AUSTIN — As the Texas Democratic Party gets set to gather in Corpus Christi this week, storm clouds are gathering around their party.  Contrary to the promises that the Democrats’ controller and puppetmaster, Matt Angle, made a few years back, the Democrats are being abandoned by both the voters and by their own national party’s top personalities.

“Matt Angle pledged to elect a Democrat to statewide office and take the Texas House this year, but look at where they really are,” said Republican Party of Texas spokesman Bryan Preston.  “The Republican margin in the House has grown before a single vote has been cast and we have great challengers on the ticket all over the state, more than four dozen local elected Democrats across Texas have run away from that party to become Republicans this election cycle, and their great White hope has been caught in all kinds of ethics problems from his days as Houston’s mayor.  They’ll try to put on a brave face at their convention this week for BTEC Bill, but it’ll be nothing more than a sad show.”

The Texas Democrats’ convention takes place as a new poll shows that, nationally, the enthusiasm gap between the parties is vast.  Gallup reveals that 59% of Republicans or Republican leaners are as enthusiastic or more enthusiastic about voting Republican this year than just two years ago, while only 44% of Democrats or Democratic leaners are willing to say the same.  That 15-point enthusiasm gap is the widest seen in at least 16 years. Overall, Gallup says Republicans enjoy a +28 difference in enthusiasm over the Democrats heading into the fall elections.

Meanwhile, the Texas Democrats have apparently been unable to bring any high level out-of-state Democratic personalities to Texas for their state convention.  And a glance at their convention agenda reveals a glaring problem with their speakers list: They don’t have one, beyond their party’s chairman and Bill White.  Down ballot candidates have reportedly even grumbled about being left off the convention agenda by their own party.

“The Democrats’ convention will be mercifully short, because they don’t have anything to run on and nothing interesting to say to Texas voters,” added Preston.  “The only thing they can promise is more of the same extreme liberal partisanship and policies that are getting pushed at us by the Obama Democrats in Washington, and it’s abundantly clear that Texans have no interest in that at all.”

Though he is not chairman and holds no staff or elected position with the party, Matt Angle is, in the words of Democratic operative Glenn Smith, the “de facto state (Democratic) party now.”  According to a January 2010 article in Roll Call, Angle controls the Texas Democratic Party from his Washington, DC rowhouse via the Texas Democratic Trust, whose chief source of funding is the estate of the late Fred Baron.  Baron made headlines in 2008 when it turned out that he had helped finance the concealment of former Democratic Senator and vice presidential nominee John Edwards’ illicit relationship with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter.