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Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the reigning hegemon of the Texas Senate
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the reigning hegemon of the Texas Senate
Gage Skidmore

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the White House, a Match Made in Heaven

As rumors surrounding Dan Patrick and a potential White House job reached a fever pitch, the Observer's thoughts turn, naturally, to Henny Youngman.

"Take our lieutenant governor ... please."

Patrick, the most powerful politician in the state, couldn't be a better fit for the White House. Throughout 2016, he was one of President Donald Trump's strongest supporters in Texas.

He believes in the border wall, so much so that he created an "Agrees with Trump" section on his website to tout his support and, like the president, believes that Trump is one of the brainiest people on the American political stage.

"He is one of the smartest people I have ever met in politics," Patrick told Dallas radio host Mark Davis about the president last January. "He's able to analyze things so quickly."

Patrick, who, like the president, has a familiarity with U.S. bankruptcy laws that comes only with experience, revels in showing the type of obsequiousness Trump demands of his underlings. In addition to praising Trump's obvious intelligence, he's called the president a "great listener" and one of the two greatest presidents of his lifetime.

The lieutenant governor also clearly shares Trump's view of what it means to get things done. During the last legislative session, he torpedoed any chance the state had at repairing its broken school finance system, because he insisted that any fix include at least limited school vouchers. He also failed to come up with a coherent vision to cut property taxes, another of his biggest campaign priorities. Patrick did achieve at least one significant victory in 2017 — according to Patrick.

Speaking Wednesday at a joint press conference with Gov. Greg Abbott and new Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Patrick said he won the fight over the bathroom bill, which would have dictated which public toilets trans people could use, despite the fact that it never received so much as a vote in the Texas House and received near universal condemnation from the Texas business community.

"Sometimes a bill doesn't pass, but you win," Patrick told reporters. "I think it's been settled, and I think we won."

The lieutenant governor cited Texas high school boys and girls continuing to use separate bathroom facilities as proof of his victory.

"The truth is, the purpose of that legislation was to stop school districts from forcing boys and girls to share showers and locker rooms," Patrick said. "It wasn't a frivolous issue. It wasn't a controversial issue. ...The people who want to keep talking about it just want to stir up the past."

Maybe Patrick, who spent Tuesday, the opening day of Texas' new legislative session, at the White House, could get Trump to accept a similar victory on the border wall and allow the government to reopen.

According to reporters in Austin, Patrick said during a separate speaking engagement that he hasn't been offered a job at the White House and has no intention to move to Washington. As Texans who've watched him serve as lieutenant governor for four-plus years, we have to say that's a mistake on the part of both parties. The White House is missing out on the rare person who's the perfect fit for the Trump administration. Patrick is missing out on the chance to get out of the state for which he's already done far more than enough.

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