Joe Straus

Politics & Policy |
June 13, 2012

Takeaways From the GOP Convention

In reading the last couple of days of convention coverage, I found two key takeaways that have been overlooked:(1) Rick Perry is still very strong with the base of his party. He still connects with the rank and file when he makes a rousing speech, as he did at the convention

Politics & Policy |
August 29, 2011

More on Paddie vs. Christian, HD 9

This is an analysis of the race that was developed by the Paddie camp. It is published as it was sent to me. Quoting the analysis: Basically the district can be divided into 3 parts: 1). Christian base. This is Shelby and Sabine [counties] that are currently in Christian’s District. 

Politics & Policy |
February 18, 2011

An odd moment in the sonogram debate

I was sitting in the Senate gallery yesterday, listening to the debate over the sonogram bill, when Dan Patrick said something that got my attention. He said that he had asked Speaker Straus to recommend someone to carry the sonogram bill, and Straus had recommended Geanie Morrison. He repeated this

Politics & Policy |
February 11, 2011

MVP: Most vulnerable player (in redistricting)

[I have recovered some material I lost from the original post] It’s Jim Landtroop. 1. He’s a freshman. 2. He supported Paxton for speaker. 3. He cast one of the fifteen votes against Straus for speaker 4. He represents a part of the state that is hemorrhaging population. 5. He

Politics & Policy |
February 10, 2011

House committee assignments, at long last

The Joe Straus who put together these committee assignments was a different Joe Straus from the one who made the appointments in 2009. Straus 2.0 is a much more skilled politician. For those who had labeled him a RINO, he spiked that attack by appointing 27 Republican chairs to only 11

Politics & Policy |
November 9, 2010

Meeting today could clarify speaker’s race

A meeting is scheduled this afternoon at the building occupied by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. It is probably taking place as I write. My information is that representatives of Straus and some of his adversaries, including Michael Quinn Sullivan, are having discussions that could result in the shaping of

Politics & Policy |
April 14, 2010

Storm warnings for Democrats

The message sent by voters in the Republican primary is that they have little use for establishment politicians. Mabrie Jackson, Delwin Jones, and Mark Griffin all fit that profile. Jones and Griffin were endorsed by establishment types and those endorsements were albatrosses around their necks. Jackson got the same percentage

Politics & Policy |
March 3, 2010

Bad day for conservatives: the anger that wasn’t there

This was supposed to be an unpredictable election due to the tea parties and the Medina candidacy. It was supposed to be an election in which angry conservatives rose up and smote incumbents. Nothing remotely like that occurred. Republican congressional candidates, who might have been tainted by Washingtonitis, won with

Politics & Policy |
February 25, 2010

The race within the race

The reference is to the speaker’s race. What speaker’s race? The story that is going around is that Chisum has been inviting members to his ranch. He has emerged as the most likely candidate of the hardline conservatives, if they decide to put up a fight, but the problem is

Politics & Policy |
May 22, 2009

Watching paint dry

How else to describe the pace of House debate? I can’t recall another session when the default option was for both parties to chub every bill. The debate over the unemployment insurance bill was particularly dilatory. Why is this bill even being debated? Rick Perry has drawn his line in

Politics & Policy |
April 27, 2009

Tuition caps get Senate committee approval

An intensive, month-long working group in the Texas Senate has produced a bill combining the best elements of the myriad of tuition freeze/tuition reregulation bills. The resulting SB 1443 by Zaffirini unanimously passed out of the Higher Education Committee  and had the additional support of Sens. Tommy Williams, Florence Shapiro,

Politics & Policy |
April 14, 2009

Conference call

Speaker Straus will face one of his most difficult decisions this week: Who will be the conference committee for SB1? The members who know the budget inside out--Turner, Kolkhorst, Gattis--aren't on Appropriations, and the members who are, well, let's just say that this isn't the strongest appropriations committee ever assembled.

Politics & Policy |
April 5, 2009

The Vacuum: Who will run the GOP races in 2010?

The conventional wisdom is that Republicans will pick up House seats in 2010, for two reasons. One is that the president's party seldom does well in the first off-year election (George W. Bush in 2002 being a notable exception). Another reason is that Democrats have to defend their recent gains

Politics & Policy |
February 20, 2009

Is Straus more powerful than Craddick?

