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Politics & Policy |
January 26, 2007

PITTS BLASTS CRADDICK OVER COMMITTEES

“In spite of his repeated assurances to members of the House and the public that there would be no retribution, it appears that the Speaker has chosen retaliation over reconciliation.” Minutes ago, losing speaker candidate Jim Pitts issued a harshly worded press statement criticizing his treatment by victor Tom Craddick.

Politics & Policy |
January 26, 2007

Bush Library on YouTube

The controversy over the Bush Library at SMU continues to escalate. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert gave the library the full treatment, with collateral damage to two SMU theology professors who wrote an editorial in the Daily Campus, the student newspaper, urging rejection of the library. The Daily Campus editorial…

Politics & Policy |
January 25, 2007

SurveyUSA: Perry’s Approval Rises

SurveyUSA’s monthly tracking poll for the job approval ratings of President Bush, Governor Perry, and U.S. senators Hutchison and Cornyn show improvements for all except Cornyn. The poll surveyed 600 adults (not necessarily likely voters) and has a margin of error of +/- 4%. Bush hit an all-time low in…

Politics & Policy |
January 25, 2007

The Penalty Box

Tom Craddick’s committee appointments, which have been delayed until Friday, perhaps longer, will be closely examined for signs of retribution following the speakers race that started the session. This raises the question of what is “fair” retribution and what is “unfair” retribution? Craddick can hardly be expected to forgive and…

Politics & Policy |
January 20, 2007

SMU Prof Backs Bush Library in the Times

Today’s New York Times has an op-ed piece by James Hollifield, the director of the [John] Tower Center for Political Studies at SMU, making the case for acceptance of the controversial George W. Bush presidential library by the university’s trustees. Hollifield writes that he was a graduate student at…

Politics & Policy |
January 18, 2007

Protest Against Bush Library Goes National

On December 14, I first wrote about the protest by faculty and staff at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology urging the university trustees to reject the George W. Bush presidential library. As far as I know, that posting was the first mention in any news medium about the protest. I…

Politics & Policy |
January 17, 2007

McNamara Scorches Martinez, Blames Rove

Thanks to Will Lutz of the Lone Star Report and Evan of Rick Perry vs. The World blog for calling to my attention Denise McNamara’s comments about U.S. Senator Mel Martinez of Florida, which she posted on dallasblog.com.McNamara is the Republican National Committeewoman from Texas, and…

Politics & Policy |
January 17, 2007

Texans Lead Rebellion Against Bush’s RNC Pick

The Washington Times reported today that President Bush’s choice to be general chairman of the Republican National Committee, U.S. Senator Mel Martinez of Florida, has met with heavy resistance among RNC members, including the three members from Texas. Martinez’s problem is twofold: first, he is strictly a symbolic choice–the…

Politics & Policy |
January 16, 2007

Clarification from Joe Nixon

In the posting I wrote about the House rules debate, I mentioned Yvonne Davis’s amendment to provide criminal penalties under the Open Meetings law for illegal closed committee meetings. Joe Nixon, the chairman of the Civil Practices committee during the 2003 and 2005 sessions, sent the following e-mail shortly after…

Politics & Policy |
January 15, 2007

Rules of the Game

The House spent last Friday debating its rules. Since the rules don’t change much from session to session, you would think that this could have been done in an hour or two, but the House never does anything in an hour or two except break for lunch. It took a…

Politics & Policy |
January 14, 2007

More on the Bush Library

Readers may recall the controversy in December on this Web site about the protests by SMU faculty members over the university’s decision to host the George W. Bush presidential library. I am still getting comments to be posted about that issue. I’m going to publish this one, because it has…

Politics & Policy |
January 13, 2007

From a Former Member

I received this e-mail about Craddick’s prospects. The writer, who wishes to remain anonymous, disagrees with my assessment that Craddick will be reelected in 2009, if he runs again, because members will find that Republicans back home in their districts will not like their support of Craddick. The former member…

