Greg and Save Texas Reps are on the story of the six absent Democrats who let a proposed amendment to give teachers and other school employees $1000 to apply towards health benefits cut in 2003 die on the vine after 20 Republicans crossed over to vote against tabling it. Their disappearance was the difference between the amendment ultimately passing and failing. All six, including Houstonians Sylvester Turner and the increasingly notorious Al Edwards, are part of Speaker Craddick's leadership team. Their vanishing act came after Craddick announced his opposition to the amendment.
Now, I'm not one to require strict adherence to a party line, but this is pretty craven, and in light of the E-N article, Turner's protestations (see Greg's post) seem awfully lame. The rationale given by the likes of Turner for working with Craddick is that they can help moderate some of the things that the Republicans would push through. Maybe so, but it sure looks to me like this was a golden opportunity to do just exactly that, and a half-dozen Democrats chose instead to powder their noses.
Partly for actions like this, some of those Democrats may find themselves getting primaried next year. This self-described old Texas politico says the target list includes no-shows Edwards and Vilma Luna, plus Mike Villareal who did the right thing on this vote. Politico thinks that kind of infighting is bad for the Democrats, but I'm not so sure. There are times when you have to stand up for your core principles. If you must go against them for whatever the reason, the least you can do is have the guts to cast that vote and explain your actions. Not voting and claiming you would have voted the right way if only you could have been there is just cowardly. I can't say the Democratic Party would be any worse off by attempting to enforce a little of this on the likes of Edwards and Luna.Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 10, 2005 to That's our Lege | TrackBack