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If You Liked Rick Perry, You'll Love Greg Abbott

Attorney general confirms governorship shot

By Richard Whittaker, 9:46AM, Mon. Jul. 15, 2013

Attorney General Greg Abbott: The GOP's legal hatchet man wants to be governor
Attorney General Greg Abbott: The GOP's legal hatchet man wants to be governor
Photo by Jana Birchum

Confirming the inevitable, yesterday Attorney General Greg Abbott announced that he is running for governor of Texas in 2014. No shock, since this has clearly been his plan for years.

On July 14 Abbott gathered political supporters and the capitol press corps at the traditional set dressing for such announcements, the Alamo. His entry, which has been effectively a done deal since Gov. Rick Perry, announced last week that he will not run again, makes him the presumptive GOP front runner.

Kicking off with comments about his family and saying, "I have lived and breathed the soil & soul of what makes Texas great," Abbott plunged straight into his fundamentalist, extremist platform of God and guns. "Texans don’t silence voices of faith," he warbled, "We fight for them."

Actually, what Abbott has done consistently is use his office to inflict a hard line Evangelical world view on the state. He made his political bones in 2003 by suing to keep the Ten Commandments on the capitol lawn. Since, then, he lured fundamentalist voters by leading the legal charge against Planned Parenthood (and therefore a de facto attack on health care for many women in the state.) Add on to that his suit against health care providers paying for birth control and his push to enforce the highly invasive and deeply distressing mandatory transvaginal ultrasound law.

Abbott has also been the GOP's point man in their fight to restrict ballot participation through voter ID and to protect their most recent gerrymandering.

Of course, it could be argued that he is simply doing his job as the state's top lawyer. But even in speeches, Abbott's record of pandering to the paranoid right has been peerless. In 2012, he threatened international election observers with arrest. Recently Abbott issued an opinion that read like a full-throated re-enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act, forcing Austin to back down on its plan to offer partner benefits.

The AG's favorite target? The Obama administration. In fact, he once claimed that "my job description includes getting up every morning, going to work, and suing the Obama Administration to defend Texas values." His main weapon? Multiple lawsuits against health care reform and the Environmental Protection Agency. He has been prepared to wander straight into Alex Jones territory to take his wild pot shots. For example, in 2012, he claimed that UN Official "climate-change policy was a way to redistribute wealth globally."

And, in what may be one of the darkest chapters in his career, Abbott functionally hog tied any further attempt to clear the name of Cameron Todd Willingham, the Corsicana man executed for killing his children in a fire that increasingly looks less and less like the arson case Abbott claims.

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