Democrats Save Voting Rights; Republicans Steal Unemployment Compensation and Grin

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

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.


About Author


  1. Democrats screwed up..
    …the Dems gave the Rs the opportunity to kill the UI bill.  Under the House Rules, talking a bill to death is just as valid as voting it down.

    The Dems screwed this one up big time: they easily had the votes to kill voter ID on the floor (Merritt & Jones would have voted against it as last year, giving the nays 76 and the ayes 73.)  But instead they talked for five days creating an impasse that killed the UI bill plus many others.  It doesn't make any sense when they had the votes to kill voter ID…

    • They Had the Votes?
      Can you refer me to anybody else who has an actual count and proves that the votes were there? So far, you seem to be out in right field.

      • HB 218 last session
        Certainly.  These are the 68 no votes on Betty Brown's voter ID bill (HB 218) last session.  All the Ds plus Merritt and Jones.

        Allen, Alma(D); Alonzo(D); Anchia(D); Bailey(D); Bolton(D); Burnam(D); Castro(D); Chavez(D); Cohen(D); Coleman(D); Cook, Robby(D); Davis, Yvonne(D); Deshotel(D); Dukes(D); Dunnam(D); Dutton(D); Eiland(D); Escobar(D); Farabee(D); Farias(D); Farrar(D); Frost(D); Gallego(D); Garcia(D); Giddings(D); Gonzales(D); Gonzalez Toureilles(D); Guillen(D); Heflin(D); Hernandez(D); Herrero(D); Hochberg(D); Hodge(D); Homer(D); Hopson(D); Howard, Donna(D); Jones, Delwin(R); King, Tracy(D); Leibowitz(D); Lucio(D); Mallory Caraway(D); Martinez(D); Martinez Fischer(D); McClendon(D); McReynolds(D); Menendez(D); Merritt(R); Miles(D); Naishtat(D); Noriega(D); Oliveira(D); Olivo(D); Ortiz(D); Pickett(D); Pierson(D); Puente (Resigned)(D); Quintanilla(D); Raymond(D); Ritter(D); Rodriguez(D); Rose(D); Strama(D); Thompson(D); Turner(D); Vaught(D); Veasey(D); Villarreal(D); Vo(D)

        Three other Ds were paired with Republicans as “no” votes. No current D voted for it last session.

        • Watching the Floor
          not 100% sure all those votes were there this time and Merrit made it a point to say he supported the bill during a parliamentary inquiry.

          I am not saying we did or didn't have the votes. I am saying it was close and the only people that know for sure were on the house floor last night.

          • Matt, am I crazy
            or didn't the House PASS voter ID last session, necessitating Gallego's whole return from the hospital to block it in the Senate?

            Which means that zenit citing the vote on another voter ID bill that failed is even less of a reason to assume that vote would have been the same on this session's bill when another voter ID bill passed in the VERY SAME House that supposedly voted down Betty Brown's bill?  Anyway, Betty Brown's bill didn't make it this session either.

          • Great Point!
            I forgot about that.  You are totally right.  The House did vote it out and Mario Gallegos risked his health and life to stop voter ID.  He used the 2/3rd rule to stop the bill from getting to the floor.

            Interestingly, the bill moved the exact opposite direction this time and it only got started because the Republicans broke the 2/3rds rule for voter suppression.

            If we had a 2/3rd's style rule in the House, we would have been able to block the legislation AND continue business like the Senate was able to do in 2007.

          • The House passed it last time…
            because Craddick told them to do so and he had a lot more R votes. The house is in balance this year. Kinda a legislative feng shui.

    • Glenn Smith on

      The GOP controls the calendar. The GOP constructed the booby trap. The GOP wanted to kill UI and TDI Sunset from the beginning. That's why they put Voter ID ahead of them on the calendar.

      Using last session's vote on Betty Brown bill is disingenuous. Dems had already been double-crossed, led to believe only a compromise bill would be brought to the floor, when in the end the Senate bill was forwarded to the full House. Remember Straus promising no divisive issues would come to the floor, and Todd Smith saying he'd only report out a compromise?

      Then the Dems were double-crossed again when Straus lied about sustaining a point of order, which he said later he wouldn't do. Moving the bill along to the Senate and conference would have been a dangerous plan given the Republicans' ongoing willingness to lie. You have to kill snakes when the hoe's in your hand.

      I am sick and tired of half-baked criticism of the Democrats when they have managed to climb back to near parity in the House against perhaps the most craven, corrupt and dishonest leadership in Texas history.

      Nobody said this would be easy.

      • Exactly, the Democrats won
        No doubt the Democrats were the winners here. They managed to take control of the calendar for several days to kill Voter ID. There was no other way to do it. If it had come to the floor, it would have passed and our next election would have been a sham.

        Sure, the Repubs were able to stop the UI bill, but this was mostly a symbolic vote anyway, since Perry would have vetoed it. In 2010, all of the Dems can point to the fact that Perry and the Repubs don't give a shit about unemployed Texans.

