Writing for The Week, Ryan Cooper outlined how the catastrophe in Texas represented a failure of Republican leadership — and a repudiation of their governing principles.
One thing that encapsulates this, wrote Cooper, was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and his trip to Mexico while his constituents were freezing and dying.
"What Cruz did is emblematic of the Republican Party's mode of governance," wrote Cooper. "The reason Cruz felt comfortable leaving Texans to freeze solid on the sidewalks of Houston is the same reason the Texas power grid crumpled under the winter storm. Theirs is a party in which catering to the welfare of one's constituents, or indeed any kind of substantive political agenda, has been supplanted by propaganda, culture war grievance, and media theatrics. Neither he nor anybody else in a leadership position in the party knows or cares about how to build a reliable power grid. They just want to get rich owning the libs."
"People have known for decades how to winterize electrical infrastructure — after all, there is still power in Canada and Finland," wrote Cooper. "The reason those investments haven't been made in Texas is because it would have cost a lot of money, and nobody wanted to pay for it — especially because the deregulated Texas energy grid makes it hard to pay for upgrades or extra capacity." And with Republicans having had solid control of the state government since 1994 — the longest current shutout dominance of any political party in any state — they have no one to blame but themselves.
Faced with their failures, noted Cooper, Republicans are pointing fingers but haven't offered any concrete way to protect their constituents and prevent this disaster from ever happening again. Former Gov. Rick Perry even said that Texans should be willing to endure avoidable blackouts for the sake of freedom.
"'Liberty,' to people like this, means that conservative elected officials never have to use their positions or authority to do anything when their constituents are suffering and dying. That, you see, is socialism," concluded Cooper. "So in a way, it probably doesn't make much of a difference that Cruz abandoned his state to the freezing Arctic winds. It's not like he was going to do anything to help them. At best, we'll get some smarmy tweets now that he's back. These days, whining is the beginning and end of Republican governance."
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