Unfaithfully Yours

Eddie Lucio, Democrat, Brownsville, 57

Your cheatin’ heart will make you weep.
You’ll cry and cry and try to sleep.
But sleep won’t come the whole night through.
Your cheatin’ heart will tell on you.

Some might argue that all’s fair in love and politics. But in the Senate, fidelity is the essential virtue. A margin of two thirds of the 31 senators is necessary to pass most bills, and members work behind the scenes to collect the 21 commitments needed to pass a bill or the 11 needed to defeat it. But Eddie Lucio’s vows meant nothing. Take his performance on a constitutional amendment imposing limits on lawsuit awards. Twelve Democrats signed a letter to Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst vowing to block debate. Unfortunately, Lucio was one of them. Three hours after he signed the letter calling the bill a “patently anti-civil justice, anti-consumer” proposal, he voted for it, and two other signatories followed suit. Perhaps it was those sugar daddies at Texans for Lawsuit Reform who made a pass, causing Lucio to swoon.

If he was a sweet talker at some times, he seemed to be a streetwalker at others. When Republicans pressed early in the session for redrawing congressional districts, Lucio said he’d support the idea as long as South Texas—we took that to mean “Lucio”—got a new district. Then Democrats pressured him into changing his stance to what Lucio not-so-coyly described as a “soft no,” the legislative equivalent of lifting his skirt in the rotunda, just in case Republicans hadn’t gotten the message of how easy it would be to recapture his affections.

Fast Eddie was at it again on a bill restricting asbestos lawsuits. Proponents, including Governor Perry, were counting on his vote. So, of course, were opponents. When Lucio ended the suspense by coming out against the bill, Perry was so infuriated that he barged onto the Senate floor without waiting for the required invitation, gripped Lucio by the lapels, and loudly expressed his displeasure. Even tears, that old trick—Lucio blamed his switch on a misty-eyed colleague—couldn’t save him from himself. Cue music:

Your cheatin’ heart will pine some day,
And crave the love you threw away.
The time will come when you’ll be blue.
Your cheatin’ heart will tell on you.

Tags: POLITICS

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