My analysis of the Speaker's race

I've kept mostly quiet about the speaker's race, because I don't have any inside information. And I question the value of some of the supposedly inside information that is being given out.

That said, it seems to me that Speaker Craddick is quite likely to remain Speaker Craddick. Mainly because I second Paul Burka's assertion that "perceptions become reality, and if you are perceived to be playing a strong hand--not by me, not by the media, but by the players in the game--and then turn out to be bluffing, you are going to lose your credibility. That's what I think happened to Jim Pitts yesterday when he failed to produce a list of supporters."

We know for sure that McCall couldn't beat Craddick. Otherwise, McCall would not have dropped out of the race. Quite clearly, McCall could not garner enough Republican support. McCall says this, and so he dropped out and endorsed Pitts.

Are there enough Republicans to put Pitts over the top who might vote for Pitts but wouldn't vote for McCall? There may be. It seems like quite a few Representatives are unhappy with Speaker Craddick. But even if there is, are these members willing to publically oppose Craddick?

The answer at this point seems obviously no. If Pitts had 75 people who were going to vote for him, he would make that list public. Sure, Craddick and his allies might mobilize a campaign to pressure some who might be wavering, and that is a risk for Pitts. But the far bigger risk for Pitts is looking like he doesn't have the votes. And right now, that's the way it looks for Pitts. If his supposed supporters aren't willing to say publically that they'll vote for Pitts now, then why should we think that they will be willing to say publically that they'll vote for Pitts in a few days?

Leadership races -- whether in Austin or DC -- are always about perception. And the perception right now is that if Pitts were going to win, he would have made his list public.

Note: I'm not entirely saying the race is over. There's always the possibility that the perception could shift, but presumably Pitts has mostly played his hand, and there's not much left. That leaves Craddick overplaying his hand as the most likely determinant of a change in outcome.

Posted by Evan @ 01/05/07 03:51 PM


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