On Opening Day, Straus Calls for End of ‘Corrosive Cynicism’

Speaker wins fifth term unanimously, sort of.

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Speaker Joe Straus on the first day of the Eighty-fifth Legislature.
Bob Daemmrich

The unanimous election of Joe Straus to a fifth term as Texas House speaker was pro forma, with not even his most ardent opponents fielding a candidate against him. After taking the dais, Straus used the moment to frame no-compromise, right-wing House members as agents of discord instead of cooperation for what is best for Texans.

Two years ago, the tea party Republicans ran a candidate against him, and garnered just 19 votes in the 150-member House. Straus admonished them by saying the speaker’s race had been marred by “misleading and personal attacks,” going on to say, “You can not effectively govern this House by dividing it.” This time around, the tea party Republicans decided that voting for Straus was the best strategy. Representative Matt Rinaldi of Irving told the Austin American-Statesman he planned to vote for Straus “to show how meaningless the vote is.” Jonathan Stickland of Bedford said opponents wanted to deny Straus an opportunity to portray them as weak.

Instead, the speaker and his team, without naming anyone, orchestrated the election to portray the cadre as malcontents who are contributing to the toxic atmosphere of American politics. His various nominating speeches included one by Representative Mark Keough of The Woodlands who was a tea party Christian minister who had voted against Straus two years ago. “I even campaigned in my district according to the wishes of a variety of groups, good people, well-meaning people.” Keough said he got to know Straus and found the San Antonio Republican to be a man without animosity. Then during the session, he heard members “aggressively” argue against him. “Speaker Straus stood there and he took it and he acted with statesmanship and a concern for the full House,” Keough said. “He has created an environment by example.”

In his speech, Straus named as priorities protecting the state business climate, mental health reform, overhaul of the school finance system and improvements in Child Protective Services so children will not have to fear their parents or sleep in state offices because not enough foster homes are available. He called on the House to engage in civil discourse and constructive disagreement without anyone abandoning their core principles. “There’s a disconnect between the way we talk about politics in this country and the way that most Texans treat each other,” Straus said. “The corrosive cynicism that dominates the public discussion of politics does not reflect the character of our people. The Texans we represent are kind, and they are decent, and they are charitable.”

No sooner was the vote for speaker over than Stickland sent out a tweet reading: “Now the war begins.”

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  • donuthin2

    Straus seems like a really decent guy who is more of a statesman than his colleagues in leadership positions.

  • BCinBCS

    In one of the previous blog posts WUSRPH commented about Comrade Trump’s tweet response to Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globe award ceremony. I just read the perfect come-back and thought that you might enjoy it.

    To recap, Comrade Trump tweeted:

    Meryl Streep, one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes.

    LivingBlue coldly responded:

    Hey @realDonaldTrump…if 157 awards as an actor makes Meryl Streep “overrated”, what does 6 bankruptcies make you as a businessman?

    Cold.

    • BCinBCS

      In other Comrade Trump news:

      Kellyann Conway was interviewed by Seth Meyers where she complained about the intelligence agencies leaking to the press instead of directly informing President Obama and President-elect Comrade Trump.

      Meyers tried to correct her by stating that they had been informed. As a matter of fact, CNN reported :

      Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

      Conway then told Meyers: “He [Trump] has said he’s not aware of that.

      Doesn’t this man pay attention during hie intelligence briefings?

      • BCinBCS

        In yet other Comrade Trump news:

        According to the Quinnipiac University polling organization, Comrade Trump’s approval rating is now 37%. Each of the last three Presidents had approval ratings during their transition of at least 65%.

  • WUSRPH

    President Obama made a similar plea in his Farwell Speech tonight…….but, I fear that, as the Stickland’s of this world demonstrate, both will be disappointed in the outcome.
    No matter what you may say about Obama—good or bad—it will be a shame that during the next four years we are not likely to have a voice in the Bully Pulpit, as TR described it, who can and will inspire us. Trump has enough problems speaking in full sentences in deliberately dividing us…..He has yet to show—and probably cannot—any ability to unite us.

  • WUSRPH

    Speaking of “corrosive cynicism”:

    Does anyone think that that there is any reason that Trump might be concerned by the reports that the Russians also developed a whole package of “compromising information” on Trump will bother him in the least?
    They probably did—and may well leak more of it if the feel the need—but, based on Trump’s behavior and life, I am fully confident that he will just let anything in it roll off his back like water on a duck. When you are as big of a megalomaniac as he is, nothing is going to bother you. It might bother a few of his family members to have something become public–and perhaps make one or two voters consider their vote—-but, if crotch grabbing didn’t hurt him, little the Russians can reveal will have any effect. It may embarrass some Americans…..but they asked for that when they voted for him.

    • BCinBCS

      The “Golden Showers” story, if true, might cause some embarrassment. Who knows what other information that they have on him.

      He is particularly sensitive about his wealth and since Russia holds a number of his loans, they may know more about his financial situation than do we here in the U.S. They could “poke the bear” by leaking that unflattering information about his actual financial worth.

  • John Bernard Books

    I wish to affirm that dems have the right to be as dumb as they wish to be…
    “There are too many adjectives available to describe this story, none of them pretty. Dumb, stupid, embarrassing… take your pick.”
    http://hotair.com/archives/2017/01/10/looks-like-the-cops-as-pigs-painting-is-back-up-in-congress-for-now/

    I’m sticking with dumb…..

  • John Bernard Books

    Wait the story was made up….a hoax?
    “In a story that is getting more surreal by the minute”
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-01-10/4chan-claims-have-fabricated-anti-trump-report-hoax

    stay tuned alot more of dem stupidity to come….

  • John Bernard Books

    Finally….
    “With Trump looking to call on other reporters, Jim Acosta yelled out, “Since you are attacking us, can you give us a question?”

    “Not you,” Trump said. “Your organization is terrible!”

    Acosta pressed on, “You are attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir?” Trump countered by telling him “don’t be rude.””
    http://www.mediaite.com/online/you-are-fake-news-trump-and-cnns-jim-acosta-get-into-shouting-match-at-presser/

    Only a dumazz dem watches fake news….

  • PrattonTexas

    Over the past few sessions most of what I’ve seen as corrosive has come from Straus chairmen and his team. An environment where disagreement with leadership is punished and members belittled is hardly positive.

    • WUSRPH

      I gather that you were not around during the Craddick speakership……Of course, you were….but you overlook his more than heavy-handedness which was a major reason he lost the speakership.

    • dave in texas

      I don’t really think keeping the most radical fringes of the GOP caucus from going completely off the rails should be considered corrosive.

    • John Johnson

      Can you imagine how things would be if a Stickland or another red meat Rep were Speaker? Think there would be any retribution for not marching in lockstep? How about how the main puppet master for the radical right, Tim Dunn, handles those who disagree?

  • John Bernard Books

    The progressives agenda is in danger of being set back 100 years
    “”Attorney General Pryor has been one of the staunchest advocates of the Rehnquist’s Court’s efforts to roll back the clock not just to the 1930s but to the 1880s,” he said in a statement more than ten years ago.”
    http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/313904-conservatives-press-trump-on-supreme-court-pick

    100 years of malfeasance wiped out with one appointee…..

  • BrockLynn

    Cynisism is the worse kind of plague. But don’t tell that to a fool, for he will call you foolish.