Expect Greg Abbott to be full of self-congratulation in his latest State of the State speech. He’ll obfuscate his record by taking credit for topics he had little or nothing to do with and will include plenty of divisive, extremist rhetoric in a crass appeal to a national GOP primary electorate.
The reality is, in the greatest challenges he has faced as governor — in the moments when Texans have needed strong leadership the most — Abbott has been an abject failure. His failed leadership has weakened the Texas economy and cost the lives of thousands of Texans.
Timeline Detailing Failure
No other issue highlights Abbott’s failure more than the COVID-19 pandemic. Lone Star Project has produced a timeline chronicling Abbott’s missed steps and lack of leadership.
From the early days of the crisis, Abbott dithered and delayed. He was too busy participating in Trump’s “pretend COVID-19 doesn’t exist” agenda to take the necessary steps upfront to really get the virus under control.
Wouldn’t Lead, Wouldn’t Let Others Lead
When local leaders stepped up to stop the spread, Abbott took away their ability to do so. He wouldn’t lead and wouldn’t allow others to lead either. He engaged in petty politics instead of working with all levels of government to save lives. When he finally collapsed to pressure to implement statewide public health orders, the virus had already caused terrible damage.
He tried stunts like using his major donors as political props in a transparent attempt to fool the public into thinking he had a handle on things. Abbott’s “strike force” of big dollar contributors was little seen or heard from.
Picked Pollsters Over Doctors
Abbott has remained straddled between doctors and pollsters, usually choosing political calculations over sound medical advice. One of his so-called top advisors, former Food and Drug Administration chief Mark McClellan, was more often quoted about what Abbott was doing wrong rather than providing actual advice that was put in action by Abbott and his inept team.
As the virus surged in November, he allowed the most corrupt attorney general in Texas history to run roughshod over localities when they tried to enforce local measures to control the spread. In November, things got so bad in El Paso that inmates were enlisted to work in the county morgue.
Hiding While Texans Were Dying
Abbott went two months last fall without holding a single press conference on the COVID-19 crisis. As people were dying and hospital rates increased, he remained silent. Texans have noticed his lack of leadership. Abbott’s public approval numbers have plummeted.
Abbott’s rollout of administering the vaccine has been mired with mixed signals and little guidance to the healthcare providers on the ground doing the work. Texas is 49th in per capita vaccinations.
Biden’s Competence Should Not Give Abbott Cover
Now that the Biden administration is running a competent national strategy to tackle the pandemic, you’ll hear Abbott attempt to declare victory for the hard work of others. Don’t believe him. Greg Abbott is the worst Texas governor in modern history and his political career should end with this term.