Tag Archives: Texas GOP

Abbott pushed rightward

Don Huffines is taking credit he might — or might not — deserve in his effort to unseat fellow Republican Greg Abbott from the Texas governor’s office.

I tend to believe that he deserves at least part of the credit he is taking.

You see, Huffines is running in the Texas GOP primary next year against Abbott. He’s been hectoring Abbott over policy matters. Abbott is responding by, hmm, marching to the cadence that Huffines is calling.

The Texas Tribune reports: Abbott’s decision Monday to prohibit private businesses from requiring COVID-19 vaccines for employees marked a stark reversal for the governor — and came after Huffines hounded him over it. Abbott justified the reversal as necessary pushback against the federal government, but Huffines declared victory — and it is far from the only issue where he contends he has pushed Abbott to the right.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s rightward push tracks challenge from Don Huffines | The Texas Tribune

Indeed, Abbott has disappointed me ever since he got elected governor in 2014. I knew him as Texas attorney general and before that when he served on the state Supreme Court. He swilled the right-wing Kool-Aid when he took office as governor.

But now he has tilted even farther rightward as he faces a primary challenge from Huffines as well as from former Texas GOP chair Allen West, who’s a radical right-winger.

Is Huffines driving Abbott toward the cliff on the rightward edge? Yeah, more than likely.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Legislature stiffs voters ‘of color’

Well, here we go.

Texas will gain two congressional seats as a result of the 2020 census. Who drove the state’s stunning population increase? Black and Latino residents, that’s who.

Are they going to reap any of the political reward for choosing to make Texas their home? Oh, no. The Texas Senate has hammered out a congressional redistricting map that does a fine job of protecting Republican (and overwhelmingly white) incumbents. There isn’t likely to be any majority African-American or Latino districts when all is finished.

That’s representative democracy at among its worst.

To be fair, it is important to note the bipartisan nature of this exercise that occurs every decade when they take the census. Democrats did the same thing to protect their own when they ran things in Austin. Now it’s Republicans’ turn. They have perfected gerrymandering, turning it into an art form.

However, it is galling to me to watch the Legislature stiff the ethnic and racial minorities who came to Texas voluntarily, to make it their home and for them to be denied any sort of political reward.

The Texas Tribune reports: In anticipation of federal challenges to the map, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican who presides over the Senate, said in a statement Friday that the proposal approved by the chamber was “legal and fair” and represented a “commitment to making sure every Texan’s voice is heard in Washington, D.C.”

Texas Senate approves new congressional map protecting GOP incumbents | The Texas Tribune

Actually, Lt. Gov. Patrick, “every Texan’s voice” is not going to be heard equally when all is done.

He should just get ready for the lawsuits that are sure to follow.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Catch your breath, Texas Democrats

(Bob Daemmrich/Pool Photo via AP)

Texas Democrats no doubt are having trouble catching their breath over recent polling news regarding the state’s top Republican: Gov. Greg Abbott.

I word of caution: Don’t get ahead of yourselves.

Recent Texas Tribune polling shows significant slippage among Texas independents regarding the governor. Abbott now trails film star Matthew McConaughey by 9%. Then there’s former El Paso congressman Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat who is sounding more and more like a Texas candidate for governor; O’Rourke is within spitting distance of Abbott … pollwise.

I am going to shake my head on all of this.

I also shall stipulate that I hope Abbott can be beaten next year when we elect the vast bulk of our state’s constitutional officeholders. Abbott is one of them. I am profoundly angry at the way he has governed since he first was elected in 2014.

He is tacking to the hard right. Abbott is facing Republican primary foes, such as former Texas GOP chair Allen West, the one-term Florida congressman who moved to Texas to further his political aspirations. We have former state Sen. Don Huffines, too, in the GOP primary contest.

I don’t know whether Matthew McConaughey will run as a Democrat or a Republican. He is being coy about his political orientation. Indeed, he is bobbing and weaving on plenty of specific issues as well.

As for the heavy breathing among Democrats that Abbott is on the ropes, it is way too premature to start ringing the death knell on the governor’s political career.

Texas is to this day a heavily Republican state, no matter the demographic changes that are turning this state into more of a political battleground. Let us not forget that GOP voters in Texas are capable of electing some serious losers to serious public offices.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Roe v. Wade far from ‘settled’

If you thought the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States had become “settled law,” you had better think again.

The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision is now under a full frontal assault by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature. Texas now has a law on the books that prohibits a woman from obtaining an abortion as early as six weeks into her pregnancy.

President Biden calls the law “unconstitutional.” The current Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 to let the law take effect even though it is being contested by multiple lawsuits.

One of the four dissenting justices, Stephen Breyer, calls the SCOTUS decision “very, very, very wrong.”

