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A House United

Congress should take a look at the Texas Lege.

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Texas House Speaker Joe Straus

This morning, Kevin McCarthy shocked everyone in Washington—including, apparently, most of his colleagues in Congress—by dropping out of the race for Speaker of the United States House. As the House Majority Leader, he seemed like a natural successor to John Boehner, who is planning to retire from Congress at the end of this month. And McCarthy was the clear frontrunner, though like many Republican legislators in our Trumpled times, his conservative credentials were insufficient to satisfy the chamber’s right-wing faction.

The House Freedom Caucus is the national analogue to what we in Texas summarize as the “Tea Party faction,” or the “scorecard voters” in the Texas House and Senate. Tim Dickinson, writing for Rolling Stone, offered an excellent dispatch from the faction’s tree house a couple of days ago. As he notes, the Freedom Caucus has fewer than 40 members. Its members nonetheless seem to have played a decisive role in Boehner’s departure; their opposition also helps explain why Eric Cantor, the House majority leader prior to McCarthy, was unseated in his primary last year. The right-wing’s anti-McCarthy agitation—I suppose it can’t really be called a form of McCarthyism, under the circumstances—apparently helps explain today’s development. That’s how McCarthy explained his decision, at least: “Over the last week it has become clear to me that our conference is deeply divided and needs to unite behind one leader.”

I don’t follow Congress closely enough to know whether the House’s Republican majority includes such a leader. But when it comes to today’s GOP, Texas has been the canary in the coal mine lately, and so I doubt it. So far in the 21st century the state of Texas has offered the gold standard of conservative government. Yet there is not a single Republican in office who activists, grassroots or otherwise, would hesitate to attack as RINO if it suited their purposes. If there’s no actual evidence of doctrinal unsoundness, it can easily be created. The best Republicans may actually be more vulnerable to right-wing challenges than their bumbling counterparts; a legislator who understands the arithmetic of vote counts, and the value of occasional cooperation, is prone to making the kind of compromises that purists decry. The competence that helped McCarthy become the House majority leader effectively doomed his chances of fully uniting the conference. Any Republican who is competent enough to become speaker can expect a similar fate.

But that’s a grim assessment of the prospects for competent governance in Washington, and so I’d like to offer an another possibility. Technically, it doesn’t matter if the conference is united. In Washington, as in Austin, the speaker is elected by a majority of the members; all representatives get one vote, regardless of their party of origin. In principle, it shouldn’t matter; the job assignment is speaker of the House, not speaker for the majority. And in practice, it doesn’t matter. Both Republicans and Democrats, I think, tend to believe that their agenda is most effectively advanced by highly partisan leaders. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reacted to McCarthy’s announcement by advocating Nancy Pelosi for speaker. And Charlie Dent’s suggestion, that Republicans like him join with their Democratic colleagues to elect a bipartisan speaker rather than continuing their efforts to appease the party’s “rejectionist wing,” was met with cynical incredulity from the Washington press.

But the only real barrier to electing a speaker with bipartisan support is witless partisanship, enabled by cynical incredulity. It’s probably still true that the Texas Lege is less polarized along party lines than Congress, but still: we have plenty of gerrymandered districts, and we’re not exactly a swing state.  So I’d encourage Congress to pay attention to Joaquin Castro, the Democratic representative from San Antonio, who reacted to McCarthy’s announcement by calling for a different approach to the speaker’s race: “I hope that a Republican w enough support among Rs and a willingness to work with Ds will emerge that we can consider supporting.” This is presumably an issue that Castro feels pretty strongly about. Prior to being elected to Congress, he served for many years in the Texas House. He was among the Democrats who skipped the state in 2003, after relations with the Republican majority reached an all-time low. He was still in the Texas House in 2009, when Democrats announced their unanimous support for Joe Straus, a Republican, as speaker. In an interview with the Texas Observer’s Chris Hooks last year, Castro called Straus’s election a “perfect example” of something Congress might do to be more productive.

Having covered most of these events, though not suffered through them so directly, I’d say Castro is exactly right and that most of the Republicans in the Texas House would evidently agree. Straus was actually elected unanimously in 2009; there are 150 members of the Texas House, and so after the 60-odd Democrats and 12 Republicans went public with their support, his rival Republicans dropped out. He was re-elected unanimously in 2011 and 2013. This year, having finally drawn a formal challenge, Straus was formally re-elected by an overwhelming majority of representatives, although 19 Republicans voted for his Tea Party challenger, Scott Turner. (There are 98 Republicans in the Texas House.)

Along the way, needless to say, Straus has been consistently denounced and decried by Texas’s right wing. He is widely considered the most moderate Republican in high office in Texas. Prior to this year, I might have agreed, with the proviso that “most moderate Republican in high office in Texas” is a pretty low bar. Following this year’s session, that criticism is flatly false. Straus is demonstrably more fiscally conservative than the new lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, a self-styled conservative champion who held a press conference in March announcing a scheme to sneak around the state’s constitutional spending cap, which Straus politely but clearly opposed, and which the House ultimately blocked.

Overall, Texas’s 84th Legislature offers a case study that might be relevant to Congressional Republicans right now: the House was the more bipartisan chamber, but it was also the more conservative one. That might be counterintuitive, but it’s not paradoxical. The House has a bipartisan ethos, and a Republican majority; a Speaker who empowers the members of the chamber, which seems to be Straus’s approach, empowers the talented legislators in both parties. Such a speaker also empowers himself, as it happens. I’ve never been sure whether Straus, an even-tempered and well-mannered man, fully appreciates the potential monstrosity of his power. The right-wing faction of the party, which has been brooding over him for years, made a concerted effort to topple him this year, and he returned to the speaker’s dais with a roughly 70 percent margin of victory.

