Why has the founder of a conservative blog, in Georgia, become so heavily invested in the race for Speaker of the House in the Texas state legislature? Why would this city council member from Macon, Georgia and professional blogger, as well as a newly popular conservative commentator on talking head cable shows and radio star wanna be (he all but begs Rush to allow him to guest host) decide to make a stand on his choice for this particular election?
I dared to make a comment on his Facebook page as he weighed in on the race - encouraging his Texas readers to call House members and asking them to "burn up some phone lines". I did so because I just think his involvement is strange. Maybe it's me. Maybe not. I have no way of knowing. He, however, responded, making references to 'stuck pigs' so there you have that, for whatever it's worth.
Let me be clear in this disclosure: I make no endorsements about the Texas House Speaker's race. I am a Republican Womens Club PAC President here in Houston and a member of the Texas Federation of Republican Women. I am required to remain neutral in races involving two or more Republicans, as a club president. Do not read into this post an endorsement of any kind. That is not the point of my thoughts here.
I know this race has gotten really ugly. Speaker Joe Straus, running for re-election as Speaker of the House, is witnessing his record blown up and described in less than 100% truthful by those wishing for a new leader. There is even an anti-Semitic factor to it all. Score! Straus is Jewish and there are anonymous robo-calls circulating calling for a "Christian" Speaker. Wow. How utterly backwards and despicable.
The Texas House of Representatives under Speaker Straus was comprised of 76 Republicans and 74 Democrats. A slim two seats separated the two parties. When Straus ran for Speaker, he acquired a good amount of Democratic support. That said quite a lot, frankly. Some, like this conservative blogger, consider this a bad thing. How dare he reach out for support from the other side of the aisle!
About Straus's record - the opposition is led by social conservatives crying foul that Straus has a record of 100% with NARAL. However, Straus must be doing a decent job in representing all Texans, since he also has a letter of endorsement from the Texans for Life President. Also signing that letter are many Republicans, none of whom are known as too liberal for credibility.
Here is a fact check on the NARAL rating: http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2010/11/heat-index-a-fact-check-of-str.html
So, maybe this Georgia blogger is falling for the bogus claims spread about Straus on other hot button issues - like the failure to pass the Voter ID bill. Well, that was the doing of the Democrats, not Speaker Straus - who voted for it in 2007, and it was technical wrangling. The above referenced letter refers to that, too.
Under Speaker Straus, the recent elections in Texas saw big victories for Republicans. We now have a decisive majority. Does he receive no credit for that?
The problem with social conservatives who place purity on all opinions above common sense governance is that they look like illogical ideologues. They wish to pick a fight simply to score points for picking a fight. It's divisive and unproductive. Republicans should be savoring the victories and planning for the next session, not squabbling over non-issues spurred on by outsiders looking to promote a national presence.
As fellow movement conservatives, we have the same desire as many of you: to advance the conservative agenda in Austin, and our shared values. We believe in the sanctity of life, the power of private individuals to create opportunity rather than government, personal responsibility rather than increased dependency, and constitutional limits to the size and scope of government. We are here to tell you, in all these matters, we have an ally in Speaker Joe Straus.
Let’s set aside recent rhetoric, and just look at the record. In his first term as Speaker the Texas House – with just a two-vote majority – we achieved the following:
•Passed a balanced budget with a $1.6 billion reduction in general revenue spending – just the 2nd time we have reduced spending from general revenue since World War II.
•Enacted tax cuts for 40,000 small businesses previously subject to the business margins tax.
•Set aside $9.1 billion in the state’s Rainy Day Fund, ensuring we could address future budgetary challenges without raising taxes.
Since the session ended, Speaker Straus has joined Governor Perry and Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst in mandating immediate five percent spending cuts at all but a few state agencies. And Speaker Straus has directed members of key committees to look at all ways to find savings and cuts in state spending, taking tax hikes off the table as an option in the next session.
This professional blogger was offered the opportunity to speak with Strauss and address any concerns he has, yet he chose to use his nationally read blog to belittle the campaign representative who arranged the opportunity. Is this good and productive discourse for someone who claims to have the best interests of Texas in place? Why would he devolve into the politics of mud-slinging himself? Is that the moral path?
I respectfully ask my fellow Texas residents to do the homework. Do not discredit a politician on grounds that he can work with the other party. That is mature leadership, not selling out his party principles. Stop following bad advice from a person looking to score points from afar. Or, to enhance his own presence in our state.
Ask yourself, why is a professional Georgia blogger doing it?