The Left of Center Speaker?
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A rather ridiculous piece of writing appeared recently in Forbes, under the byline of one Patrick Gleason, who allegedly covers the “intersection of state and federal policy and politics.” Gleason attempts to make the point that the Texas House of Representatives is controlled by a “left-of-center speaker.” This commentary has all the earmarks of a Michael Quinn Sullivan put-up job. Gleason writes,
“Conventional wisdom holds that Texas is a deep red state [that is] home to some of the most conservative politicians in the country. However, many outside the Lone Star State including most if not all Washington and New York based pundits are unaware that the House of Representatives is controlled by a left of center speaker, Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, who came into power by ousting his conservative predecessor with a coalition of Democrats and a handful of left of center Republicans.”
Gleason’s basic description is accurate, but, trust me, there are no Republican politicians in the Texas Legislature who are left of center, and Joe Straus is no exception. Center right, maybe. Left of center, zero. Straus actually wants to move the state forward economically by building roads and badly needed water projects. To make matters worse, from the viewpoint of the far right, he is a fiscal conservative who is keeping a close eye on the cost of the National Guard deployment, which is rapidly escalating while nothing is being accomplished.
It is not hard to predict what lies ahead for the Legislature. The Senate is going to send extremist legislation over to the House and dare Straus not to pass it. It won’t work. Public policy is going to grind to a stand still. I will say this: Straus is not someone who can be pushed around. You can’t move him off a position he thinks is right. If the Senate thinks they are going to have a field day with crazy legislation, well, good luck with that.
(AP Image / Eric Gay )