It may be that Straus himself is quietly a diabolical mastermind. But the basic arithmetic that underlies his mandate applies in Washington, too. American political debates are pretty well polarized, partly due to decades of gerrymandering; but the United States House of Representatives is, in effect, a purple district. The Freedom Caucus can grandstand all it wants, and it obviously bedeviled Boehner, but it has fewer than 40 members. They’re a minority in the Republican conference and an afterthought relative to the entire House. A candidate who can find a broader base of support would have much less sorrow as speaker.

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  • It will come down to Rep Paul Ryan and Rep Trey Gowdy, and it will be interesting.
    If you haven’t read Caro’s books on LBJ then I recommend them. It shows how LBJ changed the way the House and Senate were run and made them the partisan gridlock it is today. The only way forward is to undo what LBJ did and
    re organize into a functioning body again.

    We’re sending a message to our Ft Bend Cty reps if you support Straus again you risk losing us.

    Of course it won’t matter is SCOTUS gives another goofy ruling on Perez Vs Abbott and dems are allowed to gerrymander HD-26 in 2016.

    • Indiana Pearl

      Porta Potties are your solution.

      Remember: If you get in one, you’ll need the Jaws of Life to get you out.

      • WUSRPH

        Pearl, I have occasionally dropped by this week to see if anything worth reading had been posted. I find a few, but I must tell you how disappointed I am that you keep responding to the Troll. He lives to get a response from someone and the only way to totally frustrate him is to totally ignore him. I admit this is difficult. It is especially so when, as today, his “fractured fairy tales of history” go so far as to blame LBJ for the gridlock in Congress. LBJ, of course, was the master of ways to get members of both parties to vote for something–such as the civil rights and Great Society bills—which is the total opposite of the GOP inspired gridlock we have now. But it is something that has to be done. It is clear that the Management will not act to control his ravings. That means the only control is to freeze him out with the hope that, failing to get the giddies he seeks from getting responses, he will go away looking for some place where people still pay attention to him. Please try hard to ignore him. Otherwise the Blog becomes a Troll, someone respond , Troll, response, Troll, response, etc., etc., etc. and looses any attraction to most readers. Sorry to have disturbed you guys….Now back to afar away.

        • Actually I could care less if she ever responds. What is it about liberals that makes them think the world revolves around them.
          Seriously her gutter remarks are childish and irrelevant.

        • Indiana Pearl

          He is nuts. Only a diseased mind believes that LBJ caused today’s gridlock. Anyone with an adult mind knows that those who cannot accept the Black Man in the White House is the cause of gridlock.

          You argue one approach. Another is to drive him away with group disapprobation – and that is building.

          Lilly has suffered great threats which I have not. Several of us have been fighting and making progress. I will continue to fight – Queen Boadicca, Mother Kali, and all that . . .

          If we surrender, evil wins. Come back and join the fight.

          • WUSRPH

            I hope you are right. BB would be something I would hate to see become dominated by the Troll.

          • Indiana Pearl

            If we don’t fight, it will. Or it will implode and something new will replace it.

            He’s getting quite defensive.

          • WUSRPH

            Again, I hope you are right…But he gets some sort of almost erotic excitement out of getting a response. Probably the only stimulation he gets.

          • What kind of erotic response?….hahaha

          • WUSRPH

            Only you hidden away in your little cubbyhole know.

          • the only hidden cubby hole is your mind.
            Prof Pedant are you going to play or hide and whine?

          • WUSRPH

            A wise man should so write (though in words understood by all men) that wise men only should be able to commend him.

            Thomas Hobbes

          • Prof Pedant is back….he couldn’t stay away he missed my wit, charm and chit chat.

          • WUSRPH

            Somehow I knew you would not be able to understand what I wrote. Bye now.

          • Indiana Pearl

            He can’t fit into “a little cubby hole.”

          • Nope what you saw today was offense. I will let someone push so much then I push back. He was warned repeatedly and brought it on himself.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Do I need to hire a lawyer? This could be fun!

          • Your threats are empty

          • Indiana Pearl

            So are yours.

          • Indiana Pearl

            And I didn’t threaten you in any way.

            Next case, please!

          • Indiana Pearl

            I have never threatened you.

          • oh come on you’re among friends here you can admit when you get drunk you threaten everyone, call names and babble incoherently. We’ve all witnessed the battle between you and demon alcohol.
            We mainly ignore you and look uncomfortably around the room.

          • Indiana Pearl

            When you’re losing the argument, you either become a potty mouth or deflect from your own insufficiencies . . . or you run to Mommy.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You’re not my friend. You must be the president of the Texas branch of the WCTU – boring old biddie

          • Indiana Pearl

            You are a food addict. Sober up!

          • Unwound

            I want to clarify- i stopped not because of any idle threats, but because my own behavior mixed with his was causing a distraction here for other posters and it wasnt adding anything to the greater conversation, which i dont appreciate from anyone else, including him. not exactly sure what i “brought on myself” but there hasnt been any contact between anyone from txmonthly other than an email i sent to erica.

            i do think his protests ring hollow in light of his support for Blue Dogs psychotic behavior and his “if you cant take the heat” attitude towards you guys who had to deal with it.

            have a good day.

          • Indiana Pearl

            I was going to check to find out if the Canadian Mounties were at your door. No Texas Rangers here just yet . . .

            The greater conversation is lost, I’m afraid, until the TM staff decides to make itmhappen again.

          • Lilly

            So what happened to the Troll’s wimpy whine about his “personal information”? I saw it last night — he was screaming for TM to do something (ah! the irony!) and now I don’t see it. Surely I didn’t dream it? Has the whole thing been deleted?

          • Indiana Pearl

            I saw it last night and fell asleep thinking I should call my attorney this a.m. Must have been deleted.

            All I know about him I learned on BB.

          • Indiana Pearl

            His tasteless “chicken house” post has also been deleted, as was Mad Dogs comment calling us “old hens.”

