Wednesday, January 30, 2019

TXLEGE: Only difference between Empower Texans and the press corps is that the former is honest about what they're doing....

"Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets."
Matthew 23:31

Apparently, Dan Patrick recently issued press credentials to Empower Texans.  We're not sure why they want them.  Press credentials deliver nothing of value but restrict your range of motion.

Nevertheless, Patrick's decision has produced some hilariously over-the-top hand-wringing:
It’s become a common scene in the Texas Legislature. A bill comes up for a vote — caps on property tax rates, maybe, or a referendum on “sanctuary cities” — and a text goes out. Lawmakers are told they will be graded on this one, and low marks, they know, could launch a primary challenge from the right.

The sender, the scorekeeper and the eventual challenger is often Empower Texans, a Tea Party-aligned group formed in 2006 with millions in oil money that has worked to replace moderate Republicans with hardline conservatives. For the last decade-plus, the organization and its PAC — which blur the bright lines between newsroom, lobbying firm and political action committee — have aimed, with on-again-off-again success, to upend the Texas political scene with pricey primary challenges, by-the-minute scorecards of lawmakers’ votes and a lawsuit aimed at gutting a state agency.

This year, instead of watching from the sidelines, two employees of Empower Texans’ reporting arm, Texas Scorecard, sit for the first time at the press table on the Senate floor, feet away from the lawmakers their organization has helped bring to power and the lawmakers their organization has failed to swat down.

Curious observers are welcome in the halls of the Texas Legislature, but in the House and Senate chambers, they have long been relegated to the upper-floor galleries. Lobbyists, who are paid and who pay out large sums to boost or bust legislation, are barred from the floor. Aside from lawmakers, staff and special guests, only journalists are allowed on the floor of the chamber, where they have closer access to elected officials.

The media credentials make way for a group that tries to thumb the scales — influencers, not observers, of the political game.
 Shut up.  Does anyone, seriously, think that the capitol press corps aren't trying to "influence" "the political game?!?"  Anyone?!?

We don't have a dog in this fight.  We get along well with Empower Texans.  We also get along (with two exceptions) with the press corps.  Both are useful for what we do.

But the idea that the capital press corps isn't trying to "influence" things is preposterous.

See there history of one of their more flagrant attempts here.

Then there's this:
Traditional media organizations, of course, report on how measures hurt or help everyday taxpayers; one even produces a list of “best” and “worst” legislators.
We discussed this several years back, but the only difference between Empower Texans' index and the various "best/worst" lists from other Capitol publications is that Empower Texans bases their index on objective criteria instead of subjective opinions.

Bottom Line: If anyone believes the Capitol press corps isn't trying to "influence" "the political game," we have some mineral rights in South Texas we would love to sell them....

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