I’ll say this up front: Texas voters very well might be on the verge of electing a seriously frightening politician as their next lieutenant governor.
His name is Dan Patrick, a Republican state senator from Houston.
He’s glib. He is articulate. He is quick on his feet. He’s also unapologetically ultra-conservative — in a scary sort of way.
One of my favorite pundits, Paul Burka, hit it squarely in a blog post for Texas Monthly. Commenting on his debate with Democratic opponent state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Burka writes: “The most interesting thing about the debate was Patrick’s persona. He felt no need to soften his message or appeal to more mainstream voters. This is exactly who he is, and who he wants to be: a true conservative radical.”
Those of us who’ve watched Texas politics transition from a conservative Democratic state to an ultra-conservative Republican one are well aware of the strength of what passes today for the Republican Party. Patrick fits that profile to the letter.
It’s scary to think that Texans very well could elect someone who, as Burka notes, wants to boost the sales tax beyond all reason and who actually talked the other night in his debate with debate with Van de Putte about immigrants tracking unknown diseases into the state.
He makes no apologies for the massive budget cuts that have affected public education. He wants the Senate — which the lieutenant governor runs as its presiding officer — to become more partisan, not less.
Patrick sounds like someone who believes that all Texans believe as he does and that he intends to run the Legislature’s upper chamber in such a manner.
Such arrogance, of course, is utter nonsense. That won’t stop millions of Texans on Nov. 4 from voting for this guy.
He’s favored to win the lieutenant governorship. It makes me sad that Texas is going to demonstrate to the rest of the country just how wacky we’ve become.
I will predict right here and now that a Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is going to drive the few reasonable and moderate Republicans left in the Senate out of office.