Politics & Policy |
January 12, 2007

Gallegos May Miss Session

The Associated Press is reporting that Senator Mario Gallegos of Houston has announced that he needs a liver transplant and may miss “most” of the session. Gallegos was elected president pro tem of the Senate by his colleagues on the opening day of the session. While the Capitol community…

Politics & Policy |
January 12, 2007

Bully for Craddick

A reader posted a comment last night that raises the issue of whether Tom Craddick won the speakership because of his intimidation tactics: “The Legislature set a fine example for Texas children – elect the playground bully Student Body President. He will punish you if you don’t. Another feckless performance…

Politics & Policy |
January 11, 2007

Just Wondering …

…what would have happened if Brian McCall had called a press conference in the Capitol on November 8 and announced that he would run for speaker? In his statement, McCall would have said something like this: “Today I intend to file the necessary papers to run for speaker of the…

Politics & Policy |
January 10, 2007

History

To walk in the House chamber at noon yesterday was to realize that we were witnessing an historic moment–a challenge to a sitting speaker. The “rig count”–the number of TV cameras on tripods situated on the floor–was 21, the highest I have ever seen. Every seat in the gallery was…

Politics & Policy |
January 9, 2007

HR 1 — RULES FOR VOTING

See Section 3: Paper ballots to be placed in a ballot box, counted, and made public afterwards. I think this is a fair process. It allows the votes to be made public, which should be the case, but it prevents armtwisting, machine malfunctions, and and any other mischief during the…

Politics & Policy |
January 9, 2007

Move to Reconsider

A reader sent in a comment to my earlier post this morning, “YouTube Ds,” which I want to address in the main portion of the blog, rather than in the comment section: The ubiquitous “anonymous” quotes me as saying, “The Craddick Ds were the firewall that saved Craddick’s speakership,” then…

Politics & Policy |
January 9, 2007

YouTube Ds

It was definitely the Ds, or an affiliated group, who were behind the videotaping of arriving members at Craddick’s affair at the Austin Club Sunday night. The YouTube video of ten Democratic members arriving at the Craddick loyalty session can be seen on the Burnt Orange Report, edited by…

Politics & Policy |
January 8, 2007

First Flip?

There’s a story making the rounds tonight, from the Pitts campaign, that a Republican chairman has flipped. I talked to a noncombatant who had heard it from one of the main Pitts strategists. Here’s the list of Republican chairs, in alphabetical order of their committees. Chairs with an asterisk after…

Politics & Policy |
January 8, 2007

Time for Football

I don’t think I’ll hear anything new tonight. Many members will be at the Legislative Wives Club soiree. My intention is to watch the BCS championship. I’ll take Florida plus the points (8). When you learn how bad I am at betting on football games (which I only do in…

Politics & Policy |
January 8, 2007

The Ballot Procedure

I have been told that there is an agreement that the vote for speaker will occur by paper ballot. As the Quorum Report related earlier today, the Pitts camp wants the ballots made public after committee assignments, so that Craddick, if victorious, would not be able to punish members who…

Politics & Policy |
January 8, 2007

Waffling

Call from the Pitts camp … “the race is very much alive.” And this from someone who is not a current member but knows how to play the game. I’m not going to undo my call of the race for Craddick. But I do believe that the race is close…

Politics & Policy |
January 8, 2007

Looks Like Craddick

The news that the Pitts forces are pressing for a secret ballot, with the results to be released after committee appointments, is a clear indication that they feel they are behind. (And they’re right.) That consensus seems to be building in the lobby as well. I’m going to call the…

Politics & Policy |
January 8, 2007

Photo Op Update

A reader commented on the previous posting, “Photo Op”: Has it occurred to you that perhaps the videographer was there to cast suspicion on the Dems and neutralize the “intimidation” issue for Craddick? Dollars to doughnuts the guy was on Craddick’s payroll so the old man can say, “see, they…

