The weakness of Joe Straus was demonstrated Saturday when liberal capitol emailer Harvey Kronberg attempted to stem the slide of the unpopular moderate Speaker. Kronberg complained about a questionnaire asking legislators about Speaker intentions.
This makes plain what capitol insiders have known: Speaker Straus is struggling to secure pledges. If this weren’t the case, conservatives would be falling into a trap by asking to know more about Straus’s pledge support level inadvertently highlighting his pledge strength. Instead, Kronberg and others have flailed in a attempt to keep this information hidden for a little while longer.
Concerning pledges to Speaker Straus, the Democrats who voted him into power are waiting on the sidelines to see if he’ll be able to garner serious Republican support this time, and Republican pledges are likely very few.
Just how few will be revealed shortly. AgendaWise has sent an open records request to Speaker Straus for physical Speaker pledges, if he has any.
Claims of existing verbal-only pledges, if true, fall short of the strength of paper pledges. Traditionally pledges were kept on hand by Speakers for brandishing purposes in order to convince undecided legislators to join the team.
Kronberg’s email called attention to a part of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility’s questionnaire that asked about Speaker vote intentions. The question was asked in light of Speaker Straus’s new policy position that Texas government needs new revenues, not reduced spending through needed government reform.
In an attempt to beef up a thin line of reasoning, Kronberg insinuated the questionnaire included a pledge to vote for the most conservative speaker option possible. He has since issued a retraction since the charge wasn’t true, though it was a great idea and is likely to become part of the speaker race process.
As the most consequential vote of every session, the Speaker vote is more relevant to primary voters than any other piece of information from candidates vying for voters trust. The email named the sender of the questionnaire, Michael Quinn Sullivan, and Tim Dunn, his board chairman, presumably implying they are the only people in Texas interested in the Speaker’s new pro-new revenues position or the crucial speaker vote itself.