"Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."
"Rule Four: Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules."
The internal governance of the Republican Party of Texas is a sinkhole that consumes energy and time without accomplishing anything; nevertheless, this recent tidbit regarding Chairman Tom Mechler caught our attention:
Chairman Tom Mechler refusing to endorse [constitutional carry] publicly or respond to repeated requests for comment.Well, isn't that lovely...and so typical.
During the last state convention, Tom Mechler pushed a process whereby the convention delegates established "legislative priorities" for the Republican party during the 85th Texas Legislature. While it was obvious this was a stunt designed to stall meaningful reform of state government for another two years, the public cover story was that the repeated expressions of the will of Texas' voters were just too gosh darned complicated for legislators to discern. Thus, taking Tom Mechler at his word, the delegates to the 2016 Republican Party of Texas state convention created the following list of legislative priorities:
- Constitutional Carry.
- Abolition of Abortion.
- Securing the Border.
- Article V Convention of States.
- Replace the property tax system.
- School Choice.
- Elimination of Sanctuary Cities.
- Protection of Religious Freedoms.
Let's look realistically at what will happen on each of those this session:
- Constitutional Carry -- Dead on arrival in both chambers.
- Abolition of Abortion -- Charles Perry filed a bill yesterday to eliminate dismemberment abortion, which would be a meaningful step towards this goal; expect Perry's bill to pass the Senate, then get either delayed to death or whittled away into meaninglessness in the House.
- Securing the Border -- Too soon to tell; if the legislature is serious about the border they should (at a minimum) leave the status quo in place and re-visit the issue in 2019, after the new president has had an opportunity to implement policy changes at the Federal level.
- Article V Convention of States -- This is, by far, the least important issue on the list but it will pass because the Governor supports it.
- Replace the Property Tax system -- While it doesn't go nearly far enough, Senator Bettencourt has introduced a politically achievable proposal that would represent a meaningful step forward. Expect Dennis Bonnen to attempt shenanigans on the House side. They have to pass something, but whether or not it's toothless symbolism remains to be seen; keep an eye on the conference committee.
- School Choice -- Will pass the Senate; dead on arrival in the House.
- Elimination of Sanctuary Cities -- Devil's gonna be in the details on this one. Straus has said he supports a "constructive" ban, which is #TXLEGE-speak for a toothless bill. Again, keep an eye on the conference committee.
- Protection of Religious Freedoms -- Will pass the Senate; dead on arrival in the House.
You'll notice that (with the exception of Article V Convention), NONE of this issues faces an easy path forward. Three of these issues are, straight up, not going to happen; four others will be very challenging to navigate across the finish line. For a political party that loves to yammer incessantly about how they "value their grassroots," and that has a near super-majority in both chambers, this seems...odd.
But at least RPT was able to send daily fundraising e-mails during the presidential election based upon absurd premises!!!
Let's review what two decades of Republican 'leadership' has yielded for Texas:
- The sixth highest property tax burden in the nation.
- A socialized "education" system that protects rural bureaucrats at the expense of children in every geographic region.
- A state budget that has increased by $1600 per Texas family over the past decade alongside the second highest local government debt in the country.
- The Margins tax.
- A protectionist "regulatory licensing" climate that locks vulnerable Texans out of the labor force while making it impossible to buy a TESLA.
- 50,000+ abortions every year (even following the bills passed in 2011 and '13) and middle of the pack gun laws.
- A perennially 5-7 "flagship" state university that acts as a patronage mill for the politically connected.
Bottom Line: They can't hide behind Obama anymore. The Mechler-era Republicans will either deliver, or the reality of this ongoing farce will be obvious. Bet on the latter.