Although the Texas Legislature has concluded its 80th regular session, Speaker of the House Tom Craddick’s obstinate conduct in its final days will linger over the body in following years. Craddick should have foregone politics as usual and resigned his post last week for the sake of the state.
The Legislature, renown for the infrequency of its sessions, was racked with numerous attempts to unseat Craddick that came to the forefront Friday. Craddick’s bipartisan opposition chides him for exacting authoritarian leadership – a charge that was highlighted as Craddick repeatedly refused to acknowledge representatives with parliamentary motions to dislodge him.
The Legislature nearly experienced a meltdown during Craddick’s systematic censorship, and opposition politicians surged toward the podium, only to be halted by the House’s sergeant-at-arms. The disruption consumed valuable legislative time, an act Craddick could have remedied by conceding defeat.
On Monday, an opposition walkout of nearly 60 legislators resulted in a failed quorum. While the budget was still passed, numerous bills were left in limbo. The fault, however, is not with politicians unnerved by Craddick’s autocratic tendencies, but with Craddick himself.
Craddick’s actions of the past week have spoken louder than words, and only serve to reinforce the complaint of the dissidents. There is no justification for ignoring reasonable concerns raised by representatives. Doing so only widens the gap between the House leadership and those representing the common Texan.