Takes High Road
And Gets Repeatedly Sucker-Punched in the Underbelly
Last night Texans
had their second opportunity to witness a debate between the two candidates for
the office of governor of their state, the second largest state in the
American union. While the governorship
of the State of Texas is not the most powerful in the state’s form of
government, it is the most prominent, and carries the loudest clout in its
For 100 years a
firmly Democratic state, Texas is now one of the most Republican in the
country, with all, 100%, state-wide offices held by Republicans.
The last time
Texans favored a Democrat in a presidential election was in 1976, in the wake
of the disgraceful fall of Richard Nixon.
It is in this
environment that, despite the overnight fame and popularity of Wendy Davis
among liberal progressives, an Abbott victory has been largely perceived as
inevitable. It still is an almost
certain outcome. But, the debates from
last night exposed a flaw in the Abbott campaign strategy that, unattended,
could lead to an upset.
Round One Reveals
strategy, evident from the first debate held on September 19, seems to be to avoid
confrontation or even engagement, and run out the clock. And, this is normally a winning strategy
when one has a vast lead, and little more can be gained by a face-to-face
matchup. However, once one has agreed
to even one matchup, even if the approach remains to avoid any hand-to-hand
combat, one needs to come prepared to land some blows – just in case your
opponent manages to make contact.
Abbott entered the debates without any hope of converting any voters already
in the Davis camp. Most of the
independent or centrist voters were his to lose. So, he no doubt was advised to stay
amiable, avoid targeting or engaging Senator Davis directly, and do his best
to avoid giving her credibility by responding to any of her charges.
In the first
debate, despite the repeated scolding and contemptuous language that
delivered damning accusations from the lady senator to the Texas Attorney
General, the general remained dispassionate and fixed on his higher political
perch. We thought then that it was too
column 2 >
World Forecast &
Project – ultrapolisproject.com
Editor: Marco Antonio Roberts
Copy Editor: Michael Alberts
From column 1
due to Wendy Davis’ obvious stiffness, highlighted by her halting diction
that echoes a wooden Al Gore, her carpet-bombing in the first debate did
not do much damage to Greg Abbott’s bunker of gentlemanly, polite
dismissiveness (Wendy Davis who?).
So what if he left accusations un-rebutted and unanswered? Most next-day news stories reported an
inconsequential debate. But, he did
leave those accusations unanswered, to perhaps linger in some undecided
Round Two: The Gloves Are Off
(On One Side)
In this second debate, it was as if both campaigns doubled
down on their strategies. Senator
Davis added napalm and cluster bombs to her attack, missing no question, no
rebuttal, not even an answer to her own question, as an opportunity to
berate the attorney general, and accuse him of failure of leadership, of
persistently lying, of hypocrisy (“talks out of both sides of his mouth”),
and all sorts of damnable policies that led to the denial of food,
education, and health benefits to children and the needy.
In the case where it was Senator Davis’ turn to ask
Attorney General Abbott a question, she actually stopped him in
mid-response, and took over to provide her own response. Texas’ chief attorney allowed himself to
Through it all, Mr. Abbott kept his distance, and
refused to engage or retaliate.
Then, when he finally did emerge from his bunker to spear the
Senator over an alleged conflict of interest in her acts as a city
councilwoman in Fort Worth, where he accused her of illicitly profiting,
she so flatly denied the entirety of his accusation, he was left verbally
naked in the battlefield, with not a word more to come from the flummoxed
expression on his face. One could
only conclude that either the attorney general did not know what he was
talking about, or the senator is a pathological liar. Either way, Wendy Davis knew that
accusation was coming, and was prepared for Greg Abbott’s single serious
charge. Greg Abbott was not prepared
for her at all.
Continued column 3 >
From column 2
to Not Fight a Woman
milquetoast Attorney General brought a wicker shield and a switchblade to
this fight, while his robotic opponent brought a hatchet.
It is one thing to
avoid engagement with an opponent that is determined to get you dirty in
the tussle. It is another thing
entirely to remain disengaged after she has already covered you in dirt.
It is actually
rather difficult to battle an aggressive challenger. Leading candidates can always be seen as
lacking magnanimity if they come down too hard on an underdog challenger.
Moreover, in this race, regardless of what politically correct people may
think or say, gender-bias does cut both ways. A harsh attack by one male Greg Abbott to
one female Wendy Davis can very easily be turned into another example of
the GOP’s so-called “war on women.”
tricky as it may be, Greg Abbott may just have to find a way. If not for this election, for a future
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