Updated: Jul 30, 2020
As the preliminary intellectual work of the Texas Republican Party is complete and the virtual general convention has gotten off to a rocky technical start, the manifestation of widespread dissatisfaction to Greg Abbott’s turn to the dark-side is easy to see throughout the Republican Party.
I have lost count of the number of Republican county executive committees which have issued calls for a censure of Abbott by the Republican Party of Texas for his dictatorial acts.
Coming out of the Legislative Priority Committee, the top vote-getting suggested priority for the 2021 Texas legislative session was this:
Emergency Powers: Reform emergency powers to prohibit the creation or suspension of laws, prohibit mandates (e.g. masks/vaccines), and prohibit business restrictions (e.g. forced closures) by convening the legislative body to ratify, terminate, or alter any emergency declaration within 30 days.
Then, out of the Platform Committee, came a plethora of new planks targeted at Abbott’s COVID-scare tyranny:
Executive Orders: We oppose all executive orders, whether by a president, a governor, or a local official, that go beyond administration of executive authority and have the effect of legislation.
Lockdowns never again: The Republican Party of Texas calls upon our elected officials to never again implement mass lockdowns on the people, our businesses and churches in the name of communicable disease response; nor should Texas officials ever again presume they know better how to treat or prioritize the medical treatment of Texans and to make command and control edicts that dictate to health care providers how to do their job. We oppose funding or implementation of any form of contact tracing.
Contact Tracing: We strongly oppose contact tracing, tracking, or surveillance, and we also strongly oppose any action similar to the federal TRACE Act. Contract tracing, tracking, or surveillance are not core functions of public health. No government entity, nor private entity, nor combination thereof, nor the Texas National Guard, shall ever be employed to violate the natural rights of Texans
Natural Medical Right: We call for an addition to the Texas Bill of Rights that explicitly recognizes the natural right to refuse vaccination or medical treatment and the right for vaccination or medical treatment to not be a condition of provision of government services.
In addition to that, a delegate out of Austin, T.J. Scott, proposed a resolution to the Platform Committee that would put the Republican Party on record as calling on Abbott to call a COVID-19 special legislative session. If he does not, the resolution would have called on the Texas Legislature to call themselves into session (under Government Code, Chapter 665) to impeach Governor Abbott. The hard-hitting language of the resolution got a positive vote from one-third of the Platform Committee, and others said they would support such language if the language was made less pointed and more passive.
And then, while the delegates were waiting for the virtual convention to start (something that really never materialized) they were shown multiple times a defensive and bizarre speech by Greg Abbott. The speech started off with Abbott sounding like a televeangelist, then proclaiming his dislike of the mask mandate, but citing its necessity with a threat of a second lockdown and a blatant warning that you could die if you did not obey his edicts.
Abbott then recognized that most think his actions unconstitutional, but he claimed that because he had been Attorney General that supported the First, Second, and Tenth (bwa-ha-ha-ha!) Amendment in federal court, he would never “abandon the Constitution.” He also appealed to an authority which he believes to be his (and our) boss, telling everyone that he had NOT violated the Constitution because the federal Fifth Circuit had “ruled” it so.
He then abruptly shifted to say that this did not matter because he wanted to beat Joe Biden. Then even more bizarrely, ended his speech with an impassioned recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
I have seen one report on Facebook, tonight, that in a physical gathering of Republican delegates in one North Texas Senate District, that people started booing his speech.
I have also seen many statements by the Republicans wanting to have an in-person convention that they think Abbott was behind the push by party leadership for a virtual convention because he feared getting the booing treatment that George P. Bush got at the 2018 convention.
More and more Texas Republicans are coming to the conclusion that Abbott has gone to the dark side. They realize that he has his hierarchy of values wrong. His job is not to sacrifice some to reduce demand for health services. He does not understand that his job is to secure our individual rights, not be chief medical officer with dictatorial powers.
Texas Republicans will not be lectured, and they will not be spanked. They know that Abbott is not their daddy. He is not the Medical Czar. He is supposed to be the state executive whose job is to secure the liberty of Texans and let Texans choose how to live their lives in light of all the risks and opportunities and life goals they have.
Tom Glass lives in Northwest Harris County. Click here to reach his email. He is also on Facebook as Tom G Glass. He leads a group called Texas Constitutional Enforcement which can be explored at its website or Facebook group.