The worst mistake that the Straus regime can make is to be sore winners. Doesn’t anybody learn anything around here? Craddick was a sore winner. He rubbed the Democrats’ and the ABCs’ noses in the dirt for three sessions. Laney once said, jokingly, that Craddick had done what he could never do, which was unite the Democrats. It was no joke. That unity is one of the main reasons Craddick lost the speakership. He made them hate him. At least, when Craddick kicked sand in the Democrats’ faces, he had an 88-62 majority. Straus is working with a coalition that is topheavy with Democrats. He needs more Republicans, even if they are catching the late train. Straus and the ABCs can’t afford to alienate anyone at this point. This is not a theoretical discussion. At least one incident has occurred, involving Straus himself. Undoubtedly, the story has spread through the Republican ranks. This sort of thing can happen to anybody; at times I have had a genius for saying the right thing in the wrong way. What happened in 2003 is that the Republicans had been in the wilderness for 130 years. Now it was their turn, and they couldn’t resist sticking it to the Democrats. I remember Beverly Woolley’s announcement that amendments to the redistricting bill had to be submitted by noon on Mother’s Day. Straus and his followers are going to have the same bad impulses that the Republicans had six years ago. It’s human nature to be sore winners. But it is also self-defeating. A lot of Republicans are very angry. They have lost their daddy and they don’t know what to do. This is a time for reconciliation and reassurance, not recriminations and revenge.
Politics & Policy