My former boss and mentor, the great Lloyd Bentsen, when he was senator from Texas, used to say the initials for his wonderful wife, B.A. Bentsen, stood for "best asset."
B.A. Bentsen is one of the great ladies of Texas and everywhere, and Sen. Bentsen's wise comment about her makes me think of what a great asset the vainglorious, ubiquitous and extremist Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is for Wendy Davis in her campaign to be governor of Texas.
Davis's No. 1 asset in her campaign is the enthusiasm, excitement, commitment and passion of her supporters in what they -- and I -- believe will be a historic campaign in the Lone Star State. There is an excitement in the air in Texas politics, a fresh breeze of passion for change and a new confidence among Texas Democrats.
It will not be easy. It will be hard. But the excitement and enthusiasm of Davis workers, voters, and donors is a powerful asset indeed. Many in the political media, who have for too long made the mistake of downplaying the chances of Democrats to regain control of the U.S. House, similarly make the mistake of overstating the popularity of Cruz in Texas.
Cruz is certainly popular among Texas Republicans, but as he drives Texas Republicans further and further to the far right, he drives up the chances for Davis and Texas Democrats to make a successful stand.
And as Cruz drives Texas Republicans from the far right to the farther right, there is the whiff of secession in some Texas GOP talk, and now the hot new trend in the Texas GOP is to eliminate the popular election of United States senators. Huh?
As Butch said to Sundance, where they get these guys? What will they think of next? Eliminating voting rights for all Texans? Letting banks charge usury interest rates against Texas consumers? Trying to deport Texas Hispanic voters? In Washington, the GOP problem is that 180 House Republicans are driving the GOP so far to the extremist right they may well destroy the 30 most moderate House Republicans in districts they could well lose, returning control of the U.S. House to Democrats.
Again, it won't be easy, but after the latest suicide strategy of Tea Party House Republicans, even the dimmest bulbs on the political tree now realize that control of the House is now very much in play. In Austin, the same phenomenon is now at work. The rightist frenzy of the Cruz contagion is driving Texas Republicans so far the nut-case right (eliminating the popular election of senators?) that the underdog Lone Star campaign of Davis looks better every day.
Don't underestimate the powerful asset of enthusiasm and excitement among those who believe in Davis, and don't underestimate Davis's second-best asset: the suicide strategies of the crazy-wing friends of Cruz.