The Republican primary for Lieutenant Governor perplexes us in a way most other races do not. Simply put, we find both candidates to be extraordinarily hypocritical. A demagogue and a grandstander, the options for voters are not especially good this cycle. However, at the end of the day, we find that Dewhurst’s sane record of accomplished public service, no matter how much he may eschew it now, is superior to Patrick’s always unpredictable and often untested history.
A non-ideological technocrat and policy wonk at heart, Dewhurst has an impressive track record of competently leading the State in part. As many may recall, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas has often been called the State’s most powerful officer because it commands unencumbered powers over the State Senate. The Lieutenant Governor names committee chairs, and then decides which bills go to which committee. In summation, he chooses whether a bill lives or dies. Of course, this relationship with the Senate is a symbiotic one, which can largely be taken away by an unhappy Senate. Accordingly, a strong but respectful Lieutenant Governor is needed to maintain the integrity of that body.
We simply do not think Patrick fulfills that requirement, particularly the “respectful” part. He has made no shortage of enemies (mostly within his own party) following his brief sojourn in the chamber, fellow Senators who will be invaluable for a smooth stewardship of the Senate.
Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, is our strong reservation on the subject of Patrick’s credibility. As most will surely recall, this board bestowed upon him the honor of one of the “Best Members of the Senate” last legislative session, namely for his no-nonsense approach to educational reform. Sadly, in the nearly 12 months since that fateful editorial, Patrick has descended into near madness, ranting and raving on inane false anecdotes regarding everything from immigration to creationism.
Dewhurst, too, has proven his word incredulous time and time again. Between inconsistencies on bipartisanship, immigration and the 2/3rds rule, Dewhurst looks to eschew all those redeeming qualities from his tenure. That being said, we simply cannot overlook this positive history in light of the sheer lack of positive qualities from his opponent.
We are not under any delusions about a tentative fourth term of Dewhurst being a rosy era of good feelings. If he is indeed re-elected, the Senate will take a hard right-turn. Though it surely will as well if and when Dan Patrick ascends to power. In this case, we feel better sticking with the devil we know. And, we do implore that Dewhurst reconsider all that was possible when he governed as a centrist, and return to those strengths. All of Texas would be far better off for it.
The Texpatriate Editorial Board is comprised of Noah M. Horwitz & Olivia Arena of Austin, Sophia Arena of Houston, George Bailey of Boston and Andrew Scott Romo of New Orleans. Editorials represent a majority of the voting board.