Abbott joins conspiracy crowd

Greg Abbott is no idiot.

There. I’ve just declared that the Texas governor, who’s been in office about three months, really isn’t one of the nut jobs who’ve circulated goofy rumors on the Internet about a federal takeover of the states.

But you have to wonder why Abbott would put the Texas State Guard on alert during a federal military exercise slated to occur this summer. He said he wants to protect Texans’ liberties. Against the U.S. Army, for crying out loud?

Jade Helm 15 is a major military exercise being planned in conjunction with Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets. Some crackpots have suggested the feds are going to “invade” Texas. Take us over. Impose martial law.

Abbott seems to be reacting to that nonsense by ordering the Texas State Guard to “monitor” the exercise.

As Dallas Morning News editorial writer/blogger Jim Mitchell noted: “He gives ‘legitimacy’ to the chatter in a backhanded sort of way.”

I’ve known Abbott for a few years, going back to when he was serving as a Texas Supreme Court justice and as Texas attorney general. He’s always seemed to be a reasonable, thoughtful and careful conservative Republican. I actually like him personally.

Then the TEA party faction started gaining traction within the GOP and Abbott has adopted a more ferocious posture. I find it more than a little unbecoming, truth be told.

The Texas State Guard shouldn’t have to be asked to protect Texans’ “safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties” just because the U.S. military is conducting exercises in the state.

This looks for all the world like a reaction to cockamamie Internet nonsense.

Intended or not, Gov. Abbott should be smarter than to send out such a message.