Straus criticized by those who have no options.

Jason Embry in today's Statesman:

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus is under fire from the left and right.

Some staunch conservatives have looked skeptically at Straus ever since he became speaker last year with the support of Democrats and moderate Republicans. Now some of the Democrats who were part of his initial coalition say he's neglecting them as he tries to win over his critics on the right.

"He's bending over backwards for people who are never, ever going to support him," said Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston . "Those of us who would like to work with him in running the state, he's taking for granted."

Of course he's taking you for granted, where else are you going to go?

Farrar and Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, swiftly criticized the Taylor appointment because it left one Democrat and four Republicans on the panel.

"The speaker has had four chances to appoint members to the Sunset commission and only one of those appointments has been a Democrat," Coleman said. "Anyone who doesn't believe he is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative Republican isn't paying attention to the appointments."

Coleman's charges probably help the Speaker, by notifying Republicans that maybe he's not so buddy buddy with the Democrats who picked him.

But the Democrats now criticizing Straus supported him when he was first elected, and he may need them again. One Republican, Rep. Leo Berman of Tyler, has already launched a campaign against Straus and is likely to attract some Republican votes. Knowing that he will again seek their votes, Straus' critics may be looking for leverage.

This illustrates why Straus' critics like Farrar have absolutely zero leverage. A few are unhappy, but from Straus' perspective, so what? What are they going to do, go vote for Leo Berman? Obviously not. Vote for a Democrat? Only if they win a majority in November, which is highly unlikely, and even then Straus is gone anyway. So Straus has short-term danger from both sides, that Democrats negotiate with a Republican to make him Speaker and that Republicans decide they don't like Straus, get enough people together and then grab a Dem vote or two. Fortunately for Straus, he only has to dodge this for a few cycles, establish himself in the mainstream of the Republican caucus, and turnover will do the work of allowing him an independent power base.

Posted by Evan @ 07/02/10 06:07 PM


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