Is He a Traitor to
Family Values and America, an Evil Pawn of the Dominionists, or Just Plain Crazy?
Following Right Wing Individuals and Groups have made statements
and performed activities which by some standards indicate
actions detrimental to the United States of America. Click on
each Name for The Truth....
Presented by: The Religious Freedom
Coalition of the SouthEast
The following web page is an excellent source of true
Progressive and Liberal Information which allows you to
form honest opinions about Neo-conservative and
Conservative extremists who infest our government and
We will also list others as they are created by the true
patriots of this country.
Question: "Separation between
Church and State." Who coined the
Phrase? Give up? Answer:
Thomas Jefferson - one of the founding
fathers of this great Nation and a
creator of the U.S. Constitution and the
First Amendment to that same
Constitution. Thomas Jefferson, in
1802, wrote a Letter to the Danbury
Baptist Association, referring to the
First Amendment to the US Constitution.
In it he said:
To messers. Nehemiah Dodge,
Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S.
Nelson, a committee of the
Danbury Baptist association in
the state of Connecticut.
The affectionate sentiments of
esteem and approbation which you
are so good as to express
towards me, on behalf of the
Danbury Baptist association,
give me the highest
satisfaction. my duties dictate
a faithful and zealous pursuit
of the interests of my
constituents, & in proportion as
they are persuaded of my
fidelity to those duties, the
discharge of them becomes more
and more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion
is a matter which lies solely
between Man & his God, that he
owes account to none other for
his faith or his worship, that
the legitimate powers of
government reach actions only, &
not opinions, I contemplate with
sovereign reverence that act of
the whole American people which
their legislature should "make
no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise
thereof," thus building a wall
of separation between Church &
Adhering to this expression of
the supreme will of the nation
in behalf of the rights of
conscience, I shall see with
sincere satisfaction the
progress of those sentiments
which tend to restore to man all
his natural rights, convinced he
has no natural right in
opposition to his social duties.
reciprocate your kind prayers
for the protection & blessing of
the common father and creator of
man, and tender you for
yourselves & your religious
association, assurances of my
high respect & esteem.
Jan 1, 1802
Letter is in the Library of Congress
I've been scratching my head about two things lately. One,
how can someone who isn't a multimillionaire vote
Republican? Every platform they support is contrary to the
average working class citizen's needs. Two, how can a man
profess to be a Christian when he is obviously a hypocrite
and Liar? But when I listen to people like Rick Perry, Newt
Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, or T. Pawlenty speak, it
becomes clear how these things exist and why they are
glorified. Intelligence is awareness of
ignorance. Stupidity is ignorance of ignorance.
Now it all makes sense. "It
is better to be silentand be
thought a fool than to speakand remove all doubt."
Variously attributed to Lincoln, Elbert Hubbard, Mark Twain,
Benjamin Franklin and Socrates. Marine Corps Sgt. Ron
Geste - Iraq
RICK PERRY AND
TEA PARTY REPUBLICANS ARE THE ENEMY AND TRAITORS TO AMERICA
by R. Blackbird
Extremist Tea Party Republicans are selfish, power
hungry, hateful of the poor, disloyal to the nation and its
people, dishonest, avaricious, scornful of the nation's
history, the dignity of its institutions, its standards of
political morality, and its vision of advancement for all
the people. The Republicans love war as long as they and
theirs do not have to put on helmets and carry guns into the
fighting. They use lies to start wars that kill hundreds of
thousands of innocents and thousands of our own military
service people. They love massive war-time profits,
unavailable to their rich masters if war is absent.
Those Extremist Republicans hate the rest of us, which they
must, in order to pass away from themselves and onto us, the
financial burdens and losses their crimes, schemes and
thefts cause. They are prolific, incessant, and destructive
liars. They are blasphemers for they insist that their
hateful and destructive deeds are the work of God. They are
apostates for they gleefully attack the poor, the
immigrants, the old and the sick, of whom God has commanded
all of us to be mindful.
There is no reasoning with them, for all their logic is
built on false premises. There is no appealing to them for
honor's sake for they have lost all sense of shame and have
no honor, there is no appealing to them for the nation's
sake for that it what they hate the most.
has always supported a extreme Conservative Christian
position especially when it comes to Church and State
issues. It is apparent from the data collected, that
the first amendment is in danger from his past and future
Upon calling his office we find that
Islam, Judaism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or Wicca
"..aren't "Real" religions." What is a real religion,
Mr Perry? What you have been practicing? Read
the following and remember: "By their Works may they be
known." We believe that Rick will one day reside in
Dante's ninth level of Hell!
(Remember it is best to investigate on
your own when looking at allegations about anyone.
Don't believe us, think for yourself and investigate for
yourself! And remember, the Freedom of Religion
Coalition does not represent any political party nor do we
recommend any political candidate, nor are we involving
ourselves in the political process.
"Rick Perry is one of the
great pulsars of our times: a collapsed gravity well of
unblinking stare. People innocently walking down the
street, are drawn into his orbit, helplessly drawn in by how
utterly dense he is. They cannot escape the completely
impenetrable mass of darkness surrounding his mind and
become totally crushed & moronized by him."
By a Friend of
Rick Perry Used Office Phone In Violation of Texas Law, To Call Donors Before
Announcing Presidential Bid
WASHINGTON -- Time and again,
Texas Gov. Rick Perry picked up his office phone
in the months before he would announce his bid
for the presidency. He dialed wealthy friends
who were his big fundraisers and state officials
who owed him for their jobs.
Perry also met with a Texas
executive who would later co-found an
independent political committee that has
promised to raise millions to support Perry but
is prohibited from coordinating its activities
with the governor.
An Associated Press review of
Perry's phone records and daily public schedules
reveals a chronology – at times, minute by
minute – of the governor's meetings before his
campaign launch. Texas state ethics rules
prohibit use of state phones for campaign
purposes. Perry officials said the talks were
for official business.
The governor's files also show
connections between Perry and many of his early
supporters. Those whom Perry called have raised
millions for his state campaigns, and he
appointed some of them to Texas state jobs. Some
were quick to return the favor by donating to
his White House campaign.
They included Brint Ryan, a
Dallas businessman and University of North Texas
regent whom Perry talked with in-person and on
Ryan's cell phone in April, just as buzz swirled
of Perry's presidential ambitions. Ryan would go
on to back Make Us Great Again, a "super"
political action committee that legally is not
permitted to coordinate with Perry or his
Fred Wertheimer, the head of
campaign watchdog group Democracy 21, said the
roles of elected officials who are running for
office can blur. "But the elected official has
to take appropriate steps that ensure that
government resources aren't being used for
campaign purposes," Wertheimer said. The
conversations in the spring between Ryan and
Perry, he said, "raise the question of whether
this so-called candidate-specific super PAC is
really independent from the governor."
