By GEORGE SCOTT
The Texas Republican Party which has basically ruled Texas for the past quarter-century has pre-dug its own political grave because of a combination of its failed leadership on key state issues including property tax, public education, and now the discovery of its abject failure to protect the health and safety of citizens in the debacle of the state’s power grid.
To add to its imminent political plight within an election cycle or two, the arrogance and hubris of its leadership ranging from Attorney General Ken Paxton to U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has further stained the Party’s brand.
The party in a key state that former President Donald Trump has fractured the base with his depraved post-election antics gathering support from far too many loyalists is reeling from self-imposed damage that is merely waiting for the confirmation of damage that has been done for another election or two.
Let’s start with a basic premise. A political party that refuses to hold its own politicians accountable for performance surrenders the moral high ground to influence voters on election day where elections are won.
Let’s start with Trump and his fervent acolytes.
In every court proceeding in every state and jurisdiction up to and including the Supreme Court of the USA, Donald Trump’s lawyers were butt-kicked out of court sometimes with brutal, humiliating legal comment by conservative state and even federal judges that Trump appointed.
Conservatives first and foremost believe in the rule of law that includes evidence in a courtroom under judicial consideration and review. Not a single court in a single state or in a single federal jurisdiction said that Trump’s lawyers had credible evidence to even get to a trial.
Conservatives do not believe that a vice-president should be expected to appoint his boss the President to another term in a faux-constitutional interpretation that would smash the conservative’s genuine belief in genuine – not phony – constitutional states’ rights that had used their lawful processes to certify their election for which NO court found a legal deficiency or claim otherwise to the contrary.
Trump’s vicious turn on Senator Mitch McConnell is a testament to his self-destructive and destroy the Republican Party vengeance he has unleashed with far too much acquiescent support from Texas Republicans.
Sen. McConnell is not a right-wing ideologue. He’s a pragmatist and calculating strategist in the legislative process. But here’s what McConnell did. He used his lawful power to block Obama’s last Supreme Court nominee and then used his influence with a narrow majority to confirm three Supreme Court nominations and a host of federal court judges in perhaps one of the more masterful accomplishments in the history of the Senate.
And Trump – because McConnell was offended – viciously attacks the senator for being righteously offended at Trump’s despicable and depraved incitement and reaction to the invasion by thugs of the capitol complex along with his vicious comments to Kevin McCarthy and about Michael Pence – a genuine conservative Christian who actually is a Christian and moral and ethical.
Where is the cause of conservatism served by Trump’s series of sinister temper tantrums going against the very people who engineered and made it possible for some of his successes as President? And why have so few Texas Republican leaders remained silent?
How does Trump advance the conservative cause with such conduct that creates enemies out of allies? Trump degenerated to a complete fool. To the degree that Trump’s acolytes follow his vengeful, narcissistic leadership, the conservative coalition needed to preserve this country’s ethical standing in the world is doomed.
Let’s take four of the top leaders in Texas: Gov. Gregg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and State Comptroller Glenn Hegar: Let’s go down the list of three basic issues fundamental to Texans – property tax, public education, and now, power grid.
PROPERTY TAXES: My new research project used the public information act to force Comptroller Hegar to acknowledge that his office and the Texas Legislature have failed for years to develop and implement a statistically reliable, quality control review process of a property owner’s right to appeal an assessment of value on their property.
Under law, Hegar was forced to acknowledge that he had not even asked the Legislature for such a basic management tool to protect millions of Texas property taxpayers legitimate due process rights in the appraisal review board protect process system.
Not one of the conservative state leaders has taken the initiative during their term of office to create viable, meaningful due diligence review of the process to ensure that property owners are treated fairly.
Less than a month after Comptroller Hegar was forced to acknowledge his and the State’s failure in this regard, he touts a Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights that is nothing more than hypocritical political methadone for big-talk conservatives.
PUBLIC EDUCATION: Since George Bush took the oath of office as governor, the Texas Republicans have controlled all the legislative, judicial, and administrative levers of power of the public education system. Since that time the State of Texas has literally lied and cheated and misrepresented the public education accountability system. It has lied to state and federal courts; it has lied to parents and taxpayers; it has lied to students and teachers. The lie? That the State of Texas has met its statutory and constitutional burden to close the academic equity gap for disadvantaged and at-risk students dominated by children of color.
In this regard, the empirical reality of that failure is clear and unmistakable. Rather than accept the 1993 statutory mandate validated by the Supreme Court of Texas and a federal district court, Texas Republican leaders have played dodge ball with the truth grossly misrepresenting the reality that persists in too many ways for too many children.
THE ELECTRICAL GRID: Like education, conservative Republicans have maintained key leadership positions for about a quarter of a century since Bush became governor.
One of the things that state leaders can do is represent the interests of Texans in ways that go beyond their official powers in office. State leaders can push for laws that protect Texans. State leaders can educate and help the rest of us be fully knowledgeable of events that we the people don’t fully realize could have such dramatic effects on our lives.
Abbott, Patrick, and Hegar (and former Gov. Rick Perry who was peter-principled to become Secretary of Energy) were all in a position to know more than they told us; do more than they did to protect us; say more to us than they ever said to keep us fully informed.
Each one of these leaders is dripping in culpable political malfeasance for their silence and their see no evil, hear no evil, and their actual evil silence. It was a catastrophic failure of leadership.
AND NOW TO SEN. TED CRUZ: A person whom I greatly admire and respect wrote after my initial and harsh criticism of Cruz that he was glad that Cruz had not done something egregious. He was right and wrong. What Cruz did was more than egregious.
He personally handed the liberals a political weapon to use against conservatives that plays to our stereotypes: we are aloof from real people; we don’t care; we don’t have empathy; among God’s people, we are the special ones.
When a state and its people are in a certifiable and real disaster-situation, leaders don’t leave the scene and take their families to get warm at a Mexico retreat.
Leaders – in these situations and especially senators and congressional leaders – are present and accounted for. They are in their districts. They are at the relief centers; they are present and doing something or doing anything to help and by their presence they send an important symbolic message.
In the wake of Harvey in Katy, there were so many leaders in this community who were not affected by the flood that were out in their communities, at the relief centers, in the neighborhood, helping and doing something.
Cruz hops on a plane with his family and beats a retreat to the sun. It was a character flaw. It was insane. Cruz literally weaponized his little poodle Snowflake as a symbol of how conservatives only care about themselves.
It may not be fair. It may not be right. But what Cruz did harms the Republican Party of Texas and the conservative movement overall. He should resign. Every day he remains in office and fellow Republicans let the matter pass is another day that the impact will be more brutal. What Cruz did should be a firing offense. In this case, he should step aside and give a new Senator a chance to build a base.
When Cruz hopped on that plane and took a trip to sunshine, he ‘flipped the bird’ to Texans and it will come back to hurt conservatives.
This column tells you how the Democrats will eviscerate Republicans in Texas over the next two election cycles.
Revile me if you like. But conservatives in Texas have spent a quarter of a century tolerating poor leadership on big issues. In the next two election cycles, the bill will come do. And the only ones you are going to hold accountable are those evil liberals who made our leadership fail us all because evil liberals have some mystical, almost spiritual power over conservatives to make them do stupid things when they could have done the right things.
I am glad to sign this one.
George Hodges Scott: February 21, 2021.
As Spock said to McCoy: remember!