Well, we've made it through another day without an official motion to vacate the Speaker's chair. It makes sense that it would happen after last night's deadline for passing bills on third reading, but until it actually happens, I and I'm sure other folks will have a feeling of apprehension about this. We had a chance to take out Tom Craddick at the beginning of the session, and we failed. It feels like there have been many openings in the past few days to take a second shot at it, but none were used. I just hate the thought that this could be all buildup and no payoff.
On the other hand, this time around more Craddick allies are publicly abandoning him. It seems to me that Craddick has no more carrots to offer anyone who might be wavering now. He's got plenty of stick to wield, in the form of his $4 million campaign war chest, but how effectively can he use that if enough people tell him to buzz off? Nobody can win a fight on that many fronts, right?
I don't know. But I do know that every defection makes me feel better about the potential end of this session. And with that in mind, I want to echo what Vince is saying about the two Democrats to jump off the USS Craddick, Patrick Rose and Eddie Lucio III.
While some may be tempted to say "it's about time," or "it's too late" for the Rose and Lucio defections from the Craddick camp, we believe the time is always right to see the light.
Lucio and Rose each no doubt had their reasons for siding with the Speaker early in the session. Whatever their reasons may have been, the fact remains that they have realized that Republicans and the Craddick Administration have a different definition of "bipartisan" than Democrats (and, for that matter, the rest of the world) have.
What Lucio and Rose did today was not without risk. Both have assured themselves of Republican opponents well-funded by Craddick and his allies. Further, should we be unfortunate enough to be forced to endure a Republican majority in the next session or, God forbid, another Craddick speakership, Rose and Lucio would face proverbial back-benching.
Regardless of when one makes the decision to come to the right side of an issue or a movement, it's a decision worthy of some praise. The bottom line is that they did the right thing.
Too, the defection of these two may serve as a sign to other Craddick Democrats that the time is now for House Democrats to unite under their full strength for at least the last days of the Session.
UPDATE: Stace joins in.Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 23, 2007 to That's our Lege