Hillary has hit Texas. I'm afraid Texas may be about to hit back.
Tuesday night in El Paso, after a string of bruising losses in the Potomac primaries, Senator Clinton took the stage to thunderous applause in a place that rarely sees a national politician.
After waiting for years to be courted, this city put on a pre-Valentine's Day spectacular for its new sweetheart. She got the full Texas treatment, sharing the stage with a tiny boy in a giant sombrero, holding a bouquet the size of Dallas and being introduced by a talkative Texas Congressman who took this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work the crowd and run out the clock.
Hell, Texas is finally on TV with a starring role in a Democratic presidential primary and we are all going to take advantage of it. Everybody else can just wait.
When the Senator finally wrested the mike away, she talked about her long history with Hispanics down here.
Then ironically, she used an old Texas-ism that actually works against her. She said that President Bush was all hat and no cattle, a predictable battle cry against a Texas-based presidency in its death throes.
The problem is that she, too often, comes off as just the opposite -- all cattle and no hat, all policy and no pizzazz, all minutiae and no magic.
And that stuff just doesn't have a history of working down here.
Texas voters want someone who makes their hearts pound, not a policy expert. And the state has proved it time and again. We'd rather vote for a wacko than a wonk.
There is something else going on down here, something I hesitate to bring up. But the call of Texas history is haunting Hillary.
It is becoming clear that for the Clinton campaign, the Texas primary isn't just another vote. It's the freakin' Alamo.
There are some scary parallels.
Before continuing, I have to insert an "analogy alert" for people who are sophisticated enough, thoughtful enough and analytical enough to realize that we may simply have a very interesting coincidence here. Nothing more.
But after 25 years of working in television news, where we learned to look for and leap on anniversaries and analogies like drunks grabbing beads at a Mardi Gras parade, I just can't help myself.
Reporters, particularly in television, have always used anniversaries reliably and shamelessly as supposedly important arbiters of current events, harbingers of things to come, or occasions to look back and draw painfully exaggerated conclusions.
It also allowed us to use file video. And hey, that's cost effective, a plus in our new corporate media culture.
I guess my judgment is still profoundly colored by that mainstream media experience, so stand back.
Here comes a big one.
Texans will go to the polls March 4th, exactly 172 years from the day when the Alamo was going down.
Texas legend, which is taught as a kind of state catechism down here, holds that on March 4, 1836, give or take a day, Colonel William Travis gathered his weary men together inside the Alamo. The old Spanish mission was surrounded by Mexican soldiers, unable to get reinforcements and probably running out of campaign cash.
Pulling his sword from its scabbard, Travis planted it in the dirt of the mission grounds and drew a now famous line in the sand. He invited anyone willing to stay to step over the line. Each and every one was aware that staying to fight meant certain death. Everyone stepped forward. Jim Bowie, suffering from typhoid, had to be carried across the line in a gurney. I guess he represents President Clinton.
The only Frenchman in the group opted to leave, saying, "By God, I am not ready to die." Gosh, even then, I guess the whole "coalition of the willing" thing wasn't working for them.
Of course, the Alamo's parallels with current politics sort of come to a screeching halt there, since depending on whom you talk to, the Alamo was either about the claim to Texas independence or the right to own slaves, Mexican domination or the desire to dominate Mexicans. And Senator Clinton seems to be counting on Hispanic voters to save her, rather than put her out of business.
But the siege mentality taking hold at the Clinton campaign has to be reaching Alamo-like proportions.
We know the Clinton campaign will be with us until the last dog dies. Right now, the dog appears to be in some medical distress.
Texas, which was supposed to be a victory lap, has become a potential booby-trap.
Now, so close to the anniversary of the day that the defenders of the Alamo went down fighting and took their place in history, there is a real sense that the same thing may be happening to Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency.
And that has to scare the bejeezus out of Colonel Travis, uh, I mean Senator Clinton.