RE: Down But Not Out

by , May 12, 2007 | 4:01 pm

A Pokerati friend whose name may or may not rhyme with Rudy Giuliani writes in with some good reminders about how the political process works:

Condolences on your temporary setback, but don’t give up. If the Texas legislature is anything like New York’s (where I spent years as a staffer) then the following things are true (and if they sound facetious, they’re not):

1) No major bill becomes a law in the first year that it is taken seriously. (unless it bears the name of a child who died a tragic death.) That could be due to a healthy prudence that insists on letting an idea ripen before turning it into a law; or it could be a cynical ploy to extract more campaign donations and/or raise the political stakes before delivering the goods. Most often, I think, it’s just the rhythm of the institution. It takes a couple of years to see if the public support for the bill is serious enough to make it worth the confrontations that will be needed to get it passed.

2) No bill ever becomes a law just because it’s obviously a good idea; somebody with the clout to push it through has to have a political motivation to do so.

3) When a bill has strong public support, and enough sponsors to ensure its passage, but somehow gets held up in the process and never makes it to a vote: that’s when it gets interesting. Nine times out of ten, somebody loses money if this bill becomes a law, and that person (or industry group) has a lock on some powerful member who is able to hold up the process. The point of resistance needs to be identified and the sponsor of the bill has to be pushed into a confrontation with the powerful member. (Getting a law enacted is like giving a deep massage: you have to find the hidden resistance point and work it real hard, and if it isn’t painful you’re not working the right spot.)

Just some thoughts from a scarred veteran of many political wars. If you want to post this on your site, please don’t post my name; I’m still active in state government and it might be awkward if this came up when my name is googled.

Anyway, keep at it; the second year is the most important one. As the crap dealers say when you buy in for the second time: Better luck, sir!


One Comment to “RE: Down But Not Out”

  1. Lavigne in Austin

    all true!

    thanks for the post….ruby huliani