Friday, November 14, 2014

GRANTING AN AUDIENCE TO A PROFESSIONAL TROUBLEMAKER

A lot of bull rounded up this week
The post-election spin and counter-spin continues and is unlikely to abate for awhile.

The victors, of course, have the expectation that they get to write the history. On the national level, the soon-to-be Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is mumbling the usual about elections "meaning something" and the "will of the people." Translation? "We'll do what we want to do and don't take responsibility for any of it."

Ian Reifowitz in the Daily Kos takes a good, hard look at how well McConnell has heeded the "will of the people" over time. As it happens, when that will swung in the direction of Democrats, well...not so much. He points to how different things were in 2009 following an election where both houses of Congress went strongly Democratic along with the executive branch. More than that, "just over 57 percent of eligible voters actually turned out to vote, the highest level in four decades."

How well did the GOP respect that reality?

And now, "after midterm elections that saw the lowest voter turnout since 1942 at barely 36 percent," suddenly Democrats are supposed to get in line.

Meanwhile, up in Southlake, one of the wealthiest communities in the United States, Tea Party favorite, Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, claims that "In Texas, the results were an overwhelming confirmation of our state’s approach to governance."

Honestly, how overwhelming was that confirmation? 

There's a great deal of attention on how Gov-elect Abbott resoundingly defeated Sen. Wendy Davis. But what's not spoken of is how the Abbott vs. Perry race came out. That is to say, how many GOP voters turned out to 
Looks like we're turned onto a dead end
confirm Abbott compared to those that showed for Perry in 2010?  Abbott's "overwhelming confirmation" was, in fact, significantly smaller than what Perry got. Though the final numbers aren't in, about 50,000 more people did vote for Abbott than Perry. That's about a 2% increase. But between 2010 and 2014, the number of registered voters rose 6.7%. Abbott had to polled 100,000+ more to match what Perry did in terms of the percentage of registered voters. It['s even worse in terms of the eligible-to-vote. So rather than an "overwhelming confirmation,"it's more like a resounding "meh."

The Contrarian Chorus:

Meanwhile, the contrarians make more convincing, less self-serving arguments. It seems clear that what we really saw was the ultimate triumph of money in politics and the confirmation of the oligarchy that goes with it. 

Ben Ptashnik in TruthOut puts it simply:

Let's not hesitate to say what is obvious: This was an entirely corrupt and rigged election. What we witnessed last Tuesday, on Election Day, is just how dirty the right-wing corporate and fossil fuel oligarchy is willing to play. They exceeded our worst expectations and cheated so boldly that despite all we know about them, it still sent shivers up our collective spine.

In addition to the Supreme Court opening the floodgates to allow billionaire bucks to drown out the Voice of the People, there's also GOP voter suppression including the Voter ID law here in Texas. How many were kept away won't be clear for some time. It will take a concerted effort from well-funded social scientists to tease that out of the data, according to Drew DeSilver, a Senior Writer at the Pew Research Center.  I asked him if it was knowable, and if so - what would it take? 

First off, you'd need to wait for the full, official tallies of votes, down to at least the county level (and ideally the precinct level), which I assume won't be out for several weeks. I don't know what voting-law changes Texas has made between 2010 and 2014, but you'd want to account not just for those changes, but for differences in how strictly/loosely they were enforced in different localities. Then you'd also need a model of expected 2014 turnout absent any voting-law changes, which would have to take into account population growth, demographic changes, which races were on the ballot, and other factors that you'd expect to influence turnout. You’d want a good demographic portrait of the 2014 electorate, better than you get from the exit polls, but that comes from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, which won't be out for a few months. And you'd probably also want to compare 2010-14 turnout differential in Texas to other states that had made similar changes to their voting laws. 

So it's a major undertaking. Perhaps Greg Abbott, in one of his last acts as Attorney General, could commission an independent study to get the facts? I mean, he's going to want to argue for Voter ID when it comes before the Supreme Court. Won't he want the facts to be sure that justice is done?

While you're holding your breath, Juan Thompson in The Intercept collects the anecdotal evidence to show "How Voter Suppression Helped Produce the Lowest Turnout in Decades."

Speaking of the Supreme Court, it look like, at long last, New York Times court reporter Linda Greenhouse has reached a tipping point. Now that the conservative block on the court has taken it upon themselves to gut Obamacare, there's no use kidding ourselves any longer:

In decades of court-watching, I have struggled — sometimes it has seemed against all odds — to maintain the belief that the Supreme Court really is a court and not just a collection of politicians in robes. This past week, I’ve found myself struggling against the impulse to say two words: I surrender.

