May 21, 2007
As the session winds down

The Chron talks about how the 80th Lege has been in many ways an aimless session, one that (like the 79th) will not provide much for Republican incumbents to campaign on. While I generally agree with the piece, there are a couple of points to make:

Freshman Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, said [Lt. Gov. David] Dewhurst has been harmed this session by the appearance of being a 2010 candidate for governor.

"That has impacted our process and colored his decisions on a number of occasions. I can't imagine what 2009 is going to be like," Patrick said.

While that is certainly true, it's also true that the 2010 GOP primary candidate that Dewhurst has (supposedly, at least) been preparing for is none other than Sen. Dan Patrick himself. As such, letting him have his say here without at least acknowledging that is rather like having James Carville pontificate on the state of the Democratic Presidential primary without disclosing who he supports.

I should note that while the common wisdom is that Patrick wants to run for Governor in 2010, Paul Burka thinks he's positioning himself to run for Dewhurst's spot instead. There's a lot of sense in that, though I think Danno is the type who'd rather be in the top spot. Still, worth keeping in mind. Democrats better be prepared for that possibility.

Craddick fended off a re-election challenge in January. In an effort to calm ill will toward him, he became a nicer Tom Craddick. This emboldened his opponents and freed some of his allies. The result was that bills carried by his top lieutenants died on the House floor or had major amendments put on them.

I dunno about the "nicer" Craddick. Maybe he's twisted fewer arms in support of bad bills, but he's still completely marginalized his opponents, both in terms of committee assignments and bills on the calendar, he's been as capricious and arbitrary with point of order rulings as ever, and I at least can't think of a single example of Craddick doing something "nice" that he didn't have to do. Maybe the relative lack of arm-twisting makes it look like he's nicer, but I say the weight of evidence is against him.

Two more days to pass legislation in the House (where we still have this to deal with), three more in the Senate (I'd originally said two, but it's three). Hold on to your hats.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 21, 2007 to That's our Lege