One Senate rule clearly in effect
Wed January 14, 2009 6:25 pm

That would be the "Pottery Barn" rule as invoked by Secretary of State Colin Powell to warn against the then-proposed invasion of Iraq. "You break it, you own it," he reasoned. This morning, Dewhurst told reporters that he mentioned the Powell axiom to senators who wanted to change the two-thirds rule.

Well, something's been shattered in the Senate today and clearly -- whether or not you believe he is responsible -- Dewhurst is going to end up owning it.  Not only are Democrats angry, but Republican John Carona (we may start calling him "Frank" for his honesty) announced publicly that when he expressed his opposition to the changing the two-thirds rule, "I was told it would effect my legislative package" and that he likely would be guaranteed a primary opponent.

The Democrats successfully cast their Republican colleagues as -- on the first real day of work of the session -- more interested in a highly political issue than public education, the high cost of higher education, soaring utility rates, etc. The Senate, said Kirk Watson, "appears to be more concerned about protecting a partisan vote than protecting people."

The proposal's sponsor, Tommy Williams, assured his colleagues he believed the two-thirds rule worked well in most instances, and he did not want it substantially changed. But Dan Patrick, who's made his opposition to the two-thirds rule well-known, said he hopes the resolution "is the first step towards" adopting a three-fifths rule like the U.S. Senate.

Judith Zaffirini, not one for  emotional speeches, said she was "embarrassed for the Texas Senate."

"I never thought I would say this, but we should learn from the Texas House," she said. Creating a special procedure for the Voter ID bill "sets a bitter and partisan tone for the...session."

Zaffirini gave Republican senators pause when she noted that a big winner in the debate was their ambitious colleague Patrick, whom Republicans view with distrust. "Senator Patrick," Zaffirini said, "You are a winner today and I congratulate you. "

Gulp.

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