A Professional's Pride:

Finally, following up on my maudlin Veteran's Day recollection of what I did during the run-up to the Iraq war, I found this delightful online comment that came a few years after as I got into another political fracas in 2006. This person's revisionism is amazing. I spoke out against the lies that brought us to war. I was lucky enough to have a public platform to say, loud and proud, that there were NO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. 


Well, the fact that I was vindicated must have been too much to bear. So this is what he made of it instead:


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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

VETERANS DAY REMEMBRANCE: 2002-2003

11/11/1918 Peace Breaks Out
With Armistice Day (aka Veterans Day) just past, let's take a moment away from the political battleground here in Texas. 


Though I've never served in the military, this brings me to my "what I did during the war" story, inadequate as it is. 

In 2002 when I moved to Portland, Maine, I'd been doing talk radio fill-ins in New Hampshire for almost a decade. It was something of a hobby. When I started subbing at a station in my new town, I decided to get more serious about it. WGAN-AM was/is a classic news/talker with a decent news operation to spice up the usual slate of conservative programming. Being on a Maine radio station doesn't sound like much except that George H.W. Bush was in our listenership. Also, the radio group General Manager at the time was something of a noted figure in talk radio for discovering and developing talent.


My views about the coming war were quite clear. The past summer, just as the full-on marketing of it was about to get underway, I did a show about the run-up to the Gulf War in 1990. I explained why we should be extraordinarily skeptical of the Bush Administration's claims that would soon come. Still, that fall and winter, war talk didn't define my increasing presence at the station. By springtime, it actually offered a breakthrough for my career. When the invasion of Iraq began on March 19, they expanded local coverage pulling the syndicated programming from nine to noon and putting me there instead. I followed the morning show and did the lead in to Rush Limbaugh! 

Most definitely open-carry
From the start, my show pushed the boundaries for the mostly conservative listeners. One morning, our troops paused for a moment before taking Baghdad in what was expected to be a bloodbath. On air, I pondered "what if George Bush had ANOTHER Christian conversion and became a pacifist" and refused to allow the slaughter? Conservative Christians were outraged and called to insist that Jesus would certainly be pro-war. I shared my wonder at why, if so, some call him "The Prince of Peace."

I was edgy, but not completely over-the-edge until I was cornered on-air by one caller about the Weapons of Mass Destruction, supposedly the reason for the war. I had raised the mystery at hand, wondering why none had been discovered. He pressed me about it. It was just a few days after the invasion and I'd held back from saying what I had been thinking - that there were none. But he pressed and I said it. "THERE ARE NO WMD!"

"You're going to eat a lot of crow when they're found," he warned me. 

I turned it into a bet. Yes, I'd eat REAL crow, live on-the-air, if he was right. BUT - if he was wrong? His part of the wager was that he'd call for the impeachment of the President of the United States.

After my shift that day, I ran into the GM in the break room.

"Be sure to let me know when the first death threats come in," I joked.

He didn't have the heart to tell me they'd had some already.


NOTHING accomplished - still not finished
Of course, I didn't last long enough at WGAN to collect on my bet. Soon after, the excitement of the invasion turned to "Mission Accomplished." They cut my shift to return to network programming. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that the regular calls I'd been getting to fill-in did not resume. I did get one such request awhile later - to step in for the garden show (yes, I tried despite total ignorance on the subject...just to show my hosting chops).  Except for being interviewed on air in the years since, I haven't been on the broadcaster side again till recently.

So that's my "what I did during the war" story. No, I never served in the military. But I did serve my country as best I could, brandishing my First Amendment rights trying to turn swords into plowshares. 

What I sacrificed was small - just that opportunity in talk radio. Sorry to say, my sacrifice was in vain. I wish there had been some way truth-telling - mine and others - could have saved our soldiers from making the sacrifices they made in Iraq. Many of them offered - and gave - their lives in good faith. We need to remember that - and that those who led them to it were operating in bad faith.
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Sunday, November 9, 2014

AN OPEN LETTER TO WENDY

Dear Senator Davis,

Please forgive me for making this unsolicited suggestion of what I feel you are now uniquely suited to accomplish. What I have in mind is better than simply some fall-back to your aspiration to lead Texas as our Governor. Outrageous as it sounds, this could BETTER advance the causes you champion in the long term.

Please take a moment to let me share a Vision with you. But first, some context.

