For some time now, the Texian Partisan has been following the popular movement against Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. Because of his alleged vindictive control, his opposition to conservative legislation, and his twisting of parliamentary procedure, Straus has steadily created many enemies within his own Texas Republican party, from the governor’s mansion to local RPT committees. Straus has received no less than 50 no-confidence resolutions from across Texas, and even on his home turf in Bexar County, he was the subject of an attempted resolution of censure. This latter rebuke, Straus escaped only because his longtime ally, Chairman Robert Stovall, bent the rules to insure the exclusion of the motion at a recent Bexar County GOP CEC meeting. However, all the pressure and work to oust-Straus seems to have been successful. Yesterday on his Facebook page, Joe Straus announced that it’s quits for him.
I believe that in a representative democracy, those who serve in public office should do so for a time, not for a lifetime. And so I want you to know that my family and I have decided that I will not run for re-election next year. My time as a State Representative and as Speaker will end at the conclusion of my current term.
Straus’s posting that announced he would only serve out his term (meaning that the next legislative session will have a new speaker) was peppered with references to his achievements over his political career. Also included was his sunny take on how he thought he stood in Texas Politics, a lone voice of decorum and decency, but he made sure to include a few parting jabs at what he sees as the error of his opponents. “Even as politics has become more tribal and divisive, I’ve led by bringing people together and working across party lines. We’ve fallen short at times. But on our best days, we have shown that there is still a place for civility and statesmanship in American politics.”
Though he’s walking away now, Straus won’t be lonely. Yesterday, Byron Cook also announced that he would be leaving office. While some would call Cook a Straus ally, still others a Straus toady, however you phrase it, it seems political life without out Joe is just too uninteresting to this establishment hack. Although, it’s possible that the likelihood of Cook losing the upcoming primary had a bit to do with it, yet rumor has it, that more of Straus’s disintegrating power base will follow Cook’s example, and it’s hard to imagine a better scenario for Texas Republicans who actually want Republican legislation to pass!
A chief critic and sparring partner of Straus is Jonathan Stickland. Unsurprisingly, he had this to say about the looming departure of Straus:
We did it!!! Speaker Straus is gone. The future of Texas has never looked brighter. The grassroots are victorious again! #onward
More celebratory comments were made by other Straus critics, while Straus allies spoke praise for his tenure. Still others are drawing plans to win the soon-to-be former speaker’s place of office.
As it seems the Straus saga is coming to a close, I want to offer a few closing reflections on what I believe to be a great day for Texas. First of all, I’d like to trumpet the fact the Texian Partisan predicted the broad movement against Straus would likely spell the end of his speakership. Although the method of his departure at this early juncture was not foreseen, it’s still good to be right!
Additionally, while Straus is going out on a note of praise for bipartisanship, it’s important to realize that what he now terms as “working across party lines” was seen by many as the suppression of principles that he should have been fighting for. There is little point to a political party holding the reins of power and not doing all they can to advance their party’s agenda under the rule of law. Sure, you can’t get it all done, probably, but what Joe Straus did was to stand in its way. Instead of being an ally of his party, he was often an adversary, even not allowing a vote on many bills that attempted to enact the RPT platform. Straus is that sort of politician that tries to give their constituents as little of what they want as can be gotten away with, while at the same time trying to appear the opposite. This sort of politics is duplicitous and elitist. The grass-roots rightly saw Straus as an obstacle, as surely as the Democrat party tries to be.
In my estimation and that of many other Texans, the measure of a Texas statesman is not how many programs he created, how much he worked with the other side of the aisle, how many tax-dollars he wrangled for his district, or even how civil he was. The real measure of a Texas statesman is how much he fought and won to advance and preserve Texas Liberty, culture, and independence. On this account, Straus was weighed and found wanting. While Straus might privately curse the rubes who didn’t appreciate how he protected them from themselves, he ultimately saw the writing on the wall and realized there was little other course than to bow out.
So, Adios Straus! It is good that you are leaving us. It would have been better if you had just done the right thing while Speaker, but ending your futile struggle to hold on to the power slowly slipping your grasp was the right decision. I hope that your replacement learns from your bad calls and won’t stand in the way of the People and the advance of the principles of limited government and individual Liberty.