Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Trouble in Texas Tea Party Paradise

The squalling babies didn't get everything they wanted.

Texas can sometimes feel like tea party heaven — the land of Ted Cruz, where the Legislature is packed with hard-right devotees and the governor himself heeds fringe fears about possible federal plots to seize the state.

But with so much power comes pressure, and the Texas Legislature's tea party leaders are struggling to deliver on their most conservative promises. After the legislative session that ended this month, movement activists were openly unhappy with the results and have targeted a few onetime favorite lawmakers for possible retribution.

"It's a truth in advertising issue," said JoAnn Fleming, a state tea party leader who heads Grassroots America — We the People. "There are some that will likely pay a political price for caving on what they said they would do."

Lege retirements offer plenty of opportunities for the freaks to move ahead.

The Texas tea party network is the nation's strongest, with four dozen major conservative groups representing thousands of active members. Republicans control both chambers of the Legislature and the state Senate is run by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a former, often fire-breathing conservative talk radio host. About a third of the 31 senators are strong tea party voices, while nearly 25 of the Texas House's 150 members are conservative grass-roots favorites.

But except for limiting government and slashing state spending, the groups often don't agree on much. And their agendas sometimes compete with each other.

While some tea party leaders focus on strengthening Texas' ban on gay marriage, tightening immigration policies or fending off the potential imposition of Sharia law, others see a greater threat in mandatory vaccines, red light cameras or smart electrical meters. Still others place a high priority on gun and private property rights.

And some of them think the US Army is going to take over Texas and round them up and put them in underground tunnels under abandoned Walmarts.  This is what happens when you continually cut public education; you get Idiocracy.

Rep. Dan Flynn's bill exempting Texas from daylight saving time was sidelined amid concerns that refusing to roll back the clocks could leave Texans choosing between church and watching Dallas Cowboys games on fall Sundays. Also dropped was Sen. Donna Campbell's proposal banning the Alamo from falling under the control of the United Nations.

The backlash was greatest over lawmakers' failure to repeal Texas' 2001 law offering in-state tuition to some college students in the country illegally, to pass school vouchers or block an expansion of pre-kindergarten programs.

These effing morons vote.  In large numbers.

Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, a longtime tea party organizer in suburban Dallas, voted to re-elect as House Speaker Straus, a San Antonio Republican whom conservative activists consider too moderate.

"He slapped us in the face," said Julie McCarty, president of the NE Tarrant Tea Party, which is recruiting a primary challenger to run against Capriglione.

Then there's Rep. David Simpson, owner of an East Texas timber company and religious publishing house, who became a tea party hero in 2011 for his attempts to criminalize "excessive touching" during airport security pat-downs. He's now running for state Senate but acknowledges he risked a challenge by arguing for legalizing marijuana, saying it's God's creation.

"I think there's some who will never vote for me again," Simpson said.

Keep in mind that Simpson does not appear on either the 'Best' or 'Worst' list of Texas legislators this session just past, and that his carrying the "treat it like tomatoes" weed bill was hailed by liberals and conservatives alike.  Just not certain conservatives.

We're through the looking glass here in Texas, folks, and only increasing the vote against these lunatics is going to save the Republic.

Update: If you need some additional verification of how far off the rails we've gone, check Michael Quinn Sullivan's Empower Texans ratings, in which he scores gay marriage goofball Cecil Bell at just a 74, Debbie Riddle a 65, and the highest-rated Democrat, Tracy King, at 48... four points below Sarah Davis at 52.  You have to laugh to keep from crying.

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