That’s the word from one of the ABCs, who called me a few minutes ago (around 11:15 a.m.). As it was explained to me, the defecting Republicans still live in fear of retaliation from Craddick, who is capable of generating pressure from the entire Republican apparatus, from precinct chairs to consultants to major donors. I still think that the best way to avoid the pressure is sign on and stick with it.
What has confounded me ever since November 7 is why the Republican establishment is so committed to Craddick. I understand why his legislative team is so committed to him; if Craddick is out, they are out too. But the party leaders and donors are supposed to be committed to a Republican majority. After all, it took them 130 years to get one, and Craddick (with help from Perry) has lost more than half of it in four years. Forget all the other criticisms of Craddick–no need to list them again–but why aren’t the bigshots concerned about what happened on election day? The answer is that Craddick has kept the big donors happy by doing their bidding. But if the Republicans lose their majority, then where are the bigshots? Had the election losses been due to the fact that this was a Democratic year, the election results could be overlooked, but the statewide races weren’t close, and the congressional races (with the exception of Henry Bonilla’s) weren’t close, only the legislative races–and they were lost because Tom Craddick’s anti-education attitude galvanized the education community against him and his candidates and created the Texas Parent PAC. Why aren’t Republicans leading the charge to get rid of Tom Craddick? What about the consultants? Do they enjoy running losing races? Where is Karl Rove when you need him?
Anyway, this is the spin I’m getting today–that the fear of Craddick is so great that Pitts will not release his names, and that this will go to a vote on Tuesday. It doesn’t help that Democrats are out there with bruised feelings wearing their egos on their sleeves, although the bruises may heal by Tuesday. In my view, knowing that you’re on the side with 90 votes who are publicly committed to a new speaker is better security than hoping to keep a secret, when Craddick and his minions will be putting on the pressure all weekend anyway.