          • my brilliant chicken house picture is still there you just can’t see it through the gin haze…

          • Indiana Pearl

            Just on your mind, Booksie.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Maybe your view is obscured by a deep fried Twinkie . . .

          • Indiana Pearl

            It wasn’t a picture. It was an anecdote. Put down that corn dog and get with the program.

          • I have no wish to dominate anything nor do I try.
            Dems are the control freaks.

          • txasslm

            after you’ve interrupted their one-to-one conversation four times, you seriously say you don’t wish to dominate anything and you don’t try? you know, when you used to stick now and then to policy positions or political points, you made some mildly comprehensible statements. but, lordy, one doesn’t have to know anyone’s position on any of the issues of the day to recognize you’re off your rocker. you’d be fascinating in a purely clinical sense if you weren’t so otherwise boorish and repetitively petulant.

          • I’m not sure what your point. You seldom as in rarely participate in discussion which also happen rarely here because of posters like you who drive by attack and flee.

          • Indiana Pearl

            “I’m not sure what your point . . .”

            Whacked.

          • smashed

          • Indiana Pearl

            Fat.

          • txasslm

            one doesn’t have to return to the bathroom repeatedly to appreciate the toxic stench of a bad bowel movement.

          • Indiana Pearl

            He has driven away most intelligent conservatives with his psychobabble and potty mouth.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Thanks for adult supervision!

          • dave in texas

            BB would be something I would hate to see become dominated by the Troll.

            And yet, practically every post you’ve made over the last several weeks has been about him. Of the (so far) 77 comments on this thread, roughly half of them are people complaining about him and asking TM to “do something about it.” For goodness’ sake, people have even gone so far as to capitalize troll, as if he’s some kind of evil deity that has to be appeased.

            FFS, if y’all don’t want him to dominate the blog, stop making every. single. comment. thread. about what he’s said. He’s just a bitter malcontent who seems to get his jollies out of irritating people with fact-free rants and repetitive nonsense, and the constant complaining does nothing but feed that and give him exactly what he wants.

            Look, I’d be just as happy if I never had to endure his mindless blathering either, but like @Unwound said the other day: it’s an internet comment section, there’s always going to be deranged toddlers.

          • John Johnson

            As I posted the other day, “Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent free inside your head.” The ghost of JBB must be hanging out in the craniums of at least three people I know of…one of whom has declared himself gone, but really isn’t. A psychologist could be having ball analyzing all this.

          • What is there to analyze, their behavior is juvenile, amateurish and so typical of a democrat…

          • uh oh does Dave have “Troll envy?”

          • dave in texas

            There are several things that come to mind when I think about your mindless blather and fact-free screeds (which is damned seldom), but envy is most assuredly not one of them. Now, don’t you have some hate to monger somewhere? Preferably somewhere else?

          • Indiana Pearl

            You have Low T.

          • you have a gin high

          • Indiana Pearl

            You have a high BMI.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Dave, do you ever ask how much bandwith Booksie uses?

          • John Johnson

            i would be calling O the worst President ever if he were lilly white, and I have shared the reasons why with you time and time again. They just bounce off of you and you keep repeating your preconceived notions…much like how you had me locked in as a Bush supporter for ever and ever. I am not alone in my feelings toward O and his incompetence, and from your statements you think every Rep legislator is a racist. That’s nuts. I bet a lot of them also think John Kerry is as bad as O…just like I do. What color is Kerry?

          • Indiana Pearl

            “Lazy” is all I remember. Your critiques are short on detail.

            Have a nice conservative friend here who raved on to me in the car one day on the way to tai chi about Kerry falling off his bike, how bad that was, blahblahblah. I gently reminded her that GWB also fell off his bike when he was pres. “Well, that was different,” she said.

            Can’t reason with conservatives . . .

          • John Johnson

            Yeah, he is lazy. You can’t call him lazy. Why is that?
            I think it starts with his missed votes going back to when he was a state rep. Know anything about his voting record as a state rep and then U.S. senator? As far as “reasoning” goes, I would suggest that you are as hard headed as they come. Surely you can see this. When was the last time you said, “I’m sorry”, or “I made a mistake”, or “l’ve changed my mind”?

          • Indiana Pearl

            So he missed some votes while in the IL lege? Is that how you define “lazy”?

            A good debate begins with a definition of terms.

          • John Johnson

            We’ll I’m not going to rehash this with you. We’ve had this same back and forth on the same topic numerous times. I am just going to keep calling you out when you try and define words that i can’t use without you screaming “racist”.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Did I say “racist”? I simply asked you to explain why you think Obama is lazy.

          • John Johnson

            We’ve been here before, Pearle. No sense in rehashing.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Amen. You lose, I lose.

          • Marty Jamieson

            Why are you bring race into the issues?
            Is there a cross in your closet?
            The extremes of either group should be silenced.

            Remember you are a minority….

    • txasslm

      i am much more conservative than you will ever imagine you are. and i think you’re crazy.

      • As we don’t have any idea where you stand on the issues, there is a credibility issue with your comment.
        As far as me being crazy am I supposed to say something childish like “it takes one to know one?”
        Are all liberals this childish and immature?

  • Indiana Pearl

    The GOP is imploding.

  • enp1955

    So this is what it is like to have a three party system. Interesting. Much like their European equivalents, parties may have to figure out how to build cross-party coalitions and the like. Wouldn’t it be interesting if moderate dems and moderate republicans (those remaining, anyway) came together to form a coalition? When will they figure out that while the edges are great places from which to make speeches, the middle is where the work actually gets done?

  • gordo

    Somewhat ironic that under the Hastert Rule followed by his successor (s) which requires 218 votes from the majority to pass anything, the Republicans in Congress in effect instituted a parliamentary system of governance. Now with the intransigence of the Tea Party faction, they are in effect stuck with a bottom up system, where the policy preferences of the minority of the majority govern, or else everything grinds to a halt.

