Monday, October 18, 2004

So THAT's where it came from

From Ace of Spades, a fascinating article by Andrew Ferguson in the Weekly Standard about Texas Democrats as the source of Bush hating liberal partisanship. An excerpt:

"...Austin is, as Jeff says, the 'anti-Texas,' where 'Texans who don't really like Texas' choose to live. More important, it has also, in a larger sense, exported its own peculiar brand of Bush hatred to Democrats from one coast to the other."

Austin, where self-loathing takes on a life of its own and becomes an indictment of the state, the region, and all things American. Ace sees it this way:

"I think that idea-- "Texans who don't really like Texas" -- explains 50% of politics, and 90% of liberal politics. People vote against whatever party seems more comfortable with the sort of people who gave them grief (real or imagined) as teenagers. For every Blaine from Pretty in Pink that exists in the real world, there are now a dozen committed liberals. Thanks a lot for that, Blaine. Maybe if you hadn't been such a prick to Ducky we wouldn't have had to suffer through two terms of Clinton."

I didn't see Pretty in Pink, so I'm not sure what all that means, but the principle makes sense to me. I believe liberals deal in emotions more than logic, and I've seen them react violently to, say, a guy like Bush because he reminds them of people who have hurt them in the past. Not a great way to run a railroad. Ace says later that "Liberals from the coastal cities aren't quite as nasty, or flat-out lunatic, as Texas Democrats seem to be," and he's exactly right about that. I lived in Berkeley for more than two years, debating liberals regularly about everything under the sun, and never had the vicious arguments I have had here about politics.

And this attitude is understandable, sort of, according to Ferguson:

"Yet the feeling that runs through Texas liberalism--the feeling of being besieged, outgunned, impotent if not hopeless--is well-founded. Even paranoids are sometimes on to something. For nearly a century, Texas liberals shared the majority party in Texas, the Democratic party, with conservatives. It was an uneasy alliance but it satisfied both factions with separate spheres of influence. No more. 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. And it promises to stay that way for the next generation.

"The change is notable not only for its comprehensiveness but for the rapidity with which it took place. In Texas, the first Republican since Reconstruction took statewide office in 1978. Within 20 years, all 22 statewide offices were held by Republicans. Unbudgeable, decades-old majorities in both houses of the Texas legislature vaporized just as quickly. You can't blame Texas liberals for being disoriented. 'There's something about being so concentrated ideologically that makes them more strident than they'd be under other circumstances,' Will Lutz, managing editor of a political newsletter called The Lone Star Report, told me earlier this month."

I've lived in this town off and on for 22 years, and it has indeed become the center of the Anyone But Bush scene, which is regrettable if you ask me. By regrettable I mean inefficient, and poinltessly mythological. I believe that when W wins, and he will, you will be able to trace it all back to here. And it didn't have to be that way. I sure hope something is learned from this election. It would be a real shame if liberals misinterpreted the results as badly as they have misinterpreted the last one, and further paint themselves into a corner.

UPDATE: I must admit I didn't read the entire Weekly Standard piece, and should have, since I missed this line: "Like Clinton-hating, Bush hatred is the creature of a marginalized mentality--the irritable gesture of the perennial loser." Amen, brother.

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