Texas' Jewish House Speaker Faces Christian Revolt

GOP official says 'Christian conservatives' do the best job
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2010 3:26 PM CST
Rep. Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, is the speaker of the Texas House, but a group of Christian conservatives is looking to dump him.   (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)

(Newser) – A story about internal Texas politics (and religion) is percolating up to the national wires: A member of the state's Republican Executive Committee defends the movement to dump current state House speaker Joe Straus and says it's largely because of his pro-choice politics. But it apparently doesn't help that Straus is Jewish: "I got into politics to put Christian conservatives into office," John Cook tells the Texas Observer. "They're the people that do the best jobs over all."

And the line everyone's been waiting for: "They're some of my best friends," he says of Jews. "I'm not bigoted at all." Think Progress has picked up on the story, noting emails calling for a "true Christian leader" in the position, as has Steve Benen in the Washington Monthly: "Ah, I see. It's not 'about Jews,'" he writes. "It's just that Cook doesn't think Jews can do the job well because they're Jews."

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