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Rose Bush Rule

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Ted Cruz Debates Dan Patrick (#TxSen)

“Every time I go on the radio, you ask the questions that the Dewhurst campaign want you to ask.”

This, from the guy who got caught red-handed trying to influence debate questions by a fellow candidate in order to team up against Lt. Governor Dewhurst!

Listen to the radio confrontation between Ted Cruz and Texas Senator Dan Patrick on Patrick’s “The Bell and Patrick” radio show, for yourself:

Mr. Cruz argued with Patrick for 30 minutes on the Baker and Patrick Radio Show that airs on KSEV  radio in the Houston area at 4 PM, week days. He unfortunately began with the flat statement that Senator Patrick had endorsed Dewhurst in the Senate race. You would think that a man would know that sort of thing, right? As Patrick said, if he’d done so, it would be public knowledge.

Cruz actually claimed that all Republicans and Democrats play a “game” with legislation they don’t want to pass, by entering into a conspiracy to pass a bill in one chamber in Session, and then in the other the next, but cheat to keep them from passing to law.

Senator Patrick spent quite a bit of time explaining the complicated workings of the Texas Senate, especially the work on the Sanctuary Cities Bills (SB 29 and HB 41) during last Summer’s Special Session of the 82nd Texas Legislature.

The two discussed the “Rose Bush Rule,” which requires 21 members of the Senate to vote in favor of bringing any issue up for a vote. Patrick reminded Cruz that the Senate members, not the Lieutenant Governor, vote on the rules of the Senate. Patrick also explained that the Lieutenant Governor has the authority to suspend that rule in a Special Session, but not in a Regular Session.

Cruz asked Patrick whether Patrick would have been able to pass Sanctuary Cities if he had been Lt. Governor. Patrick said, “No,” because “the only thing you can do is pass it out of the Senate.” Patrick said that Dewhurst had warned the Democrats in the Regular session that if they blocked the bill in the Regular Session, he would suspend the 21 vote rule in the Special Session. Patrick reported that Dewhurst did suspend the rule as he said, in order to pass the Sanctuary Cities Bill with over two weeks left in the SS and spoke of the frustration of having the Bill sit in Committee in the House.

He also told Cruz that all 19 Republican Senators had met on the issue and decided to pass SB29 as a separate Bill, rather than to try to tack HB41 as an amendment to the School Finance Bill. They were concerned that the school funding bill would be held up, preventing schools from knowing their budget until August.

Cruz ignored Patrick’s admonition to campaign on his own merits and plans, returning again and again to statements about what people “intend,” “know,” or ” believe.” Cruz accused Patrick and others of working against him, assigning underhanded motives to them, such as how much “better” for Patrick it will be to get Dewhurst out of Austin.

The creepiest bit of Cruz’ argument was this line, delivered with a strategic lowering of the voice at the last: “You have been acting as a surrogate for Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and I have seen you do it.”

I’ve described Cruz’ reactions to me when I was still a supporter asking him to cut back on the negative campaigning. At our County forum in February and then in New Braunfels. At the New Braunfels meet, he couldn’t walk away so he engaged me in debate. He kept coming at me for twenty minutes although others had questions.

Here’s a news report about another episode of over-reacting to questioning by another woman in Fort Worth at the RPT convention.

Cruz is not a “fighter” in any good sense of the word. Rather than a champion or defender, he’s a bully and a brawler. When faced with even mild opposition, he goes out of his way to prove the other person absolutely wrong. As Patrick said, he can “make numbers lie,” and has no problem with stretching the truth if it has what he calls “a basis in fact.” He sprinkles his speeches with dramatic descriptions of imagined conspiracies such as the ones above, and the notion that “Austin” Republicans had all agreed to make sure that “no one with a ‘z’ in his name is elected to State-wide office.”

For other summaries of the episode, each with their own twist, see the Houston Chronicle and Texas Tribune. But listen to the actual recording if you want the real story.

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