Keyword: Greg Abbott
The holidays were definitely over this week with the primary contests heating up and President Obama making a big push on gun safety and earning a swift, even preemptive responses from Republicans in Washington and Texas. Speaking of Washington Republicans in Texas, Marco Rubio made his first campaign visit to Texas this week in an effort to break into the top tier here. The DPS officer who pulled over and arrested Sandra Bland, who later died in custody in Waller County, is out of the job and in legal trouble, while federal law enforcement officials are taking a MUCH more measured approach to the constitutionalist occupation of a building on national park land in Colorado – perhaps following a little-noticed Texas precedent. As we were gathering material for this post, Greg Abbott called for a Constitutional Convention – U.S., not state, so if you’re a Texas legislator, it’s ok – and 9 new amendments broadly aimed at reasserting state authority vis-a-vis the federal government and putting new checks on the U.S. Supreme Court. He seems sort of fed up! To borrow a phrase.
While a more comprehensive analysis of the 2016 nominating race awaits the public release of the data and crosstabs from the November 2015 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll next week, the weekend pause in the Texas Tribune release schedule invites a few initial observations on the first wave of results.
Halloween is upon us, but it's already been a scary week for Jeb Bush and homeowners thinking about their property tax bills – but Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are trying their best to calm everyone down. Calm by nature, Dr. Ben Carson started the week off early causing a stir with his proclamation that he's against abortion in cases of rape and incest, while two of Texas politics' more animated politicians – Dan Patrick and Ted Cruz – essentially endorsed each other. Both Patrick and Governor Abbott also endorsed the legislature preventing so-called sanctuary cities in Texas, but not enough to require legislators to haunt Austin in a special session. Finally, President Obama followed the lead of Texas in pressing for a reduction in standardized testing – a treat for kids and their parents, who increasingly told pollsters they find frequent high stakes testing pretty ghastly.
Dan Patrick’s endorsement of Ted Cruz had all the trappings of business as usual, in which a statewide official pledges fealty to a national candidate who is both an ideological fellow traveller and a big cog in the same political party machinery. Not surprisingly, the event and the media coverage of it provided sound bites of earnestness mated with deep camp: Cruz portrayed Patrick as a conservative warrior willing to crawl “through broken glass with a knife between his teeth”; Patrick described endorsing Cruz as “probably the biggest honor in my life.” I think I have a casting idea for the central buddies of True Detective season 3.
Lt. Governor Patrick's interim charges represent a potpourri of issues ranging from the unsung operational stuff of government to the more provocative issues that rouse the GOP's voting base. University of Texas/Texas Tribune Polling suggests that the GOP primary electorate is much less interested in the details of issues like water and electricity than they are in issues like immigration, border security, and the vociferous protection and expansion of gun rights.
Speaker Boehner’s exit, Pope Francis’s speech to Congress, Jeb Bush’s comments on immigration in Houston, the legal and political wrangle over HHS spending on therapy for poor and disabled children, and Governor Scott Walker’s departure from the Republican presidential nomination race
With a new slate of statewide leaders in charge, key questions about the tenor of Texas politics loomed large as the legislative session unfolded. New polling provides some preliminary answers.
On April 28, Governor Greg Abbott sent a widely publicized letter to the Commander of the Texas State Guard directing the force to monitor the US military training exercises to take place partially in Texas because "it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed," presumably by the training operation, dubbed Operation Jade Helm 15. The governor's hailing of the members of the US military even as he registers concern about potential threats to Texans rights and liberties seems to be waving toward two sets of attitudes among his conservative base that were evident in the most recent UT/Texas Tribune Poll.
Gov. Greg Abbott may have prioritized early education this year, but his support for modest changes to the state's pre-kindergarten system reflects the complicated divisions within his party.