Thursday, June 18, 2020

Abbott/Dead Armadillos: Revisited

"So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth."
Revelation 3:16

Since shortly after the start of the Chinese coronavirus shutdowns, local governments have clamored to make mask-wearing mandatory—threatening jail time and fines for noncompliance.

Gov. Greg Abbott, however, had stood firm, not only refusing to institute a statewide mask mandate, but also barring elected officials from implementing penalties for not complying with local mask orders, effectively rendering them moot.

Until this week.

On Tuesday, a group of eight mayors wrote to Abbott, imploring him to give them the authority to penalize those who refuse to wear masks.

Among those who signed the letter were: Houston’s Sylvester Turner, Austin’s Steve Adler, San Antonio’s Ron Nirenberg, Dallas’ Eric Johnson, Fort Worth’s Betsy Price, El Paso’s Dee Margo, Arlington’s Jeff Williams, Plano’s Harry LaRosiliere, and Grand Prairie’s Ron Jensen.

On Wednesday, Democrat Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff attempted to skirt Abbott’s restriction by signing an executive order requiring businesses to require customers and employees to wear masks. Failure to do so would result in a fine of $1,000 for each incident.

“The action I’m taking today may be pushing the legal bounds a little bit, but our attorneys believe they can defend this order in court,” Wolff said after issuing the order.

Abbott, however, says he believes the loophole does not conflict with his executive order and even implied that the tactic was meant to be available to local governments all along.

In an interview with KWTX News in Waco shortly after, Abbott said there had been “a plan in place all along” and that “the county judge in Bexar County had finally figured that out.”
Honestly, it's hard to overstate just how bad of an unforced error this was.

However belatedly, we're opening.  People had moved on.  With yesterday's move, however, Abbott rips open those old wounds.

And for what?!?

Because encouraging local governments to micromanage private entities, when these decisions should clearly be left to individual entities, seems like an odd hill on which to die.

In late April, we wrote:

Abbott's already pissed off the stay-home-forever crowd. Now, he's pissing of a not-insignificant part of his base. He's creating a rather difficult needle to thread for himself.

Yesterday's announcement restores that needle, which had been fading into the background with time, to front and center.

GREG ABBOTT is quickly becoming a man without a country.

The left, at least publicly, reviles the governor because of his party, and now the right is coming to understand Abbott is not a conservative leader, just a cipher taking up space, biding his time till a promotion is possible.

Yesterday the governor, after previously stating that facemasks could not be forced on Texans, rolled over to pressure from a lame-duck county judge.

That the left doesn't prefer Abbott isn't news, but Abbott, unless he bails at the last minute to save face, will have to appear before thousands of his party's most enthusiastic members in one month.
[Note: This blog post is already too long, but see here, and here, and here, and here for more.]

Bottom Line:  The strength of the hull remains to be seen, but the ship is clearly taking on water.

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