Sure, there are circumstances under which he could regain the speakership. He has $3 million and a loyal core of conservative members who support him. He has time on his hands–nothing to do but make oil deals, raise money, and recruit candidates for 2010. The speaker’s statute is no longer an impediment to raising money. He can take up his old role as the unofficial “minority leader” against the bipartisan speakership. His institutional knowledge makes him a formidable adversary when it comes to throwing monkey wrenches in the works. He is still the darling of the SREC and other Republican activist groups like the Eagle Forum, which will not look favorably on Straus’s Democrat-heavy governing coalition. Craddick may have the tacit support of Governor Perry, since the Straus family is backing Hutchison in the governor’s race.
These factors by themselves are not sufficient to assure a Craddick comeback. He needs help from Washington: a failed first two years of the Obama presidency, so that the country turns against the Democrats in the mid-term elections and 2010 becomes a huge Republican year. And, of course, he needs for the Straus speakership to be unsuccessful, or at least sufficiently SNAFU‘d that there are a lot disgruntled members.
The main thing Craddick has going for him is that he has the will to make the fight. Most politicians, having lost, do not have the stomach for a comeback. Bill Clements was an exception. Jim Mattox was an exception. And let us not forget James Ferguson, the only Texas governor to be impeached, who even in disgrace would not let his enemies get the best of him. Ineligible to serve, he got his wife to run, and she won, twice. That’s Craddick. Never give up, never.