Yesterday the Washington Times quoted Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst as saying, “You don’t have moderates in Texas. We’re all conservatives.” Virtually all Texas Republicans would disagree with that statement, but it does say a lot about where we are politically in Texas today and why Republicans who have historically been left of center on many policy issues, and in 2006 to 2008 were glad to refer to themselves as “moderates,” are running from that description today.
Two years ago I, and a number of conservative Republicans, gave a great many reasons to support someone other than Representative Joe Straus for Speaker of the Texas House. I think a fair summary of those reasons is that Straus is a moderate. He was once proud to claim that designation, but not so much today. In fact, conservative Republican Texas House members were targeted in the redistricting process by Straus’ chairmen and are also targeted in this election cycle by groups that are clearly liberal in their policy goals.
Today there are a great many reasons to vote for Matt Beebe and against Straus, who has never before been opposed. I am supporting Matt Beebe for HD 121 because he is an unabashed conservative, both on fiscal issues and social issues, and he more closely represents what conservative Republicans support from a policy standpoint. One indication of that is the report from the nonpartisan Baker Institute of Rice University that indicated the Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives were more successful in passing their policy goals under Straus in 2009 than they had been when they actually ran the House.
It is instructive regarding the moderate Republicans that in these Texas campaigns moderate Republicans like Straus are reaching out to liberal Democrats to cross over and support them. In San Antonio, public employee unions are reportedly paying members to work the polls for Straus and indications are that over 1,000 voters who have a history of voting in Democratic primaries have voted early in this race. All the more reason to vote for Matt Beebe in HD 121.
So I guess David Dewhurst is wrong. We do have moderates in Texas, and they would rather work with Democrats than Republicans.