Did you notice what your colleague Arlen Specter had to say today? “I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary. I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election. Since my election … the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.” Now, this may sound wild and crazy, and Ray isn’t going to go for it right away, but, what if—just wondering—you were to file for governor as a Democrat? You could use Specter’s words, except for the bit about Pennsylvania, and you would have to give back some of the money to your friends (but not the $8 million you transferred from your Senate campaign account). Not to worry, Democrats can raise a lot of money these days. You could still run as a conservative on most issues, but you wouldn’t have to worry about the pro-life fringe or the stem cell research nutcases or your votes for CHIP and the bailout stimulus package. The Democrats would embrace you in a heartbeat and I bet you would find half a dozen House members who might switch parties along with you, maybe even a couple of congressmen. You can attack Perry’s record a lot more easily in a general election than in a Republican primary, where voters actually think secession is a good idea. In fact, I think you’d be unbeatable. And you would have the last laugh at people like me who think you might still get out of the race. You are getting out of a primary you may not be able to win for a general election you will win by at least 60-40. Here’s another advantage to switching parties: You will be able to govern. Even if you defeat Perry in the Republican primary and win the general election, you won’t be able to govern. Republicans in the Legislature don’t want to govern. They want to pander to their primary voters. They want to do Voter ID, guns in schools, ultrasound images, no sex ed, no stem cell research, no new money for schools, run immigrants out of the state, and all the rest of the stuff you have had to cope with for years as a moderate Republican. But if you switch parties, you will bring into power with you a Democratic majority in the House and probable pickups in the Senate and a chance to influence redistricting in 2011. You can govern. Think about it.
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Weekly dispatches from the middle of the road of Texas politics.
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