Wednesday, August 7, 2013


There is one good thing about the democratic political process. More often than not it unmasks phoniness, wrongdoing and hypocrisy.

Greg Abbott, our state’s attorney general, has been billed as the odds-on favorite to receive the Republican nomination as governor. Many believe it is at least two years too soon for the Democratic Party to emerge as a real contender and are peddling the thought that receiving the Republican nomination for governor is tantamount to being elected governor. 

Abbott’s primary opponent so far is Tom Pauken. Pauken is at least as right wing as Abbott and is a long-time street fighter. He is smart and tenacious. He has already brought to light several questions about our attorney general Abbott. 

Abbott’s self-promotional material and news releases would paint him as a tough-minded young man who, in spite of a severe handicap, persevered and is ready to lead the children of Israel (Texas) from the wilderness of federal government control. And he would also like us to buy the idea that he is somehow a great lawyer whose primary purpose is to defend the people of Texas. A very close look at Mr. Abbott will reveal that not only is he a hypocrite of the first order, but he is also less than the kind of lawyer the average Texan would want to have representing them.  

Pauken has revealed that while Mr. Abbott boasts about going to work suing President Obama he has not done a good job of “tending the store back home.” The Attorney General of Texas is charged with the responsibility for oversight of state agencies to assure that taxpayer dollars are not misspent as a result of fraud or mismanagement. A recent scandal published in most daily newspapers throughout the state has made it clear that the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Oversight Committee is a black hole of mismanagement, if not outright corruption. 

This cancer agency, created by Perry, was awarded millions of dollars, and later the entity itself awarded very generous payments to people and agencies not properly vetted. While Attorney General Abbott was supposed to be watching the “store,” the help he assigned to do so missed most of the meetings of the committee and allowed the mismanagement to happen. Even if the attorney general’s office files a lawsuit to recoup our lost taxpayer money, there’s faint hope of success.

Mr. Abbott’s hypocrisy is further highlighted by the fact he was able to pursue his career as a lawyer because of receiving a huge settlement from a personal injury suit. Reputedly, the settlement was upwards of $10 million. Mr. Abbott sued a homeowner and a tree service after a tree fell on him while he was jogging in Houston. Unfortunately, though, Mr. Abbott’s sympathies do not extend to his fellow Texans who find themselves similarly victimized by the negligence of others. As soon as Abbott got himself elected to the Supreme Court of Texas, he did the best he could to pull the ramp up to keep other victims of negligent conduct from recovering reasonable damages for their injuries. As it happens, Abbott is an avid supporter of the constitutional amendment limiting damages when doctors commit malpractice and injure their patients. Of course now Abbott says it’s a different story for people suing doctors than suing homeowners.

Abbott’s hypocrisy goes even deeper. While picturing himself as a courageous person who has overcome the handicap of being a paraplegic, he has not been a real advocate or fighter for others similarly situated. Abbott, along with Perry, has been an opponent of the Affordable Care Act which would have delivered millions of dollars to Texas assisting people with serious injuries or maladies. Again, Abbott has placed his political philosophy above the needs of hundreds, if not millions, of Texans. In fact, Abbott wants to claim that, as a disabled person himself, he cares deeply about access to public buildings and other similar challenges for persons who are wheel-chair bound, while at the same time he would peddle the philosophy that, “I know how hard it is, and I have met that challenge.” 

We need to keep in mind there is a big difference between a person in a wheelchair with no income attempting to cope with the daily trials and challenges of earning a living and a lawyer in a wheelchair with ten million dollars in the bank.

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