The Tea Party Message to Texas Republican Reps:
“This is a grassroots-up, not a Legislature-down caucus,”
- North Texas Tea Party.
They have a list of the Straus pledgers and non-pledgers, the committed Paxton supporters and others. This is an 'insider' versus 'grassroots' race. The status quo and incumbent-friendly Establishment sees no need to change from Straus, but the conservative grassroots does see a need for a bolder new direction and more active conservative leadership. This need, and the failures in 2009 (e.g. on Voter ID), is why most of the conservative activists have asked for a real 'conservative Speaker'.
It's why the Tea Party groups are agitating for grassroots opposition to Joe Straus. Straus, in turn, claims to be conservative, just as in the 2010 primaries many establishment Republicans touted their conservative bona fides.
The real question is: Do the current State Reps want to represent the establishment or their own grassroots supporters? Perhaps State Reps need to survey their own clubs, supporters and GOP exec committees to get an answer to the question "Who should I represent?" The 'insiders' and the 'establishment' are looking at the Tea Party and grassroots as the barbarians at the gates. Many of us see much of status quo special-interest political 'establishment' to be a problem not the solution.
The Tea Party website lists Smithee as a Straus pledger. Here is a Redstate article from a Rep Ken Paxton constituent touting Rep Paxton for Speaker, and the following comment was made:
I had already emailed and faxed my rep John Smithee and he was sitting on a fence at the time. I “requested” he put in writing who he would be supporting and I received a letter back from him which said basically he had not made up his mind one way or another and would be reviewing info, etc. Kinda disappointing as Amarillo is one of the most conversative cities in Texas. But I’ll contact him again.So Rep Smithee, who "pledged" support for Speaker Straus is in reality undecided. If there are more calls and more pressure from the grassroots, more and more State Reps will remain in the 'undecided' column up until the end. We know that the Establishment has spoken - they paid money to Straus to spread around to help candidates. If the Speakers race is Establishment vs Grassroots, the question is - how loudly will the grassroots raise its voice? That will determine the result.