It's unclear what Perry and
all of his supporters discussed in their
conversations, and Perry didn't appear to
contact Ryan since his Aug. 13 campaign
announcement. State logs do not record incoming
calls or those made by aides, and most of
Perry's daily schedules produced since then say
only that Perry was "tending to state business"
with no further details.
"Gov. Perry only conducts
state business on his state office phone," Perry
spokeswoman Allison Castle said, adding that
members of his executive staff have access to
his line. A Make Us Great Again representative
said Ryan and Perry discussed higher education
and economic issues in the governor's office
April 29, but wasn't aware of the phone call.
Perry's conversations with
Ryan aren't unique. The governor has reached out
to local political allies and national power
Hank Greenberg, the former
chief of American International Group, received
a seven-minute call from Perry last summer.
Castle said the call was to thank Greenberg for
hosting a meeting the day before. Greenberg also
hosted a New York fundraising event for Perry in
_Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim, a Texas
poultry magnate, contributed to Perry campaigns
and the Republican Governors Association, which
Perry ran until recently. Pilgrim was not only
in contact with Perry by phone in recent years;
he also provided air travel in 2008 so that the
governor could travel to Washington and argue
against rules that require more ethanol in fuel,
which Pilgrim opposed over concerns they would
increase feed grain prices.
_Since his August
announcement, Perry phoned the office of Andy
Card, President George W. Bush's chief of staff,
and Frederick McClure, a former Texas A&M
University regent who worked on the Bush
presidential transition committee.
Old friends also made the
list: Perry called the home and business lines
of Phil Adams, another Texas A&M regent, more
than a dozen times between 2006 and 2008. Adams,
meanwhile, has given Perry more than $250,000 in
Perry's connections with the
founders of the super PAC supporting him are
hardly unique. Aides to former Massachusetts
Gov. Mitt Romney founded Restore Our Future in
2010, and a former spokesman for President
Barack Obama formed super PAC Priorities USA
Action to help the incumbent's re-election
efforts. Indeed, all politicians reach out to
potential donors and fundraisers as they gear up
The AP obtained Perry's
records through public-records requests and
cross-matched thousands of phone numbers to
identify those Perry called. Texas rules frown
on government employees using state phones for
personal use; they also prohibit calls that cost
the state extra money, although documents show
that the costs of Perry's long-distance calls
The AP's review was incomplete. When Perry's
administration turned over the records AP had
requested, it censored dozens of calls for
privacy reasons, and his schedules in recent
years contain only partial information. Perry
has said publicly that government institutions
should be more transparent and accountable to
We've got stuff for you to read.
Lots of links. And that's all well and good. But here's a suggestion for
you. If there's one thing We think you all are going to want to become very
familiar with, it's the name Cameron Todd Willingham. And if there's one
link to one story on this whole site that we think you should definitely
David Grann's story, "Trial By Fire."
Rick Perry made big news with his weird Ben Bernanke better not set foot
in Texas statement, but one shouldn't lose sight of the fact that he was
also condemning any effort from the Federal Reserve to, you know, help the
economy improve. And what happens if the economy improves? Well, Perry's
election chances diminish. So, here's the Perry platform:
No new jobs for the next two years!
(It's also really strange to be going all-in on Bernanke hostility, when you
recall that Bernanke will be Chairman of the Federal Reserve until 2014. So
... how are those first two years of the Perry Administration supposed to
Dig beneath the talking points and you find a more
troubling picture: rising unemployment, a glut of low-wage jobs without
benefits, overcrowded homeless shelters and public schools facing
billions in budget cuts.
"If you want a bad job, go to Texas," said Texas Rep. Garnet Coleman
(D), who represents a district in Houston, in an interview with The
Huffington Post. "If you want to work at Carl's Jr., our doors are open,
and if you want to go to a crumbling school in a failing school system,
this is the place to come."
Oh, and Perry says that evolution is a "theory
that's out there." Which is really a
disappointment to us. You know, any old GOP candidate for President can call
evolution a theory or deny its existence. We thought that Rick Perry would
be the guy who would personally stop evolution from happening, with guns.
(The ball is in your court, John Bolton!)
WASHINGTON -- Two weeks before
Thanksgiving in 2003, top officials from Texas Governor Rick Perry's
office pitched an unusual offer to the state's retired teachers:
Let's get into the death business.
Perry's budget director, Mike Morrissey, laid
out a pitch that was both ambitious and risky, according to notes
summarizing the meeting provided to The Huffington Post.
According to the notes, which were
authenticated by a meeting participant, the Perry administration
wanted to help Wall Street investors gamble on how long retired
Texas teachers would live. Perry was promising the state big money
in exchange for helping Swiss banking giant UBS set up a business of
teacher death speculation.
All they had to do was convince retirees to let
UBS buy life insurance policies on them. When the retirees died,
those policies would pay out benefits to Wall Street speculators,
and the state, supposedly, would get paid for arranging the bets.
The families of the deceased former teachers would get nothing.
The meeting notes offer the most direct
evidence that the Perry administration was not only intimately
involved with the insurance scheme, but a leading driver of the
It was a back-room deal at odds with Perry's
public persona as a career politician who had successfully sold
Texans on his vision of minimal government intrusion. And it still
is. Nearly eight years after the meeting, when Perry formally
announced his run for the presidency in Charleston, S.C., he honed
that vision into the perfect applause line: "I'll promise you this,"
he had said in his West Texas drawl. "I'll work every day to try to
make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can."
Death in Texas, on the other hand, is another
matter. That first meeting with teacher groups and retirement plan
officials in November 2003, recalled one attendee, was an effort by
Perry's office to solicit support for the life insurance idea from
teacher associations. There was little question who was promoting
"His office was pushing it," the source said.
"It was like, 'We've got to do whatever we can. ... Here's an
innovative idea. We really want you on board.'"
The governor's office was even prepared to put
down a little cash up front. If retirees balked at the notion of the
state profiting from their deaths, Perry's budget men suggested they
could be persuaded for the cost of a pair of shoes, according to the
meeting notes. If a retiree signed a contract allowing the state's
teacher pension fund to buy life insurance on them, the governor was
prepared to give them between $50 and $100.
"Precious little for what they were giving up,"
said the meeting attendee.
The notes make clear that the governor's
proposal deliberately targeted the elderly. The state was only
seeking to take out life insurance on people between the ages of 75
and 90. At a separate meeting five days later, the plan's proponents
discussed the "mental capacity" of these retirees to grant consent
as one of three major technical obstacles to the plan, according to
notes from that meeting.
At the first meeting, Morrissey said it could
take 10 to 12 years for Texas to "earn" money from the scheme, but
insisted the deal could be worth up to $700 million for the state if
the retirement fund could sign up 40,000 retired teachers.
