Thursday, May 30, 2013

Special Session Politics and Rick Perry's Future

There's been speculation about the politics of this special session(s) of the Texas legislature.  The potential musical chairs of officeholders means people are already angling for future races.  One fact, however, deserves special mention.

No one needs this special session(s) more than the man who controls the agenda.

To call the general session of the 83rd Texas Legislature disappointing is an understatement.  Legislative leadership ran roughshod over Conservatives.  It wasn't the Governor's fault, but he did little to stop it.

Between his botched Presidential campaign and his support of Lt. Gov. Dewhurst in the U.S. Senate race, Governor Perry suffered public setbacks in 2012.  None of those will hurt his future.  The disastrous general session of the 83rd Legislature is different.

The general session of the 83rd Legislature revealed a Governor who is either unable or unwilling to control the Austin insider crowd in his own party.  While it's true that the Texas Constitution grants the Governor little control over the legislature during general session, the Constitution does grant the Governor the power of emergency legislation and his office comes with a bully pulpit.  During the 83rd General Session, Governor Perry used neither.

The good news is that that same Texas Constitution grants the Governor substantially more power during a special session (in addition to his power to veto legislation passed during the General session).  If Governor Perry laid out an ambitions, conservative, agenda for the special session(s), then went on a statewide barnstorming tour to promote that agenda, the public would respond.  The Austin insider crowd is a horse that needs to be broken every two years.  Massive public engagement is how you break said horse.  Cahnman's Musings recommends Governor Perry use every tool the Texas constitution grants him (ie. Vetoes and Special Sessions) and the bully pulpit of his current office to drive a conservative governing agenda for Texas over the next 18 months.

Bottom Line: Unless and until Governor Perry demonstrates the ability to break Joe Straus, there's no reason for Iowa caucus voters to trust him against Harry Reid.....

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