The frustrating thing about John Smithee is that he has chosen all his career to perform at 60% of his ability. He has never wanted to get out front, or draw upon all the respect he has earned over the years. One “Dear Colleague” letter from him in the past seven weeks could have ended Craddick’s speakership. He wouldn’t do it. His decision to wait from Friday until Monday was typical. He doesn’t yearn for power. His reticence doesn’t stem from fear. It’s just his personality. The two day delay from Friday makes it hard for him to pull it together. It may be too late now, depending upon whether Straus has gained some new recruits, and how many. The pool of uncommitted members is shrinking, particularly on the Democratic side. The only reason for D’s to switch to Smithee is if Straus can’t close the deal and Craddick stays viable. Otherwise, why would they go for a rural guy at the backside of his career than an urban guy on the way up? On the R side, the only way for Smithee to get traction is for Craddick to give up and pass the torch. Something about “cold dead fingers” comes to mind. Smithee would have to get every Republican except the ABCs–that’s probably around 60 at the moment–plus the Craddick D’s, some of whom may have already found safe shelter. I’m certainly not going to say that Straus is a lock until I have more information, but Smithee has a narrow window–and it’s closing.
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