In the midst of the worst storm Texas has seen in many decades in Februry, the state’s junior Senator Ted Cruz took his family out of the country. Amidst a backlash he changed his plans and returned home. He blamed his family for the mishap, saying he was just escorting the kids and always planned to return but that story turned out to be… less than accurate.
That’s an awful lot of luggage for an experienced traveler intending to make a straight turn or short overnight.
Now Cruz is poking fun at himself, with Houston media touting low fares to Cancun on Sun Country Airlines.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 18, 2021
After United leaked his original itinerary and flight change history – and after his elite upgrade didn’t clear – he might just consider flying Sun Country rather than United the next time he flees the state during an emergency.
He’s getting roasted on social media for this latest Cancun tweet, but no matter what else you may think about Ted Cruz he actually does have a great sense of humor and quick wit. The interesting political calculus here: does re-raising the incident make it more salient in Texans’ minds, or does poking fun over it neutralize the issue?
The people of your state were in dire straits when you willfully abandoned them.
The fact that you are joking about it confirms that you have no regrets.
You are what you are, sir.
— Jean L.P. Jaurès 🌎🔬📚⚖️ (@larsp2740) May 18, 2021
Don’t think your constituents find your sense of humor appealing after you abandoned them in a time of crisis
— Donnie Loves Chachi Ⓥ (@JUConnor25) May 18, 2021
Texas faced a 70 year weather event, which led to loss of power for days on end for millions in the state. Many lost water as well, as pipes froze and power was lost at pumping stations. People were stuck at home for days due to road conditions as well.
We’re still learning exactly what went wrong, though partisans on both sides were quick to trot out their hobby horses like an overreliance on renewable energy and a state grid that for the most part isn’t connected to the rest of the country to avoid federal regulation. Both of those takes turned out to be wrong, while renewable sources did go down they didn’t do so more than gas which provides a much greater share of electricity, and shortages elsewhere meant that a connected grid wouldn’t have provided much relief. Moreover power was flowing out of the state based on long-term contracts.
Here’s some of what we know,
- There was unprecedented demand for electricity
- Homes and power generation are optimized for extreme heat rather than extreme cold. It may be prudent to do better optimizing for cold, but this is expensive and involves tradeoffs.
- Texas doesn’t have long-term contracts with its producers that would incentivize investments to ensure supply, relying on spot markets instead.
- Supply went offline for a variety of reasons. The state regulator didn’t do its usual inspections of power generating plants due to Covid, even though they were permitted to do so, and that’s a failure of regulation not deregulation.
- The state’s grid regulator paid natural gas producers not to use electricity as a conservation measure, but that meant they weren’t producing and delivering it to electric power generators.
I was fortunate during the meltdown. It turns out I’m on the same power switch as local fire and police, so I didn’t get shut off. I lost water for a couple of days, and was on a boil water notice for a couple of days more. And I couldn’t leave home for a week. Other than that I came through mostly unscathed.
(HT: Live and Let’s Fly)