I’m willing to wager you missed or ignored the 5,000-word profile of Governor Greg Abbott published by Politico last week. Let me give you the best bits.

First, Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller comes through as only he can, calling Abbott a “Sasquatch,” a recluse, a politician you know is out there “but no one ever sees.” The only thing missing from Miller’s final statement would be that no one ever sees Abbott unless he’s on Fox News unjustly preening.

Second, Abbott has been forced (against his preference) to be conservative. Politico points out, “Many who have known him for years say he is personally more moderate than his public persona these days.”

Politico pinpoints the shift in persona to last fall and the SD 30 special election pitting Shelley Luther against Drew Springer. Luther ran as a referendum candidate against Abbott’s 2020 lockdown policies.

In an election that Abbott concocted to produce a Springer win, the governor still spent more than a quarter of a million dollars and expended energy to secure a victory against a political novice.

Despite ultimately prevailing, blood was in the water. The primary challengers from his right (Don Huffines, Chad Prather, and Allen West) are a continuation of this pressure forcing Abbott to continue his mock move to the right.

Third, while Abbott has maintained high approval ratings in Texas, the governor doesn’t have much appeal beyond the Lone Star State’s border—and the article noted that he skipped CPAC in Texas. Whatever Abbott’s excuse, it’s sure to disappoint.

Fourth, constitutional carry wasn’t Abbott’s idea. “In fact, for months, he had avoided saying whether he supported it.” Politico is kind enough to outline how Abbott operates, which the most observant Texans will already recognize; he “avoid[s] specifics for as long as possible and get[s] on board only once the outcome is clear.”

This leads to the more significant and final point: how Abbott has maintained power.

According to the article, “Abbott is a ruthless backstage operator, taking no uncalculated risks, figuring out how to keep donors happy and lawmakers in line, deflecting blame for crises, maintaining a massive field operation, and maneuvering among the state’s disparate GOP factions.”

Abbott isn’t a leader; to borrow a term, he’s a positioner. That coworker, who, after others have done the heavy lifting, jumps out to collect credit.

Thanks, Politico, for further illuminating this fact.

The entire article can be read here.

This is a commentary published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.

Peter Tucker

Peter Tucker is a business consultant who lives in central Texas with his wife and children.


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