Greg Abbott's entrance into the race for Governor in Texas is another step backward for a national Republican Party trying to gain relevance outside of its narrow, right-wing base. Abbott fits right in the ranks of Republican Governors pushing agendas that have alienated voters and cost Republicans the election in 2012. Abbott, a friend and client of Karl Rove and a George W. Bush appointee, will push the same out-of-touch agenda of today's GOP Governors like Scott Walker, Chris Christie, and Rick Scott.
Just like Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Greg Abbott supports controversial mandatory ultrasound legislation and restricting a women's right to choose. Like Chris Christie in New Jersey, Abbott has shown open hostility toward the rights of gay Americans. And just like Rick Scott, Greg Abbott holds positions that are openly hostile to people of color.
In recent months, Reince Priebus and Republicans have claimed they learned the lessons of 2012 and are working toward a more inclusive party. With Greg Abbott running for the Republican nomination in Texas, it's clear Republicans still have a long way to go.
Background:
Karl Rove May Have Influenced George W. Bush's Appointment Of Abbott To The Texas Supreme Court. "Because of the much-criticized system that makes politics a heavy part of judicial selection, Rove also gets involved when Bush has to fill a judicial vacancy. Last year, the process led to Supreme Court appointments of a Rove client and another person who would become a client. Bush tapped state District Judge Greg Abbott of Houston to replace Justice Jack Hightower, who resigned, and state appellate Judge James Baker of Dallas to replace Justice Bob Gammage, who also resigned." [Austin American-Statesman, 7/21/96]
Women's Health
Abbott Promised To Vigorously Defend Restrictive Texas Abortion Bill. "Attorney General Greg Abbott, the likely front-runner for the job, was finalizing plans for a statewide tour next week, a day after he won cheers from an impassioned crowd of abortion foes outside the Capitol. 'You have an attorney general who has your back,' Abbott said, promising to vigorously defend in court the anti-abortion bill under consideration in a special legislative session." [Dallas Morning News, 7/10/13]
In National Right To Life Speech, Abbott Lauded Mandatory Sonograms, Efforts To Slash Planned Parenthood Funding. "Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, also appeared before the National Right to Life convention. Afterward, he declined to answer a reporter's question about Davis or her filibuster. In his speech, Abbott lauded Texas' strict abortion laws, such as requiring a minor to receive parental consent before an abortion and requiring doctors to perform sonograms before abortions. The crowd gave him a standing ovation when he described the Legislature's efforts to pull taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood's women's health clinics." [Dallas Morning News, 6/28/13]
HEADLINE: "Scott Walker Signs Abortion Bill Requiring Ultrasounds" [Associated Press, 7/5/13]
Gay Rights
Abbott Authored Ruling Allowing The Republican Party Of Texas To Deny GOP Gay And Lesbian Group A Booth At The Party's State Convention. "Government action is required for there to be a violation of the Texas Constitution's guarantees of free speech, equal rights and due course of law, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday. The decision came eight months after the Republican-dominated court allowed the Republican Party of Texas to deny a GOP gay and lesbian group an exhibit booth and advertising space at the party's state convention… A political party is a 'state actor' in some instances, such as when it conducts elections, but a private organization in others, such as handling some internal affairs, the court said in a ruling written by Justice Greg Abbott, a Republican." [Austin American-Statesman, 3/2/97]
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Vetoed Same-Sex Marriage Legislation, Despite Polls Showing Majority Approval. "Gov. Chris Christie has followed through on his promise to reject a bill allowing same-sex marriage in New Jersey by quickly vetoing the measure Friday and renewing his call for a ballot question to decide the issue. The veto came a day after the state Assembly passed the bill. The state Senate had passed it on Monday. Christie, a Republican who opposes same-sex marriage, had vowed "very swift action" once the measure reached his desk… Democrats are hoping that support for gay marriage - 52 percent for gay marriage, 42 against it, in New Jersey, according to one recent voter poll - will continue growing." [Associated Press, 2/17/12]