WASHINGTON – Ronald Reagan isn't on Mount Rushmore. But lots of Republicans think he should be. Thus, it is no small matter for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison when doubts are raised about her commitment to the party's hero.Dust off those clippings from 1976, a seminal year for Texas Republicans. Reagan's challenge brought legions of enthusiastic newcomers to the party – and some friction between them and the traditionalists who had labored years to break the Democrats' grip on Texas.President Gerald Ford had named Hutchison vice chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, and she sided with him against the insurgent, naturally."But after that, certainly I was very pro-Reagan," Hutchison said last week. "Loved Ronald Reagan. Supported him, was chairman of his Women for Reagan committee in Texas [in 1980]. I've got a lot of Reagan supporters supporting me for governor right now.
Two people have sent me this article and asked me to blog it. Sure, but I don't really see what these minor things 20 or 30 years ago have to do with today or the next four years.
Kay also took a shot at Rick for being a Democrat, but considering that so many Texas Republican voters became that way in the early to mid 1990s I just don't see this as a credible attack. Heck there are still pockets of East Texas that are strongly pro Democrat but in a conservative way. Phil Gramm was a Democrat, too, and look at him. If you look at news articles from the 1980's and even early 1990's you will often times see labels "conservative Democrat" and "liberal Democrat" in the Dallas Morning News and other newspapers.
A lot of conservative Texas Democrats became Republicans not out of political convenience but because the party moved to the left and left them. In the meantime, the Republican Party moved to the right especially on issues like abortion and guns which helped facilitate the transition for conservative Democrats... who never fit in well with the country club Rockefeller Republican crowd... into the GOP. I certainly have family members who fit that description... they were diehard Democrats and now are diehard Republicans, and the issues have not changed all that much.
In 1990, Rick beat Democrat incumbent Jim Hightower as Ag Commissioner in a surprising victory, Kay won a statewide position which does not exist today... state treasurer... against a weak Democrat opponent... and Big John won a supreme court slot. Both Rick and Kay were at the forefront of the modern Republican realignment in Texas.
Kay not supporting Ronald Reagan in 1976 is just not a big deal. Rick being a Democrat in the 1980s is not a big deal either. Tell me what you've done for me lately. Since the 1990's. Preferably since 2000.