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Update:  Some of you said you want to be involved with Battle Ground Texas.   As noted in the comments v2aggie2 said the organization will start up next month.  I'll post a diary as soon as I learn more.  

Cross posted on Texas Kaos.

I am very excited to learn that a national effort is moving into the once great state of Texas. The goal is to flip Rick Perry's right wing hell hole back to its heart and soul as a fair, normal, national and democratic state that cares about its people.

Imagine Texas before former Governor G.W. Bush and Rick Perry ruined it.  That would be the Texas of the incomparable Molly Ivins and the amazing Ann Richards.  These tough ladies could see right through the antics and willful jackassery of the likes of the Bushes and Rick perry.

What stuns me most about contemporary politics is not even that the system has been so badly corrupted by money. It is that so few people get the connection between their lives and what the bozos do in Washington and our state capitols.  Molly Ivins.

Here's looking at you George P. Bush, yet another Bush carpetbagger who intends to use the once great state of Texas as a launching pad by which to serve his personal political ambitions. That and line his pockets to follow in the footsteps of his dear and beloved uncle W.

We've seen this horror show too many times before. We have been punished too much by smoke and mirrors budgets, toxic caldrons of far right ideologies and right wing nuttery for far too long. No more Bushes.  No more Perrys. Never again.  

As in never.

Go back to your home state of Florida, George P.  

Oh wait. Florida's demographics must be far too purple to shut down voter recounts or suppress minority voters, anymore. Poor Texas.

Texas is a very complicated place.  It is a huge state that boasts two time zones and a vast plethora of mixed rural and urban regions. A city like Houston is a global melting pot. A colorful rainbow of diversity, the city is bursting with thriving businesses, and stellar academic and research institutions. And because it tends to be fairly progressive and tolerant (Houston proper, that is) it is easy for transplants like me to ignore the fact that Houston also happens to be in Texas.

Well, it is easy to forget until someone like Rick Perry, Louie Gohmert or Debbie Riddle appear on the scene.

Worse, neoconservative chicken hawk who is apparently wearing Dick Cheney's training pants, Ted Cruz, is even scarier than the others, if that is possible.

Slick and divisive Ted knows how to work a room filled with rabid right wing war mongers. Think Sarah Palin dressed in a guy's suit and one who holds an advanced degree. The Tea Party people in Texas see Rafael Ted as a future Supreme Court Justice. For, according to them, he is a "white Cuban" who holds deeply religious values.  

Alas, despite its Republican clowns, lunatics, political snake oil dealers and crony capitalists, Texas is hardly a terrible place.  It has its beauty and its charm.  It has a beautiful coast line. There are some pretty amazing vineyards, too.  Most of the folks here are friendly, kind and very generous. The good people of Houston opened their homes, arms and wallets to offer refuge to the victims of Katrina in 2005. They (we) would do it again in a New York City nano-second.

The state has certainly produced its fair share of famous people such as Dwight D. Eisenhower, LBJ, Dr. Denton Cooley, Dan Rather, Sandra Day O'Conner, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and Janis Joplin to name just a few.

Unfortunately politicians like W., Guv Oops and Dick Cheney's under study, mean boy Ted Cruz give the once great state of Texas a bad name.

Rick Perry and his right wing base of the Texas Taliban, secessionists, racists, xenophobes, misogynists and homophobes make the place seem like a three ringed circus that is run by its clowns.

In Rick Perry's Texas "conservative values" translates into greed, corruption, crony capitalism and the bashing of women and voter's rights. That and they seem to enjoy punishing poor women.

Nothing is sacred in a state that is poisoned by crony capitalism and right wing extremism.  Even noble endeavors such as the state funded Cancer Institute (CPRIT) can become a sullied cash cow for Rick Perry's political appointees well as the donors to the CPRIT Foundation.  Which is why folks who do not trust or support Rick Perry get nervous when we see articles like this on the front page of the Houston Chronicle.

Perry has a surprise in his State of the State address
Heaven help us all. Seasoned realists like me wonder how many taxpayers will get thrown under the bus while Rick Perry gins up more schemes by which he can keep rewarding his crony donors.

And just when we think we've heard the worst from Rick Perry and the Texas GOP at home, their soul mates in Washington D.C. step up to show off their intolerance,  cowardice and lack of leadership where immigration reform is concerned.    

But while McCain’s support for comprehensive action — now — resounded across the nation’s capital, top Texas Republicans weren’t ready to embrace McCain’s efforts.

“As always, the devil is in the details,” said Rep. Pete Olson, a Republican from Sugar Land.

