Texas Monthly is busily hyping their customary end-of-session best/worst legislator list, which has led others, such as the Texas Tribune, to kick off the almost as old guess the best/worst list drinking game.
Unsurprisingly, the Tribune’s group of political “insiders” thought that the “best” list would consist of mostly Republicans who suggested they should violate their promise to voters and raise taxes, and Democrats who accomplished….well…….I’ll get back to you on that one. (Except in the case of Senfronia Thompson, who did win the “most argumentative” title.)
On everyone’s “worst” list was Sen. Dan Patrick who, despite my disagreement with him on several issues, was successful in getting many of his agenda items passed into law (pending Perry’s signature of course).
This raises two important questions:
1. What constitutes a “best” legislator?
2. If it’s just a list of people who forward bills on issues with which the State’s political media happen to agree, does the list even matter?
To me a good legislator is one who is successful passing his or her agenda, even if I don’t agree. A poor legislator is one who forwards a plethora of bad (or poorly thought out) legislation that doesn’t stand a chance of passing given the current political environment.
Supporters of Rep. Thompson will be quick to point out her puppy mill bill as evidence of her “success.” However, if you remember, that bill was hotly contested to the surprise of many. As a matter of fact, in its original form it was probably un-signable by Perry. Changes in the Senate have probably made it palatable, if only just.
I would suggest that a list detailing the most effective legislators might be useful, but a list outlining Lege members who share policy priorities with the state’s political media just doesn’t add anything to the incomplete discussion we’ve already had.