Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore
Naturally, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz was among one the most quotable Texas politicos of 2021 — and for all the wrong reasons.
As with any year, politicians and outside participants in the political process suffered no shortage of words in 2021. Some were insightful, some left us scratching our heads and others revealed cases of foot-in-mouth disease so advanced the speakers should probably visit a hospital soon. In no order, here are some that left big impressions.
Nothing can possibly go wrogn…
“The legislature passed comprehensive reforms to fix all of the flaws that led to the power failure. Bottom line is that everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas.” — Gov. Greg Abbott on June 8 promising the Texas Legislature had solved all the state’s grid issues.
Way to double down!
“Listen, very confident about the grid, and I can tell you why. For one: I signed almost a dozen laws that make the power grid more effective. I can guarantee the lights will stay on.” — Gov. Greg Abbott to Austin TV station FOX 7 during an interview that aired Nov. 26.
Calling out corporate speak
“Paula, I’ll be frank with you, having called it a ‘gap’ or an ‘opportunity,’ that’s going to go viral today, and that’s going to piss people off.” — District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez on Feb. 17 after then-CPS Energy CEO Paula Gold-Williams called the failure to spare water pumping stations from rolling blackouts during the February freeze an “opportunity point.”
If politicians won’t grow a spine...
“The brilliance of this strategy is that it’s something we as a community could do ourselves. We don’t need to rely on local elected officials to be brave and stand up to the bullies. This campaign put power back into the hands of our community.” — Texas Organizing Project Executive Director Michelle Tremillo on Proposition B, which would have stripped the city’s police union of its collective bargaining power.
Facts? Who needs facts?
“Most of the numbers are with the unvaccinated, and the Democrats like to blame the Republicans on that. Well, the biggest group in most states are African Americans who have not been vaccinated. The last time I checked, over 90% of them vote for Democrats in their major cities and major counties.” — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick during a Aug. 19 Fox News appearance. Neither U.S. Census nor Texas health department data back up his false claim.
Outlining the options
“It is a known fact that instances of discrimination go underreported because if people don’t feel that they’ll receive support, they are left with few options. You may go to submit a complaint, you describe the traumas you experience, you rehash those emotions and then what? For many, nothing happens.” — District 2 Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez on Oct. 28 explaining the need to expand the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance to private companies.
Are we sure he’s mature enough to have his own cell phone?
“Government propaganda ... for your 5 year old!” — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in a Nov. 6 tweet blasting Sesame Street’s Big Bird for a Twitter message trying to take the fear out of COVID-19 vaccines.
Explaining how money works to city bureaucrats
“[W]hat that means for my constituency is they don’t pay their utilities, right. So, they’re not paying their water or light. And the next step with that when your light and water isn’t on is a code compliance violation. And that’s a notice to vacate violation. So, it’s a ripple effect.” — District 5 Councilwoman Teri Castillo in a Nov. 24 Texas Public Radio story discussing the snowball effect city code enforcement has on low-income homeowners.
Some of them would probably be OK with that too
“It’s like saying, ‘We should be proud of Hitler because we are German.’ It makes no sense.” — Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich on Oct. 11 on organizations that continue to recognize Columbus Day as a holiday.
Replay, replay the fifth of May
“I think it’s terrible. Irresponsible. We need to remember that after May 5, when he allowed all kinds of businesses to reopen, we had an outbreak through the summer.” — County Judge Nelson Wolff responding on March 2 to Gov. Greg Abbott dropping the statewide mask mandate and lift all restrictions on businesses even though fewer than 7% of Texans were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Saying the quiet part out loud
“Eighteen more months of chaos and the inability to get stuff done. That’s what we want.” — San Antonio-Austin U.S. Rep. Chip Roy on his legislative agenda in a video clip leaked July 6 from the congressman’s appearance at a far-right event.
Calling out the Heaven’s Gate of political parties
“[I]f you elevate a flag that has someone’s name on it to the same level that you elevate your national flag, then you are not a patriot; you are part of a cult.” — Former San Antonio-South Texas U.S. Rep. Will Hurd in a Jan. 22
Washington Post editorial excoriating his own Republican party for clinging to Donald Trump.
So, uh, do or don’t turn it up, man?
“Live music is a great part of our culture. We’ve got to find a balance here.” — District 1 Councilman Mario Bravo in late October on the city’s task force considering new curbs on noise.
State of dysfunction
“Texas has long been a multi-racial state; it has not been a multi-racial democracy.” — Texas Civil Rights Project Senior Staff Attorney James Slattery during April 1 testimony on one of the many voting-restriction bills debated by the Texas Legislature.
When you don’t have anything on your opponent, just make shit up
“He suggests I’m a Marxist or socialist and that I support radical organizations. It is simply not true, a total misrepresentation of what I’ve said and done.” — District 9 Councilman John Courage in an April 22 Express-News article addressing false claims by failed three-time opponent Patrick Von Dohlen that he’s a Marxist who wants to slash police funding.
As evidence, I submit my DVD of Reefer Madness
“Reasonable minds can disagree, but I am concerned that marijuana legalization could make this epidemic worse. I am committed to working with my colleagues to end the opioid epidemic and save lives.” — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in an Aug. 2 email to a constituent conflating weed and oxycodone.
And what if they need a good blaming?
“This resolution, like many others that have come before council, is an attempt to point fingers and place blame on our state and federal leaders.” — District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry on why he cast the only “no” vote to a resolution opposing bills in the Texas legislature that would limit transgender students’ participation in sports.
A good rationale for rolling up that sleeve
“Maybe you don’t think that you need that shot, but your community needs you to get it.” — Friendly Spot owner Jody Bailey Newman said in an Aug. 11
Current story discussing the pop-up vaccination clinics she held at her bar.
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