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Abbott Does a 180 on American-US Airways Merger

Today’s stunning news that Greg Abbott has yanked Texas out of the feds’ case against the proposed American Airlines-US Airways merger suggests how much the AG’s actions are being driven by political considerations. Sure, the GOP gubernatorial candidate spun a pretty picture at today’s news conference, with high-minded strategic talk about seats at the table and preserving service at rural airports and keeping the airline’s headquarters in Fort Worth (was that even in doubt?). But as the DMN‘s Wayne Slater pointed out, the AG’s original position opposing the merger—he said it “turns the free market on its head“—also was being hammered effectively first by Dallas’ Tom Pauken, Abbott’s Republican primary opponent, and then by Wendy Davis, the Fort Worth Democrat who may run for governor.

At a big Dallas social gala Saturday, where Abbott showed up to serve as an “honorary chair,” one of his backers said the AG is counting on big-time support in North Texas, which felt shut out for many years by Rick Perry’s more rural/West Texas sensibilities. And, a lot of people in DFW never did understand Abbott’s throwing in with Obama on the merger, which is of key importance to Fort Worth-based AMR and its thousands of North Texas employees. Slater said the upshot of Abbott’s sudden change of heart is: Wendy Davis 1, Abbott 0. But I think Tom Pauken deserves to have a point up on the board, too. While the AG probably thinks this abrupt reversal will help him in the governor’s race, I think it shows how fickle and reckless he can be in his decision-making. Not great qualities in a candidate for any office.

  • Greg Brown

    Abbot is in no way a sure thing for Gov. Much like Dewhurst, the right appears to be fed up with the good ‘ol boys so obviously lining their pockets for so long that there is no attempt to even hide it anymore. Hopefully, the right will rally behind some wacko that will so alienate the middle that Davis will have a decent chance. One can only hope that Perry’s ultimate legacy is a Democratic Governor.

  • joeat

    @Greg Brown, keep dreaming and please share whatever it is you are smoking.

  • Greg Brown

    Sorry, it is too good to share!

  • George

    I hope those on the right will give Ron Pauken a legitimate primary chance. He’s saying a lot of very normal, good things. Occasionally, he’ll pander to the Tea Party base, but for the most part, seems like a real person. I just want debate and competition.

  • Dubious Brother

    Abbot better check with his pal David Dewhurst if he is focusing on the general election instead of the primary and doing the wishy-washy on the issues. We need elected officials that have the same principles before the election as after the election. Ted Cruz has proven himself so far as a Senator. Tom Pauken will do the same as Governor.

  • Greg Brown

    Saying normal things is all well and fine, but that’s what Ted Cruz did, too. And look what we got. . .

  • Jackson

    What fascinates is that Wendy Davis wins the point on a hugely important business issue. Not on a woman’s access to family planning, mind you, but business. Jobs. The whole “abortion Barbie” meme that the far right pushes about her will not stick.

    Abbott now backing away from a stupid position will not put the airline merger issue to rest. Davis will STILL use it against him, and should. He was flat wrong politically on an issue dear to the establishment wing of his Party, and he’s now been forced to admit it. Wendy will remind voters of this as 2014 unfolds.

    On Thursday, she’ll announce her candidacy for Governor in the same Haltom City auditorium where she received her high school diploma before going on to finish first in her class at TCU and then graduation with honors from Harvard Law. Education will obviously be her theme on opening day, yet she’s already won the first skirmish with Abbott. This’ll be a fun race.

  • tested

    In the long run this won’t matter in the race. Abbott filed the lawsuit to get American to sign the deal they did today. In fact Abbott may use this to show how he fights for the little guy. I dare say this deal will help him in some of the places that were likely to lose airline service.

  • SybilsBeaver

    funny, they were not going to lose service anyhow. US/AA even said so. There is a reason that most of the cities in Texas that AA/Eagle fly too have at least 2-3 flights a day. They wouldnt have just abandoned those routes. Abbott is an idiot

  • Wylie H Dallas

    [But as the DMN‘s Wayne Slater pointed out, the AG’s original position opposing the merger—he said it “turns the free market on its head“—also was being hammered effectively first by Dallas’ Tom Pauken, Abbott’s Republican primary opponent…]

    Pretty humorous, considering that Tom Pauken was a co-founder of DallasBlog, the primary purpose of which seemed to be spewing pro Wright Amendment propaganda at readers surrounded by a blanket of quasi-legitimate news. Once the Wright Amendment debate was settled, Dallas Blog withered on the vine.