Saturday, April 18, 2020

Speaking of Abbott playing games...let's not overlook James Huffines

"Therefore by their fruits you will know them."
Matthew 7:20

Yesterday, we wrote about Governor Abbott appointing Mike Toomey to his so-called "strike force" to guide re-opening the state.  Considering his history and his lobbying connections to industries receiving preferential treatment, Mike Toomey is a particularly egregious appointment.  That one needed to stand by itself.

But Toomey's hardly the only problematic appointment.

From the same announcement:
Abbott also named a "statewide strike force" devoted to developing reopening procedures. Austin banker James Huffines will chair the task force, while veteran lobbyist Mike Toomey will be its chief operating officer. The group will oversee what Abbott described as a phased reopening.
Now who, pray tell, is James Huffines?!?

You can learn about James Huffines' various activities here.  The TL,DR version is that he has a wide variety of business and philanthropic interests.  For our purposes, however, the relevant detail is that former Texas Senator Don Huffines is his brother.

Why is Don Huffines important?!?

Texas Scorecard (Tuesday):

Austin American Statesman (Wednesday):

DON Huffines has been one of Abbott's more outspoken critics for awhile.  In recent weeks, DON Huffines' criticism has become more pointed.  While not directly relevant to the current crisis, if you have 20 minutes we strongly recommend Huffines' full presentation.

In response, Abbott appoints James Huffines to his "reopen Texas" board.

Which means DON Huffines can't go after Abbott without going after James Huffines.

To be fair, James Huffines isn't an inherently terrible selection.  In isolation, there's not necessarily anything wrong with an elected officials consulting with someone with a wide array of business and philanthropic interests.  FWIW, James Huffines has struck this author as a perfectly capable individual on the couple of occasions when we've met.

(Certainily better than Mike Toomey.)

In context, however, this appointment means one thing: An attempt to shut DON Huffines up by making it socially awkward for him to criticize Abbott.

Only time will tell if it works.

Bottom Line: Kinda brilliant (in a dastardly kind of way).

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