By Jared Woodfill, President, Conservative Republicans of Texas
The remnant is a recurring theme throughout the Bible. One Bible dictionary defines it as, “What is left of a community after it undergoes a disaster.” Throughout the Bible, God looks for a remnant when a nation has abandoned its Judeo-Christian foundation.
Last week Texas House members opened the 85th Legislative Session with a vote for the next Speaker of the Texas House. Unlike past legislative sessions, every Republican locked arms with every Democrat to support Joe Straus by a margin of 150 for, 0 opposed. Yes, you read that right, not one state representative voted “No” against Straus. There was no remnant to be found in the Texas House last week. There was not one legislator who was willing to say through his vote that “I will not support Joe Straus for Speaker because he has been awarded and praised by Planned Parenthood.”
There was not one who would say “No!” to Joe Straus’ election, to a man who has fought against legislation that protects religious liberty and biblical marriage between one man and one woman. There was not one who would stand against the Speaker who has waged war on social conservatives. Not one representative would say no to Straus for supporting in-state tuition for illegal aliens and who opposes the abolition of sanctuary cities. Not one Republican would stand and oppose Straus for killing the bill that would have required American law in American courts (ALAC). There was not one in the Texas House who would stand up to Straus for preventing numerous pro-life bills, from being voted upon, that would have further protected the unborn. Not one Republican would say “No!” to Straus for making it clear that he would kill any bill that keeps biological males out of women’s bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms.
Where was the “remnant” of conservatives who vocally opposed Joe Straus for the past two years while campaigning? The remnant surrendered in a single vote of support for Joe Straus, the man against whom they had campaigned and for whom they had promised voters and financial contributors they would never vote.
Over the past two years, we heard numerous conservative legislators and legislative candidates talk about the war Speaker Straus has waged on the conservative agenda. These same politicians consistently railed against Straus for killing sanctuary city legislation, refusing to eliminate in-state tuition for illegal aliens, killing the pro-life, pro-biblical marriage agenda. These same politicians condemned Joe Straus for receiving support and awards from Planned Parenthood, the same Planned Parenthood they pledged to defund. Some of these politicians defeated Straus lieutenants, promising voters, contributors, and grass-roots conservatives that they would never vote for Joe Straus for Speaker of the Texas House.
Sometime between their campaign promises and the vote for Speaker, something changed.
I am not going to tell you that they lacked the courage of their convictions and betrayed their supporters by voting for Straus. You can decide that for yourself.
By surrendering to Straus and voting for him for Speaker, these former anti-Straus candidates set the pro-biblical marriage, pro-life, pro-legal immigration movements back many years.
It appears that on their way up the Capitol steps, they seem to have suffered from amnesia, forgetting that Joe Straus was elected by 65 Democrats and only 11 Republicans in 2009, in a coup which overthrew conservative Republican Speaker Tom Craddick who had been elected by Republicans. These politicians who campaigned as conservatives seem to have forgotten that during the last legislative session Straus’ lieutenants on the Calendars Committee killed American Law for American Courts (ALAC) legislation.
As one who supported these anti-Straus incumbents and challengers, I was shocked, disheartened, dismayed and extremely disappointed at their surrender, as were numerous other conservative leaders across the state.
I spoke with one of the challengers whose chief campaign promise was that his first vote as State Representative, would be against Joe Straus. I was shocked by his flimsy excuse and justification for breaking that promise. This newly elected representative made it clear to me that a deal had been cut and all anti-Straus incumbents and newly elected state representatives agreed to walk lockstep in support of Straus.
Their convoluted logic was that if only a few of them voted against Straus, the other anti-Straus folks would look bad and Straus would appear stronger. My follow up question was “Why didn’t you all just vote against Straus?” The response: “We felt we could not win and the numbers would make us look weak.” What? I responded by asking him how could anything be weaker than having zero “No” votes. The response was just more of the same. “We have a strategy,” etc.
I then asked him, “Why did you tell everyone you were going to vote against Straus when you wanted their votes and money and then you betrayed their trust.” This politician went silent, then stuttered and stammered and spouted the same confused strategy that I had just heard.
Then, I reminded this new legislator of a first term State Senator, who in his first vote as an elected official chose to stand alone, voting against the Blocker Bill while his Republican colleagues supported it. That person is now our Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick.
The coronation of Joe Straus as Speaker of the Texas House by a unanimous vote was nothing less than a full surrender on day one from those who had given us their word that they would never support Straus. This capitulation and compromise mentality in the Texas House is exactly why the RINOs and Democrats run the house and have killed much of the Republican agenda found in the Republican Party of Texas platform. Joe Straus will remain Speaker until Texans say enough is enough.
Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick has provided outstanding leadership in the Texas Senate. Patrick exemplifies the difference one person with courage can make if he will not compromise on his core values and beliefs. Compromise is not a winning strategy and capitulation does not change a state or nation.
Some conservative leaders have chosen to ignore this betrayal and have given these politicians, who betrayed the grassroots, a pass and remain silent. I respectfully disagree with this strategy. Right is right and wrong is wrong, regardless of political affiliation. We cannot say it is okay for them to simply betray us without repercussions because they have an “R” beside their names and profess to be conservatives. If we do, then we will quickly become a party of personalities and not a party of principles.
Joe Straus and his allies wield a great deal of power in Austin. He is considered invincible in the same way the Israelites viewed Goliath and were terrified of him.
Then a mere shepherd boy named David rose up with indignation against Goliath’s threats, armed with a sling shot and five smooth stones, and with the courage of convictions and faith in Almighty God, he defeated the giant. David was the only one among all the Israelite soldiers who was undaunted by Goliath. Because of his courage, we are still talking and reading about David thousands of years later.
It is time for us to fight the good fight and elect men and women who honor their campaign promises instead of kneeling at the altar of political expediency. If we can’t find a remnant in the Texas House, then it’s time to drain the swamp of weak-kneed politicians who break their word to the voters, and elect men who will demonstrate the courage of their convictions and honor their commitments.