The speaker's race: Straus goes on the record as a Craddick critic
Fri November 7, 2008 8:40 am

Gary Scharrer of the Express-News posted a story on the paper’s web site in which several in which, for the first time, a Republican supporter of Craddick says for the record that the speaker is hurting the Republican party.

The story quotes two Republican members. One, a chairman, chose to remain anonymous:

But Craddick can’t survive, one of his committee chairmen said Thursday. “I’m trying to find out if Tom Craddick is not the speaker, who’s the choice,” said the Craddick ally, who did not want to be identified. A growing consensus for bipartisan leadership makes Craddick and his hardball partisan style an unlikely choice for re-election. “That seems to be an impression that is out there,” the Craddick ally said.

But Straus, a member of one of Texas’s oldest and most prominent Republican families, went public with his concerns:

Rep. Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, who supported Craddick two years ago, said he’s hearing plenty of grumbling from other Republicans. “I’m deeply concerned about the Republican Party, and I’m concerned about the Texas House,” Straus said. “There are a lot of Republicans who feel the way I do — this goes deeper than the speakership of Tom Craddick. There is a feeling that the status quo is not acceptable.”

What Straus is saying is straight from The Godfather: “This isn’t personal. It’s strictly business.” If the House were The Mob, Craddick would be lying at the bottom of the Permian Basin by now. He’s become an embarrassment, a liability, a problem that needs to be resolved. The Democrats are indifferent to his fate. If Craddick goes, life in the House returns to normal. If he stays–and Dunnam said this last session–the Democrats continue to pick up seats.

Where is the Republican hierarchy in all this? Rick Perry can’t be happy at the prospect of trying to get his legislative program through a bipartisan House. How do the sugar daddies feel about the meager return they got for the millions of dollars they put in Craddick’s hands? The wonder is not that Straus spoke out. It is that the Republican establishment–with the sole and prescient exception of Mark McCaig–remains silent.

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