  • Rules of Blazon

    The Texas “Legislature” is a travesty. It doesn’t do anything good for anyone. There are no achievements – not a single one – any sane Texan can attribute to the state’s government over the last decade.

    We have the highest rate of uninsured folks in the nation, the highest dropout rate, highest rate of teen pregnancy, a crumbling, overburdened infrastructure, and a state government infested with people who only want to compound these problems.

    Of course, this is what happens when republicans control government.

    The solution in both Texas and Washington is simply to get rid of as many republicans as possible.

    • Mark Coopers

      While the accomplishments of the Lege could be debated, I really dislike the rigid “get rid of as many republicans as possible” attitude. The essence of compromise should be to also avoid negative labeling of one’s opponent. Why can’t we disagree without being disagreeable?

      Politics is just winning at any cost; statesmanship as well as getting things done would require working together. This story about Joe Straus’ effective handling of the full House was a refreshing one.

      • Rules of Blazon

        There is no compromising with legislative terrorists, and there’s no reason to distinguish the terrorists from those who harbor them. For anyone who cares about their state our country, the course is clear: get rid of as many republicans as possible.

        We could have used a statesman at the helm of the Texas House. But instead, we had the gelded Joe Straus, who capitulated to the terrorists and destroyed Texas public universities.

        Fortunately, I see better times ahead for Texas. More people will better understand what I’m saying with Trump at the top of the Republican ticket, and they’ll finally show up and vote- and they’ll vote Democratic all down the ballot.

        We can’t wait. Literally.

        • Mark Coopers

          I’m going to have to object (again) to your choice of words: “terrorists” is a emotionally loaded word and doesn’t belong in a rational discussion of the issues.

          If you want to improve conditions in the state, focus on the details of the issues. Make the logical choice to stay away from demonizing and polarizing language.

          We all like to talk about “reaching across the aisle” to get things done. Walk the walk by focusing on the issues ONLY. I’ve voted for Democrats and Republicans over the years since I tend to vote for competence over party labels.

  • John Johnson

    My letter to the editor published in today’s Fort Worth Star Telegram:

    Why are lifelong Republicans being called RINO’s (Republican’s in name only)?

    I think all would agree that Ronald Reagan was the epitome of “Republican”. Does Ted Cruz resemble Reagan in any way? Closer to home, how about Sen. Konni Burton?

    If he were alive today, they would be using hard line, radical right’s money to portray him as a liberal “sissy”. Aren’t they the ones who are truly the RINO’s?

    I am trying to decide why they didn’t just go ahead and stick with the name The Tea Party instead of attempting to steal the moniker from the rest of us.

    • Rules of Blazon

      You “lifelong republicans” actively courted the Ted Cruzes and the Konni Burtons. You relied on their fanaticism to win you elections. Now they want their due.

      So, here’s your choice: either

      (1) Drive them all out and survive as a party, albeit a drastically weakened one, or

      (2) give them their due – and go the way of the Whigs.

      I know which I’d pick, were I you.

      In the meantime, while you agonize, we will continue to draw no distinction between the legislative terrorists and those who harbor them.

      We are Democrats because we care about our state and our country, and we care about what’s just and fair. We are going to win. Join us.

      • BS the “lifelong republicans” choose Dewhurst over Cruz. Dems are responsible for Cruz. By suing over every act and piece of legislation written, Dems pushed back the primary on purpose taking the republican Texas primary out of play.

        • Indiana Pearl

          Voter suppression is fine with you?

      • John Johnson

        Never going to happen. Join you? Be a Dem? I have differences with various conservatives posting here, and you have read the back and forth, but never will I join a group of whiners and quitters who call foul and run for help from mommy or big brother ona regular basis.

        • Jed

          unlike republicans?

          man, for somebody who spends half his time talking about corporate welfare, you really don’t seem to get it.

          • John Johnson

            Oh, I get it. You are just so far left, you don’t. You might be the most radical left thinking person I have ever communicated with, and that is not a compliment. You also might be the angriest. Are the two related to each other or are they mutually exclusive?

          • Jed

            apparently “mutually exclusive” is another concept you don’t get.

          • John Johnson

            Oh? I thought it meant “no overlap”. Educate me. I’m open to it.

          • Jed

            evaluate the logic in this paragraph:

            i really agree with a lot of things that orange stands for, but i could never vote for orange, because they do X. so instead i vote for yellow, who i agree with less, and who also does X.

          • John Johnson

            Why do all you self proclaimed intellectuals make things so convoluted and fuzzy? Don’t you know how to ever get to a simple deduced conclusion?

          • Jed

            i think i just did.

            waiting for you … but not really.

          • John Johnson

            Good call. Don’t wait.

          • Indiana Pearl

            There’s nothing wrong with “intellectualism.”

          • Indiana Pearl

            You’re starting to sound like Crazy Don from Lampasas. You can do better.

          • John Johnson

            Yeah, well…that’s the way I see it these days. Several observations over the course of the last week or so have driven me in that direction.

        • Indiana Pearl

          You mean Booksie?

      • Jed

        i think they are whigs under either scenario.

        • Rules of Blazon

          Probably. But scenario (1) gives them a fighting chance at survival, at least.

      • Haldave

        Oh please, give me a break. Let’s stipulate that we all care about our state and our country. Sanctimonious posturing by either end of the spectrum is absurd.

        • Rules of Blazon

          And how do you propose we make that stipulation when there are a significant amount of republicans in positions of power who have committed to plunging the country (and the world) into economic chaos by causing us to default on our national debt?

          • Indiana Pearl

            And starting more mideast wars?

          • Haldave

            There are clearly disagreements on policies and strategies. I could suggest that the Democrats are heartlessly committed to putting thousands of Texans out of work and crippling the oil and gas industry, a mainstay of our economy, through policies that they are advocating. An element of truth in it but clearly not the whole story and clearly a misleading statement. As are sanctimonious and hypocritical statements claiming a self-defined moral high ground.

