The GOP majority in the Texas House of Representatives today fell apart, its party discipline destroyed by the stink of corruption that permeates the Bush era in Texas and across the country.
If Texas had icebergs, this would be the tip of one. I'm not talking about Karl Rove's adulterous behavior.
I'm talking about the stinging defeat suffered by the Texas GOP on the floor of the state House today. GOP leadership, helped to election by illegal corporate contributions, watched helplessly as the Democratic minority and a few frightened Republicans voted down bills that 1) raised taxes on the middle class; 2) Cut taxes for Big Insurance and other special interests involved in the scandal; 3) Stiffed school children and teachers under the guise of education reform.
This is no small matter. It should be pointed out that in the early 1970s, a political scandal called Sharpstown surfaced just ahead of a national political scandal called Watergate. By 1976, Jimmy Carter could carry Texas.
The talking points are simple: Texas Republicans are trying to raise taxes on middle class Texans and devastate public education so they can do what they were ordered to do when they accepted the illegal bribes: cut taxes for the people who paid the bribes.
Several corporations have been indicted. So have some staffers who were allegedly involved in the scheme. Tom DeLay, who lives off his aura of power, says he was powerless over a scheme that invoved his committee and its money and its contributers and that advanced his Congressional redistricting scheme. A grand jury, holding all the cards, is still meeting.
Corruption is bad enough. But when corruption is tied to taxes, education and other close-to-home issues, there's going to be trouble.
That's why some Republicans are rebelling. That's why Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick, always in over his head with this job, might be losing his head and his job. He's asked his Republican members to cast dozens of career-threatening votes just so he can tell his Bosses at Big Insurance that he was a good little boy who did what he was told.