In an earlier guest column, a local Republican accused Texas Democrats of wanting Austin to be like Washington, D.C.

His assumption was completely inaccurate. In the past, our nation has experienced Republican presidents and members of Congress who were wrong on most issues but when tested with a national crisis were willing to put partisan politics aside and do what was necessary to fix the problem.

These men were true American patriots who put the needs of our nation first.

Even George W., on occasion, demonstrated a conscience. To his credit he appropriated funds to attack the AIDS crisis in Africa, supported needed comprehensive immigration reform and signed legislation guaranteeing due process for children who were refugees from dangerous countries.

Not so today. A hard core extremist group in that party now controls congressional action. They view a national crisis as an opportunity to make inflammatory partisan accusations.

The U.S. House of Representatives is where the problem exists. Republican Speaker John Boehner presides over a “do nothing” Congress where all needed legislation is declared “dead on arrival.”

No Democrat supports this “gridlock.”

Now let’s take a view of Austin.

During a regular Texas legislative session, some 4,000 bills are introduced. The vast majority, the bills that impact the lives of constituents, are nonpartisan. The party of the bill’s author is not an issue.

Good legislators base their service on how the issues benefit their constituents. Others, those who are in it for themselves, tend to represent the lobby and the special interests.

In the 1980s I served in the Texas House of Representatives. During six terms, I passed in excess of 100 Texas laws. All enjoyed bipartisan support. In turn I voted for multiple good legislation sponsored by Republican colleagues.

Hardcore extremists have not yet brought “gridlock” to Austin.

Joe Straus of San Antonio is the Speaker. He is a conservative and a loyal Republican. The Texas House currently operates in a manner where individual merit prevails.

Several Democrats in the Texas House have emerged as effective and outstanding legislators. Three in this group are Craig Eiland, Sylvester Turner and Senfronia Thompson.

Speaker Straus recognized the value of these legislators and has utilized their talents to benefit Texas. Eiland and Turner have served as Speaker Pro Tem, and Thompson chairs the very important Local and Consent Calendar Committee.

Straus has also been good to Galveston County, supporting Eiland’s efforts to save jobs at UTMB and fund local education.

Texas government has always been frugal. State taxes are low, and the Texas Constitution requires a balanced budget. These are good. But Texas government, as I stated earlier, can still improve on quality of life issues.

No Democrat or sane Texan benefits by making Austin more like Washington, D.C. It would be disastrous to our state.

It is the Straus critics in the hard right faction in the Republican Party who strive to make Austin like Washington, D.C., not the Democrats.

Lloyd Criss of La Marque is chair of the Galveston County Democratic Party.

(19) comments

Carlos Ponce

"Republican Speaker John Boehner presides over a 'do nothing' Congress where all needed legislation is declared 'dead on arrival.'" Sorry Lloyd, your partisanship and ignorance is showing. John Boehner presides over just the House of Representatives, NOT the entire Congress. The House has passed hundreds of bills as is their Constitutional duty and rightly hands them over to Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, who presides over the Senate. Harry Reid then sits on the bills effectively killing them. Lloyd did you pass high school Civics or did the computer gremlins rewrite your sentence? No Government teacher would accept "John Boehner presides over Congress". Laughable and inaccurate. But look at your party, Lloyd. Many Texas Democrats DO want Austin to be like Washington, D.C. That unfortunately is true. I'm glad you don't drink that kool-aid.

Paula Flinn

I believe that Mr. Criss knows all about the 2 houses of Congress. Frequently the House of Representatives is referred to as "Congress" because it is the people's house, whereas the Senate is always referred to as "part of Congress" or simply "the Senate."

In your haste to call Mr. Criss "ignorant" you, yourself demonstrated your own by using the singular verb "is" instead of the plural verb "are". Your words: "Sorry, Lloyd, your partisanship and ignorance IS showing." This leads me to believe that you added "ignorance" after you wrote the sentence, but you did not go back and change the verb from "is" to "are". (I am giving you the benefit of the doubt, because I do not believe that you are ignorant--just angry.)

Bills that originate in the House have an HR in front of the number. Bills that originate in the Senate have an S in front of the number. The problem today is that the Senate bills (the ones that originate in the Senate) do not pass because the House of Reps. will not pass them. Most of the Senate bills state President Obama's position. The House bills state the Republican (or Tea Party) position. There is no compromise between the two diverse positions in Congress, which is exactly what Mr. Criss is saying. It is too bad that civility and compromise have not prevailed. I believe calling someone "ignorant", who clearly is not, is childish and accomplishes nothing.

Thanks, Lloyd, for writing. I agree with you. We do not want Austin to be like D.C.