The problem for Texas Republicans is a combination of policy and politics. Most Texas Republicans don’t want to alienate the fast-growing Latino voting bloc in Texas with harsh immigrant-bashing rhetoric. But they also don’t want to anger the hard-core conservative base and Tea Party elements who are so powerful in the 21st century GOP with calls for “earned citizenship.”

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Senate Republican said he “looks forward to reviewing the senators’ proposal,” according to spokesman Drew Brandewie.

Fellow Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Houston, has read the framework and didn’t dismiss it out of hand. Or embrace it.

There they go again letting themselves get bullied by a handful of tea party clowns.
You can put lipstick and earrings on a hog and call it Monique, but it's still a pig.   Ann Richards
I agree with Democratic strategist Harold Cook's sentiments on this one.
“The congressional Republicans from Texas sidelined themselves with their anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric, which has no place in a fast-moving debate in which suddenly the debate has shifted to ‘how much citizenship,’” said Democratic consultant Harold Cook of Austin. “The result is a shameful outcome in which these members of Congress, representing a state with tremendous border real estate, have sidelined themselves completely. That’s not leadership, and it’s not even adequate representation. It’s just ideologues telling far-right voters what they want to hear, at the expense of mainstream Texans.”
We also have Republicans who blatantly pimp for corporate interests on national TV.  Remember Smoky Joe Barton?

Flipping Texas blue will be no easy feat, in my view. But given the ass clownery  cited above we should be able flip this place purple fairly easily.   Even moderates must put put off by the willfully dumb.

When I think about the progressive pockets such as Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso and other areas, I think we can do it.

But the sea of red that separates our cities is pretty daunting.  

How will they/we do it?

Battle Ground Texas.

Does this guy sound familiar?  

At the center of the effort is Jeremy Bird, formerly the national field director for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, who was in Austin last week to confer with local Democrats about the project.
I like this plan.
In a statement to POLITICO, Bird said the group would be “a grass-roots organization that will make Texas a battleground state by treating it like one.”
“With its diversity and size, Texas should always be a battleground state where local elections are vigorously contested and anyone who wants to be our commander in chief has to compete and show they reflect Texas values. Yet for far too long, the state’s political leaders, both in Austin and in Washington, D.C., have failed to stand for Texans,” said Bird, who recently founded a consulting firm, 270 Strategies. “Over the next several years, Battleground Texas will focus on expanding the electorate by registering more voters — and as importantly, by mobilizing Texans who are already registered voters but who have not been engaged in the democratic process.”
Tell this political activist how hard it has been to reach disengaged voters in this huge state.   Bird's group is just what Texas Democrats need.

Though I am totally psyched by this movement and believe me, count me in as a tireless grunt, I hope that the organization will reach out to seasoned grassroots Texas Democrats and strategists who know the opportunities and pitfalls here far better than I do.  Harold Cook is one of them.  

And so is Vince Leibowitz.  Not to mention the priceless McBlogger. I have to include my patient friend who can decode Texas politics when my brain gets scrambled.  None other than PDiddie.  There are also more than a few fearless ladies who are true Texas progressive fighters.  One will go nose to nose with the evil doing bad boys in gas and oil.  Who else but TX Sharon?  And then there is the awesome relentless fighter Martha Griffin among many others. South Texas Chisme won't cut the right any slack at all.  You go girl.  And then there is the incomparable lightseeker who holds a laser focused microscope on the Texas GOP's ruthless crusade to kill the public school system. My neighbor over at doscentavos keeps us informed of happenings in Houston.  Over in Austin our friends at The Burnt Orange Report keep their eye on Rick Perry and the Texas Legislature.  Speaking of which this is very encouraging news. Our friend "Kuff" is another amazing progressive blogger in Houston.

Please forgive me, my progressive friends, if I failed to include your awesomeness in my list.  

We welcome you into our state, Mr. Bird, with open arms. We trust that you will pay we the wee grassroots activists a courtesy call when you arrive.  Please absolutely do stop by to see our Party's new fearless leader.  

Gilberto Hinojosa is already making a big difference.

Meanwhile back in the Texas Republican clown circus Senators Cornyn and Cruz show their contempt for their country.

In Texas, we do not hold high expectations for the office; it's mostly been occupied by crooks, dorks and the comatose.  Molly Ivins.

Originally posted to Libby Shaw on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 07:54 AM PST.

Also republished by TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans, Houston Area Kossacks, Dallas Kossacks, CenTex Kossacks, and Community Spotlight.

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