The meeting notes show Insurance Commissioner
Jose Montemayor, a Perry appointee, joined Morrissey in the sales
pitch, claiming that "this arrangement" was already being utilized
by "some very rich people" who had set up similar plans to benefit
the University of Texas and Texas A&M.
"It was a pretty hard sell: 'This is something
you need to get on board with,'" the source said, paraphrasing
officials' comments at the meeting.
The source says the claim involving a similar
program benefiting the Texas universities turned out to be untrue --
the "rich people" had taken out the policies themselves with the
intent of sharing any life insurance payments with the universities.
Montemayor, as insurance commissioner, would have had to waive
"insurable interest" regulations to allow the schools to buy life
insurance on their professors. There is no public record that he did
so. The University of Texas and Texas A&M did not return requests
The aggressive push from the Perry
administration differs remarkably from its later public
characterization of its involvement in the deal. When the proposal
leaked to the press that winter, the governor's spokespeople
attempted to tamp down any notion that Perry was the engine behind
the plan -- and said if there ever was a plan, it was nowhere near
That December, spokesman Gene Acuna told the
Dallas Morning News that the plan was merely "a concept."
"Questions are being answered, questions are being raised," he said.
"Depending on the answers to those questions, plus input from all
affected parties ... that will determine the next step."
In a January story in the Fort Worth
Star-Telegram, another Perry spokesman attempted to create more
distance between the governor and the plan. "We never endorsed any
concept," said Robert Black. "The governor's opinion is that it's
prudent to look at ideas and concepts ... particularly when it won't
result in a loss of benefits or raising taxes to shore up the
Messages left for Perry spokespeople requesting
comment for this story were not returned. But the behind-the scenes
meeting notes reveal Perry's office had not only endorsed the
concept, but had already formulated a plan to implement it. That
first meeting on Nov. 12 was run by Perry's staff. The man who would
become the fall guy for the controversy -- former
senator-turned-financier Phil Gramm -- was not even present.
THE GRAMM BARGAIN
Gramm had made six-figure
campaign contributions to Perry's campaign and had been --
and may still be
-- one of Perry's most trusted political allies and personal
mentors. "Perry worships at [Gramm's] feet, intellectually," said
one semi-retired political consultant in Austin. "He considers Gramm
an economic genius."
After lending political aid to Perry, Gramm was
poised to make a fortune from the life insurance deal. His role in
the scheme had the appearance of banal corruption and cronyism.
Although Gramm wasn't in on the first meeting with teacher groups,
he played an active role in subsequent efforts to push the scheme.
It was Gramm who could make the plan a
financial reality. He left the U.S. Senate in November 2002 for a
lucrative vice president post at UBS. After Morrissey, Montemayor
and Perry budget aide Brian Guthrie first articulated the plan on
Nov. 12, Gramm came to Austin to help push the deal. That move
eventually prompted Texas Democrats to file an ethics complaint
against Gramm for making a the pitch without registering as a
Gramm was hoping to put together a new package
of complex assets for speculators to gamble on. Corporations had
been using mass purchases of life insurance policies on their
employees for years as part of an elaborate tax avoidance scheme
(the government doesn't tax insurance premiums or death benefits).
The employees themselves -- affectionately referred to as "dead
peasants" among insurance experts -- received no benefit. Only the
companies who bought the policies would receive payouts when these
"peasants" died. Gramm wanted to convince investors to bet on
peoples' lives by purchasing pools of life insurance and annuities
taken out on individuals.
Gramm and UBS had concocted a gruesome
combination of what are now regarded as two of the most infamous
Wall Street scams on record. The resulting package closely resembled
the growing market for mortgage-backed securities, but instead of
allowing Wall Street to bet on peoples' homes, it would enable bets
on peoples' lives.
State laws generally frowned on big Wall Street
investment banks taking out life insurance on random individuals. To buy
life insurance on another person, the insuree's written consent was
necessary, as was the cooperation of a state insurance regulator willing to
work around requirements that the owner of an insurance policy have an
"insurable interest" in whatever -- or whomever -- was being insured.
Enter the Texas Teachers Retirement System (TRS), the
state-operated pension fund with a tremendous database full of
soon-to-be-deceased retirees who could sign off on policies for the UBS
scheme. At the meeting with Gramm, then-State Insurance Commissioner Jose
Montemayor was happy to bend the law. He agreed to grant a special waiver on
insurance regulations that would allow the deal to go through, according to
"There was some worry about the legality," recalled the
attendee. "[Montemayor] said 'Don't worry about it.' He could take those
questions off the table as the insurance commissioner."
"I don't remember any of the details," Montemayor told
HuffPost in a recent interview. He is now a principal with the Black Diamond
Capital Partners private equity firm.
When asked about the scheme, TRS insisted that it was
only tangentially involved in the UBS discussions.
"While TRS attended a few meetings to learn what the
proposal was about, the concept was never fully developed and was never
taken to the TRS Board for action," TRS spokesman Howard Goldman told
HuffPost. The current executive director of TRS is Brian Guthrie -- one of
the two Perry budget officials who presented the deal back in 2003.
The plan was to have UBS buy the life insurance
policies with mega-insurer AIG, then bundle those policies into securities,
and sell them off to a small group of investors. By keeping the investor
group small, Gramm could avoid the public and regulatory scrutiny required
by standard public securities sales. He wouldn't even have to disclose
details of the scheme to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Texas would get a portion of the fees UBS received from
selling the securities. But while Gramm's pitch included far more structural
details than Morrissey's previous talk, it came up shorter on one crucial
piece of information: how much money the state would actually make.
Morrissey had described a payout of up to $700 million.
But Gramm refused to offer even general revenue figures. In one ghoulish
section from the meeting notes, Gramm emphasized that the actual payments to
the state would depend on who died, and when.
"These amounts depend on interest rates and deaths,"
the notes read. "They can't price it yet, or estimate the amount of money
available annually to TRS until the bank looks at the universe of those
None of the state's money would be at risk in the
initial purchase of life insurance plans, but the state's potential
liabilities got murkier when those plans were bundled into securities. In
order to profit from those security sales, Texas would have had to partner
with UBS. And if investors ultimately thought they'd been bilked in the
arrangement, Texas could be sued. It was also not clear how the state would
form a partnership with UBS, or how much it would cost.
"It was real nebulous," said a person present at the
meeting. "It was kind of like, 'Trust us, we're big boys who play in this
league and we're going to protect you.'"
Regardless of how any ultimate deal eventually panned
out, Gramm and UBS would score big, up-front commissions just for getting
the contracts signed. Phone calls and emails to Gramm requesting comment for
this article were not returned. UBS likewise did not respond to requests for
The strange thing about all the scheming was that the
teacher pension fund didn't actually need any money. At the time, it had a
funding ratio of over 94 percent, well above the 80 percent threshold that
financial experts consider healthy. Perry's team needed to convince the
public the scheme's architects were the white knight riding in to save their
retirements; meeting notes show plans to persuade retirees that they would
be doing a patriotic deed by allowing investors to gamble on their deaths.
