Tag Archives: Beto O’Rourke

MAGA takes new form

So … you think you know what MAGA means, yes?

It has become sort of a term of art, an acronym for Make America Great Again. But when you use the acronym form it becomes an adjective, as in “MAGA voter,” or “MAGA policy.”

Ah, yes. Now comes the newest MAGA, which is one that I would be inclined heavily to support. The new form stands for Mothers Against Greg Abbott.

This MAGA’s unofficial godmother is Austin resident Nancy Thompson, who told Sharon Grigsby of the Dallas Morning News that she has grown tired of Gov. Abbott’s miserable performance on gun violence, on COVID protocols, on abortion rights and the Republican Party’s “general assault on public education and kids.”

She wants to form a movement. Thompson says her Facebook page has more than 50,000 members. Local chapters are forming across Texas.

Grigsby reports that Thompson “describes the group as ordinary Texans fighting for their children’s future. ‘This isn’t about Republican or Democratic families,’ she said. ‘It’s about fighting for what’s right to keep all families safe and healthy.'”

Grigsby said she isn’t willing to wager on MAGA’s effort moving the political needle in Texas, particularly as it regards Abbott’s campaign against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. I believe she is right to hold back on any thought that this MAGA group is going to make any sort of dent in Abbott’s standing.

Whatever, this potential movement appears to be one more chink in the armor that has shielded Abbott and Texas Republicans quite well for the past 30 years.

Read Grisby’s essay here: How one Texas woman’s protest led to Mothers Against Greg Abbott and its viral abortion ad (dallasnews.com)

Grigsby asks: “Does Mothers Against Greg Abbott create a huge shift? Don’t count on it. But does it make a consequential dent? As one mother in its video campaign says, ‘They say nothing changes in Texas politics — until it does.'”

I am hoping for a change.


Is this Beto’s year?

One of my oldest and dearest friends lives a long way from Texas, but he keeps up with the political winds that are blowing here.

We spoke on the phone this week and he asked whether Beto O’Rourke has a chance of defeating Greg Abbott in the race for Texas governor.

My answer? I don’t know.

I read conflicting polling information. During the course of any given day, I might hear that O’Rourke, the former Democratic congressman from El Paso, “is closing the gap on Abbott.” That kind of reporting gets Democratic activists’ hearts to flutter. Then later on that day I could get a report that suggests that Gov. Abbott is clinging to a comfortable lead over O’Rourke.

The polls that imply a potential O’Rourke upset put the gap between the men at 4 to 6 percentage points. Those that hint at an Abbott re-election place the gap at 6 to 8 points.

Who do I believe? Again, I don’t know.

Here’s what I hope happens, though. I want O’Rourke to break the GOP stranglehold on Texas’s statewide roster of elective offices. It’s been nearly 30 years since a Democrat won election in this state to any statewide office.

I am weary of Abbott’s continually blaming others for the shortcomings in his own policy strategy. He keeps saying that the Biden administration favors an “open border” with Mexico. Open border? Is this guy serious? No. He isn’t. Abbott is a demagogue who — like most right wingers — will say anything to curry favor with the base of his supporters.

The Border Patrol and immigration officials are continuing to round undocumented immigrants every single day.

Abbott still insists on rounding up undocumented immigrants and busing them to Washington. What is happening to them is anyone’s guess. Abbott, though, wants to perform a stunt to make his case.

Meanwhile, the governor refuses to call a special legislative session to enact measures to respond to the Uvalde school massacre.

My friend asked me a question I could not answer intelligently. O’Rourke can win if he can make Abbott’s recent failures a campaign issue. He’s already campaigned statewide — as he did in 2018 against Sen. Ted Cruz — with boundless energy, visiting all 254 counties in Texas.

I just want him to catch his breath, then set out to seemingly defy the laws of physics … which is to be everywhere all at once. Maybe this time it will push O’Rourke over the top.


Hope vs. reality

My fond political hopes keep running headlong into political reality as the race for Texas governor slogs on.

I saw two public opinion polls this week that filled me with conflicting emotions.

A CBS News poll said Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is holding onto an eight-point lead over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. I want O’Rourke to win and I want Abbott to pay for his hideous performance in fighting the immigration crisis, the COVID crisis, gun violence and the energy crisis.

Then came a new poll, from the Texas Politics Project, which declares that O’Rourke is six points behind Abbott. What’s more, the latter survey tells us the margin is narrow than it was in 1994 when upstart GOP nominee George W. Bush defeated Democratic incumbent Gov. Ann Richards.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s lead over Beto O’Rourke narrows, poll finds | The Texas Tribune

First poll runs into reality. Second poll speaks to my emotion.

Which of those do I believe? I’m grown up enough to know that Democrats in Texas always have a steep hill to climb.

However, I am an individual with a deep reservoir of hope. It’s not bottomless, but it’s still pretty deep.


Pulling for Democrats

I cannot hide my partisan leanings, so I won’t even try to pretend I am so politically neutral that I don’t care which political party wins control of policy making in my state.