If you were a Republican, a world of well-paid opportunities would be yours to choose from. Maybe you'd head a so-called "think tank," perhaps augmented with a fat contract from Fox News to serve as a "commentator." You see, the media-driven conservative machine understands the importance of branding and name recognition. Once you've spent millions in a campaign to develop these, you don't just throw that investment away. They find some place to let their former candidates cool their heels, stay in public view, and position themselves to best advance their cause. That's how they turn campaign spending into a long-term investments that pay rich returns.

How different it is for Democrats! 


Here in Texas, they lack anything like this infrastructure. After a campaign's over, candidates are typically left to fend for themselves. You may simply return to private law practice, and that would be a great loss. The same is true for others on what's easily the best slate of Democratic candidates fielded in at least a generation. What a shame to let Mike Collier go back to industry after he's shown such promise for public service!

Despite the disappointing (and questionable) results from the election, the goal for progressives remains: take the legislature in 2020, in time for redistricting for the next decade. To get there will require significant infrastructure investments. That brings me to what YOU can - and should - do next.

One of the things most needed to realize this "2020" vision is to create a new kind of organization to counter what is the backbone of the Texas conservative machine, the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). TPPF is part of the State Policy Network (SPN), a national organization with affiliates in every state. They refer to themselves as "think tanks," but that is intentionally misleading. These outfits, despite their not-for-profit status, serve as thinly-veiled lobbying and public relations firms. Often, their work is to localize and market legislation generated by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Counsel. The term "Spin Shop" more accurately captures their true nature.

There really is no progressive counterbalance. That needs to change.

For years, Democrats have been under the mistaken impression that legitimate public policy organizations like the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) are the correlate to SPN affiliates. They are not. In fact, what CPPP needs most is a new kind of progressive organization to properly leverage its work, to raise public - and legislative - awareness of the economic realities revealed by its research. That's one function of this new kind of organization, along with exposing the difference between legitimate policy research organizations and "Spin Shops" like TPPF. 

Another role is to consolidate and expand existing progressive organizations in the state. Standalone groups unaffiliated with national organizations like the Texas Freedom Network, Progress Texas, and Texans for Public Justice waste precious resources by having separate fundraising, marketing, and public relations functions. Consolidation within a single organization would also yield significant savings by sharing office space and administrative costs.

What's keeping these like-minded groups from doing such a sensible thing? When I floated this idea past someone connected to these groups, they gave me a one-word objection: EGO.

That's where YOU can play a unique role. You have the stature to found this new organization, to draw these groups together into it. Given your visibility and fundraising capabilities, you can reach out to your national network to gather the resources necessary to fund this properly. Under your leadership, they will achieve far more than each is able to do now individually. 

Why would progressives across the country want to support this? 

First, they already know that when Texas goes blue, the Republican party is finished. That's why they've already invested in your campaign and also in the Battleground Texas organization. The need for this new kind of unified progressive group is at least as great. Also, while focused on Texas, it will serve as a model for others across the country. 

Oh, I forgot to mention that this would also give you a platform to continue to engage in public policy debate and discussion. We need to hear your voice, loud and proud, in the coming legislative session and beyond. This would be a megaphone for it.

So will you take on the challenge of creating this new kind of organization? If not, I hope it is because you are manifesting another vision at least as crucial and compelling.

                                                                       Sincerely,

                                                                                Carl Lindemann

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Friday, November 7, 2014

GOV-ELECT ABBOTT'S CAMPAIGN "KIND OF CREEPY"

Trolls gathered at my last posting
It's wonderful being out-of-step with the mainstream "take" on the election results. I'm accused of being a sore loser and the like. Well, it isn't as if I don't reflect about what the respectable people are saying.

Take the Texas Tribune's Jay Root. He puts his considerable skills to good use telling an archetypal tale that helps foster public confidence in our elections, in our democracy. Here, Virtue triumphs whether by skill or some other laudable means. Meanwhile, the vanquished are properly shamed for their failings and the failure they engender. We need such encouragement, given the abysmal voter turnout.

First, Root took aim at the Wendy Davis for "Failed Tactics, Muddled Messages." He points to "a trash heap of failed tactics, unmet goals and muddled messages that helped doom Davis to an embarrassing defeat long before the voters rendered their verdict Tuesday night."


