Political peace and quiet would be the worst possible sign for Texas voters right now, so we should be very encouraged by the Speaker’s race fight. The old guard will do everything it can to convince us the conservatives we sent to Austin are causing problems, but it’s exactly the opposite. They’re causing solutions.
A Speaker whose 23 surviving committee chairs average a dismal 53% on the the Texans for Fiscal Responsibility index simply has no business being Speaker of the most conservative and Republican Texas House, ever. Ever.
After all, when was the last time “the establishment” attracted more ire than this past election? Since control is never given up quietly, political serenity would be a good reason for concern right now. We should all derive satisfaction from the current noise coming from the old guard, both in government and media. Their discomfort means legislators are fighting on the conservative mandate we gave them.
In fact, Texans elected the most heavily Republican House of Representatives in its history on November 2nd, and did so on the strength of Tea Party energy and conservative grassroots activism. The campaigns themselves told the story of what this mandate means: Republicans and Democrats alike ran even more conservative campaigns than usual. They knew what Texans were saying: limit spending, limit government, push Washington back–honor Texas priorities, not government priorities. It’s time to govern on principle.
Last session, Democratic bills lost final votes 3% of the time, while Republican bills lost final votes 32% of the time. These percentages indicate Democratic control. That should surprise nobody since Joe Straus was elected Speaker by the Democrats, plus 11 of the most liberal Republicans in the House. His terrible committee chairs made sure important conservative legislation, like voter ID, never made it to the floor.
This conservative mandate, like nothing Texas has ever seen, will either lead to a 2012 Republican promotion election, demotion election, or firing election. In modern history the Democrats have held 150 seats in the House. That means there are several promotions still to be had for attentive legislative employees. Got that, Republicans? The majority can get bigger. Much bigger.
It’s very early, but they’re fighting like they’re supposed to. Be encouraged, and watch them like hawks.