          • Rules of Blazon

            That’s a ridiculous false equivalence, as you know. The Republicans have surrendered control of their party to unreasonable nihilists. We Democrats are now the only functional political party.

          • Haldave

            Of course it’s ridiculous. As is your implication that only Democrats care about our state and country. Whether Democrats are functional or only less dysfunctional than the Republicans is a matter of debate, I suppose. In Texas, don’t see how they are functioning at a meaningful level, notwithstanding the opportunities that the nihilist Republican wing is presenting them. Clearly Texas voters aren’t buying what the Democrats are selling at this point, even with politicians as unpalatable as Dan Patrick and his ilk grasping at headlines.

          • John Johnson

            Not in Texas, and only in heavily populated urban areas of the country.

          • Indiana Pearl

            I would suggest that the GOP is living in the past and spends a lot of time snooping into people’s bedrooms.

          • Lilly

            And lady’s parts.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Pontificating while engaged in hanky panky – see “Kevin McCarthy/Renee Ellmers.”

    • Beerman

      Very valid points….good job!

  • Jed

    i almost didn’t even acknowledge the actual article, since i didn’t read it, but it appears from the headline to argue that other legislatures might actually learn something positive from the texas legislature. did i get that right?

    yow.

    • Rules of Blazon

      Heh. Glad to know I’m not alone in skipping the presumptively silly articles based on the preposterous headlines.

      • Jed

        i’ve read enough of them to know that the silliness is not merely presumed.

        i’m starting to think it might actually be the point. you heard it here first: EG is here to help TM pave the way to rebranding as the Texas Lampoon.

        • John Johnson

          Oh, the anger! Why would anyone force themselves to pull up a blog site that causes them so much angst? I don’t get it.

          • Rules of Blazon

            I think it’s worthwhile for others who visit this site to see what people think of it.

          • John Johnson

            If you just want to see what others think, you only have to read what’s posted. Me thinks, like the rest of us, you want you own feelings heard…which is cool…just please don’t go overboard on the hosts.

          • Rules of Blazon

            Well, of course. And fair, well-deserved criticism isn’t “going overboard.”

  • WUSRPH

    What happened to all those good conservatives fleeing other states to enjoy Texas’ GOP government?…Looks like many are not what the GOP wants.

    “Using U.S. Census Bureau data, we show that slightly more than half of the 2012-2013 net migration to Texas was by foreign-born persons,” Texas State Demographer.

    • Indiana Pearl

      Legal or illegal?

  • Here’s the deal you can eat and enjoy Meskin food you just can’t call it that.

    “Clemson University apologizes for serving Mexican food”

    http://www.campusreform.org/?ID=6873

    In their never ending over reach liberals have determined calling Meskin food, well Meskin food is offensive….hahah

    • John Johnson

      What do Mexicans call a Mexican food restaurant? What do Japanese call a Japanese steak house? How about the Chinese? The French? These so-called institutions of higher learning are being run by bonified loons.

      • Indiana Pearl

        You are so easily seduced by the dark side.

        • John Johnson

          Naw…just perceptive and enlightened.

          • Indiana Pearl

            In your dreams …

            Hahaha . . .

          • Unwound

            *eyes roll so far back in my head i fall over onto the floor*

  • Liberals have conceded Hillary will be our next president. Not because she’s qualified but because she wants to be prez.

    But the real fight will be:
    ” It’s Chelsea vs Huma! The two competitive, power-hungry women vying to become Hillary Clinton’s official First LADY”

    “Guess who’s coming to state dinners and other official White House functions as first lady if Hillary wins the presidency?

    The top two contenders on Clinton’s very secret potential first lady list are her close aide and controversial confidante, Huma Abedin, and popular former first daughter, Chelsea Clinton-Mezvinsky, Daily Mail Online can report exclusively.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3262627/It-s-Chelsea-vs-Huma-Two-competitive-power-hungry-women-vie-chosen-Hillary-Clinton-Lady-stylish-Abedin-edge.html

    nope ain’t making it up….hahaha omg….hahaha

  • No need to worry Erica, Cruz will unite us….

    “Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee for president, Ted Cruz said Thursday, claiming that a majority of the Manhattan real-estate mogul’s supporters would end up voting for him instead.”
    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/10/ted-cruz-says-donald-trump-not-gop-nominee-2016-214599#ixzz3o5dO951g

    Thank you dems……

    • Indiana Pearl

      She don’t want ya . . .

  • Doug Pascover

    Decency is good? I’m glad the founders didn’t live to hear such a preposterous idea.

  • Rarely but occasionally our friends the dems slip and tell the truth,

    “You know, the NRA’s position reminds me of negotiating with the Iranians or the communists. There’s no possible discussion. And it’s for political purposes.”

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/hillary-clinton-accidentally-denounces-iran-deal/

    Did Hillary really say that?

  • John Johnson

    All you who have heard me dog cuss Obama and call him the worst President ever should know that I am holding out some hope that he will somewhat redeem himself by vetoing any bill that crosses his desk allowing U.S. crude to be exported. Such a bill passed the House today (submitted by my Rep. Joe Barton). He says it will create jobs, help our allies, etc. The truth of the matter is that energy costs will rise which will make virtually everything more expensive. Since we are not yet energy independent and are still buying from countries that are not our friends, this export thing makes no sense except for the oil industry. They will be putting more money in their pockets; less will be staying in ours. If Obama vetoes this special interest attempt to screw the rest of us, I will give him his just due.

    • and on the other side

      “Various studies have shown, however, that ending the ban would help the U.S. economy. It would add an estimated 630,000 jobs, increase manufacturing and boost the gross domestic product in the long-term. Though some supporters of the ban argue that lifting it could raise pump prices, as more oil it made available for export, it is most likely to lower them in the long run.

