With the resignation of Dianne Delisi, vice-chair Jodie Laubenberg becomes chairman. Craddick’s policy has been to elevate vice-chairs but to regard these appointments as only extending through the end of the two-year legislative cycle. Readers may recall that Brian McCall inherited the chairmanship of Ways and Means during the 78th Legislature after Ron Wilson was defeated for reelection in the 2004 Democratic primary but Craddick replaced him with Jim Keffer in the 79th Legislature.
Let us all hope Laubenberg’s tour as chair is temporary. If it becomes permanent, haul out the metaphors: train wreck, in the ditch, a time bomb headed for a banana peel. Laubenberg is best known for her attempt last session to amend the appropriations bill to deny benefits to the children of LEGAL aliens, during which she began screaming at Rafael Anchia. Next to her, Leo Berman is Sam Houston. Can you imagine her trying to deal with Garnet Coleman? She has shown nothing that suggests she is intellectually, tempermentally, or ideologically suited for the job. The best solution is for Craddick, come January 09, to give Laubenberg a consolation chairmanship and appoint a new chair. Here are the Republicans on the committee: Jim Jackson (as bad or worse), Susan King (talented but not ready), and Vicki Truitt (leader in the clubhouse). Delisi’s departure leaves the committee a member short, so Craddick has a large field to choose from. My money is on Dan Gattis.