TEXIFICATION….Via Jonathan Singer, the Economist’s Lexington notes a delicious irony. A few short years ago it was the Democratic Party that was supposedly in danger of shrinking into a merely regional party, but today it’s the GOP that looks to be headed for that fate:
The extent of the southernisation of the Republican Party is astonishing….The problem for the Republicans is that a regional stronghold can become a prison. The South has one of the most distinctive cultures in the United States?far more jingoistic than the rest of the country and far more religious.
….But for every non-southerner who waxes lyrical about southern charm there are many more who associate the South with racial bigotry and cultural backwardness. The 2006 election?which saw social conservatives such as Rick Santorum and Kenneth Blackwell go down to humiliating defeat?suggests that non-southerners have grown particularly impatient with the South’s brand of in-your-face religiosity.
Kevin Phillips calls this the “Texification” of the Republican Party, and I actually prefer that term. I explained why several years ago:
The heart and soul of Republican grass roots activism can be found pretty easily: it’s in Texas. The New Model radical right took over the Texas Republican party a decade ago and elected George Bush governor. They have since taken over the entire state and propelled one of their own to the presidency and another to leadership of the House of Representatives. They bring a messianic fervor to their task, and after successfully taking over the second biggest state in the union their sights are now set on the entire country. This is not a fringe group. It is the biggest, most active, most energetic, and most determined segment of the Republican party today.
Click the link to read a summary of the Texas State Republican platform for 2000, the one they passed after six years with George Bush at the helm. Like so many revolutionaries before them, they’re perfectly happy to proselytize their plan to the world openly with no hemming or hawing. You don’t have to guess what their goals are, you just have to read what they themselves say they are.
The South has always been with us, but it’s the Texas strain of militant conservativism that’s made the South so toxic in recent years. If the country is finally starting to tire of their messianic insistence that you’re not a real American unless you worship at their churches, watch their sports, and raise your family the way they tell you, it’s not a moment too soon.