After last night’s dramatic play by Senator Davis, the calculation this morning seems to be: Will the Dems fare better or worse in a special? There is still time to undo the maneuver, if six Democrats join the Rs in a 4/5 vote to suspend the rules today. Perry’s spokesperson promised even before Davis pulled the trigger that there would be consequences if the Democrats went nuclear. (You have to wonder if there will also be consequences for Straus and Pitts, for waiting so long to debate fiscal matters and school finance–if, as Harvey Kronberg observed yesterday, “debate” is the right term for last night’s brief treatment of the second most important bill of the session.)
But what about those “consequences” for the Democrats? It’s hard to see the budget deal getting any worse from their perspective. What are the Rs going to do? Move more money out of Medicaid, making the 2013 supplemental, already estimated at around $5 billion, even larger? Cut public ed even more? House members could barely swallow the cuts they had to make to their ISDs this time around. (Ten more no’s in the House, and Davis wouldn’t have had to filibuster anything.) There’s always sanctuary cities, which died in the Senate when the Ds declined to suspend the rules to debate it. But did the Rs ever really want to vote on that one? It’s no secret the leadership has always been split on draconian immigration bills–big money donors like Bob Perry always fight them, and forward thinking consultants tell them it’s bad for the long term prospects of the party in a state that is now majority-minority.
This was one of those times when it was useful to have the 2/3 rule, so the Dems could be safely blamed. Of course, in a special, the rule wouldn’t apply. It’s up to Perry to decide what is on the agenda, and he has already promised a special as early as tomorrow. Difficult calculations all around this morning. One assumes that running over Davis in redistricting was not a difficult calculation. Then again, there’s nothing more dangerous than a politician with nothing to lose.