Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ritter Beats Peña to the Punch

Perhaps because of the news that was broken by Burka, or perhaps not, State Rep Allan Ritter (D-(for now) Nederland), of the 21st house district has announced that he will be the 100th Republican in the 2011 legislative session, giving Republicans a clear two-thirds majority. A majority that guarantees their being able to pass a constitutional amendment with no Democratic votes. A guarantee that they can now raid the “Rainy Day” fund without a single Democratic vote.

Peña must be pissed. While he sat and pondered in an out-of-state location, while he promised an announcement this Tuesday, Ritter acted. Ritter acted and in doing so turned the keys to the kingdom over to the Republican Party.

Yes, it’s true. The keys to freedom and the treasury in Texas have just been delivered into Republican hands for the first time in history.

Imagine a voter photo ID requirement not being just a new law that can be overturned. Imagine if it were part of the Texas Constitution. Imagine the “Rainy Day” fund simply going “Pfffft” next year. It is, after all rainy – at least it is as a result of failed Republican tax policies that practically guaranteed a magnified shortfall during economic hard times.

Imagine all of that and now you live in my world: the Half Empty world where things are definitely going to get worse before they get any better.

In Ritter’s defense, this was an inevitability. The only reason Ritter got re-elected this year was that there wasn’t a soul on the ballot opposing him in the past election. Why that is I cannot fathom. Ritter’s district, HD-21, voted for McCain over Obama by 55.4% to 43.6% in 2008. In 2010 every successful judicial candidate that ran for office was a Republican. HD-21 is solidly Republican so now it has a state rep that is one as well.

Not so Aaron Peña. Peña’s district is, was, and always has been a Democratic stronghold. Peña’s promise to switch rather than fight has evolved from another species, it seems. Peña’s promise can be seen only as one from an insider Austin politician. A move to kick it with the cool kids. The kids with all the marbles. The kids holding all the cards.

And now the wind seems to have disappeared from his sails, hasn’t it?

Oh well. Maybe there’s some political capital that can be gained by claiming to be Republican Number 101.

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