I think everyone covering this race has some unhappy tale to tell about their dealings with Wendy's media shop. I certainly have my own. Instead of just grumbling, I humbly offered my services as they were forced to reboot in the Winter. In retrospect, it would seem that I was fortunate not to have received a call back! Ignored, I offered my advice unsolicited. I tossed in my two cents in again later, seeing that whoever was doing communications didn't seem to know the difference between framing issues and oppo research

So, yes! Wendy was a great candidate with a not-so-great campaign.

But back to Root's deep narrative structure.

After the sinful receive their due, he delivers a paean for the victors in "Abbott Campaign Credits Sophisticated Turnout Machine." Unlike Davis and the Battleground Texas operation, the Abbott team was not boastful about their big plans. Rather, they went about their work quietly. This is truly a mark of greatness - humility combined with talent and innovation pays off big! 

But Root gives us plenty of clues that suggest a darker reality. 

How did she get the Glengarry leads?
No doubt, Greg Abbott ran a masterful campaign. Root's look at the mechanics of the ground game, a $5 million + operation, offers an interesting portrait of what it means to be successful in Abbott's Texas. The field operation, it turns out, was run by Sarah Floerke. As I've written before, she has some odd ideas about how Battleground Texas was excited about low voter turnout.  Anyhow, the engine driving her "turnout machine" churned through employees seeking those capable of working the streets for "250 verified Abbott voters each week." 

Now, let's extrapolate some missing numbers in Root's account to get a better sense of what that means. 250/week = 50/day. If you work a 40-hour week, you need to average better than six an hour. "People were given wide latitude to meet their goals, but if they fell short they were quickly let go," Root reports. Now, looking on the bright side, I would imagine that means workers were free to do twenty an hour, and so have a two-day work week. I can imagine how, say, single moms might flock to such an opportunity! 

Of course, the less capable might have to put in some extra hours. And the incapable? They got axed fast. "By the end of the race, 320 field staffers had cycled through, but only the 90 successful ones were kept on," said Root. “If they missed two weeks, they basically knew their head was on the chopping block,” he quotes Dave Carney, Abbott’s chief strategist.

Again, let's extrapolate an interesting statistic. That's a better than 70% failure rate. 

Of course, success in any sales organization is all about the quality of the leads. Root's story is primarily about the sophisticated marketing tools used to give the field team an edge. This involves tapping into cable viewer's watching habits. “We knew what shows they were actually watching...It’s kind of creepy, but it’s the wave of the future. It’s how everything will be done eventually, ” he quotes a staffer identified as "Abbott technology guru James McKay".

So these are the winners and their winning ways in Abbott's Texas. Their "Kind of creepy" combines Glengarry Glen Ross with The Lives of Others.


UPDATE:

Apparently, Abbott's isn't the only campaign that's "kind of creepy."  A conversation with a Democratic operative on the privacy question revealed that there's little daylight separating the different political persuasions on this point. So, looking on the bright side, let's call this a shared darkness.  

I did reach out to the Texas ACLU for comment.  Matt Simpson, a political strategist there, has this to say:

To me, the biggest issue with this type of practice is that the consumer is not aware of the extent to which their behavior is monitored. Very often technology allows for greater surveillance, particularly of consumers, than the subjects of surveillance are aware of.

Perhaps this is "how everything will be done eventually." But awareness of what's being done seems like a good idea before we tacitly accept this unaware.

I'm digging in on this and will get to the bottom of it. Who knows? I may end up a convert like Howard Beale:


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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

GOV-ELECT ABBOTT: THE LANCE ARMSTRONG OF TEXAS POLITICS

Too good to be true
The lopsided election returns are too good to be true for Texas Republicans. The outsize results are like the stats in sports distorted by performance enhancing drugs. The dope boosting Republican numbers? Governor-elect Greg Abbott's unconstitutional Voter Suppression Law, aka "Voter ID". Winning with it makes Abbott the Lance Armstrong of Texas politics. 

As Texas Attorney General, Abbott used his public office for personal and partisan advantage by successfully petitioning the Supreme Court to keep Voter ID alive for his election. This came just before early voting began and on the heels of the court's ruling that a similar law in Wisconsin was unconstitutional. Why strike it down there but not here? Abbott argued that since the law had previously disenfranchised eligible voters, the last-minute change would cause chaos. Apparently, voters are accustomed to having their constitutional rights violated in Texas. It would cause confusion to stop doing that suddenly. Or, is it that conservative voters are accustomed to seeing the rights of Hispanics and others in Texas violated - and their tranquility should not be suddenly disturbed? Either way, this left as many as 800,000 voters without the credentials needed to vote - more than the margin for victory in past gubernatorial races.

