Monday, April 22, 2013

Greg Abbott is running for governor of Texas in 2014, but is Rick Perry?

The incumbent keeps head-faking.

"Why would you want to change?"

The challenger, meanwhile, beat him out to West.

The day after the horrific blast last week, Gov. Rick Perry held a press conference at the Department of Public Safety headquarters in Austin. He wore casual clothes with an open collar, and flanked by the lieutenant governor and other officials, talked about making sure the state sent whatever was needed to the tiny town best known as a Kolaches stop on Interstate-35.

A few hours later, Abbott was the first elected, statewide official on the scene wearing a fleece and a serious expression, taking an aerial tour of the damage and returning to brief journalists. In past disasters, that was Perry's job. The governor didn't make it to West until the next day.

Many may ask what role does an attorney general play in responding to an industrial accident. Not much really, though Abbott did take the opportunity to warn local businesses against price gouging for food and shelter. But his appearance makes a little more sense if you consider that Abbott is widely seen as Perry's chosen successor to the governor's mansion.

It was a quick return trip to the Waco area for Abbott. He was there just the day before the explosion telling people that Battleground Texas was a "far greater threat" than Kim Jong-un.

The troublesome thing for the attorney general is that the governor might not be ready to move on. Ross Ramsey lays out the case for both directions, in or out.

Rick Perry is being so cagey that even I won't speculate -- yet -- on what he might do. I do know that the guy who will know first is Eric Bearse.

Abbott's campaign consultant, Eric Bearse, responded mildly saying that he isn't privy to Perry and Abbott's conversations. But Bearse also happens to be a Perry campaign consultant who helped write Perry's book on scouting, "On My Honor." He also worked on Perry's presidential campaign.

Bearse declined to comment to The Associated Press on Perry's plans, or if Abbott is preparing a run for governor. But going into his 11th year in office, Abbott is known to be restless for something bigger and an attorney general candidate doesn't need an $18 million war chest to run virtually unchallenged for re-election.

Well, it is certainly true that Abbott is bored being the state attorney general.

Earlier this year he was asked what his job entailed. “I go into the office in the morning,” he replied. “I sue Barack Obama, and then I go home.” 

I guess that beats stuffing your boot in your mouth on a weekly basis. Here's the governor, just days before West.

If you’re a business owner in Illinois, I want to express my admiration for your ability to survive in an environment that, intentionally or not, is designed for you to fail.

With rising taxes and government interference on the upswing, your situation is not unlike a burning building on the verge of collapse. If you’re thinking of “just riding it out” you might want to reconsider.

Yeah, a burning building about to collapse. Or it might be just like living next to a fertilizer plant with 1,350 times the legal limit of ammonium nitrate and no inspections by OSHA since 1985. Anyway, Eric Bearse.

Perry-watchers can find evidence for either case. His failure to declare any emergency items this legislative session — a first since he took office — shows that his mind is elsewhere, as does his travel to California and an upcoming trip to Illinois, Democratic states with big Republican donors.

On the other hand, Perry talks about how much he loves his job and how the Texas economy is thriving due to the state's leadership current leadership.

So it is from this fog of uncertainty about Perry's plans that Abbott emerges alone in West, meeting with first responders, comforting the grief-stricken and acting very much like a governor.

If the speculation is true, and Bearse is charged with managing an orderly transition from Perry to Abbott, then Texans may have already witnessed the first act.

I can't stand the thought of either of these two as governor of Texas in 2014. C'mon, Republicans: can't you do any better than this?

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