Tag Archives: Greg Abbott

Not very hospitable … governor

Greg Abbott has delivered a gut punch to the notion that Texas is a hospitable place to visit, even for those who might have political disagreements with the individual who serves as its governor.

Gov. Abbott greeted President Biden the other day in West Texas as the president came to take a look at the immigrant crisis along our border with Mexico.

What did Abbott do upon shaking Biden’s hand? He handed him a shi**y note in which he blamed the Biden administration for the crisis, demanding that he do something to end it and suggesting that the president wasn’t doing the job to which he was elected.

Well …

I get that Abbott is angry that it took Biden so long to see the state’s border with Mexico. The president has earned much of the criticism he is getting for his perceived apathy toward the matter.

But, c’mon, man! Abbott is showing his partisan stripes when he chastises the president so openly and in full public view.

He could have written something, like: Thank you for coming, Mr. President. We know you care about the border crisis we are facing here. Accordingly, I am willing to work with you — hand in glove, shoulder to shoulder — to repair the problems that are causing so much grief here. We just need more involvement from the federal government.

Abbott didn’t do that. Instead, he wrote: “All of this is happening because you have violated your constitutional obligation to defend the States against invasion through faithful execution of federal laws.”

Many of us believe that Abbott is playing hardball politics when cooperation and the search for common ground would be in order.

Someone would do well to whisper in Abbott’s ear this truth: The federal government needs a signal that you are on the same team as the president of all 50 United States of America.


Hope continues to spring forth

My optimistic wellspring isn’t bottomless, but it remains quite full. Thus, I want to share briefly my holiday wish for two levels of government: state and federal.

Two new legislative assemblies are about to take office. The Texas Legislature and Congress will be seated soon after New Year’s Day. They’ll take oaths to protect the Constitution and defend it against enemies “foreign and domestic.”

My hope for them both is that every one of the 535 members of the U.S. Senate and House, along with every one of the 181 members of the Texas Senate and House remain faithful to the letter of those oaths.

Accordingly, my hope is that two chief political executives, one Democrat and one Republican, work to bridge the chasm that divides the major parties within those legislative chambers.

I am acutely aware of President Biden’s demonstrated ability to do so. He served in the U.S. Senate for 36 years before becoming vice president in 2009, where he served ably for two terms. He has boasted of his ability to work with even the most conservative members of Congress. In fact, he was able to do so while serving as VP during the Obama administration.

So far as president, his legislative acumen has produced limited results. Biden has had to rely on Democrats in the House and Senate to carry legislation through to becoming law.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s legislative skill is less pronounced and less demonstrable. He did not serve in the Texas Legislature before becoming governor. He cut his government teeth as a trial court judge, as a Texas Supreme Court justice and as state attorney general.

As governor, he has toed a sometimes-harsh party line. My hope for Abbott is that he finds it within himself to seek common ground with legislative Democrats. I am not going to wait breathlessly for that to happen, but I will retain a glimmer of hope that he’ll deliver the goods.

These are not ambitious wishes from some chump sitting out here in the cheap seats. What I am asking is pretty minimal. Sometimes, even minimal requests can produce monumental results.

So, my hope continues into the new year.


Open borders? Where?

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott didn’t answer a direct question posed by ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz.

She prefaced the question by stating that President Biden never has said he favors “open borders.” The only people making that contention are Republican foes of the Democratic president. Gov. Abbott is one of them.

Is it the GOP mantra that is spawning the massive influx of migrants to our southern border? Raddatz asked Abbott that question directly, as it was broadcast this morning.

He didn’t answer it. He veered somewhere else with some rambling response about the chaos that will develop if a Donald Trump-era restriction is lifted.

C’mon, governor … aren’t Republican critics’ lies and demagoguery about an “open border” fueling this crisis?


Border security? Yes, but …

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick laid out a mainstream agenda for the Legislature to consider when it convenes in January, and I want to endorse the tone of the items Patrick presented.

Border security — along with property tax relief and strengthening the state’s electrical grid — is a solid agenda item for the state to tackle.

