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Greg Abbott: Rick Perry 2.0

Photo: Photo by Mary Tuma, License: N/A

Photo by Mary Tuma

State Attorney General Abbott announced his campaign for governor last week in San Antonio

He offered to cut down on higher tuition costs, crack down on the “porous” Texas-Mexico border and rein in state debt. But don’t expect Abbott to call the feds for any assistance. His career hallmark centers around going after the Obama administration—for sport at this point, it seems.

Abbott bragged about lodging 27 lawsuits against the federal government. He’s gone after the Environmental Protection Agency to oppose greenhouse gas emission and air quality regulations, the Affordable Care Act, and sought to impose Voter ID rules on Texans. He’s sued the government to exclude religious organizations from the ACA’s contraception rule and prevented Planned Parenthood from being part of a life-saving Medicaid program that serves low-income women, according to a list compiled by The Texas Tribune.

Abbott even lightheartedly jokes about suing the federal government for fun: “I go into the office, I sue the federal government and I go home,” he’s jubilantly joked. Perhaps the punch line is the fact taxpayers are footing the bill—his fondness for litigious sport has cost citizens about $2.5 million in legal fees.

“We believe Abbott is like Perry but worse. It’s not just the continuation of the long Perry years, but an escalation of extremism,” says Tanene Allison, communications director with the Texas Democratic Party. “He’s spent an enormous amount of taxpayer dollars keeping Texans from being able to vote and he’s spent a lot of time defending redistricting boundaries that [are viewed as racist].”

Abbott mirrors Perry’s ideology, and has the legal record to prove it. With actual tact and poise, the thus far less gaffe-prone Abbott could very well be more detrimental to progress in Texas than his predecessor, if elected.

“He shares a lot of Perry’s politics, but is more extreme in his actions, which makes him as much of a threat to Texas values as the governor was,” says Allison. “He’s Perry 2.0.”

In the meantime, Perry remained coy about his presidential aspirations, saying only, “Any future considerations, I will announce in due time and I will arrive on that decision appropriately.”

If his decision doesn’t include another stab at the White House, the governor could just as easily go into the private sector, joining one of the dozens of lucrative businesses he helped subsidize while at the helm. Or he could join Fox News’ Obama-bashing pundit circuit as yet another attractive talking head with little brain power, a la Sarah Palin.

It’s hard to say at this point. But one thing that seems certain is that Perry’s professional chokehold on Texas politics has drawn to a close. Adios, Mofo.

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