The PJ Tatler

Gen. Ricardo Sanchez: Yesterday's Dem villain, today's Dem savior?

Retired Gen. Ricardo Sanchez looks set to join the campaign for the Texas Senate seat being vacated by KBH, as a “progressive on social issues, fiscally conservative” Democrat. The fact that he’s running as a Democrat alone weakens his candidacy, in a state where Democrats haven’t won anything statewide in a very long time. But Sanchez in particular may turn out to be among the most problematic candidates the Democrats can field. They’re hailing him today, but not too long ago Sanchez was linked with the worst scandal to come out of the US-led war in Iraq: Abu Ghraib. Sanchez was found to be derelict in his oversight duties, a dereliction that led to one of the most significant public relations defeats for the US in the entire war. He left the military in some disgrace.

The Democrats seriously want to run the highest ranking officer who was connected to Abu Ghraib, whom the Army found to be derelict in his duties, for Senate?  Apparently, they do.

If the Democrats have succeeded in going after and recruiting Sanchez to run, it also indicates one more time just where the Texas Democrats think they will finally find their return to power in Texas. Not through policy or ideas, not even through the quality of their candidates, but through demographic shifts and naked appeals to identity politics. The fact that the Republicans nominated and elected a slew of conservative Hispanic candidates to local offices, the state House and US Congress in 2010, has put the Democrats on the defensive to win among a population that they have long taken for granted as their salvation. They may be realizing that they’re going to have to work for that vote, when for years they have assumed it would fall into their laps.

The fact that former solicitor general Ted Cruz, conservative Republican, may emerge as the GOP Senate nominee out of a very crowded and much more qualified field on that side, positively terrifies the Texas Democrats. Of all of the candidates on the GOP side, Cruz may be the one that the Democrats fear the most.