I want to offer an important caveat in backing Patrick’s border security push. I do not want him to demagogue the issue — as he has done already — by declaring that President Biden favors an “open border.” Joe Biden does not favor an open border and his policies since taking office illustrate the point.

The feds continue to detain immigrants every day. They send some of them back, they send others to holding areas for processing. Our southern border — and northern border, for that matter — is not an open border.

Does the state have a role to play? Of course it does! Gov. Greg Abbott has been sending Department of Public Safety troopers to the Valley to lend aid and support to Border Patrol officers and local police. The state needs to buttress its high-tech surveillance as well to catch undocumented migrants.

Let us not concentrate on building walls along our border, which given the presence of the Rio Grande River along our state’s entire southern border, presents the state with a nearly impossible goal of keeping all migrants from entering the United States.

I want to encourage the newly re-elected lieutenant governor to take the high road when discussing border security.

Demagoguery only makes your foes angry.


Confused by GOP dominance

I am going to admit what ought to be obvious: The Republican dominance of the Texas political landscape is confusing in the extreme to me.

Every GOP statewide candidate running for election or re-election in the just-completed midterm campaign won by a lot over their Democratic challenger. Leading the way, of course, was Gov. Greg Abbott, who won re-election to a third term by 11% over Beto O’Rourke … who I believe now needs to get back to working a day job and bringing home a paycheck. Beto’s days as a pol appear to be over.

The rest of the ballot showed similar victories. Perhaps most stunning to me was the result of the Texas attorney general’s contest. GOP incumbent Ken Paxton pounded Democratic challenger Rochelle Garza by a margin similar to what Abbott scored.

What baffles me is how Paxton managed such an impressive victory while campaigning under the shadow of a state felony indictment that came down in 2015, just after Paxton took office. The indictment alleges securities fraud. Paxton hasn’t gone to trail yet. It is not even clear when that will happen.

Moreover, there have been questions relating to the way he runs the AG’s office; seven top deputies quit and then blew the whistle on Paxton, alleging that he does favors for a top donor, suggesting criminal behavior.

Texas Democrats keep talking a good game about wrestling some of these offices out of GOP hands. Every election cycle, though, produces the same sorry result: Republicans win by comfortable margins.

Yes, the state’s population is growing rapidly. Its demography is changing to what “experts” suggest is a more Democrat-friendly electorate.

I want the state to become more of a battleground, with the two major parties battling head-to-head over ideas, philosophy and policy. I am tired of Republicans winning these fights and then foisting their far right-wing agenda on a population that doesn’t buy into it.

When will it change? I do not know. I am just going to keep wishin’ and hopin’ the day comes sooner rather than later.


It’s no ‘invasion’!

Let’s examine the word “invasion,” which has become the favorite term Republicans use to describe what is occurring along our southern border.

My trusty, dog-eared American Heritage Dictionary describes it this way: “The act of invading, especially entrance by force; a large-scale onset of something harmful, such as a disease; an intrusion or encroachment.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent President Biden and Texas county judges a letter recently in which he sprinkled the term in his note seeking federal assistance in coping with the border crisis.

Abbott ramps up “invasion” rhetoric, a reminder of El Paso mass shooting | The Texas Tribune

I detest the word used in this context. It conjures up to many Latinos living in, say, El Paso, the message in a hateful manifesto written by a lunatic who opened fire in a shopping complex in 2019, killing 23 people.

What is occurring along our southern border can be described in a lot of ways. Yes, it is a crisis. I do not believe it is right to describe a procession of people seeking refuge from tyranny in their home countries as an invasion force.

An invasion is the kind of action that nations take against each other. You know, kinda like when Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939 to trigger the start of World War II.

What is occurring these days does not qualify as an invasion. It is a humanitarian crisis of the first order. Gov. Abbott is feeling mighty frisky coming off his big re-election victory.

He also is assuming the role of cruel demagogue.


Thanks, Beto, but time’s up

It pains me to say this, but I must get it off my chest: It’s time for Beto O’Rourke to call it a career.

The young man perceived as Texas’s rising Democratic political star got his butt thumped in the midterm election. He lost to Gov. Greg Abbott by 11 percentage points in the cash-heavy race for governor.

