Governor Rick Perry, the longest serving chief executive in Texas’ history (by far), will finally leave office next January. A whole lot has happened in the fourteen years since Texas had a different Governor. To put it in perspective, the members of this board were roughly in the 1st Grade when Perry assumed office.
Though such an assertion might be unpopular given our state’s booming economy, we think that Perry has been a poor governor. He wasn’t responsible for putting the shale in the ground, nor was he behind George Mitchell’s innovations in efficiently extracting it. And, despite what his straw-man arguments may have you believe, his support of this energy boom did not put him in a unique place compared to Democrats. While Texas’ economy has boomed under Perry, it has mostly been unrelated to his sloppy tenure.
That tenure has been filled with corruption, cronyism and ineptitude of the highest magnitude. Now, Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for Governor, looks likely to continue along that same misguided path. Recent headlines have shown Abbott was either complicit in the sloppy administration of the Texas Enterprise Fund, which allotted grants to friends of the Governor without any formal application, or was totally checked out of his job as an ostensible watchdog for the state.
Most importantly, Abbott looks like he will not only continue but expand Perry’s rotten legacy of mollifying the Tea Party above actually solving the state’s problem. We have crumbling highways, but Abbott appears complacent with maintaining the ludicrously low gas tax. Our schools are failing, but Abbott is perfectly content with the deleterious effects of 2011 cuts he repeatedly defended.
On a plethora of other issues, Abbott espouses rhetoric that, generously, belongs in the 20th century. He opposes a statewide ban on texting-while-driving, supports the evisceration of the Voting Rights Act and opposes abortions even in cases of rape and incest. He supports the terrible idea of allowing college students to bring their concealed handguns on campus. We could go on like this for a few hundred more words, but we digress.
For Abbott and others, the legacy of Lyndon Johnson and Bob Bullock is only a distant memory. Pragmatism and otherwise working together to reach consensus on the serious problems facing our state has almost become passe, compared to getting a soundbite in on Fox News or for the next Tea Party meeting. Abbott is no statesman, just another demagogue who will try his hardest to run Texas into the ground.
State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Tarrant County), the Democratic candidate, is not perfect either. She has run a rather mediocre campaign, with grandiose plans that lack specifics or funding targets. Some of the specific ideas, such as allowing the Top 20% of High School students to receive automatic acceptance to the state’s public universities if they pledge to major in education, are just comically terrible. Her commercials have been off-key and her debate performances abysmal. Sadly, in many situations, Davis has evidently developed a penchant for dancing around the truth. But no matter the roughness of her campaign, she is a significantly better choice than Abbott. Simply put, while our objections to Davis are based on her — or, quite likely, her campaign’s — incompetence, our objections to Abbott are based on his unmitigated malice. We find the former quality to be the lesser of the evils.
Davis cares more about helping Texans than necessarily implementing her ideology; Abbott is the opposite. Despite what some frustrating newspaper editorials from around the state may have insinuated, Davis would work well with Republicans if elected. She has done so on both the Texas Senate and in her previous position as a member of the Fort Worth City Council. To think that her respect and open-mindedness would subside abruptly at this time is without any rationalization.
Like most of the other statewide choices this year, the race for Governor presents a fairly easy question. Only one candidate wants to protect women by ensuring health clinics that provide a wide variety of services stay open. Only one candidate recognizes LGBT people as worthy of dignity and respect. Only one candidate unequivocally would not defend a ban on interracial marriage (yes, we did not mis-type there). That candidate is Wendy Davis. And despite some serious concerns about her campaign and the depth of her platform, she is just the right choice over Abbott for Governor.
Accordingly, this board endorses Wendy Davis for Governor.
The Texpatriate Editorial Board is comprised of Noah M. Horwitz & Olivia Arena of Austin, George Bailey of Boston, Luis Fayad of College Station and Andrew Scott Romo of New Orleans. Editorials represent a majority opinion of the voting board.