This may have been the point that Dutton was trying to make: that the logic of the new rules makes the speaker virtually invulnerable to removal. Craddick’s critics argued that the congressional precedents and other authorities (such as Mason’s) empowered the members to remove the speaker at any time by

Politics & Policy |
February 20, 2009

Sunrise, Sunset

I just want to raise a question, based on Carl Isett’s decision, announced yesterday, that he would handle the TxDOT and Texas Department of Insurance Sunset bills on the floor: Should the Sunset bills be carried by the appointees to the Sunset Commission, or by the committee chairs of the

Politics & Policy |
February 18, 2009

Did the Democrats make a mistake? (revisited)

I posted this item, under the same headline, on January 8, five days before the start of the regular session. I am republishing it now because of the discussion that followed my post from earlier today: “Why are the Democrats Complaining?” I wonder if any Democrats are having second thoughts

Politics & Policy |
January 23, 2009

PROPOSED NEW HOUSE RULES

The highlights: 1. A process is established for removal of the speaker following the refusal to recognize a member for a question of privilege. (The Tom Craddick Rule) This had to be done. The Craddick/Keel/Wilson ruling that the speaker was an officer of the state and could not be removed

Politics & Policy |
January 23, 2009

House rules will address removing the speaker

The rules debate will probably take place on Wednesday, one day after the governor’s State of the State address. Last session it took 8 hours and 48 minutes for the House to adopt its rules. Democrats raised legitimate concerns about confidentiality and attorney-client privilege, due to former Republican operative Milton

Politics & Policy |
January 14, 2009

Day One: Free at Last

The first day of a legislative session always has the festive atmosphere of a high school reunion, but this one had something extra. It was also Bastille Day—the moment that the masses stormed the battlements and freed the prisoners. I have never seen so many members look so happy. Charlie

Politics & Policy |
January 11, 2009

Can Craddick come back?

Sure, there are circumstances under which he could regain the speakership. He has $3 million and a loyal core of conservative members who support him. He has time on his hands–nothing to do but make oil deals, raise money, and recruit candidates for 2010. The speaker’s statute is no longer

Politics & Policy |
January 8, 2009

A Suggestion for Straus

Before election day, when it still seemed as if Tom Craddick might win reelection as speaker, Terral Smith told me about what he hoped to do with committee assignments. Rather than use vice-chairmanships as a reward for loyal team members, Smith wanted to replicate the relationship between Rob Eissler and

Politics & Policy |
January 8, 2009

Did the Democrats make a mistake? UPDATE

Note to readers: This original post (scroll down below the asterisks) noting the ironies for both parties surrounding the presumed election of Straus as speaker, has kicked up a bit of a furor. I unwittingly blundered into a fierce debate among Democrats. Party people such as Matt Angle think that

Politics & Policy |
January 7, 2009

The Liberation

I have covered the Texas House of Representatives since 1975. What I love about the place is that, traditionally, it is has been an open shop. The culture of the House is that you can do what you are big enough to do, whether you are on the team or

Politics & Policy |
January 6, 2009

Sore Winners

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

Politics & Policy |
January 5, 2009

The fight from the right againt Straus

An anonymous commenter posted a list of Straus’s votes that did not sit well with social conservatives as a response to my article of Friday night, “Can Straus hold the votes?” I have researched the issues that Anonymous mentioned and will discuss them below. The comment begins: Unfortunately, Rep. Straus

Politics & Policy |
January 5, 2009

Ich bin ein Speaker!

Burka and Eileen discuss probable Speaker Joe Straus, Craddick’s exit, horse racing, and whether bridge qualifies as gambling. Honorably mentioned: John Smithee, Burt Solomons, Dan Gattis, Jim Keffer, and playing the ponies. (And yes, I am wearing a scarf over my turtleneck. My space heater gave out, and I can’t

Politics & Policy |
January 5, 2009

Will Craddick stay?

When Tom Craddick became speaker, Pete Laney remained in the Legislature for two sessions. Craddick believed, rightly or wrongly, that Laney orchestrated the Democratic resistance to his leadership, and he deeply resented it. Is history going to repeat itself? Is Craddick going to take his seat on the floor and

Politics & Policy |
January 4, 2009

Smithee’s prospects

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

Politics & Policy |
January 4, 2009

Straus vs. Smithee?

Here’s where I think the speaker’s race is headed. I should credit a commenter to my previous post with a similar analysis. If Straus gets to 80+ by Sunday afternoon and lays out the names, he’s going to be the next speaker. If he hasn’t proved up his 76 votes

Politics & Policy |
January 3, 2009

Straus in the wind: claims 76 votes

Gary Scharrer has posted a story in the San Antonio Express-News quoting Joe Straus as saying that he has the votes to be speaker. Here are the first three paragraphs: Republican lawmaker Joe Straus said he has collected enough pledges from House colleagues Saturday to oust incumbent House

Politics & Policy |
January 2, 2009

Can Straus hold the votes?

I think Straus is an honorable member, and he certainly deserves the credit for being among the first to speak out against Craddick, but speaker seems like a stretch. I’ve said before that it isn’t rocket science to preside in a fair manner, but the ABCs also needed to consider

Politics & Policy |
December 7, 2008

Capitol Inside: Straus may run for speaker

I hope this won’t be seen as poaching; a lobbyist sent me the story from Capitol Inside. Here are the first two paragraphs: There’s speculation that State Rep. Joe Straus may be seriously considering a race for the Texas House’s top leadership post if no other candidate catches

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