03 January 2009
The end of the non-partisan vote?
Is this the end of the non-partisan vote for speaker of the Texas House?
If Craddick isn't re-elected speaker, let's just say that I would be quite surprised if there wasn't a widespread effort to make every Republican running for the Texas House in 2010 sign a pledge to support the pick of the majority of the House Republican Caucus.
Many of the media types are reporting the Republican grassroots' dissatisfaction. They are interpreting it as being ginned up by Craddick and his allies in support of Craddick. That may be true, but I think they're missing the point. It wasn't that long ago that Republicans had never had a GOP House Speaker. There's alot of feeling among the activists that they didn't work that hard and wait that long in order to have Democrats and a splinter group of Republicans pick the Speaker.
I don't know how it will happen...whether the SREC will ask all primary candidates to sign the pledge and then negatively endorse those who don't...or what. I just have a very good feeling that it will happen. It won't be about Craddick (presumably he'll retire if he's not re-elected Speaker) as much as about Republican activists wanting to ensure that Democrats don't pick who the Republican leaders are.
I rather like the current system in Texas, to be honest. Yet perhaps the move to a partisan vote was inevitable all along. I don't have any data, but I'd assume the Texas House is one of the few (the only?) statewide legislative bodies in the US where the vote for presiding officer isn't a party line vote. Presumably, the reason Texas has evolved this way is because there was no Republican party. So there was no need for a partisan vote, because there was only Democrats. The cultural norm was established that speaker candidates could ask any member for their vote, regardless of party. However, as Texas has evolved into a two party state, perhaps it was inevitable that partisanship would slowly change the cultural norms to the point where we'd get a partisan vote.