      A lack of domestic refining capacity now discourages production by lowering the prices that refineries pay for crude oil. If producers are instead able to export their excess crude oil, they would likely increase production, which would lower global oil prices.

      Lifting the ban would also produce real benefits for U.S. foreign policy. Authoritarian regimes would no longer be able to cite Washington’s reluctance to open its energy markets to free trade as an excuse for their own unfair practices. It is harder, for example, for the United States to chide China on issues like currency manipulation while maintaining protectionist economic policies like the crude export ban.”

      http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/10/06/why-lifting-oil-export-ban-can-help-u-s-foreign-policy/

      Some say:

      It would add an estimated 630,000 jobs, increase manufacturing and boost the gross domestic product in the long-term.

      it could increase the price at the pump,

      If producers are instead able to export their excess crude oil, they would likely increase production, which would lower global oil prices.

      Lifting the ban would also produce real benefits for U.S. foreign policy

      JJ doesn’t it look like the benefits outweigh the cost?

      • John Johnson

        These “studies” are industry produced propaganda, JBB. The jobs are oil patch jobs and exaggerated. The statement that prices at the pump would eventually drop is totally bogus. When has that ever happened and why would it now? Price at the pump goes up, food costs go up, along with heating oil, and airline seats. We help China and India lower their costs which is directly associated with losing jobs to them. This is real. It will happen. Even a dummy knows it will. The studies you cite are lies. As far as GNP goes, it will go up, but all the $ will be going into Big Oil’s pocket and none in ours. There is no trickle down unless you are going to be working for them, or building something for them. The rest of us get screwed.

    • Indiana Pearl

      Keystone?

      • John Johnson

        The main beneficiaries are the Canadian oil companies and the Texas refineries who will process this dirty crude and then export the refined products to the highest worldwide bidder. Why do you think the Panama Canal has been widened? Big oil tankers. If this was not so, they would be building a new refinery along the U.S. Canadian border so the products could be distributed from there to markets in both countries. The jobs to build it will go away after it is built. It takes very few people to oversee its operation. This will be another example of the general public being hoodwinked by Big Oil, their propaganda machine and bought votes.

        • Indiana Pearl

          Koch wants the US taxpayers to pay for their corporate plan. I read only 50 permanent jobs will be realized in Texas.

        • Indiana Pearl

          The Kochs want US taxpayers to pay for refineries to ship Canadian crude to Texas refineries to be sold to India and China. It’s a no-brainer.

          Let’s see how the Freedom Caucus reacts.

        • Indiana Pearl
          • John Johnson

            Evil, corrupt, manipulative, immoral. Those who feed at the trough they offer up are just as bad. There is no shortage of takers.

    • Indiana Pearl
      • John Johnson

        Friends? This piece is a bunch of b.s. Think about it. If demand on US refineries is at an all time high, why not build more refineries? We are told it is too expensive, yet a pipeline cutting through the country is not? The massive LNG export terminals are not? Want to export crude then put a small export tax on it going to build and maintain our roads and bridges. Show the entire population a benefit, not just Big Oil.

        • Indiana Pearl

          Yessss!

  • Are you better off than you were living under GW? Welp lets look…

    “In 2014, the official poverty rate was 14.8 percent. There were 46.7 million people in poverty.
    The 2014 poverty rate was 2.3 percentage points higher than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession.
    https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/

    Nope

    “”In 2013, according to the Census Bureau, there were 105,862,000 full-time year-round workers in the United States — including 16,685,000 full-time government workers. These full-time workers were outnumbered by the 109,631,000 whom the Census Bureau says were getting benefits from means-tested federal programs — e.g. welfare — as of the fourth quarter of 2012.
    “Every American family that pays its own way — and takes care of its own children whether with one or two incomes — must subsidize the 109,631,000 on welfare.”

    http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/jan/28/terry-jeffrey/are-there-more-welfare-recipients-us-full-time-wor/

    Takers vs Makers the takers have grown from 47% to 51%

    “Fifty-eight percent said they favor a smaller government with fewer services, and only 38 percent said they favor a larger government with more services.”

    https://reason.com/blog/2010/01/19/poll-most-americans-want-small

    How is that hope and change working out for you? If you’re a bored state worker a 47%er you’re probably smiling right now.
    The rest of us the producers….not so much. Time for a 10 to 20% cut across the board in federal spending.
    Time for a change in DC.
    MeNTed….cut cut cut

  • So lets look at facts. Under Boehner’s leadership the US House passed a ton of legislation that died in the Senate under Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell.
    Seems if we get rid of Reid and McConnell we can go about the people’s business again and stop an Unconstitutional President and his agenda.
    First we fire McConnell
    Second we impeach the IRS Commissioner.
    Third we call Obama’s bluster and let him shut down the government.
    Then when MeNTed are elected every federal employee will have to reapply for their jobs and we can trim the dead wood.

    Now that is a plan.

    • John Johnson

      I remember that plan working with the air traffic controllers back when Reagan was Prez. I loved it. Got to have a game plan though on how to keep things functioning after the firings. The same with getting rid of Obamacare. I’ve seen nothing but half-baked alternatives.

      • Indiana Pearl

        Chaos is the plan so far.

  • Indiana Pearl

    Nancy Pelosi mifht become the next speaker.

  • Indiana Pearl

    Another edition of the John Bernard Books propaganda sheet . . .

  • Gin time….

    • Indiana Pearl

      Deep fried Twinkie time.

      • Deep fried twinkies dipped in Gin?….whoa

        • Indiana Pearl

          Can you walk to your mailbox without a golf cart, Porky? Or without supplemental oxygen?

          Betcha have Type II diabetes and use a CPAP machine. You’re costing me and other Americans who take care of our health BIG BUCKS!

          Porker . . .

