More On Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Massive Leadership Failure


Texas governor Greg Abbott says that he’s monitoring the eight-week military exercise, known as Jade Helm 15, that will take place in his state and six others, so he can bring calm to some Texans who fear it is a prelude to an armed U.S. take-over.

Honest. That’s really his explanation.

Abbott wants Texans to understand that the military is only there to be better prepared to protect them, not to install martial law or take away their guns.  He says been in contact with the military, and has been assured that the exercise will be a normal military operation. “It’s so important to understand that there probably is no state in America that is more deeply connected to the military or honors the military more. And my office has been in communication with military at multiple levels, and we have the greatest assurances that these are normal military operations and they’re going to work out just fine,” Abbott said.

With supporters like Abbott, the federal government should find ISIS less threatening by the minute.

Hey, Governor! Texans are convinced that a Jewish cabal is trying to undermine financial system! Quick: put state monitors in the synagogues to reassure them that it’s not true! Oh, and they think gays are out trolling for young boys to convert to queerdom. Make sure you surveil all openly gay men, so you can reassure straight Texans that their fears are unwarranted. A lot of your voters also think that Democrats are secretly in league with the Communist party. That’s nuts, so tap the Dems’ phones so you can reassure the good Texas that they are not Red, just wrong

The Big Lie tactic works when a scurrilous and unjustified smear is given legitimacy by efforts to deny it, and the claim that the U.S. government is preparing to jackboot conservatives into submission is a classic Big Lie. Playing right along, Abbott gave credibility to the insane, and I use the word without hyperbole, belief that standard military exercises were secretly an attempt to remove Texas citizens’ rights by force when he  behaved as if the threat might be real.

This isn’t just pandering leadership and irresponsible leadership. It is disloyal, un-American and incompetent leadership. If Abbott really wanted to address these irrational fears, he had an obligation to do so like a leader who trusted and respected the national government to at least the essential minimum: no, they don’t want to enslave and kill us.  He should have said,

“Apparently some of our citizens are concerned that a planned military exercise involving U.S. Specials Operations Forces such as the Navy Seals and the Green Berets might be a hostile attack on our state.  Shame on them. We are all Americans, and while we may differ intensely on the best policies for our nation, we are united by a love of country, reverence for its values and traditions, and the Constitution of the United States. The suggestion that the President is any less dedicated to those values, or that our military would ever participate in an efforts to destroy them, demonstrates the depths to which political discourse has fallen. It has been suggested that I use the State Guard to monitor these exercises. I will order no such thing. To do so would be an insult to our President, our armed forces and the nation. I trust the good will and patriotic motivations of our national government without reservation, and so should every patriotic Texan.”

Instead, Abbott chose to fan the flames of division and distrust.


19 thoughts on “More On Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Massive Leadership Failure

  1. See my comment to your earlier post on Texas and Jade Helm 15. Jade Helm 15 is bigger than Texas nutcases or illiterates. You need to broaden your focus.

  2. What’s really scary is to read the comments under the article Jack links to in the first paragraph.

    That’s a set of rabid rantings by lots of people who’ve gone around the bend; a governor who aids and abets that kind of insanity is guilty of throwing serious gasoline onto a dangerous fire.

    Explain how Jade Helm 15 itself can be bigger than the irresponsible actions of an elected official giving aid and comfort to dangerous (and surely armed) wack jobs? That’s pretty serious in my book.

    • He really is fanning the flames and almost inciting revolt and terrorism, but a lot of people on the far right seem to these days. Ever since the Tea Party started winning elections, it seems like Republicans are skirting closer and closer to the fringe crazies the same way teenagers dare each other to put their hand in a fire.

    • The whole conservatives are insane argument would be more convincing if you and many others on the Left didn’t sound so eager to denounce and hang the first Tea Party traitor you thought you saw.

        • I’m curious, do you really think conservatives really don’t notice the Left calling them Nazis, comparing the Tea Party to the Taliban, Blaming the NRA for school shootings, Gabrielle Giffords and unrest in Baltimore?That isn’t sowing the flames of division and distrust?
          How do you think conservatives view the Left’s seamless shift of opinion on religion from the “Memories Pizza” incident to the “Draw Mohammad” contest?
          You act like all of this is happening in a vacuum and Texans are acting completely irrational. Explain to me what my basis for trusting anyone on the Left should be?

