We want to commend Attorney General Greg Abbott for returning to the longstanding practice of meeting with editorial boards when pursuing public office. In his campaign for governor, Abbott has revived a tradition that was abandoned by Gov. Rick Perry, beginning with his own perennial presidential run.
We wish also to express our disappointment that state Sen. Dan Patrick, running for lieutenant governor, has taken his cue from Perry and declined our invitation. We hope that he will take the opportunity such a meeting affords to reach out to our readers, should his policy change in the future.
Abbott has earned our endorsement for governor. He has done well in the attorney general's office, and that bodes well for broader service. He has conducted himself with dignity.
Abbott expresses no desire to run for president, and that too bodes well. A state the size of Texas needs a full-time governor, not a part-timer who is spending a great deal of his time on the back roads and campaign trails of Iowa and New Hampshire (and last week, London).
State Sen. Wendy Davis' campaign, however, is a harbinger of things to come. That's not merely a statement about changing demographics in Texas (though that's a political reality, too). It's a prediction about a political figure who had made herself into something of a rock star in Democratic circles.
Four years ago, former Houston Mayor Bill White accepted the Democratic nomination like a condemned man accepting his fate. Sen. Davis shows a spark and an energy that neither White nor his campaign could have imagined. That's understandable. Bill White was like the last car in a funeral procession — the Reagan Revolution's complete takeover of the state of Texas. Wendy Davis, on the other hand, is the vanguard of a movement that the demographers say will inevitably turn Texas purple.
We'll keep an eye on her. Though this campaign may prove to be premature for her political aspirations, she could soon be on the ballot for a Senate seat or even something bigger.
But for Texas, Abbott and his conservative principles and proposals are best.
We very nearly decided to not endorse Proposition 1, a measure that will help Texas address its transportation needs. Not because it's a bad idea — it's not — but because it doesn't go far enough.
If voters approve Prop. 1, they will have shuffled some funding around, that's all. The measure produces no new funding for Texas roads. It doesn't even provide more stable funding, because it diverts some oil-and-gas revenues to roads — at a time when petroleum prices are fluctuating wildly.
At best, it's a step toward bridging the $5 billion gap in funding for Texas roads. At worst, it will allow the Legislature to pretend they've fixed something they haven't.
The reality is we need more funding for Texas roads, and we need to stop putting infrastructure improvements on the state's credit card. The fiscal conservatives should be down in Austin condemning the "borrow and spend" Republicans just as loudly as they condemn the "tax and spend" Democrats.
Prop. 1 puts this decision in the hands of voters, so lawmakers don't have to bear the political burden of dipping into the Rainy Day Fund.
In the meantime, Prop. 1 will help. A little.