Rush to Judgment

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Jack Rains, whom some may remember as a former Secretary of State during the Bill Clements years, sent this commentary by Rush Limbaugh to his (Rains’) e-mail list. It pertains to the county-by-county map of the election (click on image for full map). I will comment following Limbaugh’s observations. You know, it’s interesting, I saw today the final county map, red state, blue state map by county, and if you just landed here from Mars, and you looked at that map, you would swear the Republicans won this thing in a landslide, if you didn’t know where the population centers are. I guarantee you by county and by square mileage, we skunked ’em! But then you look at the coasts, you look all up and down the Left Coast, you look all up and down the East Coast, until you get past New Jersey and Maryland, DC, even Virginia, three counties in Virginia won it for Obama. Those three counties are microscopic on the map. But it’s just amazing. The population centers feature big cities, of course, and people who live in big cities are largely Democrat, and I don’t know, for example, how many conservatives are going to want to move to a place like California. Look at the tax rate in California. How many conservatives who don’t already live there, want to move to New York? I mean, you need a great job, a lot of money to live there. Besides, conservatives don’t Balkanize themselves. They live their lives; they want to be happy and so forth. Liberals are the ones that organize in little communes and cliques and cities and so forth and only want to hang around with each other and themselves. We’re not that way in many regards. In some parts of the country that happens to be the case, but this map is just stunning. And I’ll tell you something else that’s stunning. If you look at the counties, what I call the Hispanic border states, you go up the border of Mexico with Texas, the only blue counties in Texas, other than one outside of Houston, are right on the border with Mexico, and then you go into New Mexico, same thing, go into Arizona, pretty close, same thing, you go to California, you can see the Hispanic vote. You can see where it’s gone. It’s all blue. Well, not all, but I mean, it’s just amazing. * * * * My response: There is nothing amazing about this map. It is the inevitable result of the Republican party’s rigid adherence to faith-based and cultural values. Stem cell research is the canary in this coal mine. When the president of the United States imposes a religious-based restriction on the search for knowledge and scientific progress, he and his party have placed politics and ideology above the public interest. The governor of Texas has done the same. A party that cares more about doctrine than about governing points itself in the direction of irrelevance. The map reflects what the Republican party has brought on itself. The GOP has become the party of rural America. The Democrats are the party of the cities. The division is not a neat one; the cities, after all, are populated by people who came from the countryside over several decades and brought their rural values with them. The antipathy of the countryside for the city is hardly new in American politics; it goes back to Jefferson, who believed that the yeoman farmer represented the American ideal. But the cities are where the voters are. Cultural issues will always be with us; how we live and what we value are important politically as well as personally. I do not question their legitimacy. I do question their primacy—and so should Republicans. The three “G’s” (God, gays, and guns) cannot sustain a political party over the long haul. Sooner or later, you have to govern. The Bush administration failed in Iraq and failed in New Orleans, and the country lost faith in the administration’s leadership and competence. The end of Limbaugh’s first paragraph is quite strange. “[C]onservatives don’t Balkanize themselves. They live their lives; they want to be happy….” “Balkanize” means to divide into ineffectual warring factions. So conservatives don’t balkanize themselves? How, then, do you explain the Republican base’s antipathy for anyone who shows independence—John McCain, for starters? Look at Texas, and the efforts to purge the so-called RINOs. As for conservatives wanting to be happy: Since when? Conservatives aren’t supposed to be happy. They’re supposed to be worried. What makes conservatives conservative is a dark view of human nature that leads them to fear change. William Safire, in his Political Dictionary, writes, “Abraham Lincoln called conservatism, ‘adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried.'” More Rush: “Liberals are the ones that organize in little communes and cliques and cities and so forth and only want to hang around with each other and themselves.” Hmm…that sounds more like small towns to me. Everybody knows everybody else—and their secrets. What many people find attractive about cities is that you can, if you choose, be anonymous. You can shuck your past and re-invent yourself. Finally, Rush found Hispanic support for Obama to be stunning. What did he expect? The Republican party has done everything possible to alienate Hispanics, from building a wall to breaking up families. Perhaps he ought to read the platform of the Republican Party of Texas on the subject of illegal immigration: “No amnesty! No how! No way!” No wonder the Hispanic vote in Texas was around 70% Democratic.

