Most Republicans in the Texas House are now talking a good game about reforming their dysfunctional chamber. The good news is that no one believes Joe Straus will be able to return to the speakership; his belligerent obstructionism taints them all.

The bad news is that those same GOP players run the risk of being played as fools by the same cronies who kept Straus in power.  The task in front of them may seem as easy as counting votes and changing the name on the speaker’s office door, but to get different governing results they must change out the cast of characters surrounding the office itself.

A month from now, the House Republican caucus will have a retreat at which the question of how the next Speaker is chosen will be front and center. Taxpayers need lawmakers to confirm what will be done to replace a process that has made the GOP super-majority a governing joke.

The process that brought Straus to power – an unholy alliance of establishment Republicans, Democrat powerbrokers, and crony lobbyists – must be under review at the retreat… and rejected in whole. Nothing should remain of that process, or the people who perpetuated it.

The “deep state” isn’t unique to Washington. For as affable a fellow as Joe Straus may be, his speakership was instigated by Democrats and has been fueled by Democrat consultants like Gordon Johnson. He has been the obstructionist puppet of a well-connected cartel of lobbyists and liberal actors.

Republican members of the House must categorically reject the notion that the next speaker of the Texas House can enter into a “power sharing” arrangement with the cartel that gave taxpayers the Straus disaster.

Anything less than a process that shuts out Democrats and lobbyists from the reins of power in the Texas House will be viewed as Republicans going wobbly. Citizens deserve a process that puts them in the driver’s seat, not lobbyists and political cronies.

GOP legislators must implement a public process that makes members of the majority party the base of the speakership and brings accountability to the office. If they don’t, they may succeed in changing out the speaker in name but not improving their results.

Texans deserve better.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Michael Quinn Sullivan and his wife have three children. He is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. Check out his podcast, “Reflections on Life and Liberty.”

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