The cold weather in Texas is matched by the cold indifference of Texas Republican elected officials.
The devastation left behind from Winter Storm Uri (yes- in the age of climate change we now name destructive winter storms too) has once again exposed the callousness and inhumanity of Texas Republicans. Texans are proud of saying “everything is bigger” in Texas and so Republican officials showed the country that no one outdoes Texas when it comes to stupid. At all levels of government from local mayors to national Senators, elected Texas Republicans showed how to use a weather related crisis to treat their constituents to a brazen display of ignorance and cruelty.
Leading off in demonstrating a lack of political acumen, is current Governor of Texas Greg Abbott. Governor Abbott went on Fox News to declare that: “This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America.” He further stated: “Our wind and our solar got shut down and they were collectively more than 10 percent of our power grid. And that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis.” It is no surprise that Abbott would blame wind and solar energy as culprits since he has taken millions in campaign donations from gas, oil, and coal industries. His comments also ignore the fact that wind turbines did not ice up and stop working in states with colder temperatures than Texas was experiencing at the time (Iowa, Minnesota) or countries with colder climates such as Sweden. Wind mills work fine in colder weather provided they are weatherized to operate in the cold- something which Texas did not do. The main problem was that the oil and gas infrastructure, which provides 80% of Texas’s energy needs, was not winterized either. But this inconvenient fact would rightfully cast blame on the oil and gas sector which could not be tolerated. So the strategy of blaming a futuristic piece of legislation (Green New Deal) that does not yet exist had to be trotted out for public deception/consumption.
Not to be outdone, the mayor of Colorado City, Texas placed the blame of suffering from the effects of the Winter Storm Uri on the people of Texas themselves. He begins by saying: “Let me hurt some feelings while I have a minute.” He then adds:
“No one owes you or your family anything; nor is it the local government’s responsibility to support you during trying times like this! Sink or swim, it’s your choice! The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING! I’m sick and tired of people looking for a dam handout! If you don’t have electricity you step up and come up with a game plan to keep your family warm and safe. If you have no water you deal without and think outside of the box to survive and supply water to your family. If you were sitting at home in the cold because you have no power and are sitting there waiting for someone to come rescue you because your lazy is direct result of your raising.”
These comments were so egregious even for Texas standards that the usual “I beg Jesus’s forgiveness” ploy was not attempted and the mayor quickly resigned.
Not wanting local and state elected officials to steal the stupid spotlight, Senator Ted Cruz decided there was nothing he could do to help reduce the suffering of the people of Texas so he decided to take his family to Cancun, Mexico where it was warm. While his fellow citizens of Texas were freezing, standing in line for food and water, watching burst pipes fill their houses with water and sleeping in cold and dark homes, Cruz was basking in the warm sunshine of Mexico. His explanation: “I wanted to be a good dad” by taking his daughters someplace warm. So the man who didn’t have the integrity to stand up to Trump during the 2016 primary when Trump called his wife ugly and suggested his dad killed President Kennedy, decides to throw his daughters under the bus and blame them for his sleaziness. Cruz is now dealing with the fall out of the well deserved criticism for being a hall of fame douchebag.
Republican politicians who no longer hold office wanted in on the stupid fest. Former Governor of Texas Rick Perry decided to weigh in by suggesting there was nothing to learn from Winter Storm Uri (this is consistent with the Republican belief that there is nothing to be learned from any natural disaster). Instead he said: “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business,” Perry was quoted saying in a blogpost published Wednesday on the website of the Republican congressman Kevin McCarthy. Perry believes Texans need to be tough and resilient because otherwise, the Left will use the crisis as an opportunity to expand “radical” programs such as the Green New Deal- programs that might actually address the environmental problems facing the residents of Texas.
Even non-politicians in Texas want to pile on the suffering endured by the residents of Texas. Roland Burns, president and chief financial officer of Comstock Resources, Inc., a shale drilling company, told investors on an earnings call earlier this week that “Obviously, this week is like hitting the jackpot.” Jerry Jones, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Cowboys, is the majority shareholder of the energy company Comstock and biggest beneficiary of what their executives called “super-premium prices.”
The misery that Texas residents are currently enduring will continue even after the weather warms up. An army of unscrupulous “repairmen” will invade Texas looking to scam homeowners who are looking to repair water damaged ceilings and pipes that have burst. Covid vaccinations will be delayed. Insurance claims will be denied. The cold increased demand for heat, pushing up rates from $50 to $9000 per megawatt. Dallas resident Ty Williams’ bill spiked from $600 last month to almost $17,000. Expect such sorrowful stories to multiply as Texas strives to recover.
All the Republican politicians highlighted above have gone on record during their campaigns stating that they are “good Christians”. It’s a veneer needed to help hide their moral bankruptcy and allows them to look into the mirror and not see a sociopath staring back.
The Republican Party in Texas, through their words and actions, are now branding themselves as the party of incompetent and heartless leaders. Libertarian leaning wealthy people such as Elon Musk, Joe Rogan, and Bill Maher have used their media platforms to denounce regulatory states like California and hype deregulatory states such as Texas. Elon Musk and Joe Rogan have already taken up residence there. Perhaps their front row seat to the destruction caused by a weather event which was made worse by a political climate of low taxes and deregulation will cause them to reexamine their money motivated moves to the mythical free-market paradise of Texas.