A few days ago, Mr. Abbott's people phoned me (and others) to conduct a "Tele-Town Hall" in which residents could ask the candidate questions. I have spoken, in this format, to Congressman Louie Gohmert three times and the last time, Mr. Gohmert was very impressed with my idea that Texas needs to have its own gold store-house, similar to a Fort Knox. It would give Texans (and all Americans) re-assurance that Texas' Economic Collateral isn't just on paper: but tangible gold bars and gold coinage. In a shaky economy, "confidence" means everything to people and companies who either move here OR wish to re-locate here or to conduct business in The Lone Star State. With regard to Mr. Abbott's Tele-Town Hall, I just listened to him and the people who asked him questions. I figured I'd learn more. I did.
Mr. Abbott may be a nice man. I am fully aware of his boyhood ties to Longview; but nevertheless he calls Duncanville Texas, his permanent home. I heard that Mr. Abbott went to first-grade through sixth-grade school in Longview and that a political-rally was held at Horaney's Farm and Feed Store for him. I applaud him on his old memories. I salute him on his scouting days. I was in Scouts, too ---just not in Longview.
During the telephone-teleconference: Mr. Abbott excessively repeated his slogan: "Teachers being forced to teach to the test, and not enough graduates to reach for their best". I realize he was repeating often, so newcomers to the conversation could hear his jingle. However, I found it monotonous and soon tasted as 'flat' as flat beer.
Mr. Abbott is a lawyer. As an Attorney General, I find him quite capable for that post; albeit I believe that his unprecedented third-term is a prime illustration of how dismal the "pool of candidates" has become; as well as the "failure of individual Texans to reach-out beyond the re-tread political officeholders" . It is high-time that we find FRESH FACES in Texas politics. Texas voters need to shake complacency ---and try new and different ideas AND candidates from time to time. Voting blindly only engenders and fosters the dismal status-quo.
While Mr. Abbott has had moderate success as Attorney General, his Office primarily revolves around filing legal lawsuits against people and corporations. Attorney General Abbott often has to "react" to consumer complaints or allegations of fraud or of regulatory neglect. However, I regard the governorship of the State of Texas as an entirely different role. A Governor is charged to diligently see that the laws are faithfully executed. A Governor, by definition, is a "leader"....and thus "pro-active". After the U.S. Civil War reconstruction, the power vested in the Texas Governor was severely limited and curtailed, compared to other States, such as Kansas, which have Governors with considerably more Executive Power. In any event, Texas Governors still have the "power of appointment" which is one prerogative that Rick Perry used so frequently to his advantage. I'm not so sure that Mr. Abbott (or any other Bureaucrat) should be elected to be the NEXT Governor of Texas. Aren't we fed-up with men who brag on one accomplishment while failing at a dozen other pressing goals ??? Aren't we fed-up with paper-pushers ?? Aren't we fed-up with mindless slogans ???
Two things that Abbott said, pinpoint the problem. He promised (if elected) to rein-in debt as governor, and to work to reduce state borrowing. I almost laugh out loud when Republican Rick Perry makes voters believe that Texas has no debt and that Texas doesn't have a serious problem borrowing money; yet his Republican colleague Abbott admits it. Both men are of the same political-party; but definitely not reading from the same scripts. Perry and Abbott try to curry the votes of teachers; yet they fail to shore-up retired-teacher funding as well as reduce the high school dropout rates which make Texas the laughing-stock of the entire nation. Make no mistake, I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican....I'm an Independent Voter and I know that Party-labels mean virtually nothing in today's world of Lobbyists and mega-donors to campaigns. Those on the inside-track have manipulated and muffled the voices of the silent majority of the populace. Nobody should twiddle their thumbs and say: "Everything is all right" when a great many things are on the wrong-track with so many Texans being homeless, jobless, without health insurance and without a high school diploma.
I fully agree with Mr. Abbott that we need to prioritize Water, Schools, and Roads. But that is my chronological order. I believe Abbott mentions roads, first. I have no objection to his order on his checklist; but he champions more toll-roads. By contrast: I want FEWER TOLL ROADS. Plus, I believe the emphasis in these hard Economic times should be to keep existing roads properly maintained in prompt fashion -----instead of going too far out on a limb with fancy new roads: the construction of which, could be deferred to a later date.
