The main comment I would make about the Texas Tribune‘s Insiders’ list is that it doesn’t have any criteria. And I realize that’s not its purpose. This is really more like a vote for eighth grade president. The only criteria is who do we like and who don’t we like? The reason why TEXAS MONTHLY’s list has survived through twenty sessions is that we try to evaluate members according to the way they evaluate each other–that is, the self-imposed criteria inside the rail. My assistant in writing the Best and Worst story, Katherine Stevens, and I sat in a member’s office after the puppy mill debacle and heard a declamation, a loud declamation, on the importance of trust. When Truitt and Elkins were going at it over payday loans, we stood by the rail and listened to two Democratic members discuss where the line was about going too far in attacking an opponent or defending yourself, and whether either Truitt or Elkins had crossed it. Don’t get me wrong. I assume that most of the Tribune insiders have their internal measuring devices too. I watch the Legislature as though it were a great symphony, one that I have heard many times, so well that I know what the next note is supposed to sound like, and when the French horn goes BLAT!, I know that it’s the wrong note. Our list will be out tomorrow.
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