Politics & Policy |
January 7, 2007

Photo Op

The Craddick fete at the Austin Club seems to have drawn an uninvited street crowd. In addition to TV cameras, a freelance photograph took photos of arriving guests with a digital camera. You can bet that Craddick will know who showed up, so the cloud of suspicion falls on Democrats…

Politics & Policy |
January 7, 2007

Apology

I know that bloggers aren’t allowed to have a life, but just for once I’m going to try to have one today. There’s a big bridge tournament, I’m a serious player, I played a little yesterday and I’m going to play a lot today. I’m really sorry to be so…

Politics & Policy |
January 6, 2007

Status of the Speakers Race 04/01/07

I chose a date in the future–about the time floor debate really starts to heat up and the calendar grows long and members start to realize that their bills are dead–because I really don’t think that the speakers race ends on Tuesday at noon. Oh, there will be a winner,…

Politics & Policy |
January 6, 2007

“Christmas in January”

That was Jim Pitts’ description to me, in a brief phone conversation this afternoon, of the recent moves by the Craddick camp: the new double-barrelled pledge card, to be signed Sunday night, that reads (according to the Quorum Report), “I am committed to voting for Speaker Tom Craddick for…

Politics & Policy |
January 6, 2007

Least Surprising Press Release of the Year

Congressman Silvestre Reyes16th District of TexasP R E S S R E L E A S E FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 5, 2007CONTACT: Kira Maas: (202) 225-4831 or (202) 225-2912 (cell) http://www.house.gov/reyes El Paso to Receive Homeland Security Funds Washington, D.C. – The Department…

Politics & Policy |
January 4, 2007

The Press Conference: No List

I didn’t start this post until several hours after the Pitts-McCall press conference. It was such a letdown that I didn’t have any inspiration. There was nothing to analyze, just a weak performance that did nothing to bolster Pitts’ candidacy, not because they are weak people– quite to the contrary,…

Politics & Policy |
January 4, 2007

Off to the Pitts Press Conference

Despite some rather vehement contradictions from readers who posted comments, I continue to believe that unless Pitts comes forward with names today, he’s toast. Here’s why: The first person to produce a credible list of supporters with sufficient votes wins a speakers race. Craddick’s list has not been credible because…

Politics & Policy |
January 4, 2007

Don’t Expect Names at 4 p.m.

That’s the word from one of the ABCs, who called me a few minutes ago (around 11:15 a.m.). As it was explained to me, the defecting Republicans still live in fear of retaliation from Craddick, who is capable of generating pressure from the entire Republican apparatus, from precinct chairs to…

Politics & Policy |
January 4, 2007

Have the Democrats Lost Their Minds?

Is it possible that the Democrats–can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Some have their noses out of joint because McCall and Pitts did not consult them first before making their alliance? Well, if anybody could blow it, it’s this bunch. I’m reminded of the time when Patti Gray…

Politics & Policy |
January 4, 2007

Status of the Speakers Race 01/04/07

I was beginning to have bloggers’ remorse about reporting that Jim Pitts and Brian McCall would be holding a press conference at 4 p.m. on Thursday, based on what a member deeply involved in the challenge to Tom Craddick told me, because I had not seen a press release announcing…

Politics & Policy |
January 3, 2007

And Now a Message from the Real World

Sorry to write about something other than the Speakers race, but … Reuters is reporting tonight that intelligence czar John Negroponte is leaving his job to take the number-two job in the State Department. This is the position that former Texas A&M president Robert Gates turned down in 2005…

Politics & Policy |
January 3, 2007

Keffer Urges Colleagues to Support Craddick

I’ve been derelict in my duty while going out to dinner with my kids and watching football, so I missed this statement e-mailed earlier today by Alexis DeLee, the speaker’s press secretary. Public StatementReleased by State Representative Jim KefferOn Speakers Election For Texas House of Representatives — The…

Politics & Policy |
January 3, 2007

Craddick: “It’s Not True, Don’t Worry”

The official response from the speakers office to the McCall-Pitts alliance is that nothing has changed. I just talked to a former member who had talked to a current Craddick pledge, and the message the member had gotten from Craddick was, “It’s not true, don’t worry, we have 83 votes.”…

Politics & Policy |
January 3, 2007

PITTS PRESS CONFERENCE TOMORROW?

