For those who are tired of reading media comments from Republican legislators bragging (a softer word than lying) about all the good work they did during their six months in Austin earlier this year, read the article linked below.
It’s a newspaper account of a speech that Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden (a Republican) made to a home district crowd in College Station. He summed up the legislative session for pretty much what it was – a failure – and blamed the problem on political ambition.
It is true that Ogden played a leadership role in drafting the worst public education budget in more than 60 years, but the cuts wouldn’t have been quite so drastic had there been fewer antigovernment Republicans in the House and stronger leadership in the lieutenant governor’s office.
Ogden, in his speech, is quoted as saying that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst was ineffective because he was preparing to launch his U.S. Senate campaign.
“If you’re elected to a job you don’t really want, and you’re trying to use that job for something else, you’re pretty miserable while you’re in that job and everybody else around you is pretty miserable,” Ogden said.
Ogden also blamed the Democrats for playing politics by always “voting ‘no’” rather than working with the Republicans for something better.
I disagree with Ogden on this point. Democrats repeatedly proposed closing tax exemptions and spending most or all of the Rainy Day Fund. But Gov. Perry and the House majority adamantly shut the door on any new tax revenue and insisted on leaving most of the Rainy Day Fund ($6.5 billion) unspent while slashing $5.4 billion from public education and billions from health care.
Ogden would have spent more of the Rainy Day Fund, but Dewhurst got cold feet.