Texas Gov.-elect Greg Abbott is getting well-deserved criticism for his comments at a conservative forum about city ordinances that ban fracking and disposable plastic bags at stores. Claiming that such measures show that Texas is being “Californianized,” Abbott absurdly argued that they represent intolerable limits on freedom:
“That is contrary to my vision for Texas. My vision is one where individual liberties are not bound by city limits. I will insist on protecting unlimited liberty to make sure Texas will continue to grow and prosper.”
Critics are rightly pointing out the hypocrisy in those statements. Abbott — like most Texas Republicans — has for years made a big deal about defending “local control” against state and federal interference. But it turns out that when local communities pass ordinances Abbott doesn’t like, “local control” becomes just another example of government tyranny that threatens individual liberty. Political expediency, not principle, guides our incoming governor.
But there’s another way that Abbott’s statements here are deeply hypocritical. Abbott claims that he “will insist on protecting unlimited liberty,” but that conviction apparently doesn’t extend to liberty for gay people. In fact, Abbott insists on using a convoluted and pitiful defense of the state’s ban on the freedom of same-sex couples to marry in Texas.
When Greg Abbott decides that freedom means freedom for everyone, then perhaps his claim to “insist on protecting unlimited liberty” can be taken seriously. Until then, he just sounds like another hypocritical politician.