Texas Legislative Watch

A conservative information source for Texas Legislative matters & elections

Response to a Response

Posted by Mike O on November 29, 2010

Stefani Carter responded to an open letter from Ken Emmanualson of the Dallas Tea Party calling her to pull her pledge to Joe Straus for Texas House Speaker, making the point of how unhelpful Ken had been to her election. While true, it did NOT address the question of her instant signing of a Pledge letter to Joe, despite repeated input for the vast number of her volunteers on this issue otherwise.  Since she circulated her response to ken to many people, I responded to those same people with the following response to the response:


First, let’s point out a few things Stefani (because I DID work for you AND brought along others to do likewise, not to mention drove the ‘TeaApproval of your group).

I would point out that Straus violated his own pledge card to Craddick to get elected in the first place. The entire Pledge Card system is- and has been- only honored out of convenience and frankly, it’s time for that antiquated system so rife with potential intimidation to go!

Were you impressed with the Ethic Commission hearing?  the one where Hughes, the accuser, took the oath (apparently both in the 2+ hour private session and in under 15 minute public session to make his accusations.  And the chairman- who received $42K from Straus- and did not recuse himself- allowed the accused to NOT take the oath to read a carefully written statement (as apparently is required, per this writeup by a group that was a significant backer of you)  Does this REALLY sound like the kind of stuff you want to be party to?  (As I said before, being Hughes was in Straus’s camp and all of this can do for him is political damage, there was no motivation except principle for him to make such an accusation.)

Your FIRST commitment is to your constituents and supporters; if they are publicly coming out in droves for you to back Straus and ‘the way things are done’, fine.  But if it’s mainly from a few Austin ‘powers that be’, please realize some of these are the same forces we did battle with in the primary up our way.   Not afraid to do it again, as needed.

‘Your word’ was given before the full scope of the mandate was known.  By keeping to this antiquated system your word that you gave as an Independent Conservative Republican is sacrificed. Because the message you are getting from ‘the conservative majority of the Party’- your first allegiance, supposedly- cannot be more clear.


Her response was: “Thanks, Mike, for your continued thoughts. ”  Probably the briefest statement you’ll ever get from an Ivy League lawyer (but still speaks volumes).


13 Responses to “Response to a Response”

  1. Dennis G. Scharp said

    If Stefani does not pull her pledge we owe it to her to make her a one term representative.

    Could she have been more curt in her response to you? My take of it is sort of “up yours”. Looks like we made a big mistake in supporting her.

  2. False Premise said

    nice narrative, but it is based on a completely false premise: Straus never signed a pledge card to Craddick for the 2009 session. It’s just one more myth that keeps getting propagated as the tea party folks who bring fresh blood to politics get used by the establishment, social conservative organizations who have waged this war for personal ambition reasons.

    • Mike O said

      Sorry, But I’ve been told Tom Craddick has one- been told by two different representatives who say they’ve seen it. I would suspect it was an ‘early’ card (as many of Joe’s are); issued BEFORE the election was held and the full scope of things were known.
      As a secularist myself, who was attacked by social conservatives (actually preached against in church), I shrug off your slam against them; personal ambition? Give me a break! We’re talking issues and things that need doing; things that the Democrat bloc behind Straus will try to prevent (like effective Voter ID).

  3. Independent Conservative Republican said

    Joe Straus did not sign a pledge card to Tom Craddick. His ethical record is unblemished. Please do not defame a man without researching the truth. As for your making a deal about Hughes supposedly taking an oath and Phillips not, this is a red herring–Phillips took an oath at the beginning of the session as a member of the committee. Hughes never did because he is not a member of the committee. Hence the need for him to do so. Phillips statement was sworn as well, and I’m inclined to believe him. Hughes’ Austin roommate is Ken Paxton, that’s his motivation as well as needing something to publicly say is the reason for breaking his word to support Straus. The truth and keeping one’s word is never antiquated, especially when it’s convenient to do otherwise.

    • Mike O said

      Phillips Statement was NOT sworn; being sworn at the start of the session certainly is laughable excuse that only a lawyer would present to obfuscate the issue. And Joe got other people to pull Pledge cards for his run, so who the heck is being hypocritical here?? The word given to the VOTERS by the independent Conservative Republicans does not count?

  4. Mike, you have known since the beginning that Stephani is a pragmatic fiscal conservative rather than a purist. This means that she will choose “what works” before idealist values. If Stefani supports Joe Straus then perhaps she values a leader who is demonstrated to be able to work effectively across both sides of the isle. Effective leadership at the top is necessary in order to get important things done. The Texas budget is in a world of hurt and it will take effective leadership ready to get up to speed immediately in order to be able to trim the budget in the very short time available to the Texas legislature. We don’t want increased taxes so it is to our benefit that the legislature work as efficiently as possible.