Jeri Stone, the
Classroom Teachers Association's executive
director and general counsel, told HuffPost that the plan had nothing to do
with shoring up any retiree safety net; it was simply an example of Perry's
deference to Gramm. Without the former senator's involvement, she said, the
plan might not have gotten an audience.
Since the pension fund was healthy, the deal was
instead structured to profit TRS-Care, a health care program for retired
teachers administered by pension fund officials. TRS-Care had initially been
established in 1985 with 10 years of funding, receiving additional funding
injections in following years to keep it afloat.
When the deal eventually leaked, teacher groups balked
at the entire arrangement.
"It was just pretty morbid and I
don't think it convinced anybody it was gonna enrich anybody except Phil
Gramm and UBS,"
Texas State Teachers Association
Spokesman Clay Robison told HuffPost. "Our members were pretty much appalled
"No one wants to think there are people out there
hoping you'll die soon," Stone explained.
During the November 2003 meeting, Gramm and the Perry
administration were well aware of the potential for a media debacle. "The
'liability' is really on the PR side for AIG ... and possibly TRS," the
meeting notes read. "They want to avoid a 'Wal-Mart' problem."
Although hundreds of companies used dead peasant
insurance policies to dodge taxes, Walmart took a particularly bad PR
beating for the practice, in large part because the company was profiting
from massive life insurance policies on rank-and-file workers whom it paid
low wages. Perry had just signed off on cutting benefits to retired teacher
health care plans, and following that up with a plan to gamble on retiree
longevity had the potential for political and public relations trouble.
How to deal with the media was also a topic at the
Gramm meeting, according to the notes.
"Gramm said that once the program is structured, the
leadership and he will hold a press conference and go to editorial boards,"
the notes state. If anyone asked tough questions, Gramm instructed they
would give vague answers. The key: Do not explain what the plan would
exactly entail -- just tell the press that Texas was "using insurance
products under the supervision of the insurance commission and Montemayor
... to help fund or enhance TRS-Care." If all else failed, officials were to
tell the media that "this is a private offering."
Gramm concluded the meeting, the notes show, by saying
he wanted "to consummate this deal ASAP."
When the press did find out about the scheme, Perry's
team was unable to simultaneously downplay its role in the endeavor and
shape the public narrative about the program. Perry did not defend the plan
in detail because doing so would have only reinforced the perception that
Perry was, in fact, a major advocate of the plan who had been involved since
Democrats in the state legislature hammered Perry,
decrying his relationship with Gramm as corrupt while highlighting the
recent cuts to retiree benefits. Charles Soechting, the chair of the Texas
Democratic Party at the time, led the charge.
"It was just real clear that it was a deal worked out
between Perry's people and Phil Gramm's to help UBS make a lot of money," he
told HuffPost. "It was just a scam."
The deal collapsed. But ultimately, none of its top
architects paid a serious political price for the debacle. Perry did not
abandon his close relationship with Gramm. A few years later, Perry's
23-year-old son went to work for UBS, and Gramm began urging Perry to let
UBS privatize the Texas state lottery. Perry named Guthrie executive
director of the teacher pension fund. Morrissey is now a senior adviser to
Perry. And Perry himself, of course, is now a top contender for the
Republican presidential nomination.
WASHINGTON -- Texas Governor Rick
Perry's ties to Swiss banking giant UBS go beyond his relationship
with former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas). Perry's current chief of
staff and top press person for his campaign, Ray Sullivan, spent
five years as a lobbyist for UBS in Texas -- a tenure that began the
same year Gramm made his
for Perry to enable Wall Street gambling on the
deaths of Texas teachers.
Sullivan reaped between $300,000 and $600,000
lobbying for UBS between 2003 and 2008, according to data compiled
by Texans for Public Justice, a nonpartisan government transparency
group. Disclosure forms only require lobbyists to indicate a salary
range, not a specific salary. Sullivan had several other lobbying
clients during those same years. He has been described in the local
Texas press as
Sullivan worked for Perry both in the
governor's mansion and in the late 1990s when Perry was then
lieutenant governor. Sullivan started working for UBS in May 2003.
Perry aggressively pushed
the Texas teacher pension fund and state teacher associations to
sign off on a UBS plan to take out life insurance policies and
annuities on retired Texas teachers -- an elaborate scheme in which
the state of Texas would serve as a something of a bookie, setting
up Wall Street bets on how long those teachers would live.
confidential notes obtained by the Huffington
the Perry administration had been elaborately briefed on details of
the plan and was making a "hard sell" to teacher groups in
behind-the-scenes meetings. When the plan leaked to the press in
December 2003, however, the Perry camp claimed to have had only
tangential involvement after receiving an inquiry from Gramm. The
deal soon fell apart.
Gramm, a chief architect of the scheme, drew
the critical attention of several Texas newspapers at the time, but
Sullivan's involvement received much less scrutiny, though his
longstanding ties to Perry create the same appearance of corruption
"Sullivan is classic example of the way Perry
works," explained Andrew Wheat, research director with Texans for
Public Justice. "There's a coterie of insiders that move back and
forth between the governor's office, the governor's campaign and the
corporate lobby. ... It's a beautiful relationship for everybody
except the public."
Rick Perry's strategy for winning
the GOP nomination – and then the White House – is simple: he'll try to get
there by wildly distorting his abysmal economic record as governor of Texas
beyond all recognition. The spin started even before he announced his
candidacy on Saturday, when right-wing blogger Erick Erickson introduced him
as the governor who had created 40 percent of all the new jobs in the U.S.
since the “recovery” began. During the announcement, Perry went on to talk
about “jobs” 11 more times.
Rick Perry can't tell the truth
about his economic record. That's because, more than any other single
factor, he has immigration to thank for those numbers – most of it from
Mexico, and a large share of it unauthorized. You can't win the Republican
nomination by bragging about being one of the states that has seen the
biggest rise in Mexican immigrants during your tenure, and even if you
could, it's not an economic model for the country as a whole as Mexican
has now slowed to a trickle.
At a June fundraiser, Perry told a group of Republican
fat-cats that in his state that “you don't have to use your imagination,
saying, 'What'll happen if we apply this or that conservative principle?'
You just need to look around, because they've been in play across our state
for years, generating real results.” On this point, Perry's correct – Texas
has been a model for conservative governance under his watch.
