“Save the strong lose the weak
Never turning the other cheek
Trust nobody don’t be no fool
Whatever happened to the golden rule? We got stranded
Caught in the crossfire.”– Stevie Ray Vaughn
My friend at the Beauty Salon laid it out pretty well. The GOP field for governor is becoming pretty crowded as former GOP party chair Allen West may have thrown his hat into the ring. He won’t be the only one. There are persistent rumors about Matthew McConaughey running for governor. Nobody is quite sure which party he will call his own.
For those that can get behind the firewall, the Chronicle has listed all of the possible opponents for Abbott. If they have anything in common it is that they are all legitimately nuts. The problem is that Abbott isn’t really nuts. He just plays one for the folks when he needs to convince them he is. Now, he’s going to have to do a whole lot of convincing.
Abbott’s long career is fairly distinguished and used to be marked by mainstream conservatism. That changed when he was flanked by the right. West is a carpetbagger and the worst kind. He hails from Florida where they breed their own kind of crazy. He doesn’t even live in Texas full time yet feels he can use the governor chair to spring board to bigger and better things.
As the Houston Chronicle suggests, he is only one a few possible challengers. If the current actor gets in he will have the star power to compete. So, Abbott will have to continue to peddle fresh meat to the base. He certainly can’t compete on his record. There’s a reason why so many challengers are willing to take him on. He’s a garden variety incompetent politician.
This is where Texas politics and conventional politics collide. Conventional politics say a divided party is a great thing for the opposition. In this case, a number of Democrats are excited about Abbott being bloodied up in a primary. That’s especially true if Beto O’Rourke can bring his statewide cache and fundraising ability into the fray.
I would remind the folks of the 2006 governor’s race. Rick Perry was similarly unpopular and drew a merry band of opponents that included Democrat Chris Bell. Bell had held office previously and was well-known. He wasn’t as popular as O’Rourke, but they had a similar profile otherwise. Texas legend Kinky Friedman and Carole Keeton Strayhorn also drew a lot of votes.
Texas doesn’t use runoff elections and this was one glaring case where we needed one. Only 39.4 percent of the population voted for Perry. The other 60+ percent clearly were voting for not Rick Perry. Yet, even though a majority wanted anyone else he continued to be governor anyway. 2022 could see a repeat of that history if the actor throws in as an independent.
Abbott has been doing his own acting since the former president came on the scene. He has been alternating photo ops and harsh statements designed to convince the masses he has the crazy bonafides. I’m not sure what’s worse, being crazy or just acting crazy. One thing is for certain, there will be plenty of crazy between now and 2022 and it will be us caught in the crossfire.