Texas GOP, we have a problem

As the recent speaker race indicated, the Texas GOP has a cultural problem: it's okay to vote for the Democrat's choice for leadership, as long as that person is a Republican. Although Republicans in this state labored towards the majority for a time spanning 3 centuries, we're not doing very well in electing our own leadership. It's time for that to change, and the party leadership needs to be the ones to do it.

The Texas Republican Party is perpetually debating how to force its elected officials to stick to the platform. It is, frankly, a very silly notion. People don't run for office so that they can rubberstamp whatever a small portion of the party grassroots comes up with as the party platform. The very notion of a republic is that good men and women are supposed to do what they think is right for the Republic. [You've been watching Rome, haven't you?-- ed. Yup!] Or note that the Harris County GOP officially backed Dan Patrick's call to end the filibuster in the Texas Senate. It obviously wasn't going to happen. [As people skeptical of the government's halcyonic abilities, I thought we were supposed to like it when it's harder for the government to pass bills?]

Instead, we should focus on a bigger problem, that the party can do something about: Republicans letting Democrats decide which Republican becomes the leader.

Go back to January 2001, when State Senator David Sibley had the backing of most -- if not all, Ratliff excepted -- of the Senate Republican membership. The chamber was controlled 16-15 by Republicans, leading observers to assume Sibley would be made the next Lieutenant Governor of Texas. [Perry had left the Lt. Gov's seat open when he became governor following the 2000 election.]

Nope. Bill Ratliff ("I am a Republican because I agree with the Republicans at least 51 percent of the time") galvanized Democratic support and was elected Lt. Gov. 16-15, because of his Democratic support.

Fast forward to today, when the choice of the vast majority of House Republicans (~85% or so) nearly lost.

This isn't about David Sibley, Bill Ratliff, Jim Pitts, Brian McCall or Tom Craddick. It's about Republicans being beholden to Democrats for their leadership post. It hasn't been too bad so far, but cancers metastasize when left unchecked.

It's about the fact that Democrats are forcing their elected officials to hew to the party line. The House Democratic Caucus even requires its members to vote for a Democratic candidate for speaker, if there is one. Plus, the Texas Democrats are purging any of their members who work with Republicans. [Note to the press corps: if Republicans were purging our own moderates as effectively and thoroughly as the Democrats are, would we be reading lots of editorials and news articles about how the zealots were taking over the party? Y'all freak out about Leininger, but miss the real story.]

Look, I'd be happy if the "good old days" of leadership elections were still here. But they aren't. Democrats have effectively changed the rules. Republicans have two options: adapt to the new way or let the Democrats pick our leaders.

Posted by Evan @ 01/09/07 10:00 PM


Previous Entry | Home | Next Entry


Dude. Ron Wilson and Al Edwards weren't "moderates". They were idiots. Were the party labels switched but the behaviors the same, they'd be the top story on every Dan Patrick radio broadcast ever. "Moderates" are folks like Hopson, McReynolds, Farabee, Cook, Ritter, Frost, etc etc etc, none of whom have faced any primary challenges that I'm aware of.

It's not "moderate" to actively work to undermine your own colleagues. We have been better at booting those guys out, but it helps that they were so often acting against the interests of their own constituents. You want to punish your own transgressors, that's the case you have to make. And I'll tell you what: it's not nearly as easy as it sounds. Ask Dan Patrick, who told Glenn Hegar that he could elect or unelect anyone he wanted to in Harris County after Hegar crossed him on appraisal caps. We know what Patrick is calling Hegar now, right?

Posted by Charles Kuffner @ 01/09/07 11:35 PM

Dans done, but not the ratings

took one vote

I can agree that the 2/3rds could be considered a conservative tactic

but a liberal Lt Governor can waive it at any time making it apply only against conservative priciples while letting liberal ones go unchecked as it was done constantly

Posted by EricPWJohnson @ 01/10/07 12:01 AM

Add Comments

No flames or impolite behavior. HTML will be stripped. URLs will be transformed into hyperlinks.