I saw Garnet Coleman, one of Texas’ finest Democratic leaders, speak at the monthly Texas Democratic Women meeting today. He was wonderful, and his appearance brought the biggest turnout I have ever seen at a local TDW meeting (I have been to a few).
He talked quite a bit about the Speaker’s race, education, CHIP, and other priorities for 2008-2009. If events unfold as they are trending, we’ll see a new speaker (odds are good that there will be 76 people pissed off at Craddick), a Democratic majority in the State House, restored funding to CHIP, re-regulated college tuition, and a public school funding system that makes sense and actually funds our schools.
In what I couldn’t help but think was a remarkable coincidence, Coleman referred several times to Grover Norquist’s rhetoric about shrinking the government, which was the same rhetoric on my mind earlier this week for the Katrina anniversary. What is sad is that the Norquist school of neoconservatism — which is nothing short of an attempt to totally dismantle our government — has been the policy of the Republican overlords at the federal and state level since 2001. His point was very dire: the neocons are succeeding in their attempt to cripple government. Look at CHIP: 230,000 kids cut + 100,000 kids restored = still 130,000 kids not covered while Texas’ population continues to boom. Worse, Bush is now playing the same games with CHIP at the federal level. Sometimes I feel like Texas is the playpen for the most vile Republican policies out there.
But, there’s hope. With seasoned, effective leaders like Garnet Coleman (along with Jim Dunnam and Pete Gallego) and high-performing newcomers like Crosbyton’s own Joe Heflin, I think our odds of making things better for Texans in 2008 and beyond are looking pretty good.
Edit: The A-J covered the event.