Ted Cruz is an embarrassment to Texas

Article Image

CNN's Ana Navarro says that Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) family trip to Cancun, Mexico, while millions of people in his state were without power in freezing temperatures was "downright stupid."

Posted: Feb 19, 2021 7:31 AM
Updated: Feb 19, 2021 7:31 AM

Two images that have been circulating on social media capture the culture and government of Texas to a T.

One is a drone video showing Stateline Boulevard, the border road that divides the two cities of Texarkana, in Texas and Arkansas. On the Arkansas side, the pavement is cleared and plowed. The Texas roadbed is buried in snow.

The other image is that of Ted Cruz, Texas' Republican junior senator, traveling to Cancún, Mexico on Wednesday, while millions of his constituents were freezing at home, many without power, water or food.

What's the matter with Texas?

I have long insisted that a kind of frontier ethic still informs life down here in the Lone Star State. The old American myth of rugged individualism and self-reliance and neighbors helping neighbors. But that doesn't explain our overwhelming distaste for government.

Almost every conservative Texas politician elected in the modern era has won by running against perceived evils in Washington and Austin. The most successful of these anti-government outsiders have settled into long careers on the public payroll, with great government benefits like health care and pensions, which the regular citizens they serve have increasingly found difficult to acquire.

Texas's attitude toward government has become deadly.

The winter storm that was too much for Cruz offers a clear example of the tragedies that can accompany policies that are too conservative to make sense, but calculated enough to make some people money.

Texas fancied itself as independent from the rest of the Union, so it built an electrical grid all its own. The entire purpose seemed to be avoiding federal regulation and keeping energy cheap. Washington would have no say about what we Texans did regarding fuel prices and service delivery. Nor would we stoop to buying or borrowing power from the rest of the country.

The real reason, of course, was profits for energy companies. Supply and demand are easier to manipulate when there are no federal laws protecting consumers and the grid. The energy industry was able to ignore warnings about winterizing its natural gas, coal, and oil-powered infrastructure. We're Texas. We don't have those problems.

Until we do. Which is just another manifestation of anti-government, fossil-fuel-fixated conservatism that denies climate change.

The Texas grid, operated by the ironically named Electric Reliability Council of Texas, (ERCOT) collapsed because it was not designed or equipped to handle extreme weather like the current deep freeze. ERCOT supplies about 90% of the state's power, but does not pay plants to be on standby for emergencies, which means electricity prices can dramatically spike during peak demand.

Our governor, Greg Abbott spread a profound lie on conservative television that frozen windmills and solar caused the power failures that left millions freezing in the dark. He blamed the Green New Deal, which does not presently exist. He failed to note that renewables make up barely more than 10% of the state's total energy supply.

Abbott's predecessor, Rick Perry, suggested that Texans would rather suffer days of blackouts than submit to Washington's oversight. He said this even as people were freezing to death in their cars and homes; at least 21 people have died. Perhaps, their final thoughts were that they were grateful to Texas for the state's superior energy independence.

In Texas, we have learned never to expect much more than entertainment from our government and politicians. In that department, we are as grand as our legend. Last August, Cruz boldly mocked California's electricity problems during their heatwave and fires, tweeting that the state was "unable to perform even the basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity."

More hilariously, Cruz ridiculed the Austin mayor for flying to a Mexican beach during Covid after urging his city's residents to stay home.

Senator Sensitive will be performing his comedy act for at least four more years.

But Ted Cruz, as Texan Jimmie Dale Gilmore sings, is "just a wave, not the water." The state's governmental infrastructure is over-populated with people who brag about a pay-as-you go government while avoiding political criticism by hiding taxes in bonded indebtedness approaching $60 billion.

The state's gas tax has not been raised since 1991, and consequently road construction is being increasingly privatized and monetized for corporations that charge onerous tolls for profit.

To constrain Washington's reach in Texas, the past two governors have refused to expand Medicaid, which leaves about 5 million residents without health insurance, including an estimated 625,000 children.

And because conservatives have an aversion to an income tax, they have made Texas over-reliant on property taxes, unless, of course, you are a corporate interest looking for a handout or huge tax abatements.

We Texans ought to be embarrassed. But Cruz has shown how our state's conservatives avoid embarrassment by being slippery and disingenuous. Caught out at the airport -- taking vacation in the midst of a pandemic and energy crisis in his home state -- Cruz later admitted to a mistake in judgment. But not before he tossed his own daughters under the wheels of the plane.

The father of the year said he wasn't abandoning his state during a deadly emergency, he was lovingly protecting his girls by escorting them to Cancun to make sure they were safe.

The people he left freezing in Texas were not.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 482902

Reported Deaths: 9425
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33063488
Hinds31021589
DeSoto30610358
Jackson23687348
Rankin21340370
Lee14909220
Madison14166271
Jones13404227
Forrest13160240
Lauderdale11601305
Lowndes10443176
Lamar10214130
Pearl River9098221
Lafayette8241137
Hancock7514112
Washington7102150
Oktibbeha6964124
Monroe6514164
Neshoba6475201
Warren6464164
Pontotoc630393
Panola6250126
Marshall6126123
Bolivar6115144
Union574186
Pike5613136
Alcorn537290
Lincoln5303131
George471472
Scott459196
Leflore4476140
Prentiss446779
Tippah446480
Itawamba4444100
Adams4416116
Tate4394101
Simpson4335112
Wayne433066
Copiah431787
Yazoo423386
Covington415792
Sunflower4148104
Marion4099104
Leake397586
Coahoma3957100
Newton370875
Grenada3556104
Stone350860
Tishomingo336289
Attala325387
Jasper314162
Winston304691
Clay296473
Chickasaw287065
Clarke282190
Calhoun266141
Holmes262187
Smith250649
Yalobusha221047
Tallahatchie220450
Walthall211058
Greene209045
Lawrence206833
Perry199953
Amite198452
Webster196542
Noxubee178939
Montgomery172454
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162137
Tunica153334
Benton142535
Kemper138640
Choctaw127026
Claiborne126834
Humphreys126637
Franklin116728
Quitman103926
Wilkinson101936
Jefferson91333
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 787421

Reported Deaths: 14022
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1114521765
Mobile708161234
Madison49744633
Baldwin36201495
Shelby36186315
Tuscaloosa33818548
Montgomery33135678
Lee22590220
Calhoun21140410
Morgan19795335
Etowah19188462
Marshall17659274
Houston16788386
St. Clair15408305
Cullman14568258
Limestone14553188
Elmore14444264
Lauderdale13486281
Talladega12932236
DeKalb12174237
Walker10561330
Blount9693157
Autauga9652137
Jackson9363158
Coffee8847175
Dale8584173
Colbert8508184
Tallapoosa6661181
Escambia6585121
Covington6432167
Chilton6372144
Russell605355
Franklin5779101
Chambers5398134
Marion4789120
Dallas4694189
Clarke462279
Pike461597
Geneva4396117
Winston425295
Lawrence4112108
Bibb408581
Barbour346570
Marengo326285
Butler318190
Monroe318153
Randolph305256
Pickens304474
Henry301358
Hale292285
Cherokee289455
Fayette279073
Washington245248
Crenshaw237970
Cleburne235251
Clay228365
Macon219258
Lamar196243
Conecuh181846
Lowndes170758
Coosa169935
Wilcox159736
Bullock149243
Perry136437
Sumter124436
Greene121243
Choctaw73427
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 63°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 62°
Oxford
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 59°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 62°
While some cool mornings are again in store for the weekend, afternoons start to warm up a bit, so plan on dressing in layers if you're heading to the MSU or Bama games, because you'll need to utilize them in different ways.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather