I guess they all went home. Good. Now we’re safe again.
So, winners and losers this session? Let’s get into it.
I think Eric Johnson is a winner as is David Shafer. They both pushed two bold initiatives and got them passed despite the contention.
I think Casey Cagle winds up being a winner in this because he showed he was willing to be more than a puppet and Richardson, for that matter too.
Between Cagle and Richardson, I’ve gone back and forth on this. I think Richardson actually comes out well in this. He signaled his intentions to become a real Speaker of the House and not just a lapdog for the Governor, as he had been in the past — going so far as to support gubernatorial tax increases. He was able to rally the whole House save five to vote for a gubernatorial override. But, if I had to chose, I’d say Casey Cagle comes out better overall. He was willing to put partisanship aside frequently to get the Dems on board, slow things down to enforce his will, etc. We haven’t had a real Lieutenant Governor in a while and Cagle reminded us what one can do.
I think overall there were two big losers this year. First, the people. They won’t get a tax rebate as th House had wanted. In fact, by the end of the day, after having been championing “the people’s business,” Casey was talking from the Senate about “the state’s business.” That probably was not intentional, but it was accurate.
The second loser was the Governor. He came across as out of touch, detached, and just plain odd. In past years the Governor has gotten lots of criticism for micro-managing the session. This year, he went to the absolute opposite extreme and went AWOL until the end. Numerous legislators tell me the Governor was out of touch, unresponsive, difficult, and pigheaded about his issues. Casey and Glenn came off as more willing to give in to each other than the Governor. At the end of the day, I suspect the House and Senate will patch up their differences, leaving the Governor as the odd man out.
I do have to say that there will probably be one short term loser — Speaker Richardson. While he’ solidified his position as Mr. Speaker, it seems clear the Governor and Lieutenant Governor are going to hang him out to dry in the Special Session unless something happens behind the scenes.
What about the Democrats? I’d put them more on the loser end than winner end. Sure, the Republicans behaved like a dysfunctional family and the Democrats may be about to exploit that next year, but I doubt the situation will remain that long and people will forget. In the meantime, despite so many bills passing nearly unanimously, bills like S.B. 10 passed with Republican support. And, thought it remains unclear to me this morning, I suspect S.B. 39 passed too, which Casey Cagle and the GOP supported.
Oh, and J.B. Powell might be dead man walking. He only won his district with 51% of the vote in 2006, and was willing to be the NRA’s whore and call for a roll call adjournment the other day. There are a number of GOP Senators who are going to want to throw everything they can at the guy next year.