May 28, 2007
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

By KELLEY SHANNON © 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 down.

"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, 2007

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 it.

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 session."

Texas House Journal - page 4840 - 80th LEGISLATURE -- REGULAR SESSION

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

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 28, 2007 to That's our Lege