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What passes for normal

Talk about your anti-climaxes…After the fireworks this week and especially last night, the House appears to be conducting its normal business today, what will hopefully be the last day they’re in session until 2009. Bills are moving, with the parks bill passing easily (that ought to make PM Bryant happy). Governor Perry has finally weighed in – sort of – on all the chaos. Still no indication as to whether or not he thinks there needs to be legislative overtime. As Ryan Rusek points out, Perry has some political calculations to make, too.

Meanwhile, the “Democrats for Real Reform” are tooting their horn about things that did get accomplished this session. Vince takes a closer look at their claims and finds them wanting.

Finally, for future reference, click More for a list of things said recently about Tom Craddick by his fellow Republicans. Enjoy.

What Republicans
are Saying about Tom Craddick

Charlie Geren, Republican
State Representative

"I knew we had a speaker,"
said state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth. "I didn't know we
had a dictator."

Fort Worth Star Telegram –
Saturday, May 27, 2007

Delwin Jones, Republican
State Representative

"I didn't agree to serve
under a dictatorship," said Rep. Delwin Jones, R-Lubbock, who was
first elected to the House in 1964.

Austin American Statesman –
Sunday, May 27, 2007

Todd Smith, Republican
State Representative

The percolating rebellion exploded
Friday when Craddick refused to allow a legislator to make a motion
that would set the path for his ouster.

Craddick then refused to let
legislators vote to override his decision.

"It is clearly an abuse
of power and of office," said state Rep. Todd Smith, R-Euless.

El Paso Times – Sunday, May
27, 2007

Brian McCall, Republican
State Representative

Rep. Brian McCall, R-Plano,
said Craddick's abrupt adjournment was a "total disregard for the
body and the process."

Fort Worth Star Telegram –
Saturday, May 27, 2007

Fred Hill, Republican
State Representative

Hill said Craddick uses newly
elected members like "oxygen" to stay alive. "One of
the things that he is very good at is raising money and campaigning
against members that don't agree with him," Hill said. "If
we don't do something while this body is in session … we are going
to see 18 months of some very aggressive campaigning and a lot of —
I'm just going to call it pure hell."

Fort Worth Star Telegram –
Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pat Haggerty, Republican
State Representative

Entering the final day of a
five-month legislative session, a few key bills remained hanging after
they were stalled by a House walkout in the early morning hours in protest
of Craddick. The speaker's opponents from both political parties have
tried all weekend to oust him from power, with no success.

Dozens of angry House members
who want Craddick to leave office walked out of the chamber in protest,
bringing work to a halt.

"This man is sitting here
violating every rule of the House, every rule of parliamentary procedure
to keep himself in office, and it's wrong," said Rep. Pat Haggerty,
R-El Paso.

May 28, 2007, 12:46PM –
Texas legislators move toward end of wild, weird session

© 2007 The Associated Press

"We have a speaker who
will not let the body who elected him take a vote to get him out of
office," Rep. Pat Haggerty, R-El Paso, said.

News 8 Austin – May 28, 2007

Mike Krusee, Republican
State Representative

After Friday night, Rep. Mike
Krusee, R-Williamson County, spoke openly of his disagreement with Craddick.

"If he doesn't have the
support of the House," Krusee said, "he should be willing
to face the vote" to remove him.

Austin American Statesman –
Sunday, May 27, 2007

Rep. Krusee chides House speaker
for ignoring motion

Williamson County representative
says Craddick's actions go against 'the most fundamental right.'

By Laylan Copelin

Monday, May 28, 2007

State Rep. Mike Krusee, once
a loyal lieutenant to Speaker Tom Craddick, criticized the leader's
ruling to ignore motions to remove him from office.

Speaking to the House early
this morning, Krusee disputed Craddick's ruling as wrong under the House
rules and contrary to the chamber's tradition and practice.

"Since the days of Thomas
Jefferson, the father of parliamentary law in the United States,"
Krusee said, "the questioning of the leadership of the presiding
officer has been the most fundamental right of the members who elected
that leadership."

Krusee argued that members
who elect the speaker can remove the speaker.

"Mr. Speaker, we can disagree
on many things," he continued, "but you cannot disagree with
the fact that you are here because we put you here."

Krusee, R-Williamson County,
said the Republican Party is now spinning the standoff between Craddick
and the Texas House of Representatives, which has a Republican majority,
as a partisan issue.

"What a perversion,"
Krusee said, "especially for a party in the minority in Washington."

He said the absolute power
to deny the right to question authority is not a principle of any political
party in this country.

Krusee likened the standoff
to the Berlin Wall that President Reagan demanded that the Soviets tear

"This interpretation of
our rules has erected a wall between the leadership and the membership,"

Krusee said. "Mr. Speaker, we must tear it down."

Craddick watched from the podium
as House members applauded Krusee's speech.

His remarks, however, were
overshadowed minutes later after Rep. Pat Haggerty, R-El Paso, led a
walkout of House members.

