Tag Archives: Texas Governor

Let Lieutenant Dan be the First in Line

Red admits he was conflicted by the rolling shutdown of businesses in Texas and throughout the country.   First it was AustinDallas and then San Antonio issuing shelter-in-place orders.  But when Waco  and McClennan County officials announced a closure of all non-essential businesses, Red began to realize that we are in some seriously deep doo doo with this COVID-19 crisis in Texas.   When the heart of Texas and the heart of Texas conservatism (sorry Tarrant County – you’re getting kind of squishy) is taking this matter seriously, then something is really up.  Red doesn’t not pretend to be privy to the expert medical advice given to such officials, but if Waco is shutting down then the reports must be ominous.

Our Poor Idiot Governor Greg Abbott (and don’t take particular offense at this characterization as, in Red’s humble opinion, Abbott is just one in an almost continuous line of OPIG’s dating back to at least whoever came after Alan Shivers) has refused to do much of anything other than close schools and mumble something about gatherings of more than 10 people.  Even worse, Abbott has laughably claimed that he likes to defer to local authorities in such times of crisis.  Curious, how he and the GOP controlled legislature have repeatedly railed against local authorities when they have addressed relatively minor issues like plastic bag bans, tree protection ordinances and some more important ones like fracking bans.  His message has consistently been “I love local government – except when it goes against my right-wing Trumpian dogma.” But now it’s- “Hey, local guys you do what you think is right so that I can have my political cover come next election and say I didn’t destroy the Texas economy – it was all those local Democrats who overreacted.”  It must be tough to maintain a straight face . . .

And speaking of overreaction, here is Red’s take on the issue.  We will never know if the current measures being adopted were needed or effective.  Or at least there will never be an admission from the opponents of such measures that the a general shut down prevented thousands or perhaps millions of deaths.  If such shut-downs stop the spread of the virus, it would seem there is no real way to actually measure the effectiveness of such measures – other than maybe compare us to Italy or Spain.  Red did not do well in probability and statistics and will leave that to others.

However, if the naysayers get their way – maybe we will be able to tell if they were right or wrong.  If we all just go back to normal shoulder-to-shoulder daily life and work and play and COVID-19 kills off no more of us than might bite it in a typical bad flu season, then one could rightfully argue that a shut-down was not needed.  But here’s the kicker – if the let’s’-just-keep-rolling-along-as-if-this-is-no-big-deal crowd is wrong, really wrong, then the consequences could be catastrophic.  This is life and death folks – who wants to gamble?

Okay, so back to the real point of this little diatribe.  This morning Red awoke to the pronouncement of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that our senior citizens should be willing to go down taking one in the gut (or the lungs as the case may be) in order for their grandchildren to have a fully functioning economy.  Red will let Lt. Dan speak for himself here.

No one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in. And that doesn’t make me noble or brave or anything like that.

I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me … that what we all care about and what we all love more than anything are those children.  And I want to, you know, live smart and see through this, but I don’t want to see the whole country to be sacrificed, and that’s what I see.

The message here seems to be pretty clear – Screw the old folks, we’ve got shit to sell.  And as an old man himself, Lt. Dan is taking the supposed high road.  In effect, “I’ll roll the dice because otherwise my political party and career are probably headed for the crapper.”

So while Red was conflicted (remember that’s how this all began), once he heard Lt. Dan’s noble gesture, Red knew that this was a serious problem and that any measures we take should not be half-hearted.  Stay at home as much as possible, wash your hands, maintain “social distance” (we really need a new name for that), enjoy your family, exercise, pull some weeds, have a nice drink, watch some Have Gun Will Travel reruns (highly recommended).  Do the right thing.

And while we are at, Red has some Kool-Aid ready for  Lt. Dan just in case he wants to be the first in line.  Take one for the team buddy!  One potential infection vector down!

P.S. –  On the way in, Red heard right-wing radio bloviator Michael Berry going on about what a crock these shut-downs are – effectively a Commie plot to destroy his beloved Republican Party and force everyone into government servitude.  If Red had any lingering doubts about whether a shut down was the right course of action, hearing Berry’s lying, fear-mongering rant removed any doubt.  A rule that is without exception:  When an utter POS like Berry is against something, it must be the right course of action.