    I suggest providing Stefani with your recommendations but wait at least until the legislative term (140 days) is over before deciding to turn your back on her. If Stefani was a push-over then you would not have supported her and she would not have won. You should expect her to be slow and deliberative about important decisions.


    • Mike O said

      It was hardly a slow and deliberative decision on her part to sign Joe’s pledge card, Bob: she apparently gave it election night BEFORE ANY OF US KNEW HOW BIG THE WIN WAS! (I was there.) Either that, or she misled many of us by saying repeatedly that “She hadn’t thought about the Speaker race”. Very few other freshman candidates jumped that night and those that did are in every bit as much trouble with their volunteers and district supporters as Stefani is. And those that took their time are lining up quickly behind Ken Paxton.
      Effective leadership is to depend on the 1/3 of the House for your primary strength?? That’s not strength, that’s capitulation to a philosophy that the voters soundly rejected on November 2nd. The electorate mandate matters here.

      • Mike,

        I was already aware of Stefani’s support for Straus back during the summer when we were walking Garland in 107 degree heat. While Stefani is not one who broadcasts or commits to many decisions in advance (makes fewer promises than any political candidate I have seen), she is not particularly secretive either. I don’t know anything about the timing of signing pledge cards or if any such signing actually occurred. What I do know is that Stefani was not particularly secretive with you about a great many things, including her pragmatic (non-purist) views on taxes. I know that because we were both part of the conversations. Please don’t think that Stefani has betrayed you.

        While many Tea Party members are purists who believe in radical changes to our system of taxation, Stefani is one who believes in keeping taxes down (as she promised), but also in not implementing radical change (e.g. switching entirely to a consumption tax) which may upset Texas businesses, or shift the tax burden to those less capable of paying. Stefani is one who believes that businesses require as much stability and predictability as possible in order to survive this recession and so that they feel safe in hiring employees, building new plants, developing new products, and creating new jobs.

        I don’t claim to know who the best choice is for speaker but I do know that 140 days is hardly any time at all, and we DEFINITELY don’t want a repeat of the debacle which occurred 10 years ago when the Democrats left the state and key votes were impossible due to lack of a quorum. The speaker needs to be able to work with both sides and be seen as “fair” by the minority so that we can get the progress (on the budget and redistricting) which is needed.

        Lastly, this may seem like an odd opinion, but I do think that the vote for the speaker is a vote that house reps do for themselves and is not really a matter for the public at large. They vote for the person they feel they can best work with and is most likely to help them accomplish what they have set out to do. As a freshman, Stefani needs as much support as possible from the speaker in order to accomplish anything.


      • Mike O said

        Well, Bob; thank you for definitive proof that Stefani was talking out of both sides of her mouth, as this video demonstrates.

        “Not very secretive” Hah! What did she do in the Clinton White House in her short internship there; come of with the ‘depends on the definition of “is”‘ defense?

    • Mike O said

      Not to mention your assumption is that Ken Paxton cannot deliver effective leadership and work across the aisle. Ken has that ability, but- unlike how Straus demonstrated last year- he won’t let the minority control the agenda. I’ll take the last paragraph of this article as proof that the Democrats ‘ran rings around the Republicans’ last session. And who is most responsible for that? Hardly the leadership we need.

  5. […] […]

  6. Mike,

    I think that you are blowing what I said way out of proportion. Mid-summer Stefani expressed a positive view of Straus but that was before there was any notion of contention for the position or that there would be a “race” on between several contenders. A positive view is not the same as a rubber stamp. Stefani’s positive view was not out of line given the huge support in the house for Straus at that time, and the quite considerable support which still exists today. Quite frankly, regardless of if Straus might be considered a RINO, I think that Stefani is likely to damage her ability to accomplish her stated goals as a lowly freshman if she breaks from the pack and is one of the minority to vote for a losing contender. Freshmen members depend on the kindness of others, and particularly the house speaker. Do you really want Stefani to damage the opportunity she has to carry out the promises (e.g. to keep taxes down) that she made to her many constitutents?

    There is a problem with Ken Paxton in that while you worked hard to get Stefani elected based on your Tea Party objectives, there were others who worked hard to get Stefani elected due to her support for the 2nd amendment. Ken Paxton has a little problem in that he authored a bill which abridges the rights of gun owners. This bill (HB 3766) would definitely impact gun owners in the greater Dallas area if it should pass (and it might). I am for both limited government (decreased spending, less incursion on my rights) AND preserving my 2nd amendment rights.

    By the way, congratulations for losing the weight. I think that you should thank the Stefani Carter campaign for helping you accomplish that. It worked for me too.


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