In times of crisis, people typically look for strong, pragmatic leaders who will allay their fears while being straight with them and work around the clock to solve the problem at hand. Usually—not in all cases but in most of them—people aren’t interested in seeing elected officials go on TV or the internet and blame others for the situation they���re in, but rather use what precious time they have to figure out how to fix things. Like, say your state was in the midst of a massive power outage, and millions of people didn‘t have heat while frigid weather refused to let up. You’d probably want your local leaders to work on restoring power before you froze to death, rather than going on Fox News to blame socialist policies that don’t exist for the situation, right? Unfortunately for the people of Texas, they’re stuck with politicians like Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, and Dan Crenshaw, who think a visit to Sean Hannity, or some tweets about the perils of socialism, are just what the doctor ordered.
On Tuesday, for example, as millions of his constituents continued to go without power amidst freezing temperatures, Governor Abbot stopped by Hannity’s show to warn viewers that what his state was going through shows why America can’t trust people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her pinko-liberal energy policies. “This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America,” Abbott said. “It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary for the state of Texas as well as other states to make sure we’ll be able to heat our homes in the winter time and cool our homes in the summer time.”
Texas Gov. Abbott blames solar and wind for the blackouts in his state and says "this shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America" pic.twitter.com/YfVwa3YRZQ
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) February 17, 2021
Of course, what Abbott necessarily left out of his attack was that (1) the Green New Deal is a proposal that has not yet been implemented and may never be, and (2) the majority of Texas’s power grid is fueled by natural gas, coal, and some nuclear power. Just 7% of the forecasted winter capacity of Texas’s main electricity provider comes from wind energy. While all of the state’s energy sources share in the blame of the power crisis, proportionally, it’s basically all natural gas’s fault. “Texas is a gas state,” Michael Webber, an energy-resources professor at the University of Texas at Austin, told The Texas Tribune. “Gas is failing in the most spectacular fashion right now.” (As an aside, even if Texas did use a higher proportion of wind to run its state, it wouldn’t necessarily be wind’s fault for the outages. As many have noted, wind turbines operate just fine in Antarctica; Texas was warned to winterize its infrastructure a decade ago in order to be able to churn out electricity in freezing conditions and apparently chose not to.)
Of course, those facts haven’t stopped other Texas Republicans from weighing in with their very wrong opinions. “This is what happens when you force the grid to rely in part on wind as a power source,” Representative Dan Crenshaw tweeted on Tuesday. “When weather conditions get bad as they did this week, intermittent renewable energy like wind isn’t there when you need it.” In another long thread, he wrote, “This raises the obvious question: can we ever rely on renewables to power the grid during extreme weather? No, you need gas or nuclear.” Then he blamed everything on…California:
#1: It’s a once in a century weather event. California has constant energy problems and high prices.
#2: The reason for blackouts is complex, but in summary: Texas took too many lessons from Cali, over-subsidized renewables, & pushed out baseload energy like natural gas.
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) February 16, 2021
And speaking of California, confronted by old tweets he sent when the Golden State was in the midst of its own energy crisis last year—one of which read, “California is now unable to perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity. Biden/Harris/AOC want to make CA’s failed energy policy the standard nationwide”—Ted Cruz responded with a shrug emoji:
I got no defense. 🤷🏻♂️
A blizzard strikes Texas & our state shuts down. Not good.
Stay safe! https://t.co/kBPGrGHmvI
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 17, 2021
To be fair, anyone expecting him to tweet “Damn, turns out I am the smug, shameless asshole everyone says I am and will now do the right thing and resign” was probably expecting too much.
Republicans could trip over their own shoelaces and they’d still find a way to blame me, immigrants, LGBTQ+ people, the Green New Deal, BLM, anything but accept responsibility for their own actions and dealings.
Ineptitude, bigotry, and corruption. Disasters in their own right.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 17, 2021
But don’t worry, Texans! You may still be days away from power, but former governor turned Trump energy secretary Rick Perry has a solution. Okay, it‘s not so much of a solution as it is a proposal by the guy who reportedly didn’t know what the Energy Department did when he accepted the job running it, but just hear him out. Per the Houston Chronicle: