Today Joe Straus broke with his own party, publicly standing against the bill to end TSA groping practices in Texas. This is significant because, while the issue is supported by conservatives, even the moderate Lt. Governor David Dewhurst had to reverse his early opposition to it due to pressure from the ascendant right. Governor Perry added it to a special session, though his ultimate position on it is still unclear.
This could be a signal that Straus has given up pretending to be a conservative. All moderate Republicans campaign as conservatives, but the speaker’s race forced Straus to double and triple down on the claim, and forced him further right during the session.
However, his conservative act hasn’t helped him to get pledge cards for speaker in 2013, a good indication his days holding the gavel are numbered.
Now, with a very visible conservative issue, Straus is standing with the Obama Administration over both the state government he serves in and the dignity of his fellow Texans.
It’s possible he believes he’s picked a winning issue to set himself apart on. After all, the TSA searches happen under the flag of national security, a conservative-owned issue.
However, Americans figured out early that until our federal government decides to hire Israeli consultants to teach us how to do airport security right, this severe encroachment on our privacy is useless. It’s politically correct kabuki theater, better designed to accomplish population docility than national security. Israel has dealt with airport terror threats from radical Islam for years, and is light years ahead of everyone else. Adopting Israeli practices will be the signal to conservatives to re-evaluate.
Also, conservatives realize the Obama Administration threat to shut down our flight pattern will be extremely difficult to follow through on. The TSA searches are highly unpopular nationally, and the bottom has recently fallen out of the President’s already low polling. With Obama already in campaign mode, it’s doubtful he’d risk looking like a tyrant to protect a wildly unpopular TSA practice. However, losing to Texas won’t help him either.
In short, our TSA bill is a national service. It’s standard operating procedure for moderates to present their cowardice as measure and professionalism, but this time Straus doesn’t have much company.