Saturday, May 22, 2021

The Worst Governor Texas Has Ever Had (Latest in a Series)

 For the last 26 years, Texas has had inept, corrupt, mediocre white male governors.

Our state seal if there were truth in advertising.

Don't get me wrong. Texas has had inept, corrupt, mediocre white male governors for a hell of a lot longer than that. But for four brief, glorious years in the 1990s we had Ann Richards. Unfortunately, she lost her re-election bid to George W. Bush in 1994, and so for the last 26 years I've had cause to lament a succession of money-grubbing toadies masquerading as leaders.

I miss Ann Richards.

G.W. Bush was without a doubt the worst governor Texas ever had. This is what I said until December 2000, when Bush inexplicably was elected President of the United States and Rick "Dick" Perry was sworn in. Dick Perry was a frequent target of mine in the early years of this blog, mostly because he faced the daunting task of being a less competent conservative sock puppet than his predecessor and not only succeeded but made it look easy.

Unlike whatever the fuck he was doing
on Dancing with the Stars.

Dick Perry was the governor of Texas for fourteen excruciating years. After he left office he served as Donald Trump's Secretary of Energy, where he distinguished himself by literally not knowing what the U.S. Department of Energy actually did. He was the worst governor Texas ever had. Except for his successor, the current governor, Greg Abbott.

Here's a thing you should know about Greg Abbott: In 1984 he was partially paralyzed when a tree limb fell on him. He sued the owner of the tree and as a result of the legal settlement currently has a lifetime payout of more than $150,000 a year, which is periodically increased to adjust for inflation. In 2003, as Texas Attorney General, he successfully backed tort reform that severely restricted and capped personal injury lawsuit settlements exactly like the one that has given him a six-figure income for more than 30 years. Obviously, the restrictions were not retroactive.

As Texas governor, Abbott has consistently backed legislation and issued executive orders that have little basis in science, history, or public welfare but that pander to a very specific base: Wealthy donors who believe that exploiting fear, ignorance, and religious mania is the best way to maintain personal power and wealth. Notice that his base doesn't include the fearful, the ignorant, or the maniacally religious themselves, except to the extent that they're persuaded by his well-funded campaigns to vote for him. This separation allows him a certain ideological purity: He only has to support the positions that are deemed most profitable to his backers and therefore, to him personally. The will of the voters is fickle and messy and, let's face it, not terribly lucrative.

And on occasion very, very stupid.

Abbott has signed increasingly draconian anti-abortion laws (that have all been blocked by federal courts). He's allowed guns to be sold and carried almost without restriction. He's cut healthcare and education funding for the most vulnerable and enacted "protections" that discriminate against right-wing boogeymen including marijuana users, gay couples, and healthcare providers. 

Let's not forget that in 2015 Abbott found it politically expedient to jump on the Jade Helm bandwagon. This was a whole-cloth Internet conspiracy theory, which alleged that purely routine military training exercises being held in Texas and other states were part of a nefarious plot to declare martial law and usher in an ill-defined New World Order - all at the behest of the scary black Muslim illegitimate Kenyan President, Barack Obama, of course. The wingnuts who perpetuated this insanity managed to weave Walmart, Blue Bell Ice Cream, China, and rogue asteroids into their online batshittery, and Abbott responded by calmly and rationally...agreeing with them and ordering the military exercises to be "monitored" for the sake of...something. 

Last I checked, we were still waiting for the Chinese to invade America and take our Cookies and Cream ice cream away.

These were supposed to be rolling morgues
during the invasion.
Extra nuts on my patriot corpse, please.

By the way, it's widely accepted that the whole Jade Helm kerfuffle was largely disseminated by Russian troll farms, and that its success - as evidenced by being embraced by the governor of the second most populous state in the U.S. - emboldened the Russians to systematically interfere in the 2016 Presidential election. We all know how that turned out.

With apologies to appropriately-coiffed
citrus fruit everywhere.

Anyway, the fetal-heartbeat bill, which effectively bans the option of abortion before most women even know they're pregnant, is Greg Abbott's latest gambit to consolidate his power and declare he really doesn't care about anything not benefiting Greg Abbott. We know this because he is the same man who enacted tort reform to curb "frivolous lawsuits," but has with this law allowed any Texan to sue anyone who performs or assists in an abortion, even if the plaintiff isn't personally involved in the transaction. It's akin to allowing random citizens to sue a drunk driver on the grounds that they don't approve of drinking. So, not frivolous at all.

This would probably be a more effective
deterrent, and more fun to implement.

By the way, slightly overshadowed by the signing of this stupid bill is an executive order he also issued this week. This one attempts, for the second time, to ban local governments and school districts from requiring people to wear masks to restrict the spread of COVID-19. He issued the first such ban in May 2020, causing such a huge spike in cases that he not only had to repeal the ban but institute a statewide mask mandate in July. He lifted that mandate this past March, but his wealthy backers got awfully pissy that most private businesses and many public institutions kept mandates in place. That's no way to show the masses who's in charge of their democracy.

Abbott can't order Target and Costco to let maskless mouth-breathers perpetuate the still-prevalent virus, of course. So he went back to his previous position of requiring schools, courthouses, motor vehicle departments, libraries, and other public entities to ban protective face coverings. Because he is, as he likes to trumpet to his chronically deluded voters, "pro-life."

Ironically, it's a sure sign that the pandemic is winding down, at least in the United States, that corrupt bozos like Greg Abbott can no longer conduct their various grifts and political shenanigans under cover of relentless virus news. Now he and they have to go back to erecting more traditional smokescreens, like "protecting all Texans (who voted for me and also are not scary brown people or uppity women)." Unfortunately, I don't think the tremendous struggles of 2020 taught them anything except that if they dig in deep enough, they can survive anything to grift another day.

And that's certainly not an attitude exclusive to Republicans or conservatives. There's always plenty of corruption to go around. But Greg Abbott is the current worst governor Texas has ever had, so he's the one I'll keep my eye on. Until the guard changes, or he appears on Dancing with the Stars. A girl can dream.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You're thinking it, you may as well type it. The only comments you'll regret are the ones you don't leave. Also, replies to threads make puppies grow big and strong.