The results are hardly
encouraging. Let's take a closer look at the “Texas Miracle” that we're
going to be hearing so much nonsense about it in the months to come. As I
wrote back in June,
the reality is that Texas is not only a complete basket case, it would be
faring far worse today without the help of policies enacted by Democrats at
the federal level – policies Perry lambasted as "irresponsible spending that
threatens our future."
The kernel of truth on which the
tale of the Texas Miracle is built is that the state has in fact added a lot
of jobs over the past decade. In a
gushing lead editorial,
the Wall Street Journal noted that “37% of all net new American jobs
since the recovery began were created in Texas.” The Journal then
spun that fact like this:
Capital—both human and investment—is highly mobile,
and it migrates all the time to the places where the opportunities are
larger and the burdens are lower. Texas has no state income tax. Its
regulatory conditions are contained and flexible. It is fiscally
responsible and government is small. Its right-to-work law doesn't
impose unions on businesses or employees.
In the Journal's hyper-partisan view, the lesson
to be learned is that “the core impulse of Obamanomics is to make America
less like Texas and more like California, with more government, more unions,
more central planning, higher taxes.” That spin was echoed during last
week's GOP debate by none other than Newt Gingrich, who asked, “Why [would]
you want to be at California's unemployment level when you can be [at]
Texas's employment level?”
James Galbraith, an economist at the University of
Texas, scoffed at the whole narrative when I spoke to him in June, saying,
“Texas has been a low-tax, low-service state since the time of the
Republic,” and noting that it's “therefore impossible that this fact
suddenly accounts for its better job performance over the past few years.”
“Texas is an energy state
benefiting from high oil prices and the incipient boom in natural gas,”
explained Galbraith. “That's an accident of nature.” He added that the state
“went through the S&L crisis, had major criminal prosecutions and more
restrictive housing finance regulations this time around; hence it was not
an epicenter of the subprime housing disaster. That's called a learning
experience.” Tighter regulation of the lending industry is also
anathema to today's GOP.
Arguably the biggest sleight-of-hand in the Texas
Miracle storyline, however, is that many of those jobs were a result of a
huge surge in the state's population, much of it fueled by immigration from
Latin America (rather than liberal hell-holes like California).
grew by 20 percent over the past decade,
and Hispanics accounted for almost two-thirds of that growth. A surge in
people created greater demand for goods and services, which leads to more
jobs. But the jobs being created in Texas aren't keeping up with the state's
expanding workforce – the Wall Street Journal somehow failed to
mention that during the exact same period in which it was adding all those
new jobs, Texas' unemployment rate actually increased from 7.7 to 8 percent.
(It also failed to note that 23 states -- including deep blue ones such as
Vermont, New York and Massachusetts –
enjoy lower unemployment rates
Perhaps the most laughable claim in
this whole narrative is that Texas has been “fiscally responsible.” Perry
certainly adhered to the conservative playbook, offering massive tax breaks
without the deep cuts in services that might inspire a voter backlash. As a
result – an entirely predictable one – the Austin American-Statesman
that “state lawmakers have spent much of the year grappling with a budget
shortfall that left them $27 billion short of the money needed to continue
current state services.”
Inherent in Perry's claim to
have been fiscally responsible is some eye-opening hypocrisy. In announcing
his bid for the White House on Saturday, Perry said of Texas' $6.6 billion
budget gap last year, “We worked hard, we made tough decisions, we balanced
our budget. Not by raising taxes, but by setting priorities and cutting
government spending." But, as CNN
Texas actually “plugged nearly all of that deficit with $6.4 billion in
Recovery Act money.” On Saturday, Perry described the lifeline that spared
his state as Washington's “failed 'stimulus' plans and other misguided
economic theories [that] have given us record debt.”
The stimulus package created or
205,000 jobs in Texas,
second only to California. But as James Galbraith told AlterNet, while “the
state budget has not yet been cut drastically” due to the stimulus boost,
“the key phrase is 'not yet.'” Now that the stimulus has run its course, “if
projections for the current budget cycle are correct, things will get much
worse in the next year.”
But Perry's tax breaks are
indeed part of the state's jobs picture; as Time magazine's Massimo
Perry established several massive business tax breaks “designed to lure
companies from other states.”
[But] the funds have been controversial. They have
channeled millions of dollars to companies whose officers or investors
are major Perry campaign donors and Perry has allowed them to keep their
subsidies in many cases even when they fail to deliver promised jobs.
More important for the purposes of judging Perry’s job-creating record,
even those that do produce jobs don’t necessarily create long-lasting
ones, or increase the state’s overall prosperity.
In a report written for Perry last spring, Michael
Porter of Harvard Business School noted that such tax breaks “ultimately
don’t support long-term prosperity,” because companies that can move easily
“are looking for the best deal and when the deal runs out they move” again,
taking their jobs with them.
He also found that Texas’ per capita income growth was
the eighth slowest of any state in the country between 1998 and 2008. That's
because, as the American Independent's Patrick Brendel noted, “Texas
has by far the largest number of employees working at or below the federal
minimum wage,” and the number of crappy jobs has exploded while this
supposed Texas Miracle was taking place. “From 2007 to 2010, the number of
minimum wage workers in Texas rose from 221,000 to 550,000, an increase of
nearly 150 percent,” wrote Brendel. As a result, Texas is now “tied with
Mississippi for the greatest percentage of minimum wage workers, while
California had among the fewest (less than 2 percent).”*
Rick Perry has shown precisely what kind of economic
policy he'd pursue as president of the United States. In Texas, he slashed
taxes to the bone while handing out credits to his political cronies like
they were candy. He decried the evils of Big Government while hypocritically
using federal stimulus funds to help close Texas' budget gap in the short
term, and now he's using the state's longer-term fiscal disaster – one of
his own creation – as a premise for destroying an already threadbare social
safety net serving the neediest Texans. As a result of these policies, plus
immigration and other external factors, his state's added a lot of
low-paying poverty jobs without decent benefits. He's added very little in
the way of “prosperity.”
In the final analysis, Texas is indeed a shining
example of conservative governance, as well as an almost perfect model for
winning the race to the bottom. Given the pathetic state of our economy,
it's also the last thing we need in the White House today.
* It should be noted that the cost of living is
higher in California than in Texas.
It was the kind of scene that Texas Gov.
Rick Perry will point to often as he rolls out his presidential
campaign: a ribbon-cutting ceremony just outside Dallas, launching a
corporate headquarters, with hundreds of new jobs, and validating
what he calls his “Texas miracle” of growth.
After a months-long courtship
that included a trip to China, where he dined with the company’s
chief executive, Perry announced that telecommunications firm Huawei
Technologies would base its U.S. operations in Plano. In a video of
that October 2010 event — now playing on YouTube, courtesy of the
governor’s office —
the company’s “really strong worldwide
reputation” and its chairman, Ren Zhengfei, whose straight talk he
said reminded him fondly of West Texans.