Abbott’s Phony List of Illegal Voters Falls Apart

Greg Abbott’s most recent choice for Texas Secretary of State, David Whitley, put out a list of 95,000 Texas voters which it claimed were not U.S. citizens.  Upon even slight investigation, the phony list – obviously intended to pump up Abbott’s Tea Party bona fides – began to quickly fall apart.  In announcing the list, Whitley and indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton claimed that the list was put out as part of a fight against fraudulent voting.  Individual 1 a/k/a Trumph – the Insult Comic President and other denizens of the far right have insisted that illegal voting and voter fraud are serious problems despite the lack of any real evidence of in-person voter fraud and the Texas GOP is obviously eager to back him up.

It turns out that many names on the list were of people who registered when getting a Texas Driver’s License – a process that requires applicants to establish their citizenship –  or registered at a naturalization ceremony – which should need no explanation, that is  to anyone other than Our Poor Idiot Governor.  When that was revealed, the list quickly started falling apart.  In Harris County, almost 60% of the names on a 30,000 voter list were almost immediately removed.  Odds are that the vast majority of the remaining names will turn up nothing as well.

To their credit, most of the local county tax-assessor collectors (still in charge of registering voters as a legacy of the Jim Crow era poll taxes) have tread very carefully and seem intent on protecting the rights of Texas voters – unlike OPIG and his flunkies.

So OPIG has spent a lot of taxpayer money and effort in a process which might reveal that a handful of Texas voters were not actually authorized to vote.   If the Texas GOP clearly stands for one thing – it stands for voter suppression.

Today in Texas History – December 21

From the Annals of the Governors –  In 1847, George Tyler Wood took office as the second governor of the state of Texas.    Wood was a relative newcomer to the state having arrived in 1839 from Georgia.  He established a plantation near Point Blank in San Jacinto County.  He was elected to the House of Representatives of the Republic in 1841 and later to the State Senate.    He ran for the open seat after Gov. James Pinckney Henderson decided to not seek a second term. His cause was aided by the death of candidate Isaac Van Zandt with most of Van Zandt’s support migrated to Wood.

Wood’s major accomplishment as governor was working to effective organization of local governments and the establishment of court houses.  He failed in Texas’ efforts to claim New Mexico as part of Texas and to convince the Federal government to fortify the Texas frontier.  As a result, he was a one term governor.  He lost his bid for reelection to Peter Bell in 1849.  He twice sought to return to the Governor’s mansion but was unsuccessful.

Our Poor Idiot Governor

The Texas Observer chronicles Gov. Greg Abbott’s first year in office and it is a sad tale of incompetent leadership, right-wing bluster, Tea Party sycophancy, and an apparent desire to do anything but the job he was elected to do.

Abbott has won real national attention for precisely three things this year: his Jade Helm letter, his personal war against Syrian refugees, and his bonkers proposal to rewrite the U.S. Constitution, which we may properly call the Articles of Gregfederation. In each case, the primary effect of his actions has been to make us look kinda dumb.

Today in Texas History – August 4

From the Annals of the Governor’s Office – In 1941 Lt. Gov. Coke Stevenson became Governor when W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel was installed as U.S. Senator following a special election.  Known as “Mr. Texas”, Stevenson was a no-nonsense conservative whose remarkable life story appealed to most Texans.  He had basically educated himself rising from mule team freight hauler, to bank custodian, to bank cashier, to lawyer.  Stevenson’s political career began with election as county attorney of Kimble County.  He later served as County Judge. Before being elected as Lt. Gov. he served several terms in the House and was selected as Speaker of the House.  Stevenson’s approach was so low-key that his critics accused him of doing nothing. He served two more full terms as governor stepping down in 1947 at which time he was the longest serving governor in Texas history.  Unfortunately, Stevenson is perhaps best known for his loss in the 1948 Senate race to Lyndon B. Johnson.  Stevenson is portrayed heroically in Robert Caro’s Means of Ascent.  Critics have complained that Caro’s portrait of Stevenson was influenced by his growing disgust with LBJ as his research progressed.  Nonetheless, Stevenson’s rise from poor country boy to Governor is a remarkable story in itself.

Photo from http://www.texashistory.unt.edu