As intended, Abbott's Voter Suppression Law proved toxic to his opponent Wendy Davis' campaign by undermining its core strategy. Legions of volunteers working in Battleground Texas, its sister organization, spent the past year beating the bushes for the very voters disenfranchised by Abbott. So the election was over before it even began. Still, Wendy Davis soldiered on, holding out for the miraculous. After all, she faced a similar situation as Republicans tried to shut down her celebrated filibuster.

That evening, her GOP Senate colleagues sought to inflict a humiliating defeat by whatever means necessary. They discarded decorum and decency, trampling Texas Senate traditions. This literally triggered a public outcry. A shout rose up in the gallery, spontaneous outrage at the misconduct. The shout was loud and long and made it impossible for Republicans to deliver the coup de grĂ¢ce. The so-called "Unruly Mob using Occupy Wall Street tactics" ran out the clock, finishing Davis' filibuster for her.

Nothing like The Shout happened on Election Day. Davis, a true statesman, encouraged voters to head to the polls to "respect and honor...those voices who want to be part of this process but who Greg Abbott denied the opportunity to do so." Still, a different kind of public outcry may come when the Supreme Court strikes down the law. At the very least, Abbott's tainted victory will be seen for what it is. Perhaps an asterisk will have to be placed next to the results on the Secretary of State's final tally, just like the stats for sports seasons tainted by doping.

Wouldn't Abbott and other Texas Republicans have won with-or-without robbing voters of their rights? Lance Armstrong, no doubt, would have been a champ without cheating, too. Unlike Armstrong, Governor-elect Abbott will not have his title taken from him. Certainly he should be stripped of whatever laurels he and his cohorts may claim for a mandate based on their boosted election results. Worse, it casts a shadow over his administration. Abbott opened his victory speech addressing everyone "whether you voted for me, against me or didn't vote at all..." He forgot those he denied the vote, a telling omission. The Governor-elect is NOT for all Texans.

Far from being humiliated by the seeming magnitude of the Republican sweep, Wendy Davis and the other Democrats on the ticket should be emboldened by it. It is a sure sign of the unconstitutional swindle that defines this election, and a true reflection of the dishonest characters behind it.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

ABBOTT'S "CLEAN CAMPAIGN" A DIRTY LIE - PART II

Abbott: a self-serving public servant
For all the petty nastiness noted before, the most grotesque reality that belies Greg Abbott's claim to have taken the high road is what we should properly call his voter suppression law. To call it "Voter ID" is just to buy into GOP spin that masks the reality. 

First, some background. 

Abbott's Voter Suppression Law started out as a national GOP project. As the Texas Tribune's Ross Ramsey recently reported, Republican legislators in Texas did their best to hide the damage they intended to inflict while the measure was debated and discussed during the 2011 legislative session. Then-Sen. Tommy Williams researched how many would be disenfranchised - some 500,000 to 844,000 voters would be left without the credentials needed to exercise their constitutional rights. Williams "requested the information and then did not share it with fellow lawmakers." 

How's THAT for honest, open government? Oh, did I mention that Williams was considered one of the few MODERATE Republicans in the Texas Senate?

Recently, Abbott earned the right to have this law renamed after him given his personal and professional triumph in keeping it alive for his race against Wendy Davis. Just before early voting, he successfully petitioned the Supreme Court to leave it in place this one last time - despite the court striking down a similar law in Wisconsin as unconstitutional (see also my previous look at Abbott's statements about this issue, and those who have criticized him for it).

Now that Abbott has, once again, used his public office to serve his partisan interests, what to do about it? Today at a rally in San Antonio, Wendy Davis saw this as a rallying cry. 

What I'm encouraging people to do is to respect and honor...those voices who want to be a part of this process but who Greg Abbott denied the opportunity to do so. Respect and honor them by coming and voting and electing a Governor who's going to restore their voices (see video below). 


President Obama, too, singled out Abbott's Voter Suppression Law  in a call  to Texas Democrats this morning. He suggested that this, along with many other issues, should encourage their get-out-the-vote efforts.

Texas Republicans passed a voter ID law that a Federal judge ruled unconstitutional calling it intentionally discriminatory and likening it to a poll tax - and they're fighting to keep it in place. I hope these things get you fired up
(see clip below for audio):



The Abbott campaign has a VERY different take on who's encouraging voter turnout. Campaign Manager Sarah Floeke's spin would be comical if it weren't so disturbingly removed from reality. She makes an astounding claim in an email from the campaign last night:

The Democrats are crowing because voter turnout is down. According to Battleground Texas senior adviser and former Obama national field director Jeremy Bird, "The early vote numbers this year are very encouraging for Wendy Davis and the Democratic ticket – and all signs point to this being a fight to the finish."