Rick Perry joined the 2012 GOP race for president Saturday with
an announcement sure to reverberate halfway across the country
as his rivals competed in Iowa for the support of party
Gov. Rick Perry joined the 2012 GOP race for president Saturday
with an announcement sure to reverberate halfway across the
country as his rivals competed in Iowa for the support of party
focused on Huawei’s ability to create jobs in a sluggish economy,
national security experts in both the George W. Bush and Obama
administrations had concluded that the global telecom giant poses a
potential cyber-security risk to the U.S. military and businesses.
Three times since 2008, a U.S. government security panel has blocked
Huawei from acquiring or partnering with U.S. companies because of
concerns that secrets could be leaked to China’s government or
Perry campaign spokesman
Mark Miner said that “if there are national security issues
surrounding this company, they should be fully looked at.” He
characterized Perry’s main involvement with Huawei as just “a
ribbon-cutting for a company that was creating jobs here.”
As the Republican presidential campaign
intensifies with Perry’s Saturday entry into the presidential race,
trade with China and the sensitive issue of how to weigh U.S.
economic interests against security concerns is emerging as a target
of GOP politicians.
In last Thursday’s debate in Iowa, former Utah
governor and ambassador to China Jon Huntsman Jr. pointed to China
as a culprit in what he described as “the new war field” —
cyber-intrusion as a way to steal corporate and government secrets.
“Not only have government institutions been hacked into, but private
individuals have been hacked, too. It’s gone beyond the pale,”
Huntsman has said his experience in China gives
him an understanding of its complex relationship with the United
States. His own family business — the global chemical company
Huntsman Corp. — had done business in China and saw its China-based
revenue rise 57 percent during his tenure as ambassador there.
Huntsman’s brother Peter, the company’s chief executive, told The
Washington Post that the company avoided seeking embassy help while
his brother was ambassador.
Front-runner Mitt Romney
has vowed to “get tough” on trade with China and called the
superpower one of the “worst offenders” of global trade rules,
suggesting in an interview that the United States must clamp down on
China’s use of pirated technologies.
Romney’s former investment company, Bain
Capital, worked on behalf of at least two Chinese companies trying
to acquire U.S. technology firms. One case involved Huawei, which
Bain joined in its failed bid to buy the software firm 3Com. Romney
left Bain Capital in 1999, and aides say he had no role in those
WASHINGTON -- Texas Governor
Rick Perry is set to officially jump into the Republican presidential
primary race with unmatched backing from a collection of independent
groups raising unlimited money from corporations and individuals to help
get him the Republican nomination. The connections that these groups
have to Perry's inner circle, however, are raising serious questions
about their supposed independence and the appearance of collusion.
There are currently seven Super PACs -- independent
political committees that can accept unlimited contributions from
individuals, corporations and unions -- supporting Perry's bid. The most
recently formed is Make Us Great Again,
which is, perhaps, the most emblematic of the veil of independence worn
by these candidate-centric committees.
The committee was founded by former Perry chief of
staff and longtime associate Mike Toomey. Toomey is so close to the
Perry inner circle he even co-owns a private island in New Hampshire
with Perry's campaign manager Dave Carney. Toomey was also listed in a
Texas Tribune report on the "folks" behind Perry.
The other pro-Perry Super PACs are no better in
presenting themselves as independent.
Jobs for Vets Fund and
Veterans for Rick Perry were started by
former Perry legislative director Dan Shelley. Veterans for Rick Perry
made a revealing error on their initial statement
of organization by checking a box
stating that the committee supported one candidate and listing Rick
Perry as that candidate. Super PACs are forbidden from explicitly
supporting one candidate. An amended statement was filed to correct this
error. Shelley has set a $1 million fundraising target for campaign
efforts in the early primary states Iowa and South Carolina.
Americans for Rick Perry,
is run by California political consultant Bob Schuman, a former campaign
consultant for former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas), Perry's political
mentor. Schuman’s consulting firm has also represented the
pharmaceutical company Merck, which was represented in Texas by Toomey.
Toomey’s lobbying for Merck became a scandal in Texas after Perry
mandated that all schoolgirls receive a vaccination against HPV -- a
vaccination that was made by Merck. The ensuing controversy led the
state legislature to override the governor and block the mandate.
Schuman's effort has so far been underwritten by a large contribution
from Texas billionaire Harold Simmons, a major Perry donor who has used
his political clout to gain support from Perry’s administration to
bury nuclear waste in western Texas.
Toomey has recently attempted to corner the market
in pro-Perry Super PACs by telling Perry donors that Make Us Great Again
is the only true pro-Perry group: “Our advice is
to avoid any other group claiming to be ‘the’ pro-Perry independent
effort and, when the timing is right, to support Make Us Great Again.”
Schuman and Americans for
Rick Perry have gotten behind Toomey’s move to assert his PAC as the
leader of the pro-Perry unlimited money groups. Schuman
told the Wall Street Journal,
“To the extent that there is an official PAC… they’re it.” Toomey had
already lured away two top donors who had been working for Schuman's
Americans for Rick Perry including Elizabeth Blakemore, a consultant
past clients include Koch Industries.
Toomey did not return a call for comment by The
It would be illegal for any of the Super PACs
supporting Perry's bid to coordinate with the campaign, even prior to a
formal announcement. The incredibly close ties between the individuals
behind the pro-Perry PACs and the inner circle of the Perry campaign
raise serious questions and doubts about the independent efforts of the
Shelley, who runs the two pro-Perry veterans
groups, told The Huffington Post that he has not talked to Carney about
his Super PAC efforts as, "that's against the law."
Shelley did, however, go on to describe what
animates his efforts: "I don't think you'll find someone that doesn't
know Rick would ever start what I just did. You're just not going to get
a guy that wakes up one day and says, 'Oh, I think I'll start this.' I
can tell you I know him, I know his heart, I know how hard he works, I
know his discipline and I'm politically involved. So yeah, I'm
He also explained his close relationship with
Toomey, "Mike [Toomey] and I served together. Mike and I and Gov. Perry,
we all served in the [Texas] House together. Mike and I used an office
together when we lobbied together. We currently share clients in Austin.
We both represent Harris County government. We all know each other
Texans for Public Justice
Director Craig McDonald told The Huffington Post, "It's difficult to
believe that none of these people who are deeply inside the Perry circle
not have been talking about their plans."
Carney refused to comment for this story. The Gov.
Perry's spokesperson did not return calls or emails seeking comment.
Similar candidate-focused Super PACs for other
Republican candidates have raised concerns about coordination. Restore
Our Future PAC, the pro-Mitt Romney committee, was founded by three
veterans of Romney's 2008 run for the Republican presidential nod.
Super PACs have also been formed to support the
bids of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).
