Greg Abbott Is Positively Livid!

Ron DeSantis was damned if he was going to let Greg Abbott be a bigger jerk than he was. His ability to steal Abbott’s thunder is a sign of his prominence in the 2024 presidential conversation.

Greg Abbott Is Positively Livid!
If you're going to run for national office some day, cruelty counts. 

With his Martha’s Vineyard Airlift, Ron DeSantis is getting all the credit for owning the libs – and he “borrowed” asylum seekers from Texas to do it!

September 23, 2022

Greg Abbott is in a snit. He suffers from a fit of pique. He is absolutely miffed. He’s in a huff, and it’s lasted a day and a huff. He’s not really enraged, for that would require him to experience, and show, real human emotion. But he’s definitely throwing a tantrum.

The source of his pique is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has stolen Abbott’s election-year gambit of shipping asylum seekers – who are legally in the United States – off to progressive states and cities as a way to “own the libs.” Abbott has been doing it for months: CNN reports that over 9,000 asylum seekers have been shipped around the country, at a cost to Texas taxpayers of at least $12 million.

But DeSantis’s stunt of flying 50 asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard got more media coverage than all of Greg’s diabolical deliveries. To make matters worse, DeSantis doesn’t even have his own refugees to use as props; he had to “borrow” them from Texas, luring them onto planes in San Antonio with false promises about where they were headed and what would happen when they got there.

Let’s review: DeSantis 1) stole Abbott’s “own the libs” strategy of shipping “illegals” to progressive cities, 2) got more media play than Abbott and, 3) used Texas-based refugees as props in his scheme.

No wonder Greg is in such a tizzy.

Florida, as any Texas 10th grader knows, is not a “border state” vulnerable to uncontrolled invasions by non-citizens, unless you’re talking about jellyfish infestations. But Ron DeSantis was damned if he was going to do anything about marauding jellyfish, and he was damned if he was going to let Greg Abbott be a bigger jerk than he was.

So, having gotten the idea from Sith Lord Tucker Carlson that he should dump hapless refugees on Martha’s Vineyard, DeSantis sent his henchmen (and henchwoman) to San Antonio to round up the requisite suspects so they could be dropped on the unsuspecting township. To accomplish this, they apparently lied to the asylum seekers. This may be illegal, a possibility the Bexar County Sheriff is investigating. It almost certainly is what is known in legal terms as a “dick move.”

Unfortunately, it’s not a dick move politically. In American politics, there’s no such thing anymore – or, to the extent there is, there are no consequences for them.

Abbott tried to regain the initiative by sending a few busloads to the formal residence of Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington, D.C. But you could tell his heart wasn’t in it. Neither, judging by the coverage, was the media’s.

DeSantis’s ability to steal Abbott’s thunder is a sign of his prominence in the 2024 presidential conversation. A just-published piece in The Dispatch suggests the DeSantis stunt may bring on the long-expected battle royale between him and Donald J. Trump, late of Bedminster, New Jersey, and the howling fustercluck that was the QAnon rally last Saturday. Discussing the dynamics of the rivalry, it says:

Now, with the Martha’s Vineyard publicity stunt, DeSantis has begun to muscle in on Trump’s signature issue, immigration. Florida’s geography had limited his ability to grandstand on MAGA’s favorite culture-war front, leaving it to lesser political talents in border states, like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who pose no threat to Trump in a national primary. With DeSantis plunging into the fray, Trump is now at risk of losing dominance over “his” pet topic to a usurper.

Ouch! That’s gonna leave a mark.

As I’ve written before, “Greg Abbott is seized with the idea that he can become President of these here United States.” It’s a notion I consider farcical, but I must admit he should get an A for Annoying. He has managed to pilfer billions of dollars of our taxpayer money on various schemes to “secure the border,” the A-Number One red meat issue of the MAGA voters he's trying to cultivate. Shipping asylum seekers off to liberal states, in hopes it would piss off the residents of those states, should have been a stroke of brilliance. But it hasn’t worked out the way he wanted. For one thing, the libs wouldn’t play along, and often treated the relocated and helpless asylum seekers like, well, human beings. And then DeSantis came along and stole his thunder with a couple of airplanes full of migrants.

(Sidebar question: what happened in the high councils of Abbott’s reelection campaign/presidential exploration that they missed the Tucker Carlson fatwa on Martha’s Vineyard? His segment aired July 26, and DeSantis’s political props didn’t hit the Martha’s Vineyard airstrip until September 14. Surely Greg could have rounded up some refugees and borrowed one of Kelcy Warren’s private jets before then!)

Abbott, like DeSantis, faces re-election this fall. Abbott must feel he is in the catbird’s seat: while an August Texas Politics Project poll showed him with a 5-point lead, he woke up this week to a Dallas Morning News/UT Tyler poll putting him nine points up over Beto O’Rourke, his biggest lead since the Uvalde Massacre. Both candidates are raising money in anticipation of the October TV ad buys; the next campaign finance reporting date is October 11. That may also be the first opportunity to learn more about a PAC called “Coulda Been Worse LLC,” which began airing a strong anti-Abbott ad the other day and has reserved $6.1 million of air time between now and Election Day.

That Abbott’s stunts are wasteful, indecent, and immoral does not seem to enter into his calculations, but why should it? It doesn’t seem to enter into the voters’ thinking, either: the TPP poll shows that 52% of Texans, including 22% of Democrats and 50% of independents, support the migrant busing efforts.

Abbott and O’Rourke have famously agreed to debate next week. Both are skilled, although O’Rourke comes across as noticeably more comfortable in his own skin. It may be his last chance to change the trajectory of the race. Your Humble Correspondent will be watching the debate and, if he can suppress his gag reflex, sharing his thoughts and perceptions with you.