Thursday, October 15, 2015

Gotta Love Texas

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but Texas is not your everyday run-of-the-mill state. It used to be its own country. And there’s a certain pride here—that is not without substance. When we go to foreign countries, and people ask where we’re from, we are more likely to say Texas than the USA. Texas is kind of All-American. Anything good about being American is embedded in saying we’re from Texas. Texas love is something I didn’t really know about until we moved here.

Sometimes we get together just to give a happy “Yee Haw!” that we’re here. So that’s what we did for fun this week.

Governor Greg Abbott was in Houston on Tuesday, and we (son Political Sphere and I, along with grandson Little PS2) got to go hear him speak.  It was a feel-good kind of experience—very American, very Texan. So I thought I’d share a few lines. (Note: any quotes are from my notes and may not be exact quotes.)

Governor Greg Abbot is greeted by the
restaurant owner hosting the event

Governor Abbott is Texas proud:

I don’t believe it’s the United States of America that is broken, but it’s Washington, DC, that is broken, and it takes states like Texas to fix it.
That kind of theme came up several times. He also said, “Texas is what America is supposed to be. American needs Texas now more than ever.”

There was a bit of Texas swagger, about what Abbott himself has done, and what Texas is doing that probably every other state ought to do.
We even love the shape of our state.
This photo is a University of Texas class photo

He reminded us that, as Attorney General, he sued Barack Obama 31 times, several times challenging Obamacare, a law which only stands “because Justice Roberts rewrote it.” He suggests (that’s putting it too mildly; he insists) we repeal the whole thing, “and replace it with laws that protect patients and doctors.” I don’t know the specifics of such a law, but, since this is Texas, you can expect that to coincide with free market principles, rather than regulatory interference.

He said we “need judges who will apply the law, not re-write it.” In reference to the Supreme Court ruling to redefine marriage, he said Texas has done three things. First, Texas already has a Religious Freedom Protection Act—similar to the US RFRA law, enacted 15 years ago.

Second, the legislature passed the Pastor Protection Act. This was signed in June, ahead of the SCOTUS ruling, saying that no pastor, priest, rabbi, clergy, or religious leader can be forced to either perform or recognize a “marriage” that goes against their sincere religious belief.

Third, on the day of the Supreme Court decision redefining marriage, Governor Abbott issued an executive order that all offices in the state would protect religious liberties of workers who hold a different belief about marriage, and also all businesses, so no one will be forced to violate their religious beliefs.

Speaking of the Courts, the 5th Circuit Court erroneously struck down our Voter ID law, even though the US Supreme Court has already upheld virtually identical voter ID laws in other states.  He told us, in case you thought that voter fraud wasn’t an issue, “on the very day a lawyer in Texas was arguing against Voter ID, voter fraud scam indictments came down in south Texas—for using cocaine to buy votes.”

Governor Abbott reminded us that the federal government has an obligation to secure our sovereignty and secure our borders. But they won’t. So, Texas is spending $1 Billion to do it ourselves. We’re increasing personnel, barriers, and air support to secure the border.

Governor Abbott said, “Texas is the model for governing in the United States of America.” He gave several examples. One was that, in response to attacks on our military, including here at Ft. Hood, he has ordered that all on-duty soldiers be armed. Another is taking care of veterans, with particular concern for PTSD. And Texas has now declared February 2nd as Chris Kyle Day, honoring him in his work to rehabilitate PTSD sufferers.

Texas is exemplary on taxes. The legislature cut the business franchise tax by 25%. Combine that with the property tax cut—raising the homestead exemption, which is Prop 1 on the November ballot—that will be $4 Billion is tax cuts.

We use our money well. We’re leading the nation in improving roads. We kept $10 Billion in our rainy day fund, to address anything that arises.

He proclaimed the Texas rule, loudly: “Don’t Spend All the Money!” and added, “That’s something Washington, DC, needs to learn.”

