Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s “Answer” to Gun Control—It’s All About Abortion and Throwing God out of Our Schools June 4, 2018
It’s the “tale of two mega-states”—“Red” Texas v. “Blue” California. Pundits, economists, and authors have hotly argued about which of these states constitutes the future roadmap. Should Americans imitate less environmentally regulated/ anti-tax Texas, with its sprawling economic and residential landscape, a state that puts business above everything? Should Texas with its low wage jobs and no Obamacare Medicaid expansion be the model America follows? Should Gov. Jerry Brown’s progressive CA be the standard? In CA, higher taxes, environmental regulation, a public/private partnership, and Medicaid expansion under Obamacare have turned the Golden State around. With Jerry Brown, CA has climbed out of the fiscal mess it had been mired in under budget-cutting/ tax averse GOP Governors George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson (See Pastor, “State of Resistance”). Jerry Brown’s CA, unlike pre-Trump immigrant basher Pete Wilson, has welcomed immigrants. CA has repeatedly stated it will not follow Demagogue Donald’s attempt to crack down on them and help deport them. CA, unlike TX, has socially progressive attitudes. CA lives in the “real world,” not one of “alternative facts.” Californians face reality. They believe that “guns kill” people. Its legislature has passed and Gov. Brown has signed many laws over the last several years regulating firearms (See Pastor). CA, of course, in 2016 voted for Hillary over Donald by a humungous 30% margin, a 4 million plus vote spread. Even conservative Orange County, which had not gone for a Democrat since 1936, went for Hillary. TX, meantime, went “Red”, voting for Donald by a 9% margin (See NY Times, 8/01/17).
GOPers control the top state offices in TX, while Dems control all of CA’s top elected posts. Despite the horrible 5/18/2018 high school massacre in Santa Fe, TX, which killed 10 people, TX remains “deep in the heart” of the anti-gun control camp. In a series of media appearances on 5/20/2018, Lone Star State Lt. Governor Dan Patrick ridiculously called this massacre, not about “guns.” He blamed “violent video games, abortions, the decline of religion in schools , too many entrances to our schools, and unarmed teachers (Cillizza, CNN, 5/21/18, Simon, CNN, 5/20/18).” In lockstep with the NRA, Patrick doesn’t believe guns kill people. Everything else but guns are responsible. Meet TX Lt. Gov. Patrick, a fellow who wants our country to follow his stand on guns as well as the rest of his economic and social views.
Baltimore, MD native Dan Goeb Patrick (68) grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in that city. Patrick graduated from the University of MD, Baltimore County (texastribune.org, Swartz, texasmonthly.com, Walsh, S., 2/16/18, mystatesman.com). After college, he became a television broadcaster in Scranton, PA, Washington, D.C., and the lead sportscaster with KHOU-TV in Houston, TX (Swartz, texas.monthly.com, Sweeney, 2/24/16, texasobserver.org). By 1983, Patrick became Houston’s second most popular TV personality. He was nicknamed “the Silver-tongued Devil” for his pubic speaking skills. He received attention with various stunts, including painting himself blue in support of the Houston Oilers and wearing a large cowboy hat (Swartz, texastribune.org, Malewitz, 7/27/17, texastribune.org). In 11/1983, Patrick and several investors opened one of the country’s first sports bars. It did well for a time because of Patrick’s personality and a Houston oil boom. Patrick and his partners took over five Houston sports bars. When the oil boom ended, the sports bars failed and Patrick filed for personal bankruptcy. Patrick stated it took him 10 years to regain his financial footing. He often said that this experience made him politically conservative (Swartz, Malewitz, dallasnews.com, 9/19/13).
Patrick became a conservative talk-show radio host in the 1990’s. His right-wing program “Dan Patrick & Friends” was broadcast in Houston on KSEV AM and in Dallas on KVCE AM (dallasnews.com, 9/19/13, kvceradio.com,1/11/16, ksevradio.com, 9/24/14). Patrick’s radio career was very successful and gave him high name recognition that was instrumental in his later political career. As the owner of his talk radio program, Patrick signed on Rush Limbaugh who boosted his popularity. On his show, Patrick stood for fiscal conservatism and evangelical Christian social values. He was a vocal opponent of illegal immigration and known as a right-wing populist. He continued broadcasting after his elections as state senator and Lt. Governor (Swartz, Malewitz, Sweeney, dallasnews.com, 9/19/13). Patrick proposed a boycott of Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect” TV show, and in 4/2004 announced a boycott of the “Houston Chronicle.” He wrote a blog called “Chronically Biased,” which went after that paper (Swartz, austinchronicle.com, 4/12/17, Abrahams, ABC-TV 13 Houston, 4/09/04).
In 2006, Patrick won election to the Texas Senate’s 7th District with a landslide plus 69.2% of the vote (texastribune.org). During his first month as a legislator, Patrick introduced a bill, which, if passed, would have made abortion in TX illegal if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade (capitol.state.tx.us). Patrick obtained passage of three bills during his first session, the fewest number among the five Lone Star freshmen senators (legis.state.tx.us). However, in the 2010 election, Patrick was re-elected with a sky-high 86.4% of the vote, a 17.2% “improvement” over 2006 (See texastribune.org). During the 2010 campaign, Patrick endorsed GOP Gov. Rick (“Oops”) Perry for re-election. After winning re-election, Patrick created a Tea Party Caucus in the TX state legislature, which had 48 members (star-telegram.com, Grissom, texastribune.org, 12/16/10). W. Gardner Selby, editor of the Austin American-Statesman’s “PolitiFact Texas,” listed Patrick as third among the top 10 GOP political influencers in TX. The “Texas Monthly” labeled Patrick as one of that state’s “most powerful players.”