Austin American Statesman –
May 28, 2007

Jim Keffer, Republican
State Representative

One of Craddick’s chief lieutenants
and Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means, Republican Jim Keffer,
declared he was going to challenge Craddick for Speaker. According
to an article posted on the Quorum Report, Keffer announced his candidacy
for Speaker after being threatened with a primary opponent.

"In my opinion, Speaker
Craddick needs to announce that he will not seek another term and let
the members pursue a new Speaker’s race," said Keffer. "However,
if Craddick does pursue another term, I will aggressively challenge
him and will welcome others to also enter the Speaker’s race."

"Since Craddick took over
as Speaker, Republicans have lost 7 seats in the Texas House and several
Democrats who have supported Craddick have been defeated in Democratic
primaries. Craddick has also been the first Speaker in over 35 years
to be over-ruled on a point of order by the Texas House membership which
occurred in early May.

"I am committed to the
three-term limit and if elected by my colleagues I am committed to being
a Republican House Speaker in a Republican majority who will honor the
rules, respect each member's district, and pass good public policy."

As an aside, sources close
to Keffer tell us that he has received calls from supporters in the
district telling him that Craddick is attempting to recruit and fully
fund a challenger for the next election.

Quorum Report – May 15,

Byron Cook, Republican
State Representative

Craddick lieutenant and Chairman
of the Civil Practices Committee, Republican State Representative Byron
Cook, uses a personal privilege speech on the house floor to call on
Craddick to resign. Cook’s committee is groud zero for the battle
between TLR and TTLA. In his speech, Cook essentially accuses
Craddick of placing his own finaical gain ahead of the public good.

“I am a Republican, who has
voted for Speaker Craddick three times, but I will not and cannot support
his re-election, and he needs to step down immediately.

My position is not without
cost. I have been threatened, had my ability as chair called to question,
and I am well informed about the opposition recruitment efforts in my
district. So be it.

To all this I say simply: I will not yield. I will not yield to tyranny,
bullying or threats.

This body will never realize
its potential as long as fear, intimidation, retaliation and character
assassination are allowed to be tolerated.

Greatness is never found in leaders who place their self-interest and
financial gain above the public good. This is wrong, unethical and must
be stopped.

This session we have witnessed
a manipulation of the rules and the legislative process. It appears
the budget is being stopped, delayed and exploited for political gain.
This is wrong! Who knows what pork will be added for votes.

Now we have the threat that
the Speaker will use his $4 million dollar speaker account (Should I
add a zero to make it $40 million?) to attack fellow Republicans.

This is out of bounds — it is an abuse of office. Mr. Speaker, your
action may force this House to take an historical position — so be

Mr. Speaker, please step down. Don’t put this body through 18 months
of hell. Your re-election would only result in a bloody and brutal 81st

Texas House Journal – page

Warren Chisum, Republican
State Representative

"Obviously, he's damaged
goods after this deal, in terms of leading a bipartisan Legislature,"
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Warren Chisum said about 24
hours after the House had descended into chaos over Mr. Craddick's use
of the rules to quash any effort to unseat him. "He's going to
have to do a lot of soul-searching before the rest of us can decide
what to do," he said.

Dallas Morning News – Sunday,
May 27, 2007

Burt Solomons, Republican
State Representative

"We have respected him
as speaker up to a point, but there's a lot of dissatisfaction in the
House over the way it's being run," said House Financial Institutions
Committee Chairman Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, who has staunchly supported
Mr. Craddick's speakership. "Three sessions [as speaker] is enough."

Mr. Solomons, who carried the
resolution writing the House rules in January, said he was stunned at
the speaker's interpretation of his own power.

"As the person who did
the rules and served under a number of parliamentarians, I was unaware
that there was that absolute power on the part of the speaker,"
he said. "The speaker always had a lot of power, but not absolute
power. That was not the intent of the rules. … No legislative body
in the country provides absolute power to any one individual."

Dallas Morning News – Sunday,
May 27, 2007

Rick Hardcastle, Republican
State Representative

Asked whether Mr. Craddick
would return as speaker for another term, House Energy Resources Committee
Chairman Rick Hardcastle shrugged, smiled and said, "I am not advised."

Dallas Morning News – Sunday,
May 27, 2007

Dan Branch, Republican
State Representative

Dallas GOP Rep. Dan Branch,
a loyal Craddick ally since he entered the House in 2003, said that
he was "reserving judgment" about 2009 until the House can
make it to adjournment on Monday – and that he wants to focus on state
business until then.

"After that," he
said, "I look forward to sitting down with the speaker and talking
about his future and what's best for the state."

Dallas Morning News – Sunday,
May 27, 2007

David Swinford, Republican
State Representative

State Affairs Committee Chairman
David Swinford agreed, saying he didn't know whether Mr. Craddick would
be able to come back but that if he runs in a crowded speaker's race,
"he'll probably be in the top 2 or 3."

"It's going to be a long
race," he said.

Dallas Morning News – Sunday,
May 27, 2007

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