The Texas Tribune reports: The Texas law is novel for incentivizing private citizens to police abortions. It empowers anyone living in the state of Texas to sue an abortion provider or anyone else they suspect is “aiding and abetting” abortions after the six-week mark. Those opposing the law say this may be far-ranging and could include the abortion provider or anyone who provided transportation to a woman, or counseled or referred a woman for an abortion.

Stephen Breyer calls Supreme Court decision on Texas abortion law ‘wrong’ | The Texas Tribune

There’s a fascinating bit of irony at play here. Conservatives proclaim proudly that they oppose what they call “judicial activism.” They say they dislike court decisions that go beyond the Constitution’s strict adherence to original intent.

From my perch in North Texas, it appears that most of the court’s conservatives — except for Chief Justice John Roberts, who sided with the liberal wing — are engaging in a raw form of judicial activism by dismissing the lawsuits and declaring that a law that is being challenged should take effect.

Wouldn’t a “conservative” court just let the litigation play out and stay out of the way?

Settled law? Not when you have a group of judicial activists on the nation’s highest court.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Eliminate rape? Umm … how?

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott officially has lost his ever-lovin’ mind.

He has signed a bill that bans abortion in Texas virtually across the board. It says women cannot terminate a pregnancy after the sixth week when most women — as I understand it — don’t even know they’re pregnant.

The new law also does not exempt women who have become pregnant as a result of rape or incest. Abbott’s response to a question from a reporter about that?

He said he is going to “eliminate all rape in Texas.” What? Huh? How in the world does he propose to do that?

No law ever written has deterred a madman from attacking a woman, forcing himself on her and impregnating her. No law can ever prevent rape from occurring. None! What in the world is Gov. Abbott saying here?

Do not misunderstand me on a key point: There are few things in the world I would want more than to see an end to violent sexual assault … such as rape and incest. However, it cannot be legislated. It cannot be mandated just because a governor, or a legislature, or Congress or the president declares his or her intention to “eliminate” it.

Women will continue to be raped. Some of them will conceive children as a result of that dastardly act. Now, under Texas law, they will have to carry that pregnancy to full term and these women will have to give birth to someone who came into their lives as the result of a violent crime.

Someone will have to explain the humanity of that law to me. Anyone? I’m all ears.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Sen. Seliger takes aim at veto power

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Kel Seliger already has antagonized Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Now he has drawn a bead (so to speak) on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. The Amarillo Republican state senator has filed a bill that seeks to overrule the governor’s line-item veto power.

According to Amarillo Matters, a political action committee based in the Texas Panhandle: Senator Kel Seliger filed a bill to remove Governor Greg Abbott’s line-item veto power. The move comes after Abbott used his Executive Power to veto Article X of the State’s budget, which includes funding for House and Senate lawmakers, their staffers, and those working in nonpartisan legislative agencies. In a tweet, Seliger said, “Out of frustration, the Governor vetoed all funding for the Legislative Branch because Democrats broke quorum. But, vetoing this funding doesn’t punish legislators who left. It punishes regular, hard-working folks who have nothing to do with voting for or against bills.”  

My hunch is that Seliger isn’t going to align with legislative Democrats in their dispute with the GOP over voting restrictions proposed in legislation. Democrats bolted the Legislature to deny the quorum required to enact legislation.

However, Seliger is correct in identifying Abbott’s motives and his hideous overreaction to what Texas legislative Democrats did. He isn’t punishing Democratic politicians. Abbott is taking his anger out on the hard-working staffers who have done nothing to incur the governor’s wrath.

Where’s the fraud … Dan?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

So help me, I cannot get my noggin past that idiotic offer Texas Lt. Gov.  Dan Patrick made some months ago to his fellow Texans.

He offered to pay anyone a million bucks if they produced evidence of widespread vote fraud in Texas during the 2020 presidential election. The offer has become part of the Republican legislative mantra as legislators seek to make it more difficult for Texans to vote.

The link between the offer and the GOP legislative effort is clear: Republicans insist there was fraud; no one has produced a shred of proof of fraud in Texas or anywhere else for that matter.

Patrick — who came into this world with the name of Dannie Scott Goeb (and I don’t know why I mentioned that, other than perhaps to illustrate this clown’s phoniness) — has made vote fraud an issue as he pushes the Texas Senate over which he presides to enact these restrictions.

Why, though, hasn’t Patrick produced proof? Why is he relying on some unknown Texan to provide the Legislature with proof — where none exists — of vote fraud?

The reason the lieutenant governor hasn’t delivered the goods is because there are no goods to deliver. It’s also why he hasn’t been forced to shell out the dough to anyone else who has proof of vote fraud.

It is another version of The Big Lie.

Lt. Gov. Patrick’s offer remains on the table. I do not expect anyone to come forward with proof of vote fraud. Which begs the question: Has the Texas lieutenant governor committed an act of treason — along with the former Nitwit in Chief — by challenging a free and fair election?

Hang tough, Texas Dems

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Here we go … again.