<p class="rtecenter"><img alt="" class="media-image attr__typeof__foaf:Image img__fid__34459 img__view_mode__default attr__format__default attr__field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]__ attr__field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]__" src="http://www.texasmonthly.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2015/05/0615_UrbanCowboy_470x607.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p> <p>Summer is upon us and that means fun in the sun. Wait. Where is that guy? He's been MIA for a while. Instead, his pal Torrential Texas Downpours has been hanging around a lot, occasionally with his own bullying pal, Texas Tornadoes—and<a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/drought-west-texas-comanche-tradition"> yet we still haven't managed to shake this drought.</a> Good thing there's ice cream, right? Oh, wait. <a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/rocky-road">That's been MIA too.</a> Okay, I guess it's time to go for a walk and enjoy all the fine flora and fauna this state has to offer. What's that you say? <a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/what-happened-to-the-horned-toad-texas-state-reptile">The horned toad, our state reptile, is <em>also </em>reported missing?</a> What is going <em>on</em> here?! Next thing you'll tell me is that <a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/corps-values-Alyssa-Michalke-first-female-commander-a-m-corps-of-cadets">A&M's Corps of Cadets is now helmed by a woman</a>. Oh, my word! Is it end times?!</p> <p>Probably not. (Also, for the record, a big Aggies thumbs up to Alyssa Michalke and the Corps.) So since we’re likely not facing apocalyptic doom, you should have plenty of time to read our<a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/issue/june-2015"> June issue</a>, now up on texasmonthly.com. Learn more about the <a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/snap-stream-video-search-engine-daily-show-late-show-with-john-oliver">Google-esque video search engine</a> that helps Jon Stewart and John Oliver skewer politicians and celebrities. Or why <a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/how-realistic-is-texas-rising">you shouldn't invite a history buff to your viewing party of <em>Texas Rising.</em></a> Or the <a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/oral-history-of-urban-cowboy-turning-35">backstory of <em>Urban Cowboy</em></a>, including snappy bits of cocktail chatter like how Deborah Winger almost wasn't cast as Sissy and Patrick Swayze's mom was the choreographer for the film<em>. </em>Or,<em> </em>If, like me, you were reading this and zeroed in on the word “cocktail,” might I suggest you try <a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/raspberry-smash-pappas-bros-steakhouse-recipe">this one from the Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas</a>. But leave the getting smashed to <a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/authentic-guacamole-recipe-vittles">avocados, which are best when one applies a little pressure to them</a>.</p> <p>Elsewhere on texasmonthly.com, experience the wonder that is <a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/daily-post/15-things-we-learned-about-matthew-mcconaughey-his-university-houston-commencement-speech">advice from everyone's favorite bongo-playing Texan, Matthew McConaughey</a> (including gems like he is his own best friend, he hates the word "unbelievable," and those No Fear t-shirts from the nineties were peddling lies). Watch a video of what is arguably <a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/daily-post/watch-video-one-most-aggressive-school-bus-drivers-texas">the most aggressive school bus driver in Texas</a>. Wrap your head around the fact that <a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/daily-post/4-percent-africas-rhinos-might-relocate-south-texas">up to 4 percent of Africa's rhinos could soon be your neighbor</a>. And stop to consider the<a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/daily-post/wacothugs-biker-gangs-and-white-white-crime"> reaction to the #WacoThugs involved in the Twin Peaks shooting</a>. </p> <p>If you only like to handle your <em>Texas Monthly</em> live and in the flesh, might we suggest buying<a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/urbancowboyscreening"> a ticket to the <em>Urban Cowboy</em> screening</a> that will be taking place at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in Austin, a guaranteed-to-be-memorable evening featuring Johnny Lee, that crooner who was "Lookin' For Love" in all the wrong places? Or get your seat at the table for <a href="http://www.tmbbq.com/events/fire-smoke-houston/">a masterful meal made by Underbelly's Chris Shepherd and Ronnie Killen of Killen's Barbecue</a>? </p> <p>Perhaps you prefer your dose of <em>Texas Monthly</em> in 140-character bites. In which case, <a href="https://twitter.com/TexasMonthly">follow us on Twitter</a>, if you don't already. (And all of our other social media accounts, too. We promise we won't overshare.)</p> <p>And as always, if you see something (wrong with the site), say something (to me). I’ll just be over here <a href="http://www.texasmonthly.com/daily-post/it-rockets-time">rooting for the Rockets</a> (Clutch City, baby!).</p>

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