In a statement issued Thursday, Democracy 21
President Fred Wertheimer expressed a growing sentiment among reform
groups: "These Super PACs are nothing more than shadow arms of a
presidential campaign that provide a vehicle for massive circumvention
and evasion of the contribution limits applicable to donations made
directly to a presidential candidate’s campaign committee."
None of this comes as a surprise to close watchers
of Perry and Carney's electoral efforts. The duo has a long history of
using every tool at their disposal in elections, including organizing
outside group efforts.
"The notion that Mike Toomey would start a
political effort on behalf of Rick Perry that's truly independent of
Rick Perry is truly laughable," Jeff Rotkoff, an Austin-based consultant
with the anti-Perry Back to Basics PAC, told The Huffington Post.
In 2004, Texas Republicans successfully secured a
ballot position for the Texas Green Party's presidential candidate Ralph
Nader in an effort to bleed votes from the Democratic candidate Sen.
John Kerry (D-Mass.). An subsequent investigation into that effort found
that both Carney and Make Us Great Again's Toomey were intimately
involved in the Green Party ballot scheme.
The Federal Election
Commission (FEC) determined that Carney's efforts to secure the ballot
place for the Green Party
violated campaign finance law
and stated that Carney "knowingly and willfully" broke the law.
Prosecutors, however, did not pursue charges.
"Governor Perry and
Dave Carney are both masters at leveraging whatever the rules of the
game are," Harvey Kronberg, editor and publisher of
The Quorum Report,
told The Huffington Post. "It would be completely uncharacteristic for
Team Perry not to make sure their big money guys were not completely
involved in the game."
Big money is one thing that Perry does well. He's
also been accustomed to a fundraising environment that favors the kind
of unlimited contributions that Super PACs can accept on the federal
Unlike under federal
campaign law, Texas does not have contribution limits. According to
a report by
Texans for Public Justice, half of the $104 million Perry raised for his
three gubernatorial races came from just 204 mega-donors who donated
$100,000 or more.
As the chairman of the Republican Governors
Association (RGA), a 527 political nonprofit, Perry has also been able
to raise unlimited sums of money. The RGA under Perry has been a
fundraising powerhouse, pulling in $22.1 million in the first half of
2011 -- $10 million more than the committee raised during the first
halves of the last two comparable years, 2007 and 2009.
"This guy's a fundraising magnet," TPJ's McDonald
said. "Corporations will be lining up to give to whatever Super PAC can
give them the most bang for their buck."
As these Super PACs ramp up their efforts to help
Perry they will undoubtedly draw more attention to their supposed
Wertheimer stated the intention of reform groups to
pursue this issue into the future, saying, "Democracy 21 is currently
exploring possible legal challenges to the new presidential Super PACs
and their fictional 'independence' from the presidential candidates they
“It's clear that this [committee] is nothing more
than a covert political action committee fueled by long-time associates
of Rick Perry to give the false appearance of a draft,” one veteran
political consultant based out of Austin said about Make Us Great Again.
“In that sense, it may well violate existing federal statutes with
regard to so-called [Super PAC] committees. That is a question, however,
for the courts to decide -- as I'm sure they will when the watchdog
groups in Washington review this group."
presidential candidates were elected based on how well they
rewarded their political donors, then Texas Governor Rick
Perry would lead the pack. Since 2001, more than a fifth of
the $83 million in campaign donations received by Perry have
come from his past and present political appointees. In
2009, the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in
Washigton cited his administration's rampant cronyism in
naming him to its "Worst Governors" list. A recent analysis
of Perry's 150 largest political donors by the LA Times
that more than half of them received hefty business
contracts, tax breaks, or appointments from the governor.
Here are ten Perry supporters who've been handsomely repaid
for their patronage:
Bob Perry: America's
largest individual political donor, the Houston-based
homebuilder has given $2.3 million to Rick Perry, making
him the governor's leading money man (the two Perrys
aren't related). In June, 2003, Rick Perry helped push
through a bill creating the Texas Residential
Construction Commission, ostensibly a watchdog for
unethical homebuilders. In reality, the agency was
created with the help of Bob Perry's lobbyist, John
Krugh. Shortly after receiving a
$100,000 check from Bob Perry,
the governor appointed Krugh to the TRCC's board of
directors. Consumer groups fought back and got the
agency abolished in 2009.
The reclusive buyout king
has amassed $5.7 billion from garbage collection, drug
stores, metals, and chemicals, making him the 55th
richest American. In 1995, he set about converting an
isolated patch of land in West Texas into a
nuclear waste dump.
In part, that's meant dumping $1.2 million in campaign
cash on Perry. Though three staffers with Perry's Texas
Commission on Environmental Quality resigned rather than
approve the waste dump, it was ultimately green-lighted
by TCEQ executive director Glen Shankle, who left the
agency a few months later to work as the dump's
lobbyist. In January, a commission stacked with Perry
appointees gave the dump permission to accept nuclear
waste from around the country.
In 2009, the founder and chairman of Convergen
LifeSciences Inc, a tiny biotechnology firm, applied for
a $4.5 million grant from Texas' Emerging Technology
Fund, a sort of public-sector venture capital fund. When
the grant was denied, Nance appealed the decision to a
Perry-appointed statewide advisory committee (of which
Nance had once been a member), the Wall Street
The committee ruled in favor of Nance, who has given
more than $100,000 to Perry's campaigns since 2001. But
that's not all. Perry also appropriated $2 million in
state funds to a business-services nonprofit,
which pays Nance a six-figure salary but does not have a
working phone number, the Journal reports.
In March 2008, the owner of the
Pilgrim's Pride poultry company met with Perry and soon
after gave him a $100,000 donation for the Republican
Governor's Association, which Perry chaired at the time.
Less than a month later, Perry
the Environental Protection Agency to waive ethanol
standards that Pligrim believed would drive up chicken
feed costs. Pilgrim later donated $25,000 to
Perry's political action committee and footed the bill
for him and three aides to fly to Washington, DC, to
speak out against ethanol.
In 2001, Rick Perry appointed an Enron exec to chair the
Texas Public Utilities Commission, and the next day,
Perry got a $25,000 check from Lay. As Molly Ivins
mockingly pointed out, Perry "explained this, to
everyone's satisfaction, as being 'totally
The San Antonio Clear Channel billionaire, who
contributed nearly $400,000 to the governor, is the
primary financial backer for a Formula One racetrack to
be built near Austin. The state has pledged $25 million
a year in subsidies to support the project, the LA
Perry's former chief of staff earned up to $2.2 million
last year as a Texas-based lobbyist. He owns a private
island in New Hampshire with Dave Carney, Perry's
campaign manager. In 2007, Perry signed an executive
order requiring all teenage girls in Texas to take
manufactured by Merck, one of
Toomey's lobbying clients (the legislature eventually
repealed the order). Toomey is now creating a Perry-focussed
Make Us Great Again.
friend of Perry's who gave his campaigns at least
$314,000, Adams was a backer of Terrabon Inc, a Houston
company that received a $2.75 million grant from Perry's
Emerging Technology Fund. Perry also appointed Adams to
a coveted post on Texas A&M University's Board of
Regents (other regents who aren't Perry supporters say
pressured to resign).
