new-fa-tribuneEvan Smith helps Rep. Larson campaign for Straus

November 26, 2012 | Articles

The Texas Tribune carried Straus propaganda in a guest column from Rep. Lyle Larson last week. In it, Larson used the tired line about how conservative the 82nd Legislature was.

As an aside, it is notable that Straus has to run PR on the Tribune to bolster his conservative credibility. Weren't we told Straus was so comfortable atop a mountain of pledges he promised to release several Wednesdays ago?

Correction: they weren't pledges. It was supposed to be a list. Straus squandered the pledge system. They have yet to release a list. Empty threats and claims are a sign of the level the Straus regime has sunk to.

Several weeks ago, Straus’ buddies at The Texas Tribune made phone calls to legislators on their own, seemingly tired of Straus’ cavalier attitude to proving his invincibility. Straus’ invincibility is a reality the Tribune has been trading on.

The move backfired. Making the calls committed them to running the story. If they sat on the story after finding out Straus wasn’t as strong as he’s been claiming he is, their claim to journalistic integrity would have taken another hard hit.

So, the Tribune published the story about Straus only having 31 votes, some of whom have told Bryan Hughes to keep doing what he’s doing. Then, they buried the story and released a different one trying to weaken Bryan Hughes.

This is the context into which Larson wrote, and Smith published, this propaganda.

Larson’s appraised Straus a conservative due to the results of the 82nd Legislature. He wants conservatives to be satisfied. This a dead talking point that the Straus crew seems unable to operate without.

Straus’ leadership was only conservative if it is judged out of context, as Straus lackeys unanimously recommend.

Given the makeup of the 82nd Legislature, Vladimir Lenin would have presided over a “conservative” session. Tea Partiers changed the Republican/Democrat count from 76-74 to 101-49, remember? Voters ensured a conservative session.

The question is not about whether the most conservative House in Texas history had a conservative session. The question is, did Texas conservatives deliver in our up-cycle at least as much as liberals deliver in their up-cycles?

After all, government growth is cumulative. If conservatives don’t do at least as well in up-cycles as liberals do in theirs, the government grows, liberals win.

And, if Texans settle for mediocrity, the country is in trouble.

And just how do liberals do in their up-cycles? We have a prominent contemporary example to compare it to: our liberal post-2008 federal government.

After gaining the White House, holding one chamber of the legislature, and narrowly achieving a supermajority in the other, the federal government gave us liberalism on the march. America got bailouts, auto industry takeover, assault on religious liberty, and, drum roll please: ObamaCare. In a shock and awe campaign, liberals used their control of the federal government to serve up a revolution of sorts.

In the 82nd Texas Legislature, conservatives had the Governor’s mansion, control of one chamber, and a super-majority in the other. It was the Lone Star State’s chance to set the tone for conservative results. What did we get?

We got a knock-down, drag out fight from the Straus-led moderates and liberals against Governor Perry and conservatives about using our savings account for recurring expenses we can’t afford. What was the expense we were fighting over? It was a budge hole left by the 81st Legislature, a common tactic used to make a budget look more responsible than it is.

We also got a draft budget that didn't lift a finger to find savings via reform – of any kind. Instead, it put all of the pressure on K-12 education, a move designed to break Texans’ will not to raise new revenues.

We also got the same old tricks used to kill conservative legislation – bills weren't passed until the latest possible date so that conservative legislation our moderate House leadership didn't like could be put off until next time. Again.

Straus didn't give spending limits any oxygen. Zero-based budgeting was never discussed. The TSA bill was killed with parliamentary tricks. Sanctuary city bills were stuffed. School choice was ignored.

In short, liberals got bold leadership in Washington. Conservatives got moderate management of a conservative cycle in Texas. It wasn't nearly good enough.

It is wearying to even have to argue that the GOP status quo is tepid and weak. It should go without saying. The GOP just lost a Presidential election with the most moderate candidate in the GOP field, afraid of every issue but the economy, while the President ran a culture war campaign with every gun firing.

The Tea Party Awakening was about conservatives demanding strong leadership, instead of the crony moderate agenda and tactics that ensure America is weakened every decade.

Texas needs to show other states, and the nation, a way out of this losing cycle.

Weston Hicks

Weston Hicks researches and writes about associations in the Texas political realm, media choices, and political strategy. He has a B.A. in History from the University of Texas at El Paso and a J.D. from University of Texas School of Law. He enjoys spending time with wife and five children, reading, and playing sports outide. You can reach him at [email protected]