We teach children, “When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back to you.” This a grown up way of teaching the moral behind the imperative, “Don’t focus on the speck in your brother’s eye while ignoring the log in your own eye.”
Apparently they don’t teach these basics to Texas Republicans.
Republican Greg Abbott’s campaign has been criticizing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis for taking money from liberals outside of Texas, so imagine the surprise when Abbott went on Hugh Hewett’s national right wing talk radio show and begged for dollars.
Abbot said, “This is going to be an expensive fight for the future of Texas, and for the future of America, and we could use the help of people all across the entire country.”
Abbott is doing the exact same thing that his campaign is criticizing Davis for.
Here are some from the Abbott campaign attacking Wendy Davis:
— Sarah Floerke (@SarahFloerke) May 1, 2014
— Defeat Davis (@DefeatDavis) May 1, 2014
The truth is that Abbott is jealous of Wendy Davis’ national profile. Additionally, he’s mucked up his own campaign so badly that all he can do is blame Wendy Davis for being such a strong opponent and a likable candidate that she is actually challenging him for a spot that should have been a lock for any Republican. Conventional wisdom had it that even a criminal could have run away with the Governorship of Texas, so long as he was a Republican.
Abbott approached the Texas gubernatorial race as if it were his to have for the asking, so we imagine he’s been a bit taken off guard to find himself on the defensive over women’s pay and school testing. But with the blind confidence born of entitlement to a position, Abbott has made several critical mistakes thus far. He started off attacking Wendy Davis personally, suggesting that her time as a single parent wasn’t legitimate and trying to credit her ex husband for Ms. Davis’ success. The Davis campaign shut that down with heartrendingly open statements from her daughters. It was truly a moment when Abbott was deservedly covered the mud he tried to sling.
But memories are short in politics. Thus, Abbott’s biggest problem seems to be that from his gaffes based on Davis’ insistence on debating actual policy instead of ugly personal attacks, one takes away that he has been less than forthcoming about his positions.
Abbott seems squirrelly.
Abbott said he was all for women’s rights and the only reason he wasn’t for a law supporting equal pay was because women already have it. He delivered this news wrapped in folksy appeal, cushioned by his love for his wife. It was sweet.
But then it turned out that women in Abbott’s own Attorney General’s office (where they are charged with… you know… upholding the law) are paid less than men for the same job. So that was awkward.
And then he teamed up with a white supremacist in order to determine how he thought our children should be taught. Turns out the white supremacist also thinks women don’t have brains, so that’s a two-fer in the “Is this guy the right person to set policy for our children’s educations?” When busted on this, Abbott denied it. Then he walked away from his own policy claiming it wasn’t a policy. Blamed mean Wendy Davis for picking on his words.
But the words were in his own document so that didn’t go so well.
Because of these missteps, Abbott is now begging for cash from anyone who will give it to him, as if a lack of cash were his trouble. It’s not. Republicans have endless access to dark money which attacks their opponents with disingenuous and often inaccurate smears. What Abbbott is really upset about is that he didn’t think he was going to have to work for the the Governorship. He carries a sort of Romenyesque “It’s my turn” aura about him in turns of how he’s handled his own missteps. He is the first to blame anyone else but himself.
Wendy Davis is running on issues that matter to Texans, so she’s making it a bit tougher for Abbott to sell more of the same old Republican dysfunction that’s gripped Texas under Rick Perry. And Wendy Davis doesn’t play the duck and dodge game. She tells voters up front who she is and what she stands for. She refused to play Democrat in a red state games regarding President Obama. Like her or not, voters know who she is.
The truth of the matter is that Wendy Davis is a national political figure now, after her filibuster for women’s privacy rights and medical liberty. Texas Republicans gave her that opening by working so hard to disenfranchise women and minorities.
She’s a contender, and Abbott didn’t expect that.
Abbott blaming Davis for getting money from outside of Texas while he begs for money from outside of Texas is sadly just more of his disturbing lack of candidness with Texas voters. This is the third time in a short while he’s been busted saying one thing but doing another.
That’s not the wisest course of action for a politician facing a warm, smart opponent who is motivated by a fierce passion to actually help the very people whose vote she’s seeking.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.