          • I run a business
            Play golf 6 days a week
            and outsmart you 7 days a week….

          • Indiana Pearl

            “I run a business”? Judging from your photo, you’re just running to the food trucks.

            I was astounded when you posted your photo. Your belly hangs over your belt to your knees. Gross! Any porker can ride around in a golf cart. Real men/women move their buns.

            Fatties are a burden on the taxpayer. They use significantly more in health care costs, yet pay no more in premiums.

            Gluttony is a sin. J’accuse!

          • 47%ers are a burden on the tax payers…lay off the gin.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Lay off the deep fried Twinkies. Your obesity costs me big bucks.

          • gin and OJ for breakfast…

          • Indiana Pearl

            Low T . . .

          • hahaha

        • Indiana Pearl

          Ted Bundy was a Republican.

  • Indiana Pearl

    Cubans:

    http://www.buenavistasocialclub.com/

    And Muslims:

    Talking Timbuktu (with Ry Cooder) by Ali Farka Touré
    https://itun.es/us/FrMC3

    You lose, Fatso!

  • John Johnson

    Obama’s gun policy… “Don’t own a gun… just grab one from a law enforcement official if you need one.”

    http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/White-House-Staffer-Threatened-Boyfriend-a-US-Capitol-Police-Officer-With-Gun-321276871.html

  • dems march on Washington chant….anti-American slogans

    Million Man March Speaker Leads Chant of ‘Down, Down USA’
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/10/10/million-man-march-speaker-leads-chant-of-down-down-usa/

    Do dems hate America or are they just trying to ignite more riots?

  • State sanctioned voter fraud? Yep…

    “On Saturday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that will allow the state to automatically register millions of residents to vote, using their DMV records.

    Starting in 2016, every eligible California citizen who goes to a DMV office to get a driver’s license or renew one will be instantly registered to vote, unless he or she chooses to opt out.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2015/10/10/3707288/breaking-california-will-automatically-register-millions-of-voters/

    Democrats say there isn’t any voter fraud, it simply doesn’t exist.

  • John Johnson

    153 posts here…half of which are of the “fatso”, “get off the gin”, “sober up”, “have another Twinkie” variety. Not cool. This grows old. How about a truce? No one wants to wade through twenty or so grade school level posts to get to something substantial and pertinent. I understand I’ve been guilty of it myself. Let’s strive to do better.

    • Indiana Pearl

      You started the “gin” meme, remember? I hold you responsible. He is of diminished reasoning abilty, but you are not.

      • John Johnson

        I hate the neuvo term “meme”. And yes, I remember. I am responsible for bringing it up. You, however, supplied the info…kinda like I did the strip club. 🙂 Let’s all just take it up a notch.

        • Indiana Pearl

          Sow the “ad hominem” argument. Inherit the wind. I never back down.

          I only mentioned the strip club once in context. You bring up gin all the time when you’re losing an argument.

          To a certain extent, you’ve created Booksie. Now you own him. You did not speak up when he insulted vets.

          What’s wrong with “meme”? It’s a shorter word than “metaphor.”

          • John Johnson

            That’s the problem…you are never wrong. Never screw up, never say anything you wished you hadn’t. You are always right. JBB owns you. Everyone tuning in now knows it. Stop it. You both look foolish.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You helped release the genie from the bottle. Now help put him back in.

          • John Johnson

            Just stop the slams and ignore his…and stop with the “you let him…” stuff. All of you who insist on sparing with him are doing it all on your own.

          • JJ well put. Dems are never wrong.

          • Indiana Pearl

            That’s a cop out. He is, in part, a creation of yours.

          • no JJ you created me(snicker) now its all your fault…..hahaha

          • Indiana Pearl

            Please try FOR ONCE not to begin a sentence with “you.”

            I realize I look foolish. JBB does not. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

            Take responsibility for the monster you helped create.

          • Give me some credit for making you look foolish…..no wait you did that all by yourself.

          • WUSRPH

            “When did dems become so anti-American, anti-police and anti-Christian?”
            He is at it again.
            And you wonder why some of us have quit the blog.

          • John Johnson

            I know why you left…you can dish it out, but can’t take it.

            As far as Dem’s perceived shortcomings, they are all up for discussion and debate…as are the Repub’s. No sense coming back until you are able to deflect or ignore harsh words, and not chow down on dangled hooks.

          • Indiana Pearl

            That’s my line wrt Booksie — a big baby who runs to to Mommy and calls the police. I would have loved to hear THAT interchange.

            JJ, man up and rein in the monster you’ve created. Come back when you’re more balanced in your criticisms.

          • John Johnson

            Crazy talk.

          • WUSRPH

            See above…

          • Indiana Pearl

            Waiting for:

            (1) adult supervision, or

            (2) the end of BB

            Are you taking any bets?

          • WUSRPH

            I fear the BB will continue along as it is….gradually losing readers and commenters until it fades away.

            The management will not do anything to improve the level of discussion as they likely understand that, if they did take any action against the troll (and others) he would just pop up again using one of his already established other identities and scream “FIRST AMENDMENT….LEFTISTS AFRAID OF ME…” for days and days although neither would apply. As such, I see no hope for BB again becoming a place to which it is worth paying attention.

            As I have said before, responding to his misquoted claims and insults just puffs him up with his own sense of having accomplished something and feeds his jollies. We have always had his ilk in this country…In the early days people just waked away and ignored his type . That is what I am doing today.

            I hope to that we may find a place to continue our discussions free from the village idiot.

          • Indiana Pearl

            All things have a natural life span. Perhaps it’s time for BB to expire peacefully instead of letting it become Booksie’s Personal Fascist Propaganda Site. Baggers demand their First Amendment rights, but deny it to others.

            Emmis Publishing, TM’s parent company, has five or six publications. See a sample here:

            http://www.emmis.com/what-we-do/emmis-publishing/

            Note that none have the equivalent of BB.

