The Texas Republican Party held their convention in Dallas a couple of weeks ago. Generally a Party emerges unified and energized for the general election, but that couldn't be farther from the case for the Texas GOP as tensions between extremists and moderates has boiled over into the public.
Republican Leo Berman, the representative of the extreme wing of the Texas GOP, announced his candidacy today to challenge Republican Joe Straus for Speaker of the House. Republican Berman promises a “my way or the highway” approach to leadership should he be successful in knocking off Straus–or simply a reversion to the strong-armed, autocratic style Tom Craddick offered before.
Republican Berman went so far as to say this past Sunday as a guest on WFAA's Inside Politics that the Republican's were only united at the close of their convention(11:50 in):
“…to the extent that Kay Bailey Hutchison and Rick Perry kissed and made up. It's not unified to the extent that the House of Representatives is not unified. It was taken over by 11 RINO's, or Republicans In Name Only.”
The ascent of Straus to the position of Speaker, according to Berman, was a “sham” based on promises made to House Democrats and vowed that he would offer the opposing party no leeway if elected Speaker next session.
The airing of Texas Republican dirty laundry brings forward evidence that internal bickering between moderates and extreme conservatives has boiled over into the public domain. A chasm in the Party heading into an important general election is not a good political position to be in. If the Texas GOP can't keep their own house in order how can mainstream Texans feel confident they are capable of keeping the Texas House in order? With an $18 billion dollar budget shortfall, crippling utility costs, and escalating education tabs, all under more than a decade of Republican leadership, can Texans really trust the GOP to move us forward? I suppose the answer is as emphatic as Republican Berman's response to supporting Republican Straus:
No, absolutely not!