Texas Democratic legislators are fleeing the state to deny a quorum from being present to enact a law they find onerous … so much so that they are willing to watch state government grind to a halt.

To which I say: More power to em!

Gov. Greg Abbott called a special session to deal with some unresolved issues left by the regular legislative session. One of them is this goofy notion of protecting the Texas electoral system against a phantom known as “widespread voter fraud.”

Read my lips: There is no such fraud in Texas!

Texas Democrats attempt to block voting bill by fleeing state | The Texas Tribune

Yet the Texas Republican legislative caucus insists on throwing up barriers to voter access to prevent the kind of fraud some of them suggest occurred during the 2020 election that President Biden won bigly over the Republican incumbent who masqueraded as POTUS for four years.

Texas Democrats managed to stymie this rush toward voter suppression at the end of the Legislature’s regular session in late May. Republicans made a few changes to the proposed legislation in an effort to make it more palatable to Democrats when they convened for their special session.

A lot of clunkers remain in the amended version embraced by the Texas GOP. They still want to ban 24-hour mail-in voting; they still insist on having partisan poll watchers on duty while Texans cast their ballots.

The essence of a thriving democratic system of government is to encourage more people — not fewer of them — to vote in our elections. Texas was among many states across the nation that enjoyed record voter turnout in the 2020 presidential election. The 45th POTUS carried the state’s vote by about 6 percentage points, yet the Republican Party of Texas has concocted this notion that Texas was infected by rampant voter fraud.

Indeed, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick offered any Texan a million bucks if he or she could produce fraud on a scale that GOP honchos insist occurred in 2020. So far no one has come forth. Imagine that, eh?

And so, Texas Democrats are playing hardball with their GOP colleagues, who in my view are using legislative procedure to make it more difficult for Texans to cast their ballots.

Shameful.

Solution needs a problem

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It is troubling to me in the extreme that Texas legislative Republicans keep yapping about their efforts to make elections “more secure.”

I keep asking: More secure against what? Precisely?

They are pondering how to limit people’s access to voting. They want to reduce voters’ ability to vote because, according to GOP legislators, they want to guard against vote fraud.

Good grief, man! There is hardly anything of the sort occurring in Texas. Or anywhere, for that matter!

What we have here is a solution in search of a problem. Texas GOP legislators are concocting a pretext to stymie voters along the way. They profess to be fearful of vote fraud. Some of the loonier among them suggest the 2020 presidential election was fraught with fraud.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who runs the state Senate, offered to pay someone $1 million if they could produce any evidence of widespread voter fraud in Texas. To date, he hasn’t had to pay. Why? Because there isn’t any such fraud!

The Legislature is meeting in special session to enact a number of laws left undone during the regular session that concluded at the end of May. The so-called voter “reform” is little more than an effort to keep GOP politicians in power.

Legislative Republicans have sought to soften some of the harder edges on their overhaul plans. Yet they remain committed to certain provisions that appear to target minority communities and actually suppress voter turnout in upcoming elections.

Read the story here: Texas Republicans Have A New Voting Bill. Here’s What’s In It | 88.9 KETR

Texas legislative Democrats might try to bolt the state during the special session to prevent a quorum and, thus, stymie efforts to enact the legislation. I am one Texan who wants Democrats to do precisely that to end this blatant power grab.

Republicans who suggest they seek to end vote fraud are simply lying to those of us they serve.

West seeks to drag Abbott into the right-wing ditch

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This is just dandy.

A right-wing former one-term Florida congressman is now seeking to become Texas’s next governor by suggesting that the current right-wing governor isn’t right-wing enough.

Spare me the alt-right demagoguery.

Allen West, the former head of the Texas Republican Party, has declared his intention to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott in the GOP primary next spring. What has Abbott done to incur West’s political challenge? I guess he hasn’t yet rounded up and thrown illegal immigrants into jail and tossed the keys into the Gulf of Mexico.

The former president of the U.S.A. has endorsed Abbott already, so West isn’t likely to curry much favor with the bloc of fanatics who hang on POTUS 45’s every idiotic pronouncement.

Allen West announces he’s running against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in primary | The Texas Tribune

Abbott wants to build a wall along our southern border. He has stuck his thumb in President Biden’s eye practically every chance he gets. Abbott has anticipated this challenge from West, so he’s moving his re-election rhetoric farther to the right-wing fringe all the time. It’s not as if he isn’t adhering to the conservative mantra preached by the likes of Allen West and so many other Texas Republicans.

Allen West is a far-right ideologue. Indeed, the entire Texas GOP playing field is cluttered with others just like him.

West now wants to take his game to the next level. He wants that governor’s office. Ugh!

Don’t get me wrong. I am no fan of Abbott. I am even less of a fan of Allen West, the guy who got drummed out of the Army because he mistreated prisoners of war in Iraq … allegedly.

West is now a Texas GOP fire-breather. This upcoming campaign season will be fun to watch, if I have the stomach for it.