Friday, January 26, 2007


Quiet, please.
Billy Clyde hears you. Loud. And. Clear.
Kindly remember that the Hot Tub Party franchise entails so much more than just writing this blog. There's the television series and its inevitable spin-offs, the music label, the independent film production company, product placement, overseas speaking engagements, tell-all books, NASCAR sponsorships, infomercials, etc.
Just today I had FOUR -- count 'em FOUR -- meetings at the Capitol after lunch. On a Friday afternoon. After I had the Acapulco Dinner at Neuvo Leon ($8.95, plus iced tea; always get the chicken taco and the cheese enchilada to maximize your dining pleasure).
Now before you get all excited, I know many of you are thinking: Billy Clyde! Your doctors told you that eating stuff like that will kill you. I refer you to my paternal grandfather, who lived into his nineties. Back when he was in his spritely mid-70s, we used to sit at his kitchen table and consume massive bowls of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla. And he would tell me, "The doctors say this will kill me," as he shoved a heaping spoonful in his mouth. And, after waiting a few seconds, would say, "Guess they're lying. I'm still here." Man that was funny.
Anyway, after suffering through those grueling meetings, BC needed him a Friday evening nap. Which you people so rudely denied me.
Would it absolutely KILL you if I wait until morning to comment on the House committee assignments? Have you no patience? Whatever, here's the short version.
First, remember that the attractiveness of committee assignments -- much like the attractiveness of members of the opposite sex -- is a matter of individual taste. Amongst myriad reasons Billy Clyde would never run for the Legislature is the nightmare scenario that the electorate would totally fall asleep, elect him, and the Speaker would, in a cruel display of outright sadism, appoint him to the House Committee on Appropriations. Yet believe it or not, some non-freshmen members (Lois Kolkhorst, Dan Gattis) actually seek this appointment. Go figure.
For the record, my wish list would, in order, be: Local and Consent Calendars, Licensing and Administrative Procedures, Natural Resources, Big Calendars, Regulated Industries and Higher Education. Don't really give an ape's ass about the rest of those committees -- but others do, and I respect their (wrong-headed) positions.
(editors note: Several courteous readers pointed out that perhaps I should include the list. Okay.)

So here is my first-blush look at winners and losers:

Corbin Van Arsdale -- State Affairs (CBO), Appropriations, Calendars
Sounds better than it really is, but DAMN!

Ryan Guillen -- Appropriations (Vice Chair aka conference seat); Natural Resources; Calendars
This guy gets it. If you are a twenty-something that wakes up elected to the Texas House, go get freshman lessons from the Ryanater.

Aaron Pena -- Criminal Jurisprudence (Chairman); Ways and Means
This former aspiring Democratic Party Chairman shifted sites, got elected to the House, and now chairs a committee he actually cares about. And he is widely recognized as the world's leading blogger.

Patrick Rose -- Human Services (Chairman); Higher Education
Have no earthly idea what goes on in Human Services, but he and the lovely and talented Donna Howard (freshman on Higher Ed; you rock Donna!) of Travis County may team up and finally give the University of Texas a fighting chance in the Legislature. About time.

Fred Brown -- Higher Education (CBO); Appropriations; Local and Consent
Governor Rose and Representative Howard of Travis, please don't let this Aggie snooker you. It's two against one. Take. Him. Out.

John Otto -- Ways and Means (CBO); Appropriations
This tax consultant gets to oversee the Comptroller and her budget. Sweet.

Dianne Patrick -- Public Education; Higher Education; Local and Consent
She apparently is big on education. She also seems nice, which is a big bonus on Local and Consent. You go girl.

Eddie Lucio IV -- Environmental Regulation (CBO); Appropriations; Local and Consent
Have known him since he was in high school. So proud of this former Texas Tech golfer for embracing Billy Clyde's motto: Change Is Bad.

Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton -- Natural Resources; Licensing and Administrative Procedures; Calendars
TOLD YOU!! HA HA! Guess the joke's on you people, huh? The guy is good.

Joe Deshotel -- Economic Development (Chair); Transportation
Something told Billy Clyde that Joe would come out smelling much better than his district. Transportation spot an added bonus, as TXDOT attempts to maintain tricky balance when high-quality Texas roads meet 100-year-old Louisiana caliche.