Truth is, I do care. I am tired of Republican Party vise-grip control of policy in Texas. I might not mind so much about whether the GOP maintains control of state government, except that today’s Republican Party bears practically no resemblance to the party of the late former Gov. Bill Clements and the late U.S. Sen. John Tower.

Clements and Tower personified what has been called “establishment Republicanism.” These days, establishment GOP pols have become targets of epithets hurled at them by the MAGA crowd of cultists who adhere to the phony populism of Donald J. Trump. MAGA fanatics call these real Republicans, RINOs … Republicans in Name Only.

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton are three amigos in pushing forward the MAGA agenda that seeks ostensibly to “make America great again.’

Earth to MAGA cultists: The MAGA mantra means nothing to me. America is great. It has been a great nation for far longer than I arrived on this good Earth.

The race for Texas governor is drawing a good bit of national attention. Democrat Beto O’Rourke is making his second run for statewide office in the past four years. He came close to defeating Ted Cruz in the 2018 race for U.S. Senate. Then he ran for president in 2020 and flamed out. Now he’s up once more … it might be his final run for statewide office.

I want Beto O’Rourke to defeat Gov. Abbott, who has been a terrible disappointment to me as the state’s chief executive.

Furthermore, I want to declare that my weariness of Republican Party dominance of public policy is no invitation for Democrats to veer too far off the mainstream middle ground that demands that many Texans are demanding to have their concerns heard, too.

It’s clear to me that Republicans aren’t listening to the vast middle ground. I consider myself to be a good-government progressive, which I believe requires plenty of compromise to find common ground.

Thus, we have an election coming up that could swing the state significantly away from the nastiness we see too often from Republican political leaders. May it come true.



Uvalde to be theme of 2022 Texas midterm campaign

Hey, this is just a hunch, but I’ll toss it out there to see if sticks to any walls, but I believe that the Uvalde massacre this week might become the central campaign issue in the Texas midterm election campaign.

It’ll dominate the races for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, perhaps for the Legislature. Heck it might even play in some county commissioners court campaigns somewhere in Texas.

You know the story about the lunatic who entered Robb Elementary School and massacred 19 children and two teachers. About how Border Patrol tactical squad officers shot him to death. Now come the questions about how the gunman entered the building with relative ease — while packing an AR-15 rifle, the kind used to kill soldiers on the battlefield!

Beto O’Rourke crashed a press conference held by Gov Greg Abbott on Wednesday and said Abbott deserves blame for the deaths in Uvalde. O’Rourke is running against Abbott this year. Hold on with both hands, folks. Because this ride is going to get mighty rough.

Many millions of Americans are enraged at what happened in Uvalde. They damn sure should be. The question now becomes whether there can be a solution found to stem the violence. O’Rourke is correct to suggest that those in power should be held accountable for their inaction.

Thus, we have the campaign theme taking shape as we grieve the deaths in Uvalde.


Thank you, Beto

Beto O’Rourke stood up and spoke for millions of Americans who are heartbroken, shattered and grief-stricken over the latest eruption of violence in one of our public schools.

The Democratic Party nominee for Texas governor stood before the man he hopes to defeat. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, and accused his foe of “doing nothing” to stop the violence. He was shouted down by others on the dais with Abbott and escorted out of the room.

But was it uncalled for? Did O”Rourke say anything inappropriate? No. He spoke from the heart and spoke for many Texans and other Americans.

Twenty-one people died Tuesday morning in Uvalde’s Ross Elementary School; 19 of the victims were third- and fourth-grade students. Children! The two adults were teachers who fought to protect them against the madman who opened fire.

Uvalde police officers and Border Patrol officers were able to kill the shooter.

This debate has exploded yet again. Beto O’Rourke correctly called Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan and other legislative leaders for their abject failure to confront the issue of gun violence. Indeed, Abbott has actually boasted about legislation he signed this past year that allows people to carry firearms openly without so much as a certificate attesting their proficiency in handling a deadly weapon.

Abbott spoke about the need for greater “mental health” care for Texans, as if suggesting that residents of this state are somehow nuttier than anyone else.

We need tougher restrictions on gun ownership. We need common-sense legislation that honors the Constitution but seeks to prevent nut cases like the loon who stormed into Robb Elementary School to do the dastardly deed he carried out.

We need to find common ground among legislators of both political parties.

Why in the name of all that is sacred is that so hard to find?

Thank you, Beto O’Rourke, for standing up to the do-nothings whose inaction allows this carnage to continue.


Beto has a shot?

You know, there once was a time — not many weeks ago — that I considered Greg Abbott a shoo-in for re-election as Texas governor.

That Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke didn’t have a Democrat’s chance in blazing hell of defeating the Republican incumbent.

Today? I am not so sure about that gloomy forecast.

Am I going to predict a Beto O’Rourke victory this November, breaking the GOP vise-grip on statewide elected office, ending the Republican dynasty at the top of the Texas political food chain?

Not … on … your … life!

