This should not come as a surprise to anyone who actually paid attention last session, but a new analysis from Rice University suggests that despite their minority status, Texas liberals in the Legislature actually had far more influence on the agenda than “public perception” might have it.

From the study, emphasis mine: “Contrary to common public perception, these data indicate that the Texas Democratic Party appears to have played an integral role in the legislative process during the 2009 House session…. [I]n many respects, Democrats were near-equal partners in House legislative governance during the 2009 session, either explicitly or implicitly backing virtually all legislation that was passed during that year”.

This is why we cannot afford to support liberal Democrat incumbents for reelection.  This study implies that liberal Democrats, under the control of such leaders as Rep. Jim Dunnam and Rep. Garnet Coleman, steered the ship in the Texas House even without a majority.  This is the kind of thing that was obvious to anyone who watched the session as it played out, but in retrospect, as we look at exactly what passed and who was behind it (even worse, what didn’t pass, and who was behind it), we’ve got more proof.

As long as “friendly” incumbent Democrats are given a free pass by the lobbyists and establishment consultants who make or break campaigns in Texas, this kind of “stealth” influence will continue.  Everyone wants to believe that conservatism is going to win the day in November, and it still might , but smart people are saying that a true, clear conservative majority in the Texas House may yet be out of reach.  If you want to curb the influence of the Obama Democrat machine in the Texas House of Representatives, you cannot, by word or deed or inaction, support a liberal incumbent for reelection.