By Daniel Greer
Now that the session is basically over and the political disadvantage is gone, insider’s insider Paul Burka of Texas Monthly and other liberal media members, are beginning to say things conservatives have said for months. Early in the session the truth would have damaged moderate and liberal legislative agendas.
Speaking last week to Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune Burka said moderate Republican Jim Pitts, Chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, intentionally crafted a brutal draft budget to “scare everybody.” It was a play to break conservative will, so liberals could raise taxes and use the RDF. The media, liberal politicians and progressive interest groups used Pitts’s education-hostile budget to lobby and move public will in favor of higher taxes and more spending.
The tactic didn’t work because according to Burka “you can’t scare Jim Landtroop, you can’t scare Van Taylor.” The tactic didn’t work because Texas voters stayed engaged this session, helping a block of conservatives withstand Pitts’s constructed onslaught. Landtroop and Taylor are going to be recognized as opposing leadership to save face for the conservative movement in Texas. Their opposition included votes against Joe Straus for Speaker.
As we said three and a half months ago and Paul Burka said yesterday, beating up other members with a bad budget and stymieing conservative advancement while appeasing liberals is the legacy of Joe Straus and his leadership.
Similarly, Speaker Straus’s home paper, The San Antonio Express-News, admitted last week that Straus worked quietly for liberal outcomes by burying true conservatives on meaningless committees and through points of order. Again, AgendaWise has been saying this since the very beginning of the session.
Paul Burka is a court journalist of the ruling class in Texas politics – the moderate Republicans and Democrats – all of whom get elected on conservative voter interests, then quietly serve special interests when they get Austin. His kind treatment of Landtroop and Taylor can be seen as a king’s court member hedging his bets in case of a regime change. Landtroop and Taylor are two legislators who would likely lead a conservative regime should it overthrow the special-interest moderate one that has run the House for decades.
See Minute 20:30 of the Texas Tribune interview.