Disturbing distortions
How Floeke distorts reality into an unrecognizable, self-serving goober gives a good indication as to what an Abbott administration might be like. So let's unpack this.

Floeke pulled the quote from Bird's memo last Friday that early voting was way up - presumably because of his organization's efforts. So he was actually "crowing" because of what he thought was INCREASED voter turnout. It turns out his figures were off-the-mark, based on inaccurate figures as the Texas Tribune reports. 

Now, watch closely for the sleight-of-hand...

Floeke's takes Bird's quote and uses it as if it were about the LOWER turnout figures - numbers that should be of great concern to him, hardly a cause for celebration. For this, I nominate her for an honorary degree from the James O'Keefe School of Professional Ethics

Again, it's hard not to laugh at Floeke's amateurish attempt at deception. What's not funny is that such dishonesty by a senior member of a major campaign hardly registered because it's just business-as-usual there. It should be seen as a disqualification for public service. But then, Abbott Campaign isn't really about wanting to serve the public. 


BONUS:  Wendy Davis revs up supporters for final block-walks in San Antonio this morning:

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

ABBOTT'S "CLEAN CAMPAIGN" A DIRTY LIE - PART I

"He's a clean old man"
What may be the closing talking point for the Abbott campaign is, perhaps, its most dishonest. The latest repetition of it is in Matt Mackowiak's "Wendy Davis’ harsh and failing campaign" in the Austin American Statesman. The boldest, bald-faced lie in his attack? How her angelic opponent compares:

Contrast that to Abbott, who has run an almost completely positive campaign at a breakneck pace, with thoughtful policy proposals on education, transportation, ethics and border security outlined months ago.

But Mackowiak is just parroting Greg Abbott's pitch that recently made the rounds on Fox News. First, on Sean Hanity:

Listen, my reaction is if she wants to attack a guy in a wheelchair, that's her prerogative. As for me, I'm running a different type of campaign. I'm running a campaign that's focused on solving the problems of Texans, like securing the border, keeping Texas number one for jobs, continue fighting against Barack Obama's EPA that's crushing jobs in Texas. So I will focus on the future of Texas, while my opponent continues to attack me.

Then - prepare for a sense of deja vu - on Lou Dobbs:

My reaction is she can attack a guy in a wheelchair if she wants to, but I don't think it's going to sell real well. My focus Lou is going to be on casting a positive vision as the next Governor of Texas about what I will achieve by creating jobs by securing the border. So she can attack me while I attack the challenges that our fellow Texans face.

Since this is Abbott's closing note, we should judge whether it is a sour one. It comes down to this: is Greg Abbott running an "almost completely positive campaign"? Or, when he or his surrogates claim this, is it just another example of his problematic relationship with the truth?

Consider the evidence. 


First, Abbott's YouTube channel. In the last 8 months, he's posted some 88 videos including web ads, debate clips and the like. By my count, at least 40 of them are direct attacks on Wendy Davis. These include:

Another ray of light on Abbott's YouTube Channel




Or what about the barrage of emails I've gotten from the campaign, especially those from his Campaign Director, Sarah Floreke. Here's a few highlights:
Yet another positive
message from
Abbott's Campaign 
I wanted to make sure you knew about this shocking new revelation: at another Chicago fundraiser, Sen. Davis was raising money for an extreme liberal member of the Democratic Socialists of America who wants to ban handguns.

Apparently, late-term abortion is a cause for celebration for the Wendy Davis campaign.

Sen. Wendy Davis is pulling yet another page out of President Obama’s playbook: hiding chunks of campaign cash and donors behind a smoke screen.

Sen. Wendy Davis had a terrible showing at the first debate, melting down and yelling over the moderator. Last night, it happened again.

Can you believe that the Democrats have picked a candidate for governor whose legal work is currently part of an FBI investigation? That’s right. Ethically-challenged Sen. Wendy Davis is entangled in conflicts of interest. Her legal work for a tollway agency part of an investigation by the FBI—and she won’t tell Texans why.

So, you be the judge: Is Greg Abbott running an "almost completely positive campaign"? Or, when he or his surrogates claim this, is it just another example of his problematic relationship with the truth?

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