On the Agenda: Republican national losses bypass Texas, but contentious session looms
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Election night 2012 was a disaster for Republicans.
They couldn’t defeat a president with nearly 8 percent unemployment and a majority of Americans still thinking the country was heading in the wrong direction. Tea Party approved Senate candidates squandered a new Republican Senate majority that seemed inevitable six months ago. And Republicans held on to the Congress arguably only because redistricting stacked the deck to protect the GOP majority.
For the first time since Bill Clinton, Democrats ran and won on tax increases.
Last weekend, Speaker John Boehner essentially told his Republicans that they could not live on the steady diet of confrontation that has driven Congressional approval numbers to historic lows.
While anything can happen, this election suggests Republicans will likely be blamed for the inevitable recession caused by failed compromise over the looming fiscal cliff.
But none of that mattered in Texas?
With no national money spent here, presidential year turnout actually dropped and Barack Obama did worse than four years ago. Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz rolled over underfunded Paul Sadler. The Texas Senate arguably becomes more conservative. The Texas House will convene with 95 Republicans to 55 Democrats.
But just because one party is in complete control, don’t presume there is a consensus on major policy issues.
The great fault line used to be between evangelicals and establishment Republicans. Today, it is Tea Party evangelicals vs. business. Philosophically, Tea Party Republicans want to choke government while business types want roads, a reliable electric grid, dependable water supplies and an educated work force all of which cost money.
The huge House freshman class of two years ago was fiercely ideological. Some have since developed a more nuanced view of governing. The incoming freshman class has more Republicans who have served on city councils and school boards and seem more pragmatic than ideological.
Don’t get me wrong. The Legislature will be very conservative, but business concerns over investing for future economic growth may well have more sympathetic Republican ears than before.
Texas politics and government are rarely what they seem. Join
publisher Harvey Kronberg every Monday as he shares the stories behind the stories in
. Kronberg has covered the Capitol for more than 20 years, and he knows where to find the scoop.