Opinion

The Four Political Missteps During the Freeze of 2021

"Oops" again.
"Oops" again. Photo from the U.S. Department of Energy
Then Texas Governor Ann Richards famously said that George HW Bush had been born with a silver foot in his mouth. If only she were alive today, she would have been able to witness some of the dumb and downright bizarre statements from Texas politicians in the midst of the worst winter weather crisis the state has seen in a decade.

It is difficult to understand how politicians can be so boneheaded when their constituents — you know, the people who vote for them — are suffering, even dying. But, there were four of them over the last few days who really stepped in it. They are paying the price on social media. Will they suffer at the ballot box? We'll have to wait and see.

For now, let's take a look at the worst of the worst.

4. Governor Greg Abbott on Fox News.

Abbott, who is being heavily criticized for his lack of oversight of the state's power grid, went on the friendly airwaves of Fox News this week to tell Sean Hannity that the blame should be laid squarely at the feet of renewable energy like wind turbines and solar panels. Despite frozen wind turbines contributing less than 10 percent of the state's power shortages, Abbott thought this would be a good time to prop up the fossil fuel industry which has been so good to him over the years and continues to represent a large chunk of the state's economy.


“It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary for the state of Texas as well as other states to make sure that we will be able to heat our homes in the wintertime and cool our homes in the summertime,” he told Hannity.

Perhaps, governor, you might want to consider staying focused on keeping freezing people alive who actually live in your state instead of trying to play to a base that really doesn't need placating in the middle of a blizzard. Your voters were without heat and water too.

3. Former governor and energy secretary Rick Perry speaking for cold Texans.

Back in 2011 during a presidential debate Perry tried to name the three government agencies he would eliminate if he were elected president. He managed two and couldn't remember the third. As everyone stood awkwardly and watched, he said, "Oops." This time, he had his "oopsie" on the blog of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

"Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business," Perry was quoted as saying.


Oh, really, Rick? You think Texans would spend three days huddled in the frozen dark, using child baby gates as kindling and nearly (or, in some cases, actually) dying of hypothermia or carbon monoxide poisoning to be free from the tyranny (and presumably, electricity) of the federal government, huh? We are sure there are at least a few thousand folks in Texas who would give up quite a lot to see you sit in the cold for three days.

2. Senator Ted Cruz taking escorting his family to Cancun.

We thought Cruz was done making himself look like an idiot, but apparently not. After his help inciting a full-frontal assault via insurrection in Washington D.C., Cruz turned around this week and decided that during the fierce cold snap in his state now would be the absolute perfect time for a family vacation...in Cancun.

Cruz was spotted boarding a plane to Mexico with his family without announcement. This comes just days after his comments mocking California during their rolling blackouts were unearthed. When confronted about his trip, he said the following:

“Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon."

Right. It's would be funny if it weren't so insensitive to the suffering people of Texas, never mind how absurdly stupid he thinks we all must be. Hope you have a safe flight there, senator.

1. Former Colorado City mayor calling Texans lazy.

Honestly, what Ted Cruz did probably should be the worst were it not for Tim Boyd. Most of you probably have never heard of Tim Boyd or the town where he presided (past tense) as mayor, Colorado City.  For reference, Colorado City is a town of just under 5,000 people about midway between Abilene and Midland in West Texas.

Boyd is the man who wrote this:

"No one owes you 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 damn handout."

Even in the most staunchly conservative places, you could hear people whispering, "Damn, Tim, take it down a notch."

Boyd has since resigned and his wife has reportedly been fired from her job. If we were her, we might suggest seeking a divorce attorney, particularly given his half-hearted follow up message:

"I would never want to hurt the elderly or anyone that is in true need of help to be left to fend for themselves. I was only making the statement that those folks that are too lazy to get up and fend for themselves but are capable should not be dealt a handout. I apologize for the wording and some of the phrases that were used!"

He apologizes to people who are suffering, but not those who are lazy and mostly for how he said it, so let's all stop piling on this poor bastard. Hasn't he had enough already?
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke