Patrick snug as a bug on committee chairs

By Weston Hicks | 1 hour ago

The establishment GOP is shuttering at the prospect of a conviction conservative sitting in the Lt. Governor chair.

This is happening just after Battleground Texas and Wendy Davis have cycled through strategies for “turning Texas blue” before giving up. The Texas ruling class is currently on their second attempt to limit Patrick’s power before he gets into office.

Their first failed strategy was to get a coalition of establishment Republicans and Democrats to pass a series of measures to reduce the power of the Lt. Gov. That strategy failed on primary election night when the ruling class lost too many votes due to conservatives unseating incumbents.

That isn’t the only complication for the establishment with this strategy. Kevin Eltife is one of the surviving ruling class Senate votes, but Eltife has become exceedingly vulnerable in his own district. Opposing Patrick could be a bad idea for him, considering the fact that in the recent primary Patrick took 70% of Smith County, Eltife’s population center.

Now they’ve shifted to a new strategy. Lt. Gov. Dewhurst is appointing committee chairs in vacant seats, evidently hoping Patrick will choose not to change them, or think he can’t change them, or some similar ill-conceived notion.

The problem with selling this concept is that Lt. Gov. Dewhurst (R) took over the Lt. Governorship from Bill Ratliff (R) he changed all but one committee chair.

In addition to changing chairs Lt. Gov. Dewhurst expanded the number of standing committees to 15 from Ratliff’s 12. Patrick will be able to tailor his standing committees to the talent he has.

The ruling class is trying to figure out how to influence Patrick their way. Since most conviction conservative Senators are relatively junior they are playing up the importance of experience in chair appointments. This while we have Joe Straus as Texas House Speaker and Barack Obama as President, both of whom were virtually brand new when they took over. This makes the timing of their ‘chairs need to be senior” play very poor.

Dan Patrick is anything but a pushover. This cynical ruling class strategy is likely to make Patrick feel justified appointing more new chairmen than he intended to.