Attend any Republican political event throughout this state and you'll find a recurring talking point that really riles up the crowd: tyrannical overreach by the federal government against Texas. Fueled in part by distaste for President Barack Obama and in part by a neo-confederate love affair with all things "state's rights," the mantra of local control has become a rallying cry for the right in Texas. Medicaid expansion, marriage equality and immigration reform, according to these individuals, are just countless examples of said tyrannical overreach.
The mindset behind this is flawed, but even a cursory look into the recent dunderheaded moves of the state legislature would suggest that — worst of all — it is totally hypocritical and built on a foundation of lies.
Take Senate Bill 267, which the Austin American-Statesman recently reported was passed by the Texas Senate. It disallows municipalities from compelling landlords to accept Section 8 housing vouchers, something that does not match up with typical state precedent. House Bill 40, which overrules Denton's recent voter-approved ban on hydraulic fracking, recently cleared a house committee hurdle nearly unanimously, so reports The Dallas Morning News.
Perhaps most egregiously, the legislature looks determined to pass one of the many so-called "Campus Carry" proposals, which would allow concealed handgun license holders to carry their guns onto college campuses, including this one. Everyone from the students, to the faculty, to the administration opposes this misguided proposal, and yet the state pushes on anyways.
That is because the idea of local control is a myth for the modern day Texas GOP. They merely use it when it is convenient to them, in order to continue portraying Obama as the boogey man in order to race-bait to their increasingly hateful and out-of-touch base. When local control is inconvenient, as it is for cities or local universities that want to regulate housing, guns or the oil and gas industry differently than statewide officials, it is gladly lumped on the chopping block.
Horwitz is the senior associate editor.