From a source in the McCall-Pitts camp: “McCall is making calls for Pitts. There will be a press conference at 4 p.m. tomorrow and the names will be pouring out.” If they are willing to publish names, the Craddick speakership is over. ADDENDUM: 9:52 P.M. I want to make clear…

Politics & Policy |
January 2, 2007

Craddick Fights Back

This is what I was told. The source is close to several Craddick insiders but is not a Craddick fan. –At the chairs’ meeting last week, the Craddick forces divided up the list of members so that every member of the House was called three times. Anyone who lied had…

Politics & Policy |
January 2, 2007

King: Not a Candidate for Speaker

Phil King issued this press statement today: For Immediate Release: January 2, 2007 Rep. King Denies Reports of Intent to Run for Speaker Austin – Representative Phil King (R – Weatherford) issued the following statement today in response to reports that he plans to run for Speaker:”Contrary to the many…

Politics & Policy |
January 2, 2007

Alexis DeLee: Craddick Has the Pledges to Win

I received this e-mail today from Alexis DeLee, the press secretary for Speaker Craddick: Dear Paul, Your most recent blog posting, “Plan B,” that would call for Tom Craddick to abdicate the speakership for another candidate and your vote count are categorically wrong. Speaker Craddick has shown that he holds…

Politics & Policy |
January 2, 2007

SurveyUSA: Bush Sinks, Perry Lags

The pre-legislative political season has been so heated that I overlooked SurveyUSA’s monthly tracking polls for December. Here are the job approval numbers for President Bush, Governor Rick Perry, and U.S. senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn in Texas. The poll of 600 adults has a margin of error…

Politics & Policy |
January 2, 2007

Letter from House Chairs backing Craddick

This letter signed by House chairs supporting the reelection of Tom Craddick as speaker was sent to this Web site for posting as a response to the item, “The Final Days of Tom Craddick: Plan B.” However, because many readers do not check the comments by readers, I am posting…

Politics & Policy |
January 1, 2007

The Final Days of Tom Craddick: Plan B

The sands are falling through the hour glass on Tom Craddick’s speakership. The Craddick chairs have started to worry about their own skins. I am told that Craddick has until the middle of this week to try to get the votes he needs, and then he will have to abdicate…

Politics & Policy |
December 31, 2006

Status of the Speaker’s Race 12/31/06

Recent developments: 1. Thursday: Pitts announces for speaker. Timing is everything in politics, and Pitts waited too long to make his move. The moment to act was immediately after the November elections, when the Republicans lost six seats on Craddick’s watch. Pitts didn’t have to file right away, but he…

Politics & Policy |
December 30, 2006

Eagle Forum’s Adams Backs Craddick

No surprise that Cathie Adams, the head of the conservative Eagle Forum, is for Craddick, but she raises an interesting point about the speakers race in a comment she posted on Dallas Blog. The first part of her letter deals with Jim Pitts’ announcement for speaker; it’s the final…

Politics & Policy |
December 29, 2006

Bill Ceverha vs. Dallas Blog

Posting on dallasblog.com, Scott Bennett gives his version of the history of Tom Craddick’s rise to power. One key passage involves the role of big donors: “But the real force behind the Craddick candidacy wasn’t popularity with his fellow House members but the support of the man who may…

Politics & Policy |
December 28, 2006

From 109 to 83 to ???: The Craddick Defectors

Based on the list of pledges in the Quorum Report, here are the members who were on Tom Craddick’s list of 109 pledges as of November 8 but not on his list of 83 pledges as of December 28: Republicans (13 defectors)Charlie GerenPat HaggertyBryan HughesDelwin Jones…