          • 1. You are describing the Angry Left. Most liberals/progressives aren’t angry. Still.
            2. The fact that X may be paranoid about Y is not justification for Y to be paranoid about X.
            3. We are all Americans, part of the same culture, history, traditions. We are more the same than different. Much more.

            • That is a nice sentiment and I would like to believe it, but it doesn’t match observable facts. If I judge the Left on what they say, versus what they do, then I have no basis to trust what they say. If the Left doesn’t respect tradition and rule of law now, then I have no expectation that they will in the future. I’m serious, how do you develop personal and societal trust with the post-modern? The Texas incident is just one example of a huge and growing problem between Left and Right. We don’t have the same ethical framework, how do we get along?

              • There is no monolithic Left, just as there is no monolithic Right. The first side to find a genuinely honest and courageous leader, and to get its wackos from discrediting the good ideas with their repulsive and vicious rhetoric and conduct, wins.

                • It doesn’t matter if the Left or Right is a cultural monolith or a plurality if they don’t have a common ethical framework and a commitment to honesty. I see no basis for personal for political trust and cooperation with the Left. Harry Reid sees no problem with lying about Mitt Romney, if Democrats win the election. Barack Obama doesn’t feel it is necessary to be honest about Obamacare, as long as it passes. The gay rights movement says gay marriage is about love and won’t effect anyone negatively, until it is implemented. They may not be a monolith but the Left sure is consistent while advancing its political agenda and very few of its supporters argue with the results.

                  Where are the people of good will on the other side? The truth is, the Left believes progressive ends justify the means. If that means lying, cheating or stealing, then the better world brought about by the Left’s policy goals are worth it. I can’t even count on the likes of charlesgreen to oppose the use of the IRS against the Left’s political opponents. I am supposed to count on him and people like him to restrain Leftists when they go too far?

                  The Left has a choice. It can start being honest, keeping its word, respecting tradition, law and boundaries or it can use any means necessary to advance the cause of “progress”. If it chooses honesty there is a basis for trust and cooperation, if progress trumps ethics then the Texas incident is only the beginning.

  3. No, I don’t think this military exercise is a coup attempt or a backhanded way of imposing martial law. But in the context of our government’s behavior in recent years, it still makes me uneasy. Call me a nutjob if you want, but I don’t see how it’s possible *not* to be worried about the federal government’s long-term intentions at this point.

    “Dangerous (and surely armed) wack jobs”? Surely armed, as is their right. They’re Americans.

    And how dangerous are they really? If these well-armed people were as dangerous as they’re made out to be, all their political enemies would be dead already. You’re in far more danger from the Social Justice Warriors. (What’s their death toll in Ferguson and Baltimore?)

    • Okay, back with a more rational take. (Or is it? I’m replying to myself…)

      I don’t disavow what I said a few minutes ago. I can see how some people would see these military exercises as a harbinger of federal abuses to come. It’s the natural outcome of a poisoned political atmosphere.

      The “armed right-wing wacko” stereotype sets my teeth on edge, and I responded to that by sounding like a right-wing wacko.

      Jack’s argument here is sound.

      I hate to say it because I hate the progressive movement so much, but Abbott isn’t doing any better than Eric Holder, our esteemed president, and Marilyn Mosby at this point.

  4. Exploiting violence for political advantage? Obama’s really only done that in Ferguson and Baltimore. No way he would do it in Texas, its unthinkable. As a sign of goodwill he should send Al Sharpton to restore calm.

  5. Jack: There ARE a number of good people out there who are understandably worried about these maneuvers being held where they are and question the motive behind them based on past words and deeds from the White House. Many of us (mostly veterans ourselves) have worked overtime to assure worried people that these kind of exercises are not without precedent and that, in any case, the last group of men they need fear are units of the regular Armed Forces, who constitute the bulk of the assigned personnel. If it were others- such as the ATF and/or other militarized federal police agencies with their earned dubious reputations- THEN I’d be worried as well.

    The concern has died down since now that the message has gotten spread around. Personally, I think that Obama would like nothing better than to stir up yet another division among Americans- this one between the two groups he despises the most; patriotic American citizens and the military. I firmly believe that this was the governor’s thinking, as well. Thus, I welcomed his call for Texans to remain calm and that the state government was “monitoring” the exercise. In any case, that’s what ANY state would be doing and for a number of reasons unconnected to any perceived plot by Obama.

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