Tag Archives: Texas governor’s race

'Wheelchair Ad' all about the visual

Let’s call it the “Wheelchair Ad.”

It’s gotten a lot of attention in recent days. It’s a 30-second TV political ad that shows an empty wheelchair with a voice that talks about how Republican Texas governor nominee Greg Abbott was injured in a freak accident, paralyzed and how he sued to win millions of dollars in a settlement; it then goes on to accuse Abbott of working against Texans seeking similar justice.


The ad was approved by the campaign of Democratic governor nominee Wendy Davis, whose pollster said the ad is working in Davis’s favor.

Maybe so. Maybe not.

If the candidate had asked my opinion, I would have counseled her against using the wheelchair.

Apparently that is the crux of the criticism coming Davis’s way. I haven’t heard anyone actually contest the facts stated in the ad, but they are talking openly about the wheelchair, saying the ad is a low blow in what figures to be a bruising battle to the end of this contentious governor’s race.

My sense is that Davis’s campaign could have said all the things mentioned in the ad without the wheelchair. The campaign, though, chose to use the wheelchair I suppose to highlight the obvious — which is that the Republican attorney general is confined to a wheelchair as a result of the tree falling on Abbott when he was in his mid-20s.

I don’t have a particular problem with mentioning that Abbott is paralyzed. His own campaign has highlighted that fact in ads of its own. It’s just that troubling image of the wheelchair that has given Abbott grist to accuse Davis of attacking “a guy in a wheelchair.”

Election Day is only about three weeks away — and they might turn out to be the longest three weeks of our lives.

Same-sex marriage debate gets weird

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has just put forward one of the more, um, interesting arguments opposing same-sex marriage.

It’s noted in a blog posted by Dallas Morning News editorial writer/blogger Jim Mitchell. It quotes a legal brief filed by the AG in defense of Texas’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

“Because same-sex relationships do not naturally produce children, recognizing same-sex marriage does not further these goals to the same extent that recognizing opposite-sex marriage does,” the brief reads. “That is enough to supply a rational basis for Texas’s marriage laws.”


How about that?

As Mitchell notes correctly, this comes from an individual — Abbott — who proclaims to be opposed to government overreach into people’s private lives. Now he argues that he wants to preserve marriage for the purpose of allowing straight couples to produce children.

Intriguing, yes?

Well, I think so.

I get that same-sex couples cannot produce children the old-fashioned way. I also get that same-sex couples are quite capable of rearing children in loving homes, that they can promote “family values” and be caring partners to each other and set perfectly legitimate examples of fidelity to their children to emulate.

So, I am not sure I quite get Abbott’s reasoning as he argues against a federal judge’s declaration that the Texas constitutional ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the laws of the land.

Mitchell adds: “The state has no role in procreation. That’s a slippery slope that conservative and liberals should find common ground. You can’t argue in favor of getting the government out of the lives of consenting adults and then turn around and claim that the state wants more children.”

Do you think this might become a campaign issue as Abbott seeks to become the next governor of Texas? I’ll say “yes.”

Let’s take care when talking about hardship

My sincere hope for the budding Texas campaign for governor is that the major parties’ presumptive nominees put to rest questions about personal histories.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Wendy Davis is having to answer questions about some fuzziness in her story, about the timing of her failed marriages. Her campaign is now going on the attack, accusing Republican foes of sexism by criticizing the success of a female candidate.


This counter-attack launched against presumptive Republican nominee Greg Abbott can go too far.

Abbott is the state’s attorney general, a former trial court judge and a former state Supreme Court justice. He, too, has endured some hardship in his life.

Back when he was in his mid-20s, Abbott took a break from preparing for his bar exam and went jogging. A tree fell on him, breaking his back — and confining him to a wheelchair, where he’s been ever since.

Abbott also has had to overcome considerable difficulty to achieve the heights he has reached.

With that in mind, the Davis campaign will need to be careful about how it portrays the criticisms against her and how it characterizes the attorney general’s life story.

It’s one key reason why Davis needs to set the record straight once and for all and do it early so we can focus instead on the issues that ought to decide this first campaign — since 2002 — for Texas governor that does not include Rick Perry.