Open revolution has broken out in the Texas Republican Party, as mainstream Republicans, calling themselves 'Reagan Republicans' fight back against the extremist positions taken by the state party at its annual convention last weekend, including what State Rep. Jason Villalba calls a 'deport them all' position on immigration reform, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The Texas GOP also went on record approving a controversial procedure called 'reparative therapy,' or 'pray the gay away,' which supporters say uses prayer and psychoanalysis to 'turn gay people into heterosexuals.'
The first volley in the Rebellion was fired by Villalba in an 'open letter to Texas Republicans' on the 'Latinos Ready to Vote' web site.
In it, Villalba blamed the 'rigid and regressive policy positions of the 5.5%,' a reference to the Texas Eagle Forum and other hard-right groups which pushed the party platform into what has been called 'extremist' stances.
""It is clear to me that if we seek to win the future Hispanic vote, we should at least be cordial to our neighbors from the south," Villalba wrote. "Hispanics are the fastest growing demographic in Texas. If we are unable to win a significant proportion of the future Hispanic vote, our Grand Old Party is only a few election cycles away from perishing in Texas."
In an interview with 1200 WOAI news, Villalba expanded on his claims, saying he 'can't understand' how the Texas Republican Party got to this point.
"It just became clear to be that we are beginning to lose the party of Reagan, and become something much different, and I thought that was reason enough to really step out and say something about what I see happening," he said.
Villalba quoted a famous line from President Reagan to blast those with 'rigid and regressive' political positions. He pointed out that Reagan once said that politics involves 'making sure that your 80% friend doesn't become your 20% enemy.'
"What we're seeing today is that many in the party believe that my 20% enemy is my 100% enemy," he said.
Villalba also turned the tables on Tea Parties who claim to be guided by 'principles.'
"What would Reagan say about those, like the 5.5%, who insist that Republicans are defined by their allegiance to a narrow set of policy positions, rather than their principles," he asked, and responded with a quote from President Reagan.
"Such a party can be highly disciplined, but it does not win elections," Reagan said. "This kind of party soon disappears in a blaze of glorious defeat, and it never puts into practice its basic tenants, no matter how noble they may be."
Villalba is calling on all Republicans to 'join me in this fight to take back our Republican Party.'
"Without you, we are finished," Villalba said. "Fellow Reagan Republicans, you are our last line of defense. Now, more than ever before in our history, our Grand Old Party is depending on you for its very survival."