April 29, 2013

Abbott's running for Texas gov - he's outwingnutting Perry

For a number of weeks now, people have been speculating whether or not Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was running for governor in 2014. They would compare his donor totals to Rick Perry's, and even ask if he had poached any A-list donors from Tricky Ricky.

But, in Texas far-right politics, sometimes, you have to follow other things besides the money.

And, today, Abbott showed he's almost surely running for governor, without us having to do a money count.

Abbott today said that local governments cannot offer domestic partners insurance benefits. Now, this is technically targeted at either straight or gay domestic partnerships, but really? Being led in, and led on, by the even more homophobic Dan Patric, we all know the score.

Here's the details:
In the nonbinding opinion, Abbott determined that local jurisdictions that offer such benefits “have created and recognized something” — domestic partnerships — “not established by Texas law.” 

“A court is likely to conclude that the domestic partnership legal status about which you inquire is ‘similar to marriage’ and therefore barred” by the state Constitution, he wrote. 

The opinion was a response to a question asked by Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, who had raised concerns about the Pflugerville school district, as well as the cities of El Paso, Austin and Fort Worth, extending such benefits to domestic partners.
Of course it was Dan Patrick who asked him for his opinion. It's in light of House Bill 1568. Per the Trib, the bill would "revoke the accreditation and withhold funding from Texas school districts that allow employees to add a domestic partner to their health care plan." It's passed committee level and is headed to the floor.

Doorknob forbid two Mooslims want to have domestic partner benefits. Patrick and Abbott should shit on each other.

So, why didn't Abbott and Costello target just gay partnership benefits?

Simple. Abbott doesn't know how the US Supreme Court's going to rule on the Defense of Marriage Act. Oh, it's going to get shot down in some way, but how broadly is anybody's guess. Assuming there's a wide ruling, there's no way aiming at gay domestic partner benefits only is going to pass a federal constitutional test, and even Abbott knows that.

Beyond that, Abbott's all but said that the job, especially because he's two-dimensioned it down to suing the Obama Administration, has left him bored. I think that he sees diminishing returns in suing too much.

That said, hey, Republicans, when are you going to ask Abbott how much this all costs? I've blogged before about "fiscally conservative Republicans" wasting money on suits against the feds, or, at the local level as well as the state level, deliberately passing laws they know are going to get rejected.

Plus, as shown by him beating Perry to West, Abbott knows he's got to expand his profile and his schtick. Expect him to emphasize consumer protection more, unless it involves enforcing new regs he doesn't like (like if a real payday loan bill passes the Senate and somehow gets Tricky Ricky's signature). So, if you see Abbott traveling more in Texas, and leaving any lawsuits (especially ones he knows are a loser) to assistants, that's another sign.

Burnt Orange Report, on behalf of Equality Texas, tries to put a nice smiley face on Abbott's stateent. Doesn't fly with me.

Update, April 30: Not to be squeezed out of the limelight, already-announced GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Pauken, who has never in reality met a regulation he actually liked, is jumping on the West exploitation bandwagon. From a press release of his:
Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Pauken called on state leaders to release information regarding compliance of West Fertilizer with applicable state and federal rules regarding highly hazardous materials. As reported by the Dallas Morning News, efforts to get such information from Texas A&M AgriLife Research, “which houses the office in charge of the documents”, have been denied by state authorities, citing confidentiality in refusing to make public these records.

Pauken stated, “It is important for Texans to know whether West Fertilizer was compliant with applicable state and federal regulations regarding the safety of the facility which maintained highly hazardous materials. Were state officials aware of problems at that facility in advance of this disaster?”

Pauken continued, “Texans deserve to know the full context surrounding this tragic event and should see steps taken by state leadership to avoid similar occurrences elsewhere around the state. I call on the Governor and Attorney General to move quickly to release any information that may explain how this tragedy unfolded and what the state might do from a safety standpoint to be better prepared in the future.”
No other officials, i.e, TCEQ Exccutive Director Zak Covar, need worry about being on the Pauken hot seat. Only Messrs Perry and Abbott, per this press release.

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