WED brief 10.13.21
Don Huffines driving the agenda
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DON HUFFINES is driving the political agenda in Texas. While this could have been credibly claimed for a while, proof has now been provided.
An immediate issue is a website for the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). The website, which had been pushing transgender propoganda, was understandably criticized by Huffines.
In a random act of journalism, the Houston Chronicle discovered emails that prove bureaucrats under Greg Abbott’s jurisdiction scrubbed the website in response to Huffines. Shortly before this newsletter went to press, Huffines called for the agency employee who created the original website to be fired.
Beyond the slings and arrows of one website at one state agency, however, the DFPS action illustrates the largest current macro-trend in Texas politics. When Don Huffines barks, Greg Abbott and his apparatus jump. This is a highly positive development that should be milked to the last drop.
In this vein, Huffines might do well pushing the next item.
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES gives Abbott the Bronx cheer. Even if you disagree with their position on vaccine mandates, calling Abbott’s bluff is commendable. Game recognize game.
Discussed in detail yesterday, here’s the upshot: Airports in Texas are publicly owned. If the state of Texas is serious about changing Southwest Airlines’ behavior, there’s nothing to stop the legislature prohibiting companies that mandate employee vaccinations from using Love Field.
Left leaning Austin attorney Adam Loewy summarizes the situation:
Calling Abbott “all hat, no cattle” is insulting to hats.
LYLE LARSON is retiring. This isn’t surprising.
A pompous gasbag, even by the standards of the Texas House, Larson will be missed by few. Nevertheless, Larson’s career is illustrative of the insiderdom that dominates the good ol’ boy system of Texas.
Larson’s hallmark was dressing up measures to empower political insiders in the language of good government. For instance, his 2013 effort to impose term limits on the Governor...without corresponding restraints on the legislature. As he proposed it, Larson’s measure wouldn’t have cleaned up the government. It would merely transfer power from the Governor to legislative committee chairs like Lyle Larson, for most of his legislative career.
This streak was evident throughout Larson’s career. From his role as a hatchet-man on the Wallace Hall impeachment committee to his efforts to move primaries to January, to constitutionally questionable restrictions on the Governor’s appointment powers, to “abolishing” the two-party system, to annual legislative sessions, all of Larson’s pet causes make it harder for citizens to monitor government.
Then there’s Larson’s role in crafting “Water policy,” an ongoing act of larceny (or Larson-y) by the state of Texas against its citizens. Don’t be surprised if he collects a big payout from the water lobby.
Some have observed Larson’s recent leftward lurch and characterized him as “liberal Lyle.” Not really. While the perception is understandable, to call Lyle Larson “liberal” ascribes to him a level of core convictions that’s not in evidence.
Larson is likely to follow Joe Straus and Will Hurd down the path of trying to remain relevant. He’s unlikely to succeed.
DAN PATRICK is calling for tuition revenue bonds, a complex financial boondoggle that puts money in the hands of (increasingly woke) higher ed. bureaucrats and Wall St. underwriters.
What Allen Blakemore client asked Patrick to do this?!?
Beyond being atrocious public policy, this is Patrick’s biggest unforced political error since the “Buffett bill” debacle of 2017. It will be interesting to see how Trayce Bradford responds. Patrick’s action is a gift horse, and whether or not Bradford looks it in the mouth will be an early indicator as to the quality of her campaign.
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