Mr. Abbott mentions "water". If I were in his shoes: I would enunciate and articulate : "drinking water", "water wells", and "water reservoirs". The very survival of current and future Texans will hinge on clean, available, and affordable water for trees, plants, animals, and humans. By focusing on existing needs: We can cultivate good-paying jobs and make Texas more self-sufficient ---and thus more immune from unfunded federal mandates.
Mr. Abbott likes to "sue". I would prefer that we "grow" by wise stewardship of the Economic garden. Cultivation requires that you get your hands dirty and your shoes wet, at times. It takes work and sweat and toil. Jingles do not make a garden grow. They are the wrong type of "fertilizer". Nor does a jingle prompt a youth avoid cutting class nor does it prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Leadership requires "Vision" with communicative interaction, dialogue and honorable compromise with others. It is pointing people in the right Direction, with feasible plans and realistic goals. Yes, sometimes failures occur. However, few people nowadays choose to try the road less-traveled. It may be a rocky path ---but it may yield success---whereas the nice paved road leads you to a "Dead End" of Debt and Regret.
Only a few days after Abbott announced his gubernatorial candidacy, I saw several of his political brochures in my mailbox. I realize that politicians depend on name-recognition. But, career-politicians and Bureaucrats are inbred to throw a flurry of paper at you...as well as tossing a lot of lofty words at the voters. This is August 2013 ----Why can't we enjoy the rest of 2013 without jumping into the squirrel-cage of political pandering for an election ten long months away ? Election-cycles are far too long, far too costly...and with Mr. Abbott's slogan: far too boring.
Personally, I think it is high-time to "clean house" in Austin. The next Governor of Texas shouldn't be a Bureaucrat nor a career-politician. I wouldn't even mind if a good, sincere, political novice came-along. Anything would be better than what we've got now. We need someone who can use an ink-pen, a scissors, and an umbrella. The ink-pen to VETO pork-barrel bills; the scissors to trim the budget; and the umbrella for proper-handling of the rainy-day fund. Lastly, we need a new Governor who knows the definition of "Truancy" and who WILL reduce the school dropout rate. When I was a student, my folks cracked-the-whip and I wasn't ever 'tardy', let alone 'truant'. If I were: I would have suffered stiff consequences at school and at home. Nothing can replace good parental oversight and vibrant interaction with their kids as to what are learning in schools. Furthermore, teachers do better when they are relaxed-enough to 'teach', rather than by rote 'testing'.
One of my best teachers was my 7th and 8th Grade teacher, the late Lee Haney. On the school-day prior to a holiday, Mr. Haney would tell the class to "put your Math books down". We would play 'Dictionary'. Students were invited to bring dictionaries and call-out any 'word' and Mr. Haney would give its definition. Only rarely was Mr. Haney 'stumped'. I was among the few who stumped him with a word he didn't know. Needless-to-say: Mr. Haney's Class was fun, interesting, and productive. Very few kids "skipped" his Class. kids (like Adults themselves) are motivated by incentives, as well as a pleasant environment. If there is a good "purpose" involved --- there will always be plenty of "attendance" and participation.
Mr. Haney could be brash at times, but he was on-target. He would often say: "Let a fool keep talking. Give him enough rope and he will hang himself on his own words." How true. Career-politicians and Bureaucrats figuratively hang themselves in the inconsistencies of their own statements or jingles, IF the voters will only take NOTICE...and vote them out-of-office. Just like a garden: You must water prudently. You must also pull-out and discard the weeds, eradicate the overgrowth, and eliminate the noxious thorns ---if you expect flowers to blossom; trees to grow; or expect any viable plant to bear good fruit.
To me, the next Governor shouldn't be a slick talker with a suit and tie; but a man (or woman) who has had scarred arms and ankles from real-world experience in briers and barbed-wire fence. Too many contenders covet the 'title' and 'perks' of being 'Governor'. A wiser contender would seek to exert the effort and elbow-grease of doing the JOB OF BEING GOVERNOR. By demonstrating an ethic to do the task: it would prove to voters that they have someone worthy of their Vote. That type of person hasn't stepped forward yet. I wish such a person would come to the forefront someday. Texas needs better quality candidates in elections. We have a thorny-patch of politicians and too few genuine Statesmen.