Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Sifting the Speaker's election

Leonard Cohen?

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Or My Chemical Romance (hat tip Vince)?

And we will send you reeling from decimated dreams
Your misery and hate will kill us all.
So paint it black and take it back,
Let's shout it loud and clear
Do you fight it to the end?
We hear the call to, to carry on;

And on we carry, through the fears

Ooh oh ohhhh
Disappointed faces of your peers,
Ooh oh ohhhh,
Take a look at me, 'cause I could not care at all;

Do or die, you'll never make me.
Because the world will never take my heart.
You can try; you'll never break me.
You want it all, I'm gonna play this part;
I won't explain or say I'm sorry
I'm not ashamed, I'm gonna show my scar
You're the chair, for all the broken
Listen here, because it's only...
I'm just a man, I'm not a hero!

Yesterday's outcome will be sliced, diced, sorted and stored a few thousand ways.

Jocularity first: Pink does the live-blog of the live-blogging some of us did yesterday. It was exactly like that. The Austin Chronic also broke it down, with a skosh more contempt.

This number -- 80-68 -- was as close as Craddick came to losing. That's almost precisely the partisan split in the House, but there were 14 Republicans who voted against the Speaker, and 15 Democrats who voted with him. Here are their names.

Paul Burka got a lot of credit for calling it early, even from Rep. Will Hartnett on the floor of the House. Quite a few people feel like a little payback against the fifteen Craddickrats is in order, in the form of primary challenges.

Those 15 Democrats rationalize that their support of Tom Craddick translates into positions of power on important committees, and thus the pork they can bring home to their district is by extension 'good for their constituents'. That is at least a plausible rationale; it may even be accurate.

But it does not serve the greater good, as others have also pointed out.

This style of cronyism and patronage is what Al Edwards got booted out for. And yesterday his replacement, Borris Miles, bussed 450 of his constituents to Austin -- another 200 drove themselves over -- for his swearing-in. And he fed them breakfast, lunch and dinner, gave them lapel pins and t-shirts, and arranged for tours of the Capitol. Seniors, students, his extended network of family and friends and supporters and well-wishers all crowded into a picture with him on the South Steps. And I mean crowded.

And shortly thereafter, Representative Miles went into the building and with twenty-seven of his colleagues (now officially the Courage Caucus) cast his ballot against Speaker Craddick.

That's what taking care of your constituents -- and for that matter, good government -- looks like.

Special note to Aaron Pena: if you're sneaking down the alley, ducking through the back door, wearing a jogging suit and baseball cap pulled down low, you might be sending a subliminal message about your pride in seconding the Speaker's nomination.

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