Gov. Greg Abbott, who overcame paralysis as a young man to become governor of Texas, has a compelling personal story unlike that of any other prominent American politician.
In January, Abbott, a former Texas Supreme Court justice and attorney general, issued a 92-page Texas Plan calling for nine amendments to the U.S. Constitution to rein in Washington and restore power to the states.
On Monday, the governor announced that he has written a book, his first, entitled “Broken But Unbowed,” weaving together the story of his triumph over the accident that cost him his ability to walk and his determination to lead an effort on the national stage to convene a convention of the states, as provided for under Article V of the Constitution, “to restore the balance of power between the states and the United States.”
“We have effectively submitted ourselves to the rule of men and abandoned the rule of law on which our nation was built,” Abbott said of the book, which will be released May 17. “America was born as a nation in search of one thing: freedom to chart our own path.”
The book is being published by Threshold Editions, a Simon & Schuster imprint founded in 2006 to “provide a forum for the creative people, bedrock principles, and innovative ideas of contemporary conservatism.” Its books include Donald Trump’s “Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again,” Rush Limbaugh’s “Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner” and Glenn Beck’s “It Is About Islam.”
The book will be released amid the turmoil of the Republican Party’s presidential nominating contest, and Abbott plans to tour Texas and nationally to talk about the book upon its release.
In 2010, then-Gov. Rick Perry wrote “Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington,” ahead of his first unsuccessful run for president.
Abbott is backing U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for president. Republican operative Karl Rove recently said that the party might benefit from nominating a “fresh face,” instead of Donald Trump, Cruz or Ohio Gov. John Kasich, but Rice University political scientist Mark Jones did not read any politics into the timing of Abbott’s book.
Abbott could hardly have known that the battle for the Republican nomination would still be so unsettled this late in the contest, Jones said, and a book is almost de rigueur for a Texas governor who Jones said offers the clearest alternative on the national scene to Democratic governance in Washington and in the other megastates of California and New York.
As described in a statement from the governor’s campaign office, “ ‘Broken But Unbowed’ recounts the story of how Gov. Abbott lost his ability to walk when a huge oak tree crashed down on his back, fracturing vertebrae into his spinal cord, leaving him forever paralyzed. Realizing that our lives are not defined by our challenges, but by how we respond to them, Gov. Abbott goes on to describe first-hand what it was like to be on the battlefield of historic legal fights to uphold our Constitution, and the lessons learned that compel the current need to amend the Constitution.”
Cruz served as Texas solicitor general under Abbott when the governor was attorney general. The “historic legal fights” Abbott writes about in the book will undoubtedly include cases that Cruz argued before the Supreme Court.
Mark Meckler, founder and president of Citizens for Self-Governance, the organization spearheading the Article V convention effort, said Cruz and Kasich had endorsed a call for the convention but Trump had not.
Abbott issued the Texas Plan in January in a speech at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, an Austin-based conservative think tank.
Abbott called for nine amendments to the Constitution, including allowing a two-thirds majority of the states to override a Supreme Court decision or a federal law or regulation, requiring a seven-justice supermajority vote for the Supreme Court to invalidate a democratically enacted law, pruning back federal administrative power, requiring a balanced budget and more generally restoring the balance of power between the states and the federal government.
The legislatures of two-thirds of the states must approve resolutions in order to call a convention.
Meckler, who is based in Sacramento, Calif, said that in the past 18 months, six states — Florida, Georgia, Alaska, Alabama, Indiana and Tennessee — have approved the resolutions, that there are active efforts in 38 states, and that he expects to gain support in the necessary 34 states by next year.
A resolution in support of the Convention of States passed the Texas House last year but languished in a Senate committee.
After the states propose, debate and vote on the proposed amendments, they would still need to be ratified by three-quarters of the states.
All of the net proceeds from “Broken but Unbowed” will be donated to Operation Finally Home, a Texas-based nonprofit that provides custom-built, mortgage-free homes to veterans and their families.
ABOUT THE BOOK
‘Broken But Unbowed,’ by Gov. Greg Abbott
Publication date: May 17
Publisher: Threshold Editions, a conservative imprint of Simon & Schuster