. By turning our faces to bright lights far away, we risk forgetting just how dark things could get here at home in November.

The Tea Party is poised to make its ultimate assault on the Texas Legislature, determined to take seats from Republicans suspected of being moderate, and equally determined to take over the speaker's job in the House.

That could wind up turning Texas into a true outlier realm, a kind of national Teabagistan cut off from national commerce and culture by its own cheer peculiarity. Oh, wait. That's what we are already, right? Well, I mean a lot more so.

Bryan Hughes, a Tea Party hero from Mineola in East Texas, apparently is a serious contender to unseat Speaker Joe Straus, with an avowed agenda of way more conservatism and way less reasonableness.

You might look at Austin and wonder how that's even possible. Please, don't say that out loud. There's a difference between forcing invasive examinations on women who want abortions, for example, and stoning them. Never say it can't get worse.

Maybe you are tempted to concentrate on the national scene because that's the only place you see a glimmer of hope. But that's a mistake, too, because there's a glimmer here, as well. The fact is that redistricting and the Latino-liberalization of urban areas gives the Democratic Party a shot right now at breaking the Republican super-majority in the House.

In fact fear of a stronger liberal trend in the near future may even be keeping some Republicans in the moderate camp. They're probably worried about putting their names to the kind of Tea Party stuff that could get them shipped off to political re-education farms after the counter-Revolution (and I want to be a driver on those buses).

If the current speaker, Straus, can find no other way to survive, he may be forced to turn to some of the newly more numerous Democratic members after November for support. Wouldn't that be sweet?

Meanwhile the Dems are getting sharper about their own message. After a decade wasted harping on the harm budget cuts are doing to teachers -- a topic about which no one gives a shit -- the Democrats finally have hit on a theme that might light some fires. They're talking about the harm budget cuts are doing to coaches.

Brad Watson on WFAA Channel 8 had a great piece last night about a movement for school vouchers in the next Legislature and how Democrats say it could spell the end to Friday Night Lights in Texas.

The end of football? Texans would have to sign all new medical directives: "Should high school football come to an end in Texas, I direct my physician to shoot me."

The story included an interview with a wonky-looking Republican in Houston talking about how unfair it is for families to be "held hostage" to underperforming public schools in their neighborhoods. To most Texans, he probably sounded like some limp law professor speaking ancient Greek.

What's that boy talking about, underperforming? Does he mean rushing yardage or pass completion?

Now, that's what I mean. Put together a meaner eye for message with more Latinos and some court-ordered redistricting, we've got a shot at not becoming Teabagistan after all. Well, you know what I mean: becoming less Teabagistan.

So it's not all presidential debates. There's a lot at stake here at home, too. Can you even imagine where Texans would go if they ended high school football here? Do they have it in Mexico maybe?

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