"The hour grows late, and Gandalf the Grey rides to Isengard seeking my council."—Saruman, as Gandalf rides into Isengard unaware that his former master has sold out to Sauron, the Dark Lord. From the movie, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingBased on responses to my previous inquiries into his stance, I can attest that Representative-Elect Jason Isaac has been consistent in his non-commitment to any particular Speaker candidate and of his commitment to "vote his district" on the question. I don't know if he is trying to be extra careful to hold a delicate balance because of Straus' role in aiding and abetting Patrick Rose in the (soon former) Representative's failed attempt to fend off Jason's successful campaign, or if Jason simply thinks he still has not fully heard from his District.
Well, if the Hays County Republican Party is any reflection of District 45's Hays county constituents, the AAS story linked below indicates that Isaac need now only get constituent input from Blanco and Caldwell counties to know how to "vote his district" on the question of who to tap for Speaker of the House:
Hays County Republican Party to Isaac: Don't pick Straus
By Corrie MacLaggan
Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 01:36 PM
The Hays County Republican Party this week passed a resolution urging GOP state Rep.-elect Jason Isaac of Dripping Springs not to vote for Joe Straus for House speaker, according to a report by Jen Biundo in the Hays Free Press. Bud Wymore, chairman of the county party, was quoted in the Free Press as saying that there "is a place in the Republican Party for people like Joe Straus that are more moderate—it's just not in leadership positions."For the full story from the local Hays County perspective, see Hays GOP: Say no to Joe Straus. Note that Hays County Executive Committee joins a growing list of county executive committees asking for right change (i.e. a more conservative speaker of the Texas House, to match the Nov. 2nd voter mandate).
Isaac was quoted in the article as saying that "it's good to hear from people in the district" but that "it's not going to force me into making a decision one way or another."
Isaac, who defeated state Rep. Patrick Rose, D-Dripping Springs, told me this month that he has not pledged to any speaker candidate and is still undecided.
Straus, the current House speaker, is being challenged Rep. Warren Chisum of Pampa and Rep. Ken Paxton of McKinney. All three are Republicans. Some conservative activists around the state have mounted an anti-Straus campaign, saying he isn't conservative enough given the fact that Republicans dramatically increased their majority in last month's elections.
On a related note, David Jennings at Big Jolly Politics blog has been one of the loudest pro-Straus voices for some time. Yesterday, he turned up information on Straus and appraisal caps that does not meet with his approval or that of many of his readers. Jennings was a blogger at the now mothballed Lone Star Times back when folks were fighting for appraisal caps years ago, and he was one of pro-caps advocates' biggest allies in those early days of blogging. His post on the issue is very interesting and actually helps make the case against Straus (even though Jennings refuses to change sides).
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot to share this status update from Warren Chisum's Facebook profile page:
There is no two ways about it: the Republican House members must caucus and unite behind a single conservative candidate for Speaker. If there is no caucus I will remain a candidate for Speaker when the Legislature meets on January 11, 2011. - Posted Friday, December 10th at 1:25 pm.Now that we have an ubermajority of Republicans in the Texas House (a first in Texas history), some of whom, however, are of recent Democrat extraction and others of whom are from the ranks of moderate/liberal Republicans (some would say of RINO extraction) we need more than ever to have a Speaker who can lead and appoint from the right, rather than the left as Speaker Straus has done on average.
Even though the origins of the Straus Speakership is commonly known (i.e. "the Gang of 11" RINOs, hating the leadership style of conservative Republican Speaker Tom Craddick and willing to have as speaker anybody but Craddick (ABC), a sentiment shared with their close Democrat relations, drew lots (so to speak) and the lot fell on a virtually unknown Representative from San Antonio, Joe Straus, and with the aid of the 65 democrats, some of who were apparently offered Chairmanship positions, Straus was handed the Speaker's gavel that Craddick had welded so conservatively—and which the Democrats and ABC Republicans thought so unfairly and heavy handedly), Straus seems to be getting a free pass from the press in his patently false denial that he was chosen to be speaker by 65 Democrats and 11 Republicans.
Check it out here in this Star Telegram story.
I wish to point out just one excerpt from that story:
The sequence of Straus' rise to power and the Star Telegram story seems not to be supported by the journalistic evidence.
Cases in point:
While Straus will continue to collect supporters, the truth is that, when it really counted, he had far more support from Democrats than Republicans.—Austin American Statesman, Jan. 6, 2009 (Gardner Selby)
Straus wants to keep the job he won last year, when a handful of House Republicans and most of the chamber's Democrats chose him to oust Republican Tom Craddick of Midland. Chisum and some Republican activists don't like the fact that it was mostly Democrats who chose the GOP speaker. Austin American Statesman, Oct. 18, 2010 (Jason Embry)Additional related stories:
(1) Straus says he'll win race for Speaker
(2) County GOP leaders seek caucus on electing new House speaker
(3) Here is one from the Queer (their term, not mine) perspective:
UPDATE: Chisum Remains in Speakers Race
(4) And from another left leaning blogger rehashing the anti-Semite line:
Another Setback in the GOP Outreach To Minority Communities
(5) All Travis Monitor posts mentioning Straus