He made some comparisons between Washington, DC, and Texas:

Washington defines success as more people dependent on government. Texas defines success as more entrepreneurs, more people who get jobs. Texas works to achieve exceptionalism.
Texas is responsible for most of the economic growth in the nation during this president’s administration. With better government in Washington—say, something akin to abiding by the Constitution, and getting out of the way of the free market—Texas would be even better off, and so would the rest of the country.

If you’re into contrast, the Democrat presidential primary debate was held that same evening, just a few hours later. I chose not to assign myself to watch. But I scanned the transcript and heard a few painful lies on radio in the car. I read a pretty good response or two. One, entitled “Two Hours I’ll Never Get Back,” by Derek Hunter, offered this summary:

I don’t know what country those candidates were talking about, but it sounds awful. It has a rigged system that keeps down minorities, women, gays, men, aliens, animals, trees, anything living and most things dead. But somehow this horrible nation favors the rich. I’m not sure how they earn the money the rich steal from them since they’re so severely oppressed, but it all just sounds horrible.
Whoever has been running the place they were speaking about must be some kind of monster for not fixing these egregious injustices.
Fear not, America. Those Democrats running to replace that person promise more of the same, only with different results. There’s a definition of insanity in there somewhere.
The basic theme of the Democratic debate was: “Big government isn’t working, so we need bigger government.”
The debaters agree the biggest security problems we face are not Islamist Terrorism calling for Death to American and acting on that jihad. No, it’s weather. And which of the candidates is most adamant about preventing law-abiding citizens from owning firearms for self-defense. And what we must spend our money on is free college for everyone—even those who drop out of high school (at rates above 50% in “progressive” run cities), and even those who hate school and would be better off finding an alternative career path.

By contrast, again, Governor Abbott mentioned a young man he had recently met who had completed a two-year certification to become a welder. In his first year he earned $130,000. In his second year he earned $140,000. Abbott quipped, “If this governor thing doesn’t work out, at least I know I can get a welding certification and make a living.”

No just a living wage, but up there in the top 10%. And the money goes further here in Texas. To be fully truthful, it’s quite possible that the welder makes a lot less in years like this one, when oil prices are down. But even if that welder is only making $60-$80,000 a year, that’s better than most law graduates are making—after four years of college, three years of law school, and a couple years’ gross salary in student debt.

But that’s not an option Obama and his would-be replacements want young people to know about. He wants them to be beholden to government, go into a fruitless field—maybe ethnic studies—and the stay dependent. That might be the way Democrats fish for voters, but it’s not good for American citizens.

In case you thought integrity, honesty, and reliability might come up—well, that’s not their strong suit.

The little part I heard on radio included this exchange, in response to a call to ignore the email scandal:

COOPER: I know that plays well in this room. But I got to be honest, Governor Chafee, for the record, on the campaign trail, you've said a different thing. You said this is a huge issue. Standing here in front of Secretary Clinton, are you willing to say that to her face?
CHAFEE: Absolutely. We have to repair American credibility after we told the world that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which he didn't. So there's an issue of American credibility out there. So any time someone is running to be our leader, and a world leader, which the American president is, credibility is an issue out there with the world. And we have repair work to be done. I think we need someone that has the best in ethical standards as our next president. That's how I feel.
COOPER: Secretary Clinton, do you want to respond?
Just plain “No.” Credibility is not worth talking about. I haven’t heard any commentators mention this, but it’s telling. If you’re talking about credibility, you don’t get that from the Democrats, maybe particularly Hillary Clinton, although it’s hard to be less credible than our president oval office occupant.

I don’t like having an anti-Constitution president. I hope we can soon change that. The old, overwarmed options on the Democrat side lead only to greater tyranny and poverty.
The Republican bench is deep. And the contrast is clear.

Just as those who have lived under socialism appreciate the freedom of America, people in America who can experience the difference between places like Texas and places like Chicago or DC appreciate the freedom where it is real.

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