AUSTIN, Texas -- Hours after lawmakers who tried to overtake the speaker's podium seeking to oust him were physically restrained, House Speaker Tom Craddick charged through a rowdy floor session Saturday without ceding his coveted post.Craddick is a Republican, which in Texas is equivalent to being a Stalinist. Democrats in Texas are generally equivalent to moderate-to-right-leaning Republicans elsewhere.
The House parliamentarian resigned on the verge of tears earlier as Craddick beat back a rebellion from opponents seeking a vote on his leadership.
Democrats and Republicans alike complain that Craddick has ruled with an iron fist. They say his win-at-all-cost style often forces them to vote against the interests of their own districts.
The story gets even more intriguing:
Craddick's third two-year term does not expire until the next legislative session convenes in January 2009, but discontent in the chamber is fueling a plot to force him out before the session ends Monday. In the last week, four Republicans, including Rep. Fred Hill, have filed their candidacies to be speaker if Craddick is ousted.First off, you read that correctly: the Texas legislature, by constitutional mandate, only meets every other year, usually for just a couple of weeks. We get a glimpse as to why George Bush thinks Presidenting is hard work. Congress meets every year for months at a time!
Capping a week of simmering discord, Hill made a request Friday night that would allow the 150-member chamber to vote to oust Craddick. Craddick, often called the most powerful man in state government, refused to recognize Hill to make the motion, then hustled back to his office suite amid a cacophony of boos.
Second, doesn't this all sound like something from the Taiwan Yuan?
Next, the image of Craddick dashing onto the floor of the chamber, grabbing the gavel, declaring Hill out of order, then sprinting back out of the chamber with boos raining down on him is pretty hilarious. It raises a larger question, though: what possible good can this man do as a legislator if the consensus to support him is about as thin as Bush's approval rating?
Mind you, even the Parliamentarian of the legislature, Denise Davis (appointed by Craddick), pointed out that the Speaker could not refuse to allow this motion. To Davis' credit, she immediately resigned when Craddick poo-pooed her.
Apart from being investigated by Ronny Earle (who you may remember as being the man who brought down Tom DeLay) for illegal campaign contributions as part of the DeLay cabal, nevermind more direct corruptions, what does Tom Craddick point to as his singular accomplishment for the people of Texas?
Oh. Wait. Maybe...in private life, Tom Craddick sells mud.
That's not a joke.
Neither are these, but they're funny as hell:And you thought Jerry Springer was entertaining!