Day: <span>February 19, 2014</span>

Scraping the bottom of the political barrel


Greg Abbott’s decision to pal around with foul-mouthed rocker Ted Nugent raises a bigger issue than the governor’s race. It screams the question: How much lower will political candidates continue to stoop to try to win votes?

Nugent’s public pronouncements are overtly sexist, racist and disrespectful of people with whom he disagrees. He has called Hillary Rodham Clinton a “worthless bitch,” has likened other women to “fat pigs” and even has called the current president of the United States “a subhuman mongrel.” He also has admitted to having “beautiful” sex with underage girls, a crime in Texas and, as far as I know, every other state.

Clearly, Nugent is a member of the political fringe, the kind of individual that, not too many years ago, any self-respecting politician would have gone out of his or her way to avoid. Abbott, instead, chose to campaign with him on the first day of early voting for the Republican primary.

Why? Because Nugent is an outspoken gun rights advocate, a defender of the 2nd Amendment, which Abbott pointed out to reporters yesterday.

Or, as an Abbott spokesman remarked very lamely a couple of days ago, “While he (Nugent) may sometimes say things or use language that Greg Abbott would not endorse or agree with, we appreciate the support of everyone who supports protecting our Constitution.”

Does this spokesman think we all were born yesterday?

The vast majority of Texans – 99 percent-plus – support the Constitution, including the 2nd Amendment guarantee of the right to bear arms. So, if Abbott wants to continue campaigning for gun rights – which is his prerogative — he doesn’t have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find someone to help him out.

The vast majority of Texans support the entire Constitution, including the 13th Amendment, which abolished both slavery and other forms of “involuntary servitude.” It is not so clear what Nugent thinks about this amendment, though, because he also has proposed treating immigrants “like indentured servants.”

Abbott and other political figures who also have played footsie with Nugent need to repudiate rather than encourage his tripe. Instead, Abbott continues to undermine his own credibility as a would-be leader. He finds that approach a lot easier than actually coming up with some positive ideas about how to improve education funding, access to health care, unclog our freeways and address other necessities for moving Texas forward.

Meanwhile, our political process has been lowered another notch.