Well, if Rick Perry, Joe Straus, David Dewhurst and their GOP conspirators couldn't successfully deny the vote to hundreds of thousands of Texans, they succeeded in denying them unemployment benefits.
I've seen a lot of black-hearted things in the Capitol, but I've never been as disgusted as I was when I saw GOP House Caucus Chair Larry Taylor grinning like the Cheshire Cat as Straus and his henchmen used the very device they'd been whining about — slow talking — to kill the unemployment insurance bill.
They were grinning like cats, but they were behaving like wee, witless errand-folk for Perry. Perry opposed the UI bill because he had to object to something in the federal stimulus package. Refusing a few hundred million from Barack Obama seemed just the ticket to raise his creep-cred with the far right. Even if it raised taxes on businesses about $700 million. Even if it increased the suffering of 200,000 Texans who've lost their jobs because G.W. Bush and Perry almost destroyed the economy.
Straus and the Republicans used their majority power to rig the House calendar. They should have made the calendar by cutting letters from newspapers and magazines and pasting them on plain paper like a blackmail note in the movies. You want your voting rights? Then we'll let our friends in the insurance industry steal more of your money, etc. etc.
Republicans thought Democrats would blink. They didn't. It was the Republicans who refused over and over again to place insurance reform and the unemployment bill ahead of the voter I.D. measure. They rigged this blackmail from the beginning, and they will pay the price in 2010.
Those post-unemployment bill podium grins from Republican Larry Taylor, Warren Chisum and Phil King were sinister. They were actually happy to increase the unearned suffering of their fellow Texans.
Still, congratulations to House Democrats and all who helped you defeat the voter suppression measure. Take a few moments to celebrate, even while you continue to work overtime to save insurance reform and other critical bills the Republicans booby trapped.