On 6/26/2013, Patrick announced he would challenge incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the 2014 GOP primary, even though Patrick had previously backed him in his unsuccessful 2012 GOP U.S. Senate primary against Ted Cruz (Hamilton, 7/07/13, texastribune.org). Patrick was endorsed by former GOP AR Gov. Mike Huckabee. In a four-person primary, Patrick stressed that as Lt. Gov. he would work to secure the border with Mexico, abolish sanctuary cities, and end in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. He stood for lowering property taxes (Brown, theeagle.com, 1/09/13). Patrick clobbered Dewhurst in the primary’s runoff by a 30.9% margin. In the 11/2014 general election, unlike most politicians, Patrick did not shift to the political middle. He thrashed his Democratic rival by 19.41% (2014 TX Lt. Gov. runoff and Lt. gubernatorial 2014 election). Patrick was swept into office by a GOP landslide that saw “Team Red” retain all statewide elected offices for the fifth consecutive election.
TX, again, is as gun-friendly a state as they come and LT. Gov. Patrick is deep in the gun lobby’s corner (See Samuels, 2/22/18, texastribune.com). Lt. Governor Patrick helped the Texas Legislature pass legislation that includes legalization of campus carrying and open carrying of firearms (texasobserver.org, Jukam, kvue.com/news, 6/13/25).
Lt. Governor Patrick helped pass a bill allowing pastors to refuse marrying couples if it violates their beliefs (Crampton, texastribune.org, 6/11/15). Translation: preachers need not marry gays and lesbians. Hours after the 2016 Orlando gay night club shooting, Patrick tweeted a picture of the New Testament verse Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” That controversial tweet was later deleted (Hamilton, 6/12/16, chron.com). Lt. Gov. Patrick encouraged a state senator to introduce an anti-transgender “bathroom bill” similar to the one adopted in N. Carolina. The leader of the Texas House, a moderate GOPer, killed that legislation (Svitek, texastribune.com, 5/21/17, Cervantes, “San Antonio Express-News,” 1/06/16). Despite court rulings that such a policy is against the Constitution’s First Amendment, Lt. Gov. Patrick is on record as determined to establish creationism in the TX public school curriculum. Creationism is the religious, not scientific account, of the origin of the universe found in the biblical Book of Genesis (“Slate,” 2014). Anti-abortion Patrick supported Gov. Perry’s signing a bill in 2011 that requires women seeking abortions to have a sonogram taken of the fetus at least 24 hours before that procedure (mystatesman.com, Herman). As Lt. Gov., immigration hard-liner Patrick moved to keep the National Guard troops sent to the TX-Mexico border in 2014 there indefinitely. He supported AZ’s draconian anti-immigrant “show me your papers law.” He backs similar legislation where TX law enforcement could stop individuals to ask them about their immigration status, and would make it a misdemeanor to be present in TX as an illegal immigrant (webarchive.org, CBS, DFW, dallasnews.com). He is a strong supporter of maintaining Confederate monuments on public display (Morris, “San Antonio-Express-News, 8/17/17). A fine “model” (NOT) for America’s future.
Lt. Gov. Patrick initially backed TX Sen. Ted Cruz for president in 2016. However, when Trump won the nomination, Patrick endorsed him and became Donald’s TX campaign chairman. In 1/2018, Patrick stated he considered Trump and Reagan “the two greatest presidents in his lifetime.” The “Austin American Statesman” described Patrick as an “ardent defender” of Trump (Wallace, 1/08/18, chron.com, Chang, 1/09/18 & Fikac, “Austin American Statesman”). What a “model” Patrick is for the 21st-Century U.S.
After the latest Santa Fe, TX shooting, GOP Gov. Greg Abbott suggested some “modest” gun control regulations. These included more investment in mental health and school safety. He also suggested that the TX legislature “study” the idea of a “red flag” law. Such a legislation would allow law enforcement, family members, school employees, and prosecutors to file petitions seeking removal of firearms from dangerous individuals. However, with the likes of Lt. Gov. Patrick don’t hold your hopes too high for much change. The NRA-affiliated TX State Rifle Association strongly opposes the “red flag” law (See Kos, “Good News,” 5/24/18, Wing, huffingtonpost.com, 5/30/18).
In 11/2018, when Patrick runs for a second term as Lt. Gov., he will be facing Dem. Mike Collier, a former Exxon and Price Waterhouse employee. Collier won his primary by just a 4.74% margin, while Patrick clobbered his primary opponent by a 51.84% spread (collierfortexas.com, TX 2018 elections). Collier, IMHO, stands no chance of pulling off an upset against TX right-wing icon Patrick. However, outside of TX, if Democrats vote in droves in 11/2018, they can make sure that the Lone Star/Patrick/Trump model will not succeed in becoming America’s future over guns, the economy, and social policy. The majority of the country must follow CA’s forward-looking plan, not the reactionary “out of touch” one pushed by Lt. Governor Patrick and his state.