            Hindus believe it’s all in your karma . .

            Ms. Lilly is looking for you.

          • WUSRPH

            She knows my name so it should not be that hard.
            just add @grandecom.net

          • John Johnson

            Come on guys…stay or go…I don’t care. Just stop with the threats, whining and finger pointing when the real problem is your inability to control yourselves.

          • Lilly

            Ah, so you understood. I thought you would. 😉 Just hate to intrude on your reading list and wasn’t quite sure what to suggest. I was also hoping to find Pearl; I may still; I have a good lead. Mr. Magoo will be left talking to the Troll. If that’s not a prescription for insanity, I’m not sure what is, but then, Mr. Magoo deserves it, IMHO. I would like a site where there’s a real exchange of ideas and solutions, instead of the Troll’s “them dems always ___ yuk yuk” or Magoo’s “Obama is terrible, and I hate everyone, but no one dare tell me I’m anything but perfect, or I’ll insult them with nasty remarks.”

            Stay tuned; and Jose, Beerman, et al, we’ll get back to you. 😉

          • WUSRPH

            use first initial middle [email protected]

          • Lilly

            LOL, roger wilco!

          • Indiana Pearl

            I’m still checking in, Ms. Lilly . . . Ms. Pearl has a low digital profile in Texas as I wasn’t educated here nor employed.

            JJ is a a good guy. He loves his country and sees the unfairness of our present system.

          • Indiana Pearl

            (I was treated like a non-person a couple of days ago by the utilities company when attempting to make a request because the account was in Mr. P’s name. “I’ll have to speak with him directly.” The war on women continues.)

          • You can’t take the football and leave, it’s my football.

            My work here is almost done….listening to cries of of “I wish I could quit you JBB>”

          • Lilly

            That ship has sailed; you, Madam, are the challenge!

          • John Johnson

            Go away. Start you own blog. Maybe come back here under another name. Just quit the whining and “I’m gone/now I’m back” stuff. Have you no shame?

          • WUSRPH

            I’d be happy to stay away…but my mother taught me to be polite and respond to questions. That is what I did. It would also help if you would stop sending me these challenges….but you seem fixated with the idea that I am leaving and/or have left. Sorry, but you are on your own now. There is nothing I can do to further help you understand the world you live in.

          • John Johnson

            Whow! God bless ya.

          • John Johnson

            You think that if any of us leave this blog it will die because of our departure? Just how high on yourself are you? I think I will just sit back and watch for awhile. You are not interested in returning this blog to a civil environment; you want JBB gone or you want it to become an insignificant site due to people growing tired of tuning in for mile long string of childish, angry posts between you two, with occasional whiny additions from Lilly and Professor Pedant. Why don’t you three go start your own blog where all of you can love on each other? I’ll be glad to kick in money to get you started. Stay or go, but please stop this foolishness.

          • Indiana Pearl

            How much?

          • Lilly

            Wait until the check clears…

          • Indiana Pearl

            Cash only!

            Did you see Mr. W ‘s post?

          • Lilly

            Yes, indeed! Now, to figure you out.

          • Indiana Pearl

            I have a couple of e-mail addresses that do not include personal info. Also a FB account. Beginning to feel like Mata Hari . . .

            But we are being watched, I’m sure.

          • Lilly

            I’m sure we’re watched as well.

            I can’t get a person who holds the “key” to answer the phone…goes directly to voice mail. Argh! I really hate to figure it out here. Man, I just need a bit more info; so frustrating. Are you 100% sure that a silhouette picture of a woman holding a book or package means nothing to you?

            Let me keep thinking. And you be thinking about next steps. Don’t post here; wait until we can speak privately.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Nancy Drew??

          • Indiana Pearl

            What era?

          • Indiana Pearl

            Did you see the e-mail clue he left?

            I’m going to withdraw for a bit for precautionary purposes.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Are you there? Deep in the heartland at the moment . . .

          • The BB will survive with or w/o you.
            Would it help if they made me a moderator?

    • JJ, with WASSUP not gone but forgotten and you want to disarm her only weapon name calling? How is she gonna call you a racist and me a woman hater?
      Even though both have claimed “he is dead to us,” I indeed own them. However, I suspect WASSUP will be unable to stay away and she will be unable to control her rage.

  • Stuff you’ll only read from me…..

    “According to a study in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, which cites the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the United Nations International Study on Firearms Regulation, the more guns a nation has, the less criminal activity.”
    Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/News/Articles/Harvard-University-Study-Reveals-Astonishing-Link.aspx#fhyU8bWvSQpWFWht.99

    More guns less crime….who knew?

  • Democrat debate tomorrow night. It will be interesting to see how the candidates try to convince the voters they will not raise taxes and they are conservative while assuring their base they are taxNspend socialists.

    I vividly remember candidate Obama promising he would not raise taxes one red cent. Then after obamacare was passed even though the admin denied it was a massive tax increase they argued before SCOTUS it was a tax increase and won because it was a tax increase.

    and President Obama said your premiums would go down…..

    did your premiums go down?

    and our favorite “If you like your healthcare plan, if you like your Dr. you can keep them.”

    Ok I’m starting to believe P. T., “You can fool some of the people all the time.

  • If we listen to the main stream media, we’re told the problems are the Tea Partiers….but is it?

    “The meme we’ve been hearing for years is that radical right-wing “hard liners” are hijacking the Republican party and forcing it to the right; however, an interesting new study argues that Democrats are moving more quickly to the left than Republicans are moving to the right. It also indicates that the Democrats’ move leftward has had the unintended consequence of moving state legislatures to the right.”

    http://pushjunction.com/l/20588

    Dems say the problems are the far right tea party nuts….and we know dems are never wrong.

    • Jed

      that analysis is not consistent with the actual causal relationship posited in the article.

      but then, what should we expect from an article by someone named “fuzzy slippers”?