House Speaker Tom Craddick put voice this week to what conservative voters have been depressed about for several years: there are some Republican legislators who work against the conservative agenda. Here’s what Speaker Craddick said in the Midland Reporter-Telegram: “Even though we’ve got this Republican majority, we have several Republicans who don’t vote with the rest of us.”

Craddick lead into that by noting the all-too-obvious: “Republicans did not fare well in the 2006 election and our majority shrank from 88 to 80 in the 150 member House.”

The principle reason for “not faring well” is that those “several Republicans” aide the Democrats in thwarting conservative reforms and the free market agenda.

But unfortunately for Mr. Craddick — and the conservative movement — those bad sell-out legislators get protected by a bunch of squishy-in-the-middle types who just want their fellow lawmakers to hold hands and sing “Kumbaya.”

The days of looking the other way are long expired. Conservative voters are tired of Republicans who campaign on our principles, but vote with the liberals.

If there is no substantial difference between the policy results of Republicans being in charge and their Democratic opposition, conservative voters rational wonder, what’s the point of showing up on election day? Increasingly, conservatives are answering that question by staying home.

If Republicans (the party types) want to see their brand remain in office, then they should help conservatives weed out the malcontents from the legislative ranks. Let them do the honest thing and switch parties (as State Rep. Kirk England did), or retire gracefully (as State Rep. Fred Hill has done).

Until the worst of the worst — legislators like Tommy Merritt of Longview, Delwin Jones of Lubbock, Charlie Geren of Fort Worth, to name a few — and their hangers on either reform their voting or exit public office, the conservative agenda will continue to be undermined from within the very party that has been the home of conservatives for several decades.

It’s good to see Speaker Craddick is telling it the way it is. Maybe that will inspire a few more of his colleagues to do likewise.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."