House Committee on Civil Practices -- If you'd been listening to the frequently-wrong-but-never-in-doubt fundraiser circuit chatter the past eight months or so, no doubt you would have thought that the future of the Lone Star State rested in the hands of this committee:

Byron Cook (WTF!), Chair
Mark Strama, (TLR cousin or something or another) Vice Chair
Sid Miller (WTF!)
Beverely Woolley (on it last session, but don't know why)
Robert Talton (on it last session, and is feeling his oats)
Richard Raymond (on it last session, but still, WTF!)
Phil King (is he with the trials of the tort reformer dudes?)
Jerry Madden (WTF!)

What happened? Are these typos? This, my brothers and sisters, is something I cannot explain.

Norma Chavez (gavel didn't feel right in her hand)

Dan Gattis (desired more 18-hour days in Appropriations for his constituents who don't WANT any state money)

Dwayne Bohac (Elections and Redistricting were more important to you!!!)

Richard Raymond (please explain again why you took all that political risk over the long haul just to abandon it at the finish line)

Honorable Mention: Allan Ritter, Robert Talton, Jim Pitts, Brian McCall, Craig Eiland.

Buddy "George" West -- see above comments re: Richard Raymond

Mike Villarreal -- why do you hate prosperity??

The Honorable Todd Smith of Tarrant

There are certain people who are talented, smart, understand the system, get elected over and over -- yet never get their chance.
As sure as the sun rises in the east (or is it west; no, it's east) there is always a member or two like this. I should know, since they usually tend to be friends whom I must feed, comfort and nurture for the several hours after committee assignments are announced. Billy Clyde ain't gonna name names, but he is/was pretty good friends with Mike Jackson, Frank Madla, Harold Dutton (yeah, I know, he's got his little family law committee FINALLY), Rick Perry, Cliff Johnson, et al. For some reason, these talented people never get to be called Mr. Chairman.
BC has casually suggested Representative Smith's name to two different Speakers, and both acted like a light bulb went off in their noggins and, by God, why didn't I think of that. But then nothing happened.
So while Billy Clyde extends his sincerest (I'm actually serious in this one, and only one, sentence) best wishes to Byron Cook and Leo Berman and Joe Deshotel and Vicki Truitt ...
You could do much much worse than just saying, "I wanna be like Paul Hilbert." Who was happy 253 days out of the year. Except the one day when committee assignments came out


Anonymous said...

Hilbert's last session, he was Vice Chair of Calendars, was on Ways & Means and State Affairs (back when SA was super cool). I think that there are several people that would love to "not get a chance" like Hilbert.

Billy Clyde said...

You are correct. He had THREE vice chairmanships when the Select Committee on Raising Money and Educating Kids was around. It took up so much room it didn't fit on that little plaque outside the door.

He did spend aout 18 years in the body. I mean, my word, was there not a County Affairs or Energy Resources to spare during that tenure?

In all fairness, he probably coulda had been a minor chairman. Brian McCall has been offered a chairmanship, too.

I ended my absurdist post on a heartfealt note for my friend. Please don't take me seriously.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Dutton chaired the juvie committee last session too, btw.

I notice quite a few WTFs, not just in chairs but assignments.

Anonymous said...

Emotion received, and appreciated. Everyone loved Hilbert. That was his "problem," he was too nice. That sentence only makes sense if you've been around as long as some of us.

BC, you're the best damn politcal satarist I've read in a long time. And, I think your instincts are spot on.

Don't take my (or any else's) criticism too seriously on this page, either.

texxasredd said...

Civil Practices must be the new Ag this session??

Anonymous said...

Hilbert was truly a class act. Don't ever recall hearing of him lying to or backstabbing another member. Straight shooter The state could use more legislators like him.

Winston Smith said...

Total props BC! Thanks, this saves hours of research & remembering.
Can I get reprints for Boy's & Girl's State?

Billy Clyde said...

To All:

Thanks for all the pro-Hilbert comments. We all miss him.

Dear Winston:

I was party chairman and Secretary of State at Boy's State. Were you there?


winston smith said...

They didn't & don't let proles participate in Boy's State.

My respect, nay, even awe, blooms.
no shi*t! really!

I've been a tour guide, handout collator, booklet writer and have cleaned up afterwards though.

winston smith said...

They didn't & don't let proles participate in Boy's State.

My respect, nay, even awe, blooms.
no shi*t! really!

I've been a tour guide, handout collator, booklet writer and have cleaned up afterwards though.

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