With all due respect to my esteemed colleague, I rise to offer another point of view on last night’s House drama. I can’t agree with Mr. Burka’s comparison of last night’s walkout to Arlene’s calendar-killing motion. The stakes are entirely different, as is the back-story of provocation. Craddick wants a peaceful end to this session — so he goes and hires Ron Wilson and Terry Keel to lord power over the House? I think you’ve got to hold Craddick responsible for the mayhem. There were other choices him he could have made:

1. He could have allowed a vote. Lots of people I spoke with last night thought he would have won.

2. If the votes weren’t there, why didn’t Craddick negotiate with the insurgents? Why couldn’t he say: Okay guys, I just want a strong finish to this session and then I’ll step down. June 1, I announce my retirement. He couldn’t do it because he’s holding onto power at all costs.

For a more apt historical comparison, I offer the aftermath of Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre. Craddick conducted his own Friday Night Massacre, reassigning parliamentarians when they refused to cooperate with his power play. The walk-out has to be judged in that context.

On another issue: While this was all unfolding in the House, there was a very frank discussion in the Senate about higher education special items — the state of Texas is going to spend over $100 million in higher ed goodies because Craddick thinks it will help him hang onto power. This is what Republican conservatism? Does anybody know if the governor, or the LBB has some sort of budget execution authority that would allow the transfer of some of that money to cover more legitimate items, say the UTMB indigent care shortfall that Kyle Janek spoke about so eloquently last night?