Rick Perry will not be reelected governor of Texas. Odds are 60 percent he does not run for reelection, 60 percent he is defeated in a primary if he runs, and 50 percent he is defeated by a Democratic nominee if Perry wins a primary and Texas Democrats choose a strong candidate.
Texas Republicans are not even faking a GOP retoot. The future of the GOP in Texas is a battle between those who favor crony capitalism and those who favor crony capitalism, between those who oppose fair pay and better healthcare for women and those who oppose fair pay and better healthcare for women, between those who could gravely hurt education and those who would decimate education, between Republicans who would steal democracy from Hispanics through gerrymandering and voting-rights abuses and Republicans who would steal democracy from Hispanics though gerrymandering and voting-rights abuses.
The most condescending and delusional views of Texans were once offered by Northeastern liberals. Today the most condescending and delusional views of Texans are held by Texas Republicans, who treat Texas voters as though they are all right-wing nuts (not unlike delusional national Republicans in 2012). This is why Hillary Clinton has a great chance of carrying Texas if she runs in 2016, and why Texas Democrats have a fair chance of electing a governor or senator in 2014 if (and only if) they run or draft strong statewide candidates.
For these reasons, Rubio (whom Clinton would defeat for president in Texas in one recent poll) is a very important person. He does offer the GOP a chance for a legitimate reboot, if (and only if) he has the courage, skill and tenacity to take on the far right beginning with immigration. If Rubio backs down to the right and ultimately offers only a weak retoot immigration bill, he will further alienate Hispanics from the GOP.
For these reasons, Rubio's speech answering Obama's speech means nothing. In my view, Obama's State of the Union address will also ultimately mean nothing. Obama's speeches are always overrated in importance by the commentariat class, which has a desperate need to fill a 24-hour news cycle.
The test for Rubio will not be what he says in a speech (it is easy to criticize Obama in a speech) but what he does on immigration (it is hard to take on the far right, which still dominates the GOP grassroots).
In Washington we are witnessing the resurgence of the House Democrats. The next question is whether we witness a resurgence of Texas Democrats, which is entirely up to Texas Democrats in 2014, based on whether they find strong candidates for governor and senator, and is almost entirely up to Clinton in 2016, who could almost be called a front-runner for electoral votes in Texas if she runs.
Meanwhile, the smartest Republicans in America, Ailes and Rove, largely agree with my columns in the last two years with titles such as "conservative crack-up." As the national civil war among Republicans only begins, the age of Rick Perry is coming to an end in Texas.
Stay tuned for future thoughts about the next battle of San Jacinto in Texas, in which the crony capitalist GOP plays Santa Anna while Texas Democrats await their Sam Houston. And in Washington, ignore what Rubio says and watch closely what Rubio does.