Tag Archives: Greg Abbott

Hold it together, ERCOT

It has gotten cold in North Texas, which by itself is no great shakes, except that our memories are fresh from what happened a year ago when the mercury fell to, um, really hideous levels.

The electrical grid failed. So did our water supply.

We aren’t nearly as cold in this third week of January 2022 as we were in the middle of February 2021, so I am not sitting on pins and needles … just yet.

Gov. Greg Abbott has promised that the lights will “stay on” this winter. So has the head of the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Ditto for the folks who run the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the agency that manages our state’s power grid.

All I can say at this moment is: It had better hold up! Or else!

I don’t what the “or else” would produce. I just know that we’re still less than halfway through the winter season. Last year was a serious downer. None of us wants a repeat of the disaster that befell the state.

The pols who are responsible for ensuring we stay warm and watered don’t want it, either.


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!


Governor’s race presents conundrum

The upcoming Republican Party primary race for Texas governor presents a serious conundrum for GOP voters.

They will get to choose from among three top-tier candidates, two of whom are nut jobs.

We have the governor, Greg Abbott; challenging him are former Texas GOP chairman Allen West and former state senator Don Huffines. I won’t vote in the GOP primary this March, but I do have a thought or two I want to share.

Abbott is being challenged on the right by West and Huffines. Those two clowns don’t believe Abbott is conservative enough. West is the former one-term Florida congressman who moved to Texas because his political career in Florida was shot; Huffines is another far right-winger who says we need to ban all immigration into Texas.

Then we have Abbott, the guy who is fighting with the Biden administration over mask mandates.

I believe Abbott will survive this primary challenge, chiefly because West and Huffines are going to carve up the nut-job vote, paving the way for Abbott to skate to the party nomination.

It reminds me of the Texas Senate District 31 race in 2018 that enabled Sen. Kel Seliger of Amarillo to win his party’s nomination in a three-man race. His foes that year were former Midland mayor Mike Canon and Amarillo businessman Victor Leal. Both men sought to outflank Seliger on the far right. Seliger ran as a true-blue,  mainstream Texas conservative and won the primary fight with 50.4 percent of the vote; no runoff was needed.

Canon and Leal split the goofball vote in that year’s Senate GOP primary.

I see the same thing happening this year in the GOP primary for governor.

Texas politics is really weird, indeed.


Dear Gov. Abbott: Get real, will ya?

You had me then you lost me, Gov. Greg Abbott.

Perhaps you might not remember when we had a nice professional relationship. You served on the Texas Supreme Court and then later as state attorney general. You would come see us in Amarillo when I worked at the newspaper as its editorial page editor.

I considered you to be a decent fellow. Thoughtful, not terribly partisan, reasonable.

Then you got elected governor in 2014. I was gone from the business when that happened, but I have been watching you closely ever since. Frankly, Gov. Abbott, you have disappointed me.

You keep hammering the federal government over Affordable Care Mandates, or border security issues, over COVID-19 protection measures. You just cannot stop blasting the feds over this and that.

I get that you might want to seek the presidency in 2024. You’re entitled to harbor your ambition. But what the hell? Now you want the feds to send more testing kits to Texas and more antibody material. You keep yammering that President Biden isn’t sending enough of them here. Hey, does it occur to you that Texas is one of 50 states and several territories that also require federal assistance during this pandemic?

I was hoping you might take your even-handed approach to government into the governor’s office when you got elected. Silly me. I was a fool for thinking that would happen.

What is so remarkable about your insistence on federal help now is how you have stiffed the feds — and the president — previously.  You didn’t even have the decency to show up for a photo op with Biden when he came to Texas. He’s the president of everyone and good manners would dictate that you could at least grace him with a handshake for the cameras. But you’re all over the former Liar in Chief when he visited the Texas. What a joke!

Well, enough of this note to you, Gov. Abbott. I just had to get this off my chest. I feel better now.

Happy new year … and stop trying to make political points by your constant bitching about Joe Biden.


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.


‘No’ on special session!

How many ways do I have to say the same thing? Which is that the COVID-19 vaccine is saving lives, it is preventing infections from the deadly virus and that government entities are within their right to order vaccines for employees and for the public who the government is charged to protect.

Accordingly, I do not want Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to call a fourth special legislative session to enact a statewide ban on future COVID vaccine requirements.

The Texas Tribune reports that a growing number of Texas Legislature Republicans want Abbott to call a special session. They want Gov. Abbott to ask the Legislature to approve a ban on businesses and local governments issuing vaccine mandates.

The Tribune reports: “We know legislators are tired and nobody wants an extended special session,” Texas GOP Chair Matt Rinaldi said in an interview Monday, pointing to states such as Tennessee and Florida that recently passed legislation on vaccine mandates on short timelines.

“While I am happy to be home after three special sessions in Austin,” GOP state Rep. Briscoe Cain wrote, “I would happily return to Austin if called upon to protect the rights of my fellow Texans.”

How about protecting the lives of your “fellow Texans,” Rep. Cain? A state-mandated ban on local COVID restrictions puts your “fellow Texans” in jeopardy.


Waiting for ‘the beef’

The latest round of public opinion polling on the 2022 Texas governor’s race sent a glaring message to me.

