Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Davis, Abbott trade blows ahead of Friday debate

Some of these items aren't getting big play, so I'm going to try to push them to the top of the pile.

-- The Wendy Davis ad that declares yet another lapse in oversight by the OAG.

The DMN and the HouChron picked up the story from QR, but it didn't get much traction otherwise. Too "inside baseball"?  Too complicated to understand for the passive voters?  The shot landed hard enough that Abbott screamed about it (click on the first link in this paragraph for his response).

And today, Politifact chimed in, essentially covering for him.

Update: Abbott decides he's been whooped enough, starts swinging back.  The amusing part is questioning her ethics (pot, meet kettle), in particular for when she voted for a tax cut.

Will this be debate fodder for Friday night?

-- The HouChron apparently ignored the story that Wayne Slater at the DMN has trumpeted about Wendy Davis' divorce settlement.  She pushed back; Slater stands by his reporting.

Update: Nonsequiteuse smells the sexism. A hashtag is born: #NoShitWayne  And Gadfly thinks it's more than just sexism, and he's not wrong about that.

Will this be debate fodder for Friday night?

 Update II: This spot, and this issue, should certainly be.

-- In terms of analyzing how policy and politics mix together, this by Peggy Fikac was the best from yesterday.  It's behind the firewall so I'm excerpting a lot of it.

Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott showcases the tenacity with which he approaches his life in a wheelchair as indicative of the determined leadership he would bring to the governor's office.

His recent television ad, entitled "Garage," encapsulated the message, showing him rolling up the floors of a parking garage and saying that when he wanted to quit, he pushed himself to do "just one more."

The ad was praised by Chris Cillizza of "The Fix," a Washington Post politics blog. Cillizza called it "among the most powerful I've seen this cycle" and said it "humanizes him in an extremely personal and moving way."

The ad is so personal, it seemed jarring when a spokeswoman for Sen. Wendy Davis, Abbott's Democratic opponent, stayed relentlessly on message in responding to it by referring to a case in which Abbott ruled while on the Texas Supreme Court.

"If you had told me Greg Abbott was running an ad titled 'Garage,' I would have assumed it would be an apology to the woman he sided against on the Texas Supreme Court after she was brutally raped in a parking garage," Davis spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña said.

When I checked in with Dennis Borel of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities about the ad and response, neither was high on his radar. His focus is the state policy that will ensue when one of these candidates is elected.

"I really strongly believe, and I think most people who are advocates for people with disabilities believe, that a disability is neither a barrier nor an advantage in potentially serving as governor of Texas," Borel said. "It's kind of not that relevant."

What's relevant is an Abbott proposal to increase the pay for personal attendants who help people with disabilities live in the community, an idea Borel likes.

What's relevant is a legal issue that Borel has pressed Abbott on since his announcement last year: If elected governor, would he support a proposal to waive Texas' claims of sovereign immunity in lawsuits brought against the state alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, so people can get their day in court?

Abbott - who as attorney general has asserted the state's immunity - said no last year through a campaign spokesman. His answer hasn't changed.

"Granted to the states by the 11th Amendment, General Abbott believes sovereign immunity is not a concept that should be treated casually. It must be vigorously defended, which is consistent with his absolute duty to defend the state of Texas whether he is attorney general or governor," said spokesman Matt Hirsch last year.

Asked the same sovereign-immunity question, Davis campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas gave only a general answer. "Wendy Davis believes all Texans should be protected from discrimination. She has worked to improve educational and economic opportunities for people with disabilities and will continue to prioritize those issues as governor."

Borel and other activists expect another chance to press the issue with Davis. She has met with them personally, he said, and has agreed to take part in the Texas Disability Issues Forum co-hosted in Austin by advocacy groups on Sept. 24.

Abbott has declined to attend the forum, "and he has known about it for a very long time," said Borel. He said he has met with Abbott's policy director on issues.

Hirsch said Abbott will be in Midland and Odessa the day of the forum. Borel said Abbott declined appearing at the forum by Skype or doing a video segment that would replicate the questions asked of candidates at the live appearance.

Will this be debate fodder for Friday night?


Gadfly said...

So, is Davis trying to avoid being seen as the poor little rich girl?


On the abuse investigation, Abbott's one email yesterday had a bunch of news stories, not just Politico, lined up for him. The jurisdictional issue seems clear-cut.


On handicapped access, Abbott will just get himself privately built cut-throughs, etc., to overcome the "access drought."

PDiddie said...

1. I don't think it's something she should respond to at all. When is the divorce settlement of any male politician ever been questioned?

I have to say that Slater is again demonstrating an appalling sexism in that piece. It is a sexism that fosters resentments in certain males w/r/t divisions of marital assets, spousal support, and even child support. Slater opened this can of worms at the beginning of the campaign, if you recall.

2. Yes, I believe the Davis campaign made a mistake in trying to be hyper-aggressive in this regard. But the topic hasn't hit the radar of anyone but people like us.

3. I thought Fikac did an excellent job of pointing out that Abbott is, again, not just determined to show that his disability has no effect on him, but to teach this lesson to everyone else who is disabled.

"Pull yourself up bya bootstraps, ya cripple! Like I did!"

That's what I hear him saying.

Gadfly said...

You're righter than I am on Point 1. To me, it's not so much the money, as apparent time-serving and other, municipal-level, politics as usual, I think.

And, on Point 3, it's easier to pull yourself up if your bootstraps have been lawsuit-enriched, eh? Ditto when you're a high-ranking government official and have all sorts of assistance.