Joe Straus endorsed moderate Mitt Romney for President today.
In doing so, Straus has given his own voters front row seats to watch the well-funded moderate inevitability narrative fail in Texas. Straus is relying on the same narrative to carry him to victory against conservative primary challenger Matt Beebe.
Yesterday the first Texas GOP primary poll showed Rick Santorum with a commanding 29 point lead over Romney in Texas.
Romney was pro-choice and anti-gun rights as Massachusetts governor and now claims to have reversed those positions.
Similarly, Straus claimed to be pro-life for the first time when he was challenged for House Speaker in late 2011. This was after having told Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune, in an interview just days after he was elected speaker in 2009, that he would not seek to change the status-quo on abortion laws. Straus’s family has historical ties to Planned Parenthood, his wife having served on their Texas board.
Romney’s presidential fiscal platform includes 1) maintaining current income tax rates, 2) maintaining current tax rates on interest, dividends, and capital gains, and 3) eliminating taxes for taxpayers with AGI below $200,000 on interest, dividends, and capital gains.
By contrast, the platform of the more conservative Santorum, the current leader in Texas, includes reducing personal income tax rates to Reagan levels – 28% and 10%, and cutting capital gains and dividend taxes to 12%.
National Review called Romney’s tax plan “tepid”.
–DMN reporting on Straus’s Romney endorsement
–Smith interview of Straus, in which he supports current abortion law and praises Planned Parenthood. Discussion is from 16:40 to 18:30.
–National Review on Romney’s tepid economic platform