"Bush wants to go back to the Texas model." said White House Press Secretary Tony Snow.
Yeah, I bet he does.
Let's ask Texas Democrats how that model worked out for them. Specifically, let's ask former House Speaker Pete Laney. Here's some background on that summarized well in a Begala piece below the fold:
Back home Bush had no better Democratic buddy than House Speaker Pete Laney, a quintessential Texas good ol' boy who ran the House through his mastery of both procedure and policy. Together with the late Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, Laney was responsible for Bush's success as Texas governor. (The governor of my state has little real power, but Bush teamed ably and admirably with Laney and Bullock.)
After the Supreme Court handed the 2000 election to Gov. Bush, it was Pete Laney who let him address the nation from the chamber of the Texas House of Representatives, even introducing Bush as a bipartisan healer. Bush made a point of praising Laney, whom he called "my friend."
Two and a half years later, Bush's "friend" was holed up in Ardmore, Okla., in a vain attempt to stop a bone-crunchingly partisan redistricting of Texas that could not have been brought about without the approval of his buddy George. The congressional map was redrawn just two years after the last redistricting--not because population patterns had shifted, but because political power had shifted. When Democrats fled the state to prevent legislative action on the redistricting plan, the Texas Rangers were called in to track them down. And when the Rangers couldn't find the Democrats, the Republicans called in President Bush's federal Department of Homeland Security, which found them by tracing Laney's private plane.
Today Pete Laney is no longer Speaker--with Bush's help, Republicans took over the Texas Legislature--and now Pete is in the fight of his life, running in a new, Republican district created with the support of his old buddy.
Laney's story is especially upsetting because Bush tried to destroy someone who had never crossed him--simply for the crime of being a Democrat.
Not just someone who had never crossed Bush, but someone who had actively worked with him in a 'bipartisan' fashion and enabled him to claim a successful tenure as Governor in a state where that position doesn't hold much real power.
There is a clear lesson to be learned in Texas. It's an especially important lesson for conservative Democrats - just the type Bush backstabbed in Austin. I'm glad Snow was kind enough to telegraph their intentions with a helpful historical reference.