Monday, January 3, 2011

Internal Republican Problems in Texas

I've been getting all the emails pro and con on as to who should be the speaker in the Texas House.  This is a good wrap up of what is going on - or maybe not going on.  It has been a real anthill of activity since the November elections.  This is from the Trailblazer's Politics blog. (Dallas News)
Speaker's race: Any votes moving beneath froth?
by Robert T. Garrett/Reporter

"The Tea Party in Texas has been working overtime to ensure that we have conservative leadership in the Texas House," says the unknown producer of this anti-Joe Straus video, which appears on the website StopJoeStraus.com , itself something of a mystery. Since I first noticed the site a few weeks back, I've asked the most visible organizer of the push for a more conservative speaker, Michael Quinn Sullivan, president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, if he has learned who's behind StopJoeStraus.com.

"I have not," he told me today.

This video, with its network-news-type graphics, is more sophisticated -- or jaded -- than some of the anti-Straus fusillades we've seen up to now.

I say jaded because it's ironic to see an ostensibly conservative issue campaign cite the liberal Texas Observer as its authority for spreading fear that Joe Straus' family ties to gambling mean that casinos are sure to start popping up like dandelions across the state. The article about Straus' gambling bloodlines was written last spring by the estimable Andrew Wheat of the watchdog group Texans for Public Justice, and just those words alone should grab the attention of the tort reformers among us.

But speaker's race politics does make for strange bedfellows. To guard his right flank, Straus, R-San Antonio , has produced the video below, which puts forth his Republican credentials. Also, as a tea party blog known as Ramparts 360 recently noted, Straus has hired quite a diverse cast of political consultants and his most outspoken defenders in the House Republican Caucus have included some members he really went to the mat -- or the checkbook -- to assist in last year's election.

Speaking of the caucus, if you've been on vacation, you might have missed that its Straus-supporting chairman, Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, has agreed to hold a meeting on Jan. 10, the day before the session starts; Straus opponent Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, wants Taylor to call for "a vote to determine the Republican preference for speaker," which would be nonbinding but potentially trouble-causing for the incumbent; and Straus has reacted by saying, in effect, big deal, I've got more than enough Republican votes to carry the day -- whether it's opening day or the day before.
You will want to go to the site, read the whole thing, and then follow some of the other postings. The only way to have a fair appraisal of this situation is to read all the links, pro and con, watch the videos, all the comments (one of which gives the story behind the video mystery) then make up your mind.

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