A Friday-night debate in Texas
Who has a Friday night political debate in Texas? The answer is a governor who is up by 8 points and wants to get this debate thing over with, and very quickly! I've lived in Texas since 1984, we had three sons who played football, and no one here talks politics on a September/October Friday night. We talk high school football and good luck with anything else.
Yes, I did watch the debate on my iPhone because I couldn't find it on TV. It was a boring 60 minutes that won't make anyone's favorite video lists.
The candidates did what they had to do, I guess. O'Rourke blamed Abbott for everything, and Abbott kept correcting him. I don't know who won, but Governor Abbott was ready for "O'Rourke-isms" and punched back effectively.
On abortion, O'Rourke said we should go back to Roe v. Wade and did not reject late-term abortions. On the other hand, the governor spoke effectively of his adopted daughter and adoption in general. I don't think either one was very effective, but late-term abortion will not play well with Hispanic women in Texas.
On immigration and guns, O'Rourke was playing defense because the journalists played his videos about AR-15s and denying the border crisis. The governor was better in this round by simply stating the obvious: that we have a huge problem on the border. O'Rourke tried to blame the governor for the Uvalde school shooting but was not effective.
On the power grid, a big issue because of the problems in early 2021, O'Rourke fell short because the lights did not go out in February, nor in the super-hot month of August. So the grid worked, and that was good for the governor. God did not answer Beto's prayer about the lights going out.
The governor's best point was tying O'Rourke to President Biden. O'Rourke was lost because the Biden presidency is more than underwater in Texas. It's more like 20,000 leagues under the sea. O'Rourke tried but could not detach from the incumbent president's record.
I have not seen too much coverage of this debate. Maybe it's too early or maybe the press people were watching high school football, too. I do agree with this from Fox:
Incumbent Texas Gov. Greg Abbott effectively tied his Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke to the unpopular policies of President Biden in a debate between the two, according to an expert in campaign debate preparation.
Abbott and O'Rourke squared off Friday at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where the border was a major topic of discussion, along with abortion, gun control and energy.
The apparent tactic of Abbott, like other Republicans in the 2022 midterm election cycle, was to tie O'Rourke to the president, who has struggled with underwater approval ratings for over a year and whose party faces historical headwinds and a slate of crises. According to Brett O'Donnell, an expert in advising political candidates to debate effectively, Abbott succeeded.
Yes, he did. The governor will be re-elected in a month or so, and our pal Beto will move on to his next adventure. I understand that Chris Wallace needs a little help with his ratings. So we may see him as Chris's sidekick!
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Image: Texas Governor's Office.