Monday night, August 21st, two more counties added their voice to a growing number of Republican County Parties calling for the removal of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus: Dallas and Galveston counties.
This has been a growing movement, united in dissatisfaction with this Republican House member and his record as Speaker. Straus is seen as largely as an obstructionist and a chief obstacle to the pursuit of the Texas GOP goals, having beliefs and goals more similar to the minority party then his own. The Texian Partisan has been covering the unmaking of the Straus speakership, from the revolt of the Texas Freedom Caucus, to his estrangement to the governor and lieutenant governor, to the no-confidence resolutions that are darting the landscape of Texas like so many bluebonnets.
To date, 38 different Texas County GOP Executive Committees have passed similar declarations. These are: Atascosa, Bexar, Caldwell, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Collin, Comal, Dallas, Denton, Dewitt, Dimmit, Eastland, Galveston, Gillespie, Gregg, Hidalgo, Hood, Hopkins, Jim Wells, Kaufman, Kerr, Liberty, Maverick, Montgomery, Morris, Real, Rockwall, Smith, Stephens, Taylor, Titus, Tom Green, Uvalde, Wood, and Van Zandt.
…this guy is in control, he came to power through basically what amounts to an absolute coup, and he has been able to act (so far) basically with impunity.
Additionally, 10 political organizations have made decrees encouraging Straus’ vacating the speakership. They are: Bowie County Patriots, Clear Lake Tea Party, Central Texas Republican Assembly, East Texans for Liberty, Kaufman County Tea Party, McAllen/Hidalgo Tea Party, We The People – Longview Tea Party, Northeast Tarrant Tea Party, Tea Party Patriots of Eastland County, and the Texas Republican Assembly (CTRA).
To give you an inside glimpse into this process, the precinct chair (PCT 341) and district chairman (SD 11) for Galveston County GOP, H. Scott Apley, agreed to speak with the Texian Partisan regarding their decision to move forward with their no-confidence resolution. According to Scott, this resolution had been a long time in coming, with previous un-fruitful efforts. But ultimately, their diligence paid off.
Their reasoning for passing this resolution was much like the other counties. “The Speaker is abusing his power, and he’s doing so to detriment of the Republican platform and conservative legislation.” When asked why such efforts weren’t successful before in Galveston, Scott claimed that there was an “old-guard” mentality that saw it as their duty to not rock the boat. “There just wasn’t a will to stand up against someone who was clearly violating the principles we all were trying to advance.”
This latest attempt at a passage of the resolution was done to “take advantage of the momentum from around the state, of all the other counties that had passed similar resolutions stating a lack of confidence in the current Speaker of the House, Joe Straus.” And while Mr. Apley believes that they previously had the numbers, because of procedural issues, it wasn’t until Monday night they had “overwhelming numbers and overwhelming will” to pass it.
The resolutions, while a necessary part in reflecting the party’s disapproval and galvanizing support for his removal, in themselves do nothing to directly threaten Straus’ speakership. However, another thing we discussed is last GOP convention’s passage of rule 44, agreed upon largely in response to the vindictive and anti-republican efforts of Joe Straus. “[Rule 44] is, for lack of a better word, a censure rule. Where that comes into play, specifically in the case of the speaker, would be the Bexar County resolution.” And while Bexar has not initiated a rule 44 resolution on their native-son Straus, the fact that they have issued a no-confidence resolution could indicate a rule 44 might not be far off. “If they were to do that, they’d outline, based on rule 44, that this elected speaker has taken these listed actions which are contrary or the antithesis of the core principles of the Republican Party of Texas platform. And that resolution, if passed by Bexar County, would be forwarded onto the SREC. And then, the SREC would basically go through a process of making a determination of whether or not did in fact violate those core principles. And if they do determine that he did, then that would enable both Bexar County and the Republican Party of Texas to withhold support from the speaker’s efforts [and] to endorse a primary candidate, which the rules would prohibit otherwise.” That would be a more than symbolic consequence of Straus’ actions. “These things are very difficult to do. Unfortunately, it’s a slow-moving process. But, I would not also be surprised if [Straus is removed from his speakership] by this next [legislative] session.”
The Speaker is abusing his power, and he’s doing so to detriment of the Republican platform and conservative legislation.
For a successful removal of Straus, Scott stressed the need to keep the heat on him between now and the next session. However, a necessary component is to acquire a viable alternative to Straus. “[We need] someone we can rally behind and someone who[m] a majority of the republican caucus has faith in, [who would do] the job proficiently and [be] a steward of conservative legislation.”
Lastly, I asked Mr. Apley if he had any theory as to why Straus continues as he does. Straus not only supports the legislative approach of Democrats, counter to his claims of being a conservative, but he runs interference with conservative legislation while common sense dictates that he should start cooperating with his party to save his own skin, as his current practices have seemed to coalesce and embolden his growing list of enemies and threaten his hold on power. Is it because of his funders or his personal beliefs? “I would say that it’s a mixture of both of those. He is a professed conservative who is the Speaker of the House in a Republican-controlled legislature who has been endorsed by a pro-choice organization in NARAL. Who funds him? In where his funding is coming from, I think that definitely plays a huge role in it. I think, partially, that he does not have a true desire to see some of these conservative items advance. I think he has a true philosophical difference from some of these ideals that [are] represented in the Republican Party platform. And I do think that a huge part of it is ego, also. I mean, this guy is in control, he came to power through basically what amounts to an absolute coup, and he has been able to act (so far) basically with impunity. And so, I think that he has no concerns that he’s going to be stopped. You know, if you hold the chips, and you don’t have any fear of anybody stopping you, then you have free reign to pretty much act as you want.”