Fourteen points of unusual Speaker weakness for Joe Straus
- Tea Parties, the most powerful force in Texas politics right now, uniformly oppose Joe Straus.
- Straus is on the wrong side of the other most powerful force in Texas politics, the Governor, by opposing the Texas Budget Compact, the Governor’s signature off-season policy initiative. Gov. Perry has endorsed legislators who voted against Joe Straus for Speaker in the 83rd Lege.
- In the first possible year, Straus attracted a speaker challenge, and will again if he can get past his primary.
- Several Speaker team incumbents are in primary fights, and it is largely because of their association with the Speaker.
- Speaker team candidates are faring poorly in the many open seats in play this cycle.
- Straus will forever be the Texas Speaker who squandered the hugely advantageous pledge card system due to inability to secure pledges.
- In a state where pro-choice Republicans are teetering on extinction, Straus was pro-choice until his post speaker challenge “conversion”. Though wishing to avoid the accountability of the proper label, in his Evan Smith interview days after being elected speaker, Straus articulated his pro-choice position when he said he was not in favor of changing the current abortion laws. In addition, Straus has personal and spousal ties to Planned Parenthood.
- Straus was brought to power by the trial lawyer party, the Texas Democrats, and has proudly advertised his uncommon “fairness” with “all sides” ever since, angering all Republican party quarters accept his own Republican-only-because-they’re-in-Texas cardinals.
- Straus is the only Texas Speaker to attract a primary challenge according to the Secretary of State website’s 20 years worth of data.
- To the embarrassment (on several levels) of the entire establishment, Speaker Straus’s primary battle is very real. The average margin of victory of challenged Republicans in 2010 was 23% and none of them had anywhere near the Speaker’s considerable advantages. Speaker Straus is in a fight to win his primary.
- Speaker Straus was easily knocked off of his off-season message about needing new revenues, now the Governor has buried it.
- Speaker Straus has specially targeted extremely popular Republican incumbent James White after previously claiming to never oppose incumbents. He’s helped fund raise for White’s opponent Tuffy Hamilton.
- Straus managed his way through an entire session with 101 Republicans without any reform of bloated and arcane bureaucracies, public education, or budgeting practices, and helped kill a popular TSA anti-groping bill.
- The friendly San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board (they endorsed Obama in 2008) had to resort to a particularly shameless brand of campaigning, desperately defending Straus’s credentials as conservative in the pages of their newspaper this week.
Texans should be thinking about which Straus clones will run for Speaker as conservatives, something almost sure to happen ahead of the 83rd Lege.
–San Antonio Express-News campaign piece