John Sharp has a spot on YouTube criticizing his former, or perhaps current, and possibly even future friend Rick Perry for his remarks about secession. Here is the text of “The Greatest Country on Earth,” in which Sharp does not mention Perry by name: During World War II my father was shot in defense of the greatest country on Earth, and I proudly wore the uniform of a United States Army reserve officer. So I’m offended when it becomes acceptable for anybody to talk about Texas leaving the Union. I’m running for the United States Senate because we need mainstream, common-sense leadership to clean up the mess in Washington, D.C., not a bunch of radical, anti-American rhetoric. I’m John Sharp and you bet I approve this message. The words “mainstream,” “common-sense,” and “leadership” appear on screen as Sharp utters them. Sharp looks, well, sharp in the spot, but it struck me as weird that, as a candidate for the Senate, he attacked the governor. Sharp has a problem with some Democrats who are less than thrilled that he bailed Perry out of a tight spot by agreeing to lead the campaign for a reformed business tax in 2006, giving Perry cover for passing a tax that was identified more with Sharp than with Perry. I hear reports that Perry and Sharp remain close and talk frequently; this makes me think more of both of them, but I doubt that Democrats would have the same reaction. The YouTube video allows Sharp to try to distance himself from Perry. The salient fact about the Senate race is that there is no guarantee that it will ever take place. A race can occur only if Hutchison resigns her seat, creating a vacancy that Perry would fill by appointment. The political peril for Hutchison is that her resignation would drop the number of GOP senators to 40–one LESS than the number needed to successfully block a bill through a filibuster. The cloture rule reads: The majority required to invoke cloture is three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn, or 60 votes if there are no vacancies in the Senate’s membership. The way I read this is that if there are vacancies in the Senate’s membership, then 59 votes will do. If this is the case, then I don’t see how Hutchison can resign. And if she doesn’t resign, there will not be a race.
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