Dare I hope?

January 28, 2009 at 9:46 am (Politics) (, , )

A headline in the U.S. section of the New York Times caught my eye this morning.  It’s Texas Rebellion Gives a Centrist a Lift.

Apparently, a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats have banded together to oust the former Speaker of the House, Thomas Craddick of Midland.  I suspect that he’s who we have to thank for much of our “Texas Republicans are all crazy” stuff that’s happened recently – he’s had this role since 2003.  Well, him and Tom DeLay.  DeLay helped get uber-conservatives elected, and apparently Craddick froze Democrats out of most (all?) legislative processes.

Does anyone remember when Texas Democrats fled the state so that the Legislature wouldn’t have a quorum to vote on the horribly unfair redistricting map that we ended up with anyway?  Yeah, that was under this guy.

So now, the new speaker is a relative newbie, Joe Strauss.  He comes from San Antonio’s Alamo Heights, and apparently has earned a reputation as a maverick.  I hate that word (because of gross over- and misuse), but this guy’s the real deal.  He’s a fiscal conservative…but not especially conservative on social issues.

I also didn’t quite realize that the Republican margin of majority in the Legislature is only 76 to 74.  That’s awful close for comfort, I imagine.  And, of course, conservative Republicans aren’t going to look upon this coup with any particular favor.

But, here’s what I think.  I think this could very well be a real change for the better in Texas politics.  It’s so hard for the Legislature to get anything done as it is…and there is exactly no point in shutting out even a small minority of people from the process entirely.  Republicans have controlled the state for 6 years, and they’ve ruined it.  Texas politics is not a happy place to be.

Even though Democrats will almost certainly try to get a majority in the Legislature (that’s sort of the nature of the beast when it comes to political parties), I think this is still a good step all around.  Texas could sure use some more concilliatory politics, and if moderate Republicans manage to take control of their party, Democrats will likely remember that if they ever manage to take control again.

And seriously, let’s face it.  The extremists in Texas are all to the right.  You don’t get crazy extremist liberals in a place like Texas, at least not in significant numbers, but you have plenty of crazy extremist conservatives.  If the Democrats manage to be in charge, you’ll get much more sensible and unifying legislation, and moderate Republicans won’t get shoved to the margins of their party.

So here’s hoping that we get some good, sensible people elected to the Legislature in 2010 for sure.  There’ll be another redistricting map to draw in 2011.

(Yes, I know, I live in Oregon and can’t even vote in Texas anymore.  But seriously, how awesome would it be if sane politics took hold, finally, in a place like Texas?  Symbolism aside, it would mark a pretty big change in this country as a whole.  Also, the Oregon politics don’t tend towards extremism, and people here are pretty good at voting against insane ballot measures.)



  1. Kristan said,

    wheeeeerrrreee aaaaarrreeee yooooouuuu?

  2. Mary said,

    I’m at home. Where are you? 😉

    (Actually, I’ve had very little to say and haven’t spent much time on the computer recently…but I haven’t given up on blogging.)

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