Robert Miller published this on his blog yesterday. I agree with everything he says.
Michael Quinn Sullivan is trumpeting the fact that three Republican Texas House Committee Chairs were defeated in Tuesday’s primary, and two others are in runoffs. He states that primary “race after race was a repudiation of Team Straus.” However, when candidates supported by Sullivan lost, these were “anomalies.”
Sullivan reminds me of Matt Angle of the Lone Star Project. Both are talented, certainly, but each is extremely biased and often merely masquerades as telling the truth. Sullivan, on the right, and Angle, on the left, appear to believe that if you say it loudly and often enough, it makes it true.
Both are part of the seamy underbelly of a democracy. The first amendment entitles them to voice their opinions as mouthpieces for their wealthy backers. But we should not give them too much credibility. They are simply hired guns, paid to slash and burn.
Speaker Straus had a decent night Tuesday. He crushed his TEA party opponent 63% to 37%. The core of his leadership team including the Appropriations, Calendars, Higher Ed, State Affairs and Administration Chairs were either unopposed or unscathed. The Speaker probably suffered a net loss of a few supporters Tuesday, and the runoffs will also be a challenging environment. However, Straus appears to be well-positioned to be reelected to his third term as Speaker in January.
We can each have our own opinions, but we can’t have our own facts. The facts are that when Straus was elected Speaker in January 2009, there were 76 Republicans in the Texas House. Today, there are 102, and I expect there to be +/- 94 when the 83rd Legislature convenes in January 2013. My opinion is that a large majority of them will again vote for Straus as Speaker, regardless of Sullivan’s polemics and vitriol.
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Sullivan’s influence can be gauged by the utter lack of success of his attack on Seliger, which failed miserably. He does seem to have become Rick Perry’s main mouthpiece, but Perry’s influence these days — aside from his role in making appointments — is not what it once was.
Sullivan preys on the fears of those weak House members who take his fiscal responsibility index seriously. There are people who swear by it. Some commenters to this blog gave as a reason for Hamilton’s vulnerability that he scored poorly on conservative ratings. There will always be RINO hunters. In my view, ratings reveal little about who a candidate is. The best members ignore the ratings and go about their jobs.