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

However, I am going to suggest that the Abbott-O’Rourke contest well might become one of those races that the national media will be watching with intense interest.

This won’t surprise any readers of this blog, but my fervent hope is that O’Rourke defeats Abbott. The governor has become show horse, a guy who wants to elevate his personal political profile with an eye toward seeking the White House in 2024. Abbott’s idiotic pledge to send “illegal immigrants” to Washington, D.C., to hand the problem to the feds is an example of a politician looking to make headlines without offering the hint of a solution.

He doesn’t have a solution. Abbott has no interest in working with Democrats or seeking cooperation from President Biden.

I have no clue about how O’Rourke might handle this matter were he elected governor. I feel confident, though, in suggesting that O’Rourke, who hails from El Paso, knows plenty about border issues and he does not favor an “open border” policy.

Nor do I believe that O’Rourke is going to single-handedly disarm Texans by stripping us of our firearms. He knows better than to mess with the Constitution! That won’t stop Abbott and his cabal of demagogues from portraying O’Rourke as a soft-on-crime liberal.

I want this race to remain competitive. I want O’Rourke to make Abbott answer for the way the state handled the 2021 winter freeze. I want O’Rourke to offer a reasonable alternative to the Abbott posturing in the face of crisis after crisis.

What’s more, I want O’Rourke to tell Texans how he plans to govern and how he intends to end the state’s war against its gay residents, how he intends to make voting easier, not harder, for Texas.

And I want Beto O’Rourke to remain firm against the attacks that are sure to come from Greg Abbott.


Abbott vs. O’Rourke: gonna get nasty

Listen up, my fellow Texans. It is looking as though this year’s campaign for governor is going to get nasty. Maybe even way beyond nasty.

Democratic nominee Beto O’Rourke has leveled both rhetorical barrels as his Republican foe, Greg Abbott. I do for a moment believe Gov. Abbott is going to sit by passively while O’Rourke calls Abbott a “thug.”

Get a load of what the Texas Tribune has reported:

O’Rourke replied, “He’s a thug, he’s an authoritarian.

Beto O’Rourke calls Gov. Greg Abbott a “thug” and an “authoritarian” | The Texas Tribune

Oh … feel the burn, OK?

Don’t get me wrong here. I want O’Rourke to defeat Abbott, who I believe has become a disciple of the Kooky Cabal of the GOP. Abbott has shown zero inclination to pull his own punches regarding O’Rourke, accusing Beto of wanting to disarm Texans by taking their guns away, which is a lie; he accuses O’Rourke of favoring “open borders,” which is false on its face.

O’Rourke’s thug description carries some remarkable imagery, to be sure.

Still, the fight for the Texas governor’s office is on. It’s going to get loud and likely quite angry in extremely short order.

We’d all better strap ourselves in tight and get ready for a rough ride to the political finish line.


Won’t meet Beto … just yet

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

My temporary duty assignment with the Dallas Morning News came to an end and with it ended a chance to meet and possibly interview a man I hope gets elected governor of Texas later this year.

It saddens me to a significant degree. I was preparing to take part in what the DMN editorial board calls “rec meetings,” that enable the board to decide whom to “recommend” to readers the paper’s preferred choices for an array of public offices to be decided this year.

Beto O’Rourke, the former West Texas congressman and Democratic candidate for governor, is slated to meet with the editorial board during one of its “rec meetings.”

You’ll recall that O’Rourke came within a whisker of defeating the Cruz Missile for a seat in the U.S. Senate. He lost by just a little to Ted Cruz in 2018. He then sought to be nominated by Democrats for president in 2020 but flamed out fairly early in the primary campaign.

I hope to get to meet O’Rourke at some point in my life, maybe even this year as he treks across the state looking for voters who’ll cast their ballot for him instead of for Greg Abbott. I happen to live in a key North Texas community — in Collin County — where I expect O’Rourke and Abbott both will seek to mine plenty of votes.

I won’t have the pleasure of meeting him in an editorial board meeting. That’s OK. I do hope he is able to become our state’s next governor … and I hope it happens this year!


Beto has a shot, if …

Photo by Richard W. Rodriguez/AP/REX/Shutterstock

A gentleman with whom I had breakfast today has a theory about the upcoming race for Texas governor I feel like sharing.

It goes like this …

Beto O’Rourke is likely to get hammered by Greg Abbott if O’Rourke is nominated by Democrats and runs against the Republican governor in the fall. But he has a possible path to victory.

It depends on whether Abbott fails to deliver on his promise to keep the electricity flowing this coming winter. If the lights go out because the electrical grid cannot withstand the demand placed on it by severe cold, then O’Rourke might be able to say, according to my friend, “I can do better than that.”

Sure enough. O’Rourke then would have to explain how he would ensure that the electric grid managers keep the lights on and our furnaces functioning.

Absent that, my friend said, O’Rourke has no chance to defeat a Republican governor in this still-quite-Republican state.

Gov. Abbott had better pray that the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas keeps the lights on for the duration of the winter. His political career might depend on it.