      • The Sky Is Not Falling! But, the Tectonic Plates Have Shifted
        Could House Democrats have bargained/maneuvered to pass UI?

        Maybe, but the price we would have paid would have been Voter ID. Glenn nails it: Actually, we could have lost on both Voter ID and UI.

        The key to winning on UI was working with Democrats at the federal level to force Texas to take “all or nothing” of the stimulus package. Schumer made that threat when the GOP secession movement started, but nothing came of it at the federal or state level. So, the GOP has had us over a barrel on Voter ID and UI and probably more all along this session. Duh!

        It is amazing that our legislative leaders are able to get anything done.

        The GOP has a majority in the Texas Legislature, and they know how to use it in order to realize their agenda. So, Democrats simply have to defeat them. We cannot bargain with them for much regardless of which one of them is the Speaker. They are not sharing power with us the way we used to with them. I doubt they ever will. And, I do not know why we should either. Jim Crow was a bi-partisan coaltion folks, and it still is. We need to get over the TDP/LSP nostalgia for it.  

        I was predicting that the GOP would pass Voter ID. But, it looks to me like Dan Patrick and some others on their side figured out that Voter ID might not be such a great idea for the GOP. We helped them put up a great show on Voter ID and gave them ourselves to blame for not passing Voter ID or, now, UI. Yes, unemployed GOP base voters will be told we killed UI.  

        Voter ID would never have been such a big impediment to voting rights as the TDP made it out to be. It seems the TDP bought a projection that Voter ID would cost us 7 House seats next year. That was a bad projection. We scared ourselves half to death.

        No, Voter ID is already profoundly built-in to Texas election law, logistics, and technology, along with many, many other impediments to voting. Most of those were put in or kept in by past Democratic legislatures mostly on incumbent-protection grounds. The latest wrinkle is actually quite minor by comparison and the grandstanding over it was rather self-serving.

        In any case, new and old Voter ID requirements can be more than overcome: They can be turned back on the GOP. They can bite them in the ass. I think Patrick probably came to appreciate this. In any case, we can continue to pick-up House seats — but not by working within what Paul Burka calls our “natural limits”.

        We have to do game-change — Voter ID or not.

        The TDP/LSP and DCCC race-targeting has been showing diminishting returns or “natural limits” for several cycles. Texas is now a “balanced” but not a “battleground” state. So, what we have been doing since 1994 has to change, if we expect to compete with the GOP.

        Now, maybe, the GOP will just destroy themselves and hand us the State Capitol on a silver plate. But, that is just a hope, not a plan. I expect they will not go quietly soon. They will “unleash Hell” before they surrender their bastion in Texas.

        So, we need to do “micro-targeting” of the very many marginal voters who have photo ID but are unlikely to vote in the primary or general elections next year. This is how Obama swept Harris County last year and we picked-up Kristi Thibault's seat despite TDP/LSP race-targeting.

        The same technology can be used to identify those as lack a photo ID. Some of them are elderly and registered or only recently purged. Their registration can be recovered and they can vote absentee on a paper-ballot. Democrats do not typically do “mail programs”, but we need to.

        Most people who lack a photo ID have never registered or vote very seldom. They have huge economic and social problems that make any sort of political participation very, very difficult, especially since the main use of the Voter Roll is bill collection and service of process. This problem is called the “ID Divide” by the Center for American Progress. It is especially significant in Texas where we have a huge informal economy and virtually no labor standards of any sort.

        But, that is a deeper problem than the TDP/LSP cares to engage itself in and suppresses even discussion of. That is a shame because there is probably no better race-targeting that the TDP/LSP can do than they already do.

        On the other hand, the key to our success in Harris County was and will have to be raising the rate of political participation over what it is ordinarily. The Obama campaign and other progressive organizations in Harris County showed how to do that in 2008.

        Again, I think Dan Patrick has figured out some suprising things about our success that the TDP/LSP simply does not appreciate.

        That worries me. The GOP may move to counter us, when we should be countering them. They control election law, logistics, and technology in ways the TDP/LSP do not even fathom, much less oppose.

        In Harris County, both parties understand that serious competition is all about participation rates and straight-ticket voting, not about race-targeting.

      • Words to remember in every fight

        You have to kill snakes when the hoe's in your hand.

        There will be lots more fights like this in our future.  I'll be the first in line to criticize our caucus when they don't stand up for Texas citizens, but I'll also be right in there fighting to give them firmer ground to fight from.

        My daddy used to say, “When people tell you who they are, believe them”.

        Current Republican leadership in the lege has told us that things aren't THAT much different in the post-Craddick era than they were in the pre-post Craddick era.


        And keep the hoe close to hand.

    • The only problem is
      There were Republicans who supported the unemployment comp. bill, too.  Democrats stopped the Voter ID bill because we were pretty much united.

      Republicans are still a divided party, and divided they will fall.

Leave a Reply

2015 © Skytop Publishing All Rights Reserved. Do not republish without express written permission.

Site designed and developed by well + done DESIGN

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 0 Flares ×