Strange Things Are Afoot at the Lege

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Greg Abbott is having special session! He’s having a special session because he’s the governor and he’s the only one who can have one. It’s going to start on July 18 and it’s going to be the best, most conservative, most batshit special session EVER. With 20 items on the call and Dan Patrick promising to work with the governor. If we’re really lucky, Ben Franklin, George Carlin and Napoleon will drop by. It’s going to be EXCELLENT!

In case you haven’t heard the news, Greg Abbott put an end to all the speculation about what happens when the lieutenant governor torpedoes a legislative session because he is terrified of women peeing in the women’s room. (Massive simplification–please forgive me for it. I’m rusty. We’ll have a nuanced and serious discussion of why cis men are so intensely focused on regulating bathrooms another time.) And also, complete bullshit known as property tax “reform” that is really so stupid that we shouldn’t be talking about. Except that Dan Patrick is talking about it. All the fucking time. When he’s not freaking out about bathrooms.


There are 20 items on Abbott’s list for the special session. That’s right. 20 things are so important that the Texas Legislature needs to get back to Austin and start legislating again, just about six weeks after their regular session ended.

As a discerning reader, you may be asking this question:


Let’s look at that question. A normal analysis would be come down to either a) these things are not so fucking important or b) something went seriously awry during the session. But this is Texas, so everything’s bigger! The answer is BOTH! These things are not so fucking important and things went completely off the rails during session. And Dan Patrick is holding the people of Texas hostage to get his way, after he didn’t get it during the session that he dominated. (That must feel pretty crappy.)

How, you ask, is the lieutenant governor accomplishing this? By dangling the threat of running against Abbott in the 2018 Republican primary. Which the governor has taken very seriously. As in a 20-item-special-session level of seriousness.

Now Abbott, in an attempt to out-conservative Dan Patrick (which is a tough thing to do), has made a special session wishlist that would fit nicely under almost most Republican primary voters’ Christmas trees. The Texas House Democratic Caucus was onto the bullshit immediately:

Governor Abbott’s announcement today simply shows what an ineffective governor and leader he has been. After providing zero leadership and interest during the regular session, the governor is clearly panicking and trying to shovel as much red meat as he can to his right-wing Tea Party base.

Dear reader, as this situation unfolds, beware the analysis that reads “the governor’s trying to show who’s boss.” Yes, it’s very tempting to see Abbott’s list and actions as an assertion of power to counter all the rumors going around the Capitol (or Austin country clubs) these days. This list clearly shows who’s boss and it’s not Greg Abbott. This list is batshit and overreaching and horrible. Who does that sound like to you? If you said, “That’s the hallmark of Dan Patrick!” you’ve, unfortunately, been paying attention. Like Greg Abbott.

Texas has reached the point where Dan Patrick has the governor of Texas staying up late and writing Empower Texas wishlists trying to counter the bad press he’s getting in The New York Times.¬†Patrick’s managing to get his people quoted in The Times saying of Abbott, “Why’s he so hands off? Was that what his dream was, to become governor of the greatest state in the nation so he could sit out on everything?”¬†How’s that for a mindfuck?

Like I said at the beginning, whoa.




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