It goes like this: Matthew McConaughey polls stronger against Gov. Greg Abbott than Beto O’Rourke. Why? Because Texans don’t know a damn thing about McConaughey other than he won a best actor Oscar not many years ago for his role in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

O’Rourke has been on the national political stage since 2018 when he nearly defeated Sen. Ted Cruz in the race for Cruz’s U.S. Senate seat. Abbott, too, is now a well-known and highly chronicled political figure.

McConaughey? I don’t even know if he’s going to run for governor as a Democrat or Republican. He has been playing coy about the party under which he would run.

Indeed, the actor — a native of Texas who lives in the Austin area — has been coy about his views on an array of issues: immigration, public school curriculum, abortion, voting rights, gun violence and gun owners’ rights, climate change, energy production … stop me before I go bananas, OK?

I strongly suspect that when — or if — McConaughey starts laying out some specifics we are going to see some movement in those polls as it regards whether he stands a chance of becoming the state’s next governor.

For now, Texans seem to consider McConaughey a bit of a mystery man, albeit a dashing mystery man.


Beto vs. Abbott shaping up

Oh, my … forgive me for referring to former West Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke by just his first name in this headline, which in reality is a nickname. It just sounds cool.

Still, he and the man he hopes to defeat in 2022 are serious men. My hope is that O’Rourke and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott don’t tack too far to the left or right as they seek to curry favor with most Texas voters.

I have declared myself to be a “good government progressive,” which I intend to mean that I am not opposed to compromise if it produces sound legislation and law.

Abbott has veered to the far right since the start of the 2021 Legislature. I dislike his right-wing views. O’Rourke has appealed to the far left since losing a U.S. Senate race by just a little in 2018 and then flamed out in a 2020 bid for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. To be candid, I am not comfortable with the progressives’ agenda.

I am not sure that most Texans are comfortable with far left or far right politics. There is out here, in the words of the late Colin Powell, a “vast middle ground.” I hope O’Rourke and Abbott find themselves arguing for that middle-of-the-road avenue.

As the Dallas Morning News noted in its editorial today, the state will be better off for it.


O’Rourke faces red tide

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

I have to agree with the assessment being kicked around that Beto O’Rourke’s decision to run for Texas governor in 2022 carries far greater risk than his near-victory in 2018 in a race for the U.S. Senate.

Why is that? Because the incumbent Republican he is challenging this time, Greg Abbott, is far more likable and is in a politically stronger place than the GOP incumbent he faced in 2018, Ted Cruz.

O’Rourke came within 3% of grounding the Cruz Missile. Polls show him trailing Abbott narrowly this time (so far). However, his 2020 Democratic Party primary presidential bid ended badly and he said some things about guns that are going to haunt him when he hits the trail in Texas.

He said that “hell yes” he would take people’s assault rifles. Abbott has morphed that statement into “Beto will take your guns.” That won’t hurt him in gun-happy Texas? Yeah. It will.

I wish O’Rourke well as he campaigns for governor. I want him to win bigly. I want Abbott to be shown the door and for Abbott to disappear from the political stage.

I wonder about whether Beto O’Rourke’s time has arrived — yet again! — for him to stage the kind of political upset that many of us desire to see happen.

Beto O’Rourke enters 2022 a weaker candidate with a harder race | The Texas Tribune

Abbott has said “bring it!” when talking about O’Rourke’s candidacy. Fine, but O’Rourke also will have plenty with which to work.

Abbott’s miserable pandemic response, his support of an overly harsh ban on abortion, his support of efforts to suppress voters in Texas all can become the stuff of snappy campaign ads. Indeed, Abbott must be made to answer for all of it and I hope O’Rourke — presuming he wins the Democratic Party primary next spring — will make the governor answer.

Let’s be clear on one point. Beto O’Rourke faces a steep climb.


Beto jumps in!

Beto O’Rourke today made official what many observers had speculated for some time, that he is going to run for Texas governor in 2022.

O’Rourke is a Democrat. The incumbent governor, Greg Abbott, is a Republican. It appears to be a fairly safe bet to suggest that O’Rourke will survive the Democratic Party primary next spring and that Abbott will be nominated by GOP voters at the same time.

That means the two of them will square off for Abbott’s job.

I want zero misunderstanding, as if there is any possibility of that occurring with this next statement: I want Abbott to lose his job!

He has been a disgrace as a governor and I say that with some regret. I knew him when he was a Texas Supreme Court justice and as state attorney general. I thought we had a nice professional relationship.

Abbott ran for governor after I left full-time journalism behind so our paths haven’t crossed since he took that office in 2015.

But, man, he has managed to piss me off royally since becoming governor.

I have detested his handling of the COVID pandemic and his refusal to let local governments take control of health matters in their communities. His support of that hideous anti-abortion bill and his declaration that he would work to “eliminate rape” from occurring is utterly laughable on its face. He has tacked so far to the right that there is virtually no room between himself and the precipice over which he would tumble.

Beto O’Rourke, a former Democratic congressman from El Paso, reached a high-water mark politically by nearly defeating Sen. Ted Cruz in the race for the U.S. Senate. He believes he still has the political chops to take on Abbott. I hope that is the case. Indeed, Abbott’s aforementioned COVID response and his legislative record have given O’Rourke plenty of ammo to use against the governor.

I hope he succeeds.

You go, Beto!