Carlos Ponce

The Senate Bills that have not gone through the channels in the House number less than a dozen. I have read them and found them flawed. These include bills that are mere political grandstanding designed to appease their Liberal base prior to the mid-term elections. On the other hand, House Bills the Senate has not looked at number in the hundreds which include many jobs bills. I try to proofread my posts prior to sending but sometimes a grammatical error does get past me. I'm a math and history teacher, not an English teacher. [beam]

Kevin Lang

I guess the House of Representatives is too busy to consider those "less than a dozen" flawed bills. When you were teaching, did you ever decide not to grade the "less than a dozen" flawed papers or homework assignments? Seems to me that if those bills are that badly flawed that you could review them and throw them back, our Representatives, who get paid for that stuff, should be able to do the same. Then, at least, the House of Representatives would at least be on higher moral ground in their complaints about the Senate refusing to review House bills.

Carlos Ponce

"When you were teaching, did you ever decide not to grade the "less than a dozen" flawed papers or homework assignments? "
One time an ill prepared student put "IDK" as the answer to ALL his test questions, IDK meaning "I Don't Know". I did not grade the "flawed paper". Read the bills the House will not consider and decide for yourself as I have. I have read them and found they are political grandstanding designed to appease the Liberal base prior to the mid-term elections. Let's see if you come to a similar or different conclusion or if they can be "salvaged".

Kevin Lang

What is it that you want done with the dozens of bills the House has sent to the Senate that the Senate won't consider?

Who cares if they're political grandstanding. The Senate may argue that the House bills are political grandstanding. Put the bills before the House, let them have a rip-roaring laugh, vote it down along party lines, and tell the Senate it's their turn.

As it stands, it just looks like the House want's to have it both ways. Bring them to the floor, open it up for debate, then, after the laughter subsides, kill it with a real vote. Then, it's out there front and center.

Perhaps if bad bills were subject to public ridicule, the authors of such bills would be more reluctant to put those junk bills together.

Mary Branum

Actually, "is" is correct due to using "and"
Don't be so quick to call some one ignorant; it will come back at you!

Kevin Lang

So, are you saying that "Transformers and Lucy is showing." is correct grammar? When you have multiple subject nouns or pronouns, the plural forms, "we", "you (all)", and "they", are used.

Of course, if we want to get picky about word usage, verb forms, and other linguistic defects in our prose, we might as well dump the forums, as we'd have very few posts that would get past the English professors. ;-)

Paula Flinn

"...your partisanship and ignorance..." = 2 subjects of the sentence. "Are" is the correct verb, and if you had read the entire paragraph, you would see that I said that I did not believe he was ignorant, just angry.

Kevin Lang

I guess in my example, there is a situation where my example would be good grammar. If Transformers and Lucy is a double-feature, then "Transformers and Lucy is showing at the theater" would be grammatically correct.

However, in the context above, I don't think that "partisanship and ignorance" is a double-feature.

English is one of the trickiest languages around. It has a whole bunch of grammatical rules, and an almost equal number of exceptions.

Carolyn Meehan



I would like to know what Pflinn thinks about what IslandResident said below concerning the questioning of Mr. Ponce's use of "is." IF IslandResident is right, I think Mr. Ponce has a big apology coming to him from PFLINN. I'm very interested to see how this turns out.

George Croix

I guess they could establish a legislative rule and DEEM something to pass, and thus get around the will of the people who elect their representatives to counter the opposition. That's worked out so well after being done in 2010...
Elections - you know, those things that get ALL of the DC politicians in office - not just a President?

George Croix

I forgot to add...and he forgot to mention...that during Lloyd's terms in state office, the Presidents of the United States were Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush.
The nation's political tone is set from the top down, and neither of those guys started their Presidency with 'I won', nor did either make time almost daily to insult and demean his fellow, co-equal, election winners.

Willis Briggs


Kevin Lang

I seem to remember Reagan, or someone that looked and sounded like him--may have been an actor?--saying something to the effect that liberals may not be ignorant, but that they knew so much that wasn't true. Not sure that quite fits the conciliatory tone.

George Croix

Yes, Reagan did say a speech when working to help Barry 1964...16 years before his election to the Presidency.
Yet, Reagan didn't get any Pinnochios for that...[wink], and went on to a give and take...and eventually, the downfall of Russia, and a booming U.S. economy. What he did NOT go on to do, was daily insult and demean his opposition, just because he could
He accomplished things WITH Congressional help.
Called concensus, at least to some degree. Called leadership.

Now, we've still got an actor, but presiding over the marginalizing of the United States, and the resurgance of a militaristic Russia, an economy of increased dependency/low wages/shorter hours/if a job at all that, rather than booming, has 'enjoyed' the worst post-recession recovery...ever,
and can't lead squat except the way to the next green, or the donations bucket.
Called division, to a national sized degree. Called a king complex.

One of the few times that I'd rather live in the past...if only it were possible...
An actor?
Yeah, Reagan was an actor.
He acted like a President is supposed to.

George Croix


George Croix


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