Over the weekend Texas House Speaker Joe Straus was reduced to fooling delegates at the Republican convention in Fort Worth. Speaker Straus has been under fire since 2011 for underperforming despite having a super majority of Republicans in the House.
At the convention it’s customary for party leaders and elected officials to receive recognition on stage in front of the several thousand delegates. As a high ranking leader in the state Joe Straus was expected to be a recognized speaker.
Typically the Speaker is introduced, delivers a speech and then moves aside so all present representatives can be introduced and applauded. Instead of following the “program” on Friday an amorphously branded video was played, present members of the Texas house were hustled onto the stage and Straus gave a less than 2 minute speech without being introduced.
It was clearly awkward. Members weren’t set before Straus began his remarks. He wasn’t introduced (for obvious reasons). He was heckled despite being hard to recognize without a proper introduction. And then it was over.
It’s an unfortunate shame for the members of the Texas House that Joe Straus chose to protect his ego and sacrifice a moment of recognition for those who were representatives in 2011 and a moment of introduction for the newly elected members.
For the newly elected representatives this was the first opportunity to see just how insecure the current leadership of the house is within its GOP ranks. The Republican party of Texas is getting more conservative and dominates state politics but house leadership does not adequately reflect this reality, hence the palpable tension and need for stunts.
Before his speech Straus reiterated to the media that he is not supporting Governor Perry’s budget compact. Among other sensible reforms the compact calls for not using gimmicks to balance our budget and limiting government spending. As leader of the House Straus has killed attempts to limit government spending during the last two sessions.
This weekend provided another example of how unpopular Straus is within the party when he was removed as an at large delegate to the national convention. In contrast his Republican predecessor was given the nod throughout his tenure.
We filmed the event.