The resignation of liberal Joe Straus yesterday was worthy of an epic celebration.
But then the celebration went cosmic when Byron Cook immediately followed, announcing his own resignation before he would be dealt a humiliating defeat by Thomas McNutt.
However, unless the Republican members of the Texas House find the collective courage that they surrendered with their 2009 election of Joe Straus, the next speaker is likely to be as bad if not even worse than the Straus/Cook dictatorship. And by worse, I mean more deceitful, more tyrannical, and more suffocating to the will of the Texas House, which means more attacks on Life and liberty from the Capitol.
Straus and Cook are mere puppets of an unseen power structure in Austin where Gordon Johnson serves as the marionettes’ master. Additionally, most of the members of the Texas House who now face challengers in the upcoming Republican primary election on March 6, 2018 are also the Straus/Johnson loyalists—or puppets. And the challengers have been successfully winning favor with voters by pledging to oppose Straus and overthrow his wicked regime. While the establishment needs the Straus cronies back in Austin, Straus and Cook were a growing liability, a millstone around the necks of those pawns on their chess board.
In order for the establishment ship to stay afloat, Straus and Cook had to walk the gangplank, rather than face an embarrassing electoral pummeling and sink the entire establishment ship.
And now a new captain needs to be put on their ship immediately.
Make no mistake: The Austin establishment is already working to kowtow to the pro-abortion Democrats and woo 21 Republicans in the Texas House, likely to be led by Charlie Geren (the last remaining Straus Cardinal) to cobble the 76 votes needed to anoint the next dictator of the Texas House.
Therefore, John Zerwas, a doctor from Simonton with a mediocre record on Life and the chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, has offered himself as the next speaker. Zerwas wasn’t appointed by Straus to chair the state’s budget because he is a freedom fighter. Under Zerwas as chair of Appropriations, all Pro-Life amendments to the budget were rejected in committee, forcing floor debates and votes on Pro-Life measures that could have easily been passed in committee.
Zerwas is the same as Straus—but maybe a smidge more open about his views. Straus didn’t have much of a voting record as a regular House member from San Antonio (50% on Life in 2005); his true colors manifested through his speakership. However, Zerwas has a record of votes on issues, and his abysmal record on Life is one not fit for a leader in Texas.
In 2011, after Byron Cook had held hostage the sonogram bill until we acquiesced to the loophole exempting unborn children with disabilities from Pro-Life protections, Zerwas took up that cause. In the special session of the 82nd Legislature, Zerwas was the one who almost killed Senate Bill 7, a bill prioritized by Governor Perry that restructured some Medicaid reimbursements. Then-Representative Wayne Christian (now Commissioner of the Texas Railroad) added a much-needed Pro-Life amendment to SB 7. But the sponsor of the bill was Zerwas, and he didn’t want that amendment. Pro-Life House members threatened to kill the bill if Zerwas stripped the amendment. Rather than lose his bill, Zerwas pulled a page from the Byron Cook playbook and added the same loophole that jeopardized unborn babies with disabilities into Wayne Christian’s amendment and thus into the final version of SB 7.
Along with the conservative Pro-Life members of the Texas House of Representatives, Texas Right to Life was forced to adapt to the Straus/Cook/Zerwas dictatorship. Knowing that none of them would lift one finger to protect unborn Texans or vulnerable patients, we were forced to navigate around the legislative process, rather than see our lifesaving bills pass fairly through the legislative process. In a legislative body with 94 professing Pro-Life Republicans plus five professing Pro-Life Democrats, such circumnavigation should not be necessary. In other words, with these numbers—almost a Pro-Life supermajority—Pro-Life legislation should be sailing through the Texas House of Representatives.
All Pro-Life victories achieved under Straus’ reign were despite him, Byron Cook, and John Zerwas, not because of them. Without the Freedom Caucus and a few other outspoken heroes in the Texas House, no Pro-Life bills would have passed in the 85th Sessions of the Texas Legislature, and certainly no Pro-Life amendments to the state budget. In fact, due to Straus and Cook’s tyrannical rule, Governor Abbott called a special session of the Legislature to finish what Straus and Cook and Zerwas derailed.
If the members of the Texas House think they should merely change the name on the door of the speaker’s office to another one of Gordon Johnson’s puppets, they, too, should resign and resign in shame and be treated for Stockholm Syndrome, before they are defeated by their electorate in the March 6, 2018 primary. If the members of the Texas House actually want to champion and protect our lives, faith, freedoms, and families, they should rediscover their lost courage and coalesce behind a true conservative candidate for speaker who is not beholden to the Austin establishment.