In attempts to defend those in power, Texas’ political media establishment often portrays members of the conservative movement – especially those critical of House Speaker Joe Straus – as extremists, seeking to turn Austin into a Washington, D.C.–style polarized system of gridlock, bickering, and self-mutilation. That is, unless conservatives in Austin are seeking to grow government and look out for themselves. Then DC-style “leadership” is A-OK.

The latest example comes from Harvey Kronberg’s Quorum Report – the Perez Hilton of the Texas political correspondent circle – via a bloviating compare-and-contrast piece authored by John Coppedge, a man who once went on record encouraging Democrats to vote in Republican primaries.

Coppedge writes that State Reps. Travis Clary and Chris Paddie should be praised for earning better committee assignments than their East Texas colleagues, State Reps. Bryan Hughes and David Simpson. Clardy and Paddie both voted affirmatively to re-elect State Rep. Joe Straus as Speaker of the House, while Hughes and Simpson both voted for the more conservative State Rep. Scott Turner.

In his comparison, Coppedge points out that while Hughes was appointed to the Appropriations Committee, it was because of his seniority and not at the speaker’s discretion. Speaker Straus did assign Hughes to the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee. While juvenile justice issues are important to many Texans, most recognize that committee wields less influence over key legislation than other, more noteworthy committees.

Additionally, Simpson used his seniority status to earn an appointment to the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Speaker Straus then appointed Simpson to the Agriculture and Livestock Committee.

On the flip-side, Rep. Paddie was appointed by the Speaker to the Transportation Committee, House Administration Committee, and to serve as the vice-chair of the Energy Resources Committee. Rep. Clardy earned a nod from the Speaker to be on the Higher Education committee, Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee, and serve as the vice-chair of the Local & Consent Calendars Committee.

Coppedge attempts to re-assure those who supported Speaker Straus they made the right choice. In turn, he argues, they got more plum assignments than those antagonistic to Straus’ re-election effort. Simpson and Hughes, he adds, aren’t able to effectively represent their district because of their choice to be hostile to Straus – and therefore lose out on key committee assignments that could have brought home the bacon to their respective districts.

In other words, the establishment want conservatives to continue to try to play their game, lest they get played by cutting off their ability to bilk taxpayers in other areas of the state at the behest of their home district.

Conservative members were scolded for daring to bring their challenge to Speaker Straus to a vote on the House floor. The media derided the decision as Washington, D.C.–style politics similar to the failed conservative effort to remove embattled U.S. House Speaker John Boehner from his position of power. Quorum Report and others willing to repeat the talking points from Straus’ PR camp chided it as corrosive and harmful, ultimately leading to gridlock. Speaker Joe Straus himself chastised those who opposed his re-election in his victory speech to his fellow members saying, “…you cannot effectively govern this House by dividing it.”

During the speakership race, conservatives were ridiculed for engaging in DC–style politics. Now that it’s over, they’re ridiculed for NOT engaging in the very same style of governing and politics.

DC isn’t gridlocked to the point of paralysis because of internal strife between Republicans in Congress. DC is gridlocked because voters have allowed their congressmen to get away with a “what’s in it for me” mentality for decades. It’s the very same mentality Kronberg, his contributors, and the establishment media expect legislators to possess in order to be “effective.”

Bringing home the bacon isn’t effective governance. One only needs to look at the state of our federal government for affirmation.

Reps. Hughes and Simpson, by standing up for their conservative principles and doing what their constituents asked of them, showed far more courage and conviction than those who simply try to “play the game.” They should be cheered for their willingness to be true servant leaders and for doing what was right, and for recognizing that their dedication to promoting liberty and property isn’t a game – it’s a duty.

The problem is that the Austin/Capitol echo chamber is full of establishment shills like those at Quorum Report who want to do all they can to keep conservatives in check.

They don’t hear from you nearly enough to know they are doing the right thing!

It’s important that we tell legislators when they do something wrong. It’s even more important we tell them when they do something right. The establishment media in Austin certainly won’t.

So far, 19 legislators have demonstrated a willingness to ignore the Texas politburo and listen to their constituents by demanding more conservative leadership. Call them today and encourage them to keep it up all session long!


Rodney Anderson (HD 105):                          512-463-0641
Dustin Burrows (HD 83):
Pat Fallon (HD 106):                                        
Bryan Hughes (HD 5):                                     512-463-0271
Mark Keough (HD 15):
Stephanie Klick (HD 91):                                512-463-0599
Matt Krause (HD 93):
Jeff Leach (HD 67):
Matt Rinaldi (HD 115):
Scott Sanford (HD 70):
Matt Schaefer (HD 6):
Matt Shaheen (HD 66):                                   
David Simpson (HD 7):
Stuart Spitzer (HD 4):                                      
Jonathan Stickland (HD 92):                          
Tony Tinderholt (HD 94):
Scott Turner (HD 33):
Molly White (HD 55):
Bill Zedler (HD 96):

Dustin Matocha

Dustin Matocha is the CFO and COO of Texas Scorecard. Dustin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Management, a BA in Government, and a minor in Marketing. He’s a self-described Corvette enthusiast, baseball purist, tech geek and growing connoisseur of local craft beer.


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