Tuesday, August 26, 2003

The Other Time the GOP in Texas Sought Democrats for a Quorum

Before the so-called Texas 11, before the Killer Ds, even before the Killer Bees' 1979 dash from the Legislature, there were 13 Reconstruction-era bolters.

And their treatment when they returned apparently marked the last time state senators took dramatic action to punish a quorum-breaking colleague.

The last time, that is, until last week, when Republicans imposed hefty fines on 11 Democratic senators who remain in New Mexico to halt action on a redistricting effort designed to send more Republicans to Congress.

Some see parallels to the 1870 clash, which led to one senator's expulsion.

"Whenever political power turns over ... the party losing its grip on power fights with every tool available to keep control as long as possible," said political scientist Cal Jillson of Southern Methodist University. "Those coming to power seek to stomp on the fingers of those holding on to the edge of the ledge.

"That's the situation in Texas now."

More on the current Texas 11 here in the Houston Chronicle.

No comments: