TEXAS VIEW: There’s liars, damned liars and Greg Abbott

As the old saying goes, there’s three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.

Gov. Greg Abbott employed all three strategies in a single statement Monday, Feb. 5, during a stop at the Fredonia Hotel as he confidently fed a ravenous crowd the baloney they wanted to hear instead of the truth.

Many politicians lie or twist facts to fit voters’ preconceived notions and follow up the falsehoods by blaming the media who tries to correct them.

But we expected better from Abbott, whose service to this great state as both governor and attorney general has been marked — until recently — by a respect for the truth and rule of law.

Now it appears the old-fashioned sins of wrath and avarice might have gotten the better of the governor.

Abbott was doing well staying within the bounds of political truth and opinion until he began speaking on his pet project of ramming school vouchers down the throats of Texans.

“It’s extraordinarily popular in House District 11,” Abbott said. “If you recall when you voted in the primary just two years ago, there was a ballot initiative for you to vote on, one of which was ‘Do you support school choice?’ The results from this district were resounding. Eighty-nine percent of you said ‘Yes, we want school choice in Texas,’” Abbott said.

Spot the lie.

Voters did not actually cast a ballot on that specific of a question, and here’s where statistics also come into play.

In Nacogdoches County, 86.7% of voters who chose to vote in the Republican primary and fill out the ballot propositions — a total of 6,297 people — said yes to the statement below:

“Texas parents and guardians should have the right to select schools, whether public or private, for their children, and the funding should follow the student.”

We’ll forgive Abbott’s error on the exact percentage. The figures are similar, and a smaller than 3 percentage point difference doesn’t skew his facts.

His statistical analysis, however, is garbage, and even a high school student with an elementary knowledge of statistics could tell him so.

Around 1,200 Republican Primary voters chose not to vote on the proposition, and at the time Nacogdoches County had 38,339 registered voters.

The small sample size shows us that about 31,000 Nacogdoches voters here had no opinion or didn’t vote on the issue.

Abbott is well aware that an honest “We’re not really certain based on balloting how Nacogdoches County residents feel about vouchers, but I sure love ’em thanks to boatloads of money from billionaires,” probably won’t play well with voters, but that’s the truth.

Abbott’s entanglement with GOP megadonor Jeff Yass is concerning. Yass cut the governor a $6 million check last year in an effort to expand vouchers. That money right now is being used to convince voters, against their better judgement, that school vouchers are the way to combat a “woke agenda.”

Notice that “woke agenda” is always happening elsewhere. Dallas was Abbott’s latest example. Houston’s also a frequent target, as are Austin and San Antonio.

But when megadonor money is used here in political advertising, the groups can’t differentiate between critical race theory and critical thinking. How dumb do they think we are?

Abbott thought we were dumb enough to fall for this, the damnedest of lies.

“For reasons I cannot understand, Travis Clardy voted against the 89% of the people who vote in the Republican Primary,” Abbott said. “But it gets worse. I put together a bill that not only would provide school choice, but also would provide $6 billion more for our public schools, teacher pay raises, and get rid of the dreaded STAAR test in Texas,” Abbott said. “He voted to kill that.”

Abbott knows that’s not what happened. Lawmakers never took a vote on teacher pay. Abbott wouldn’t let them. He held teacher pay hostage to force vouchers onto Texans. Blame for teachers failing to receive a raise during the most recent legislative session falls squarely on his shoulders.

Let us also point out that Democrat Beto O’Rourke campaigned for governor in 2022 in part on eliminating the state’s standardized test, known as STAAR. Abbott’s campaign was largely quiet on the issue.

The governor of Texas doesn’t want you to know that. He doesn’t want voters or lawmakers thinking critically. He wants it his way or the billionaire’s way. He’s made it clear there’s no room for compromise or the will of the people.

Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel