The Dallas Morning News reports on a developing scandal involving the man who will be the next Governor of Texas.
Early yesterday, an individual named Jeff Rutledge posted the following Tweet, which garnered a shout-out from Attorney General & Gubernatorial favorite Greg Abbott. “Jeff, thanks for your support,” Abbott replied. Out of the hundreds upon hundreds of mentions Abbott gets every day, he chooses, on average, three or four to respond to per day. Mr Rutledge was one of them.
While Abbott soon attempted to rehabilitate himself by claiming “FYI: I thank supporters on Twitter, but I don’t endorse anyone’s offensive language. Stay positive.” This, of course, begs the question of why he did not call out the slur when thanking Rutledge, or just as easily ignored his Tweet and chosen one of the hundreds of others just like it–but without the term “Retard Barbie.”
Here is Rutledge’s Twitter account. As one can plainly see, he uses the term “retard” or “retarded” in nearly Tweet he posts, along with frequent and excessive obscenities and ad hominem attacks. Obviously, Rutledge has a right to post as much stupid, offensive content as he pleases, and his personal ramblings are not really at issue here.
What is at issue is that Abbott went specifically out of his way to condone and thank Rutledge for his offensive words. He could have just as easily picked another Tweet or said something along the lines of “Thank you, BUT…” Wendy Davis is an extremely intelligent individual who is entitled to the utmost respect of a public setting. Condoning such ad hominem attacks reduces Abbott to the role of a bully and a misogynist, and reminiscent of the most recent unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial nominee. The casual condonation of the term “retard” is unbelievably offensive and unfit for an aspiring gubernatorial candidate.
I have absolutely no sympathy for the fact that Abbott himself may not have authored the Tweet thanking Rutledge. When public officials gift someone the right to their social media accounts, they allow that individual to speak on their behalf. Further, certain public officials such as Barack Obama and Annise Parker have indemnification (also known as a “c.y.a. move”) on their Twitter account descriptions that instruct readers only certain Tweets are authored by the candidate herself or himself. Abbott has no such provision on his account, so we must assume he authors the Tweets unless otherwise noted.
The saddest part about this entire mess is that this will probably not hurt Abbott in the slightest. If anything, it will benefit him. Recently, Abbott has arguably been losing ground to his lone Republican opponent, Tom Pauken, after supporting the blockage of the airline merger. Sinking to this low level will most likely cause him to improve his standing among that same Republican Primary crowd Pauken had been wooing.