Thursday, January 04, 2007

Pitts/McCall Announcement: Craddick’s Methods Similar to Democrats Who Eat Their Young. And Pena Gives Me Pause.

I watched the Pitts/McCall press conference today at the Texas House archived press conferences. Muse wasn’t impressed, but I’m always impressed when a little bit of history is played out.

McCall stood up to the dais first and talked about the meetings that had gone on between he and Jim Pitts. He set the stage and talked about the power politics of intimidation and bullying that Craddick was such a master of. This practice of not letting House members vote for the good of their district because of Craddick’s intimidations struck a chord in me. All of a sudden I sat up and started taking notes. This is what he said on Craddick’s methods:
“Individuals who are threatening to raise whatever money it takes to beat whatever member in a primary in the next election because they have the audacity to think about who their speaker of the house should be is unheard of.. Well we’re standing here because we think it’s time to put a stop to it.”
Holy bat guano. Isn’t what I have been saying all along about liberal Democrats plotting and planning political action in primaries to unseat Democrats is so-called safe districts who vote for Craddick? It just struck me that those ruthless tactics that they so decry of Craddick are exactly the same tactics that they are promoting. What is it guys? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander?

All I am proposing is keeping a level of civility here. Let’s let House members vote in the interests of their constituents, and not intimidate them with promises of revenge at the polls for a single vote that they make.

Still unconvinced? How about this? To mount a successful campaign against a House member with name recognition in a safe district, when they are guilty of just one lone Republican vote, you are going to need resources. Raise money. Lots of it. Let me ask this: aren’t these resources that are available to elect Democrats better spent on races where there is a Republican opponent? Why waste money electing a Democrat in a safe district?

Then McCall introduced Jim Pitts.

First he outlined his “consensus candidacy” and all the efforts to oust Craddick and Craddick's harsh ways. On having the necessary votes, he said this:
“I am gratified to say as of last night and today that we have more than enough votes to bring a change in leadership to the Texas House and a change in Texas.”
That remains to be seen. No pledge list was presented, and no numbers. He just said that some of the names of Craddick’s list were on his. Again, banging away at Craddick’s methods and intimidations, Pitts later said:
“Members do not feel that they can openly announce their support that they risk retribution for doing so, and quite frankly that is one of the best reasons, and THE reason I am running for … Speaker of the Texas House.”
"I told you I would not play the list game in this campaign, and that has not changed Last week before you in this room I would not put a member in jeopardy, that I would not reveal names of support. But I guarantee you the race is over.”
OK, now I’m interested. Go over to Aaron Pena’s blog and see that, while not specifically mentioning Craddick’s name, his forecast is that the one who will win the speakership will not be Pitts. Why he didn’t say Craddick will win is beyond me but maybe it’s like the Oracle of Delphi. Pythia would make cryptic forecasts, often leaving their predictions subject to interpretation.

And I had to think about that and wonder what could be a possible good outcome of another two years with Tom Craddick as speaker. And then Jim Pitts’ words came out from nowhere to haunt me:
“We hear a lot about the public’s lack of trust in government. Too few people vote, many don’t think it matters. They are sometimes disgusted by the behavior of their elected officials. With my candidacy, I am hoping to make one small step toward restoring public trust in the way we conduct the people’s business in the Texas House of Representatives.”
And then I knew why this isn’t such a bad thing, bad as it is.

If Pitts wins the speakership, he promises to win the trust of the voters back. With Craddick as speaker we can treat Texas voters to two more years’ of Republican Craddick/DeLay behaviors that are turning off so many voters. So they finally see the light and what happened in ’06 everywhere else will happen here. Texas can finally get a Democratic majority in the House in ’08.

Who knows, maybe a Pitts speakership will lull voters into a “Republican-majority-can’t-be-all-bad” mentality.

Either way we win. That is, we win if we show restraint in eating our young.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Hal, I agree with you totally about eating our young. Thanks for the thoughtful piece.