O’Rourke broke some sort of fundraising record. He raised and spent more money than Abbott. He drew enthusiastic crowds. He got ’em fired up.

But … he finished with far fewer votes than the GOP incumbent.

O’Rourke’s high-water mark is now more evident than ever. He reached his zenith in 2018 when he came with 3% of defeating U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. He got a lot of us salivating over his prospects. Then he ran for president in 2020 … and flamed out.

Now this. In 2022, O’Rourke fell victim to belief in what he could do. He has fallen short yet again.

The Texas Tribune reports: “It’s been one [election] after another where we ramp everybody up and set up these expectations that we’re going to finish in first — and then we finish in second,” said Joel Montfort, a Democratic consultant in North Texas. “I don’t see any indication that we can win at statewide levels or won’t continue to bleed house seats to the other party.”

After election, Texas Democrats admit faltering on messaging, voter turnout | The Texas Tribune

Beto is now a three-time loser. Hmm. It seems to me his days on the Texas political stage have come to an end.

I voted for O’Rourke in 2018 and again in 2022. I don’t regret my votes for the young man. Still, the former congressman from El Paso, in my humble view, needs to find a job and pursue a new career.


Texas not yet blue

Texas Democrats are licking their wounds this week after learning that our state remains a good distance from becoming the Red vs. Blue battleground that many of them wish would occur.

I admit to being one of those Texans who wished for a different outcome from the 2022 midterm election.

Texas Republican officeholders — who occupy every statewide office in Texas — all scored significant victories over their Democratic challengers. They were elected or re-elected by double-digit percentage margins.

Beto O’Rourke raised and spent a lot of dough in his attempt to defeat Gov. Greg Abbott; the governor finished with 54% of the vote compared to O’Rourke’s 43%. Ouch, man.

Texas Democrats keep touting how they are “on the verge” of turning the state into a battleground. Hmm. Well, the election returns from Tuesday night say something else. We ain’t there.

Indeed, we might not get there in 2024, or perhaps even in 2026. I won’t venture any guesses beyond that.

The Texas Tribune reported: “Voters seem to be fine with the status quo,” said Drew Landry, assistant professor of government at South Plains College in Levelland, west of Lubbock.

Texas election results show the state is far from turning blue | The Texas Tribune

Yep. That “status quo” satisfaction will kill a political movement every time that comes from supposed dissatisfaction.


Guns: decisive issue

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

It occurs to me that the race for Texas governor well could turn on a single issue, but that issue will have profoundly different impacts on the two major candidates seeking to win that contest.

Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate, once said, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15.” He was speaking at a presidential primary debate in 2020. He got pounded for that remark, which he has since walked back a good distance.

Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, was on the watch when the gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde; he killed 19 children and two teachers. Abbott has had ample chance to use this incident as a rallying cry for legislative reform of our gun laws but has remained silent.

O’Rourke is not going to disarm law-abiding Texans, taking away their weaponry. Abbott can do little by himself to stem the gun violence, such as what occurred in Uvalde.

Something tells me, though, that guns well could determine who wins this contest.


Beto tosses in towel?

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

I can’t stand it when candidates I support say the kind of thing that came from Texas Democratic Party candidate for governor Beto O’Rourke.

O’Rourke responded to a question involving a recent poll showing that he continues to trail GOP Gov. Greg Abbott in the head-to-head race for governor.

“The only poll that counts,” said O’Rourke, “is the one on Election Day.”

I winced when I saw those remarks. You see, that is the kind of response one sees coming from trailing candidates who seem to secretly acknowledge that they’re cooked, that they have no chance of catching the opponent.

It’s a form of political code-speak.

I hope that’s not the case with O’Rourke. Quite clearly, I cannot read the candidate’s mind, unlike some pundits out there who believe they can do the impossible.

Maybe it’s just a throwaway line that O’Rourke decided to toss into the air. Whatever, we have a month to go before Midterm Election Day. Abbott still must be held accountable for his non-response to the Uvalde school massacre, for his showboating by sending migrants to New York and other “liberal” states.

I just don’t want to hear O’Rourke seeming to give up a fight that still is worth the struggle.