Adams has returned the favor by giving the Perry family
free tickets and transportation to basketball and
The state's largest political donor during much of the
1990s, Leininger gifted Perry's campaigns at least
$264,000, in addition to a $1.1 million loan that's
credited with putting him over the top in a 1998 race
for lieutenant governor. Leininger is an investor in
Gradalis Inc, a Dallas biotechnology firm that received
$1.75 million from Perry's Emerging Technology Fund, the
Dallas Morning News reports.
Donated more than $320,000 to Perry's campaigns and
received multiple transportation contracts from the
state. His company, Dannenbaum Engineering, was
implicated last year in an FBI investigation of El Paso
officials who'd swapped political donations for county
the El Paso Times. In 2007, Perry appointed
Dannenbaum to the University of Texas Board of Regents.
Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), even before establishing super
PACs to rake in unlimited contributions from Texas
billionaires in his presidential run, has been one of the best funded
politicians in history. Since his 1998 candidacy to be George W. Bush’s
lieutenant governor, Perry has raked in$117,091,642 in
campaign contributions, with the oil and gas industry the top contributor.
Big oil has fueled Rick Perry’s career, the top industry contributor at $11,189,103,
according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics:
Top oil company contributions include
$189,188 from Exxon Mobil, $147,895 from Valero Energy, and $116,000 from
that might explain his hostility
toward the system: He didn't do
very well in it. A source in
Texas passed The Huffington Post
Perry's transcripts from his
years at Texas A&M University.
The future politician did not
distinguish himself much in the
classroom. While he later became
a student leader, he had to get
out of academic probation to do
so. He rarely earned anything
above a C in his courses --
earning a C in U.S. History, a D
in Shakespeare, and a D in the
principles of economics. Perry
got a C in gym.
did poorly on classes within his
animal science major. In fall
semester 1970, he received a D
in veterinary anatomy, a F in a
second course on organic
chemistry and a C in animal
breeding. He did get an A in
world military systems and
“Improv. of Learning” -- his
only two As while at A&M.
exactly Harvard on the Brazos
River," recalled a Perry
classmate in an interview with
The Huffington Post. "This was
not the brightest guy around. We
always kind of laughed. He was
always kind of a joke."
spokesperson for the governor
the Texas Tribune that the
university "helped shape who he
is today." The governor’s office
did not return a request for
comment from The Huffington
Gov. Rick Perry's big prayerfest -- the
event that has
support from a range of extremist pastors -- is
scheduled for this Saturday at Reliant Stadium
But the AP
on The Response event and finds that, if
preregistrations are a guide, it's shaping up to
be a potentially embarrassing flop:
with only 8,000 RSVPs for a stadium that
seats 71,500 people, virtually no
politicians planning to attend, and a slate
of organizers who hold out-of-mainstream
views on religious freedom, gay rights and
even Adolf Hitler, the event has become a
potentially risky gamble if Perry is serious
about running for the White House.
invited every governor in America to the event,
but the only one to publicly commit to
Sam Brownback of Kansas, now seems to be
It's worth noting that
evangelical heavy-hitters including Focus on the
Family founder James
Dobson and the Family Research Council's
Tony Perkins have said they will appear at The
Response, so it's possible they will be able to
bus in some attendees and avert a disaster for
Perry. Stay tuned ...
he announced his candidacy on Saturday,
Texas Governor Rick Perry has been hailed as
the great GOP hope of 2012. Perry's entry
into the chaotic Republican primary race has
excited the establishment in part because he
does not have Michele Bachmann's reputation
for religious zealotry, yet can likely count
on the support of the Religious Right.
Another advantage for
Perry is support from an extensive
50-state “prayer warrior” network,
organized by the New Apostolic
religious-political movement whose
leaders call themselves apostles and
prophets, NAR shares its agenda for
control of society and government with
other “dominionists,” but has a
distinctly different theology than other
groups in the Religious Right. They have
their roots in Pentecostalism (though
their theology has been denounced as a
heresy by Pentecostal denominations in
the past). The movement is
controversial, even inside conservative
evangelical circles. Nevertheless, Perry
took the gamble that NAR could help him
win the primaries, a testament to thepower
of the apostles’ 50-state prayer warrior
While it may not have been obvious to
those outside the movement, Perry was
publicly anointed as the apostles’
candidate for president in his massive
prayer rally a few weeks ago, an event
filled with symbolism and coded
messages. This was live-streamed to
churches across the nation and on God
TV, a Jerusalem-based evangelical
Rick Perry is NAR's candidate -- the
chosen vehicle to advance the NAR's
stated agenda of taking "dominion" over
The Prayer Warriors and Politics
Perry’s event is not the first time
NAR apostles have partnered with
politicians. (See previous AlterNet
articles by Paul
Rosenberg and Bill
Apostle Mary Glazier claimed Sarah Palin
was in her prayer network since she was
24 years old and Glazier continued to
have contact with Palin through the 2008
election. Prior to running for governor,
Palin was “anointed” at Wasilla Assembly
of God by Kenyan Apostle Thomas Muthee,
a star in promotional media for the
movement. The Wasilla congregation is
part of a Pentecostal denomination, but
it’s leadership had embraced NAR’s
controversial ideology years before and
has hosted many internationally known
partial list of those who have made
nationally or internationally broadcast
appearances with apostles includes Sam
Brownback, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee,
Michele Bachmann, and Jim DeMint.
Numerous others, including Rick
Santorum, have participated in less
publicized apostle-led events.
The list of state and local candidates
partnering with the apostles’ network
includes Hawaii gubernatorial candidates
James “Duke” Aiona, a Republican, and
Mufi Hannemann, a Democrat. The
conference call that got U.S. Senate
candidate Katherine Harris in hot water
with Jewish voters back in 2006, was led
by Apostle Ken Malone, head of the
Florida prayer warrior network. Apostle
Kimberly Daniels recently won a seat on
the Jacksonville, Florida city council
-- as a Democrat.
Why would Rick Perry take the risk of
partnering with such a controversial
movement? The apostles’ statewide
“prayer warrior” networks link people
and ministries online and also includes
conferences, events, and training. Many
of the ministries involved have
extensive media capabilities. The
“prophets” of the NAR claim to be
continuously receiving direct revelation
from God and these messages and visions
are broadcast to the prayer warriors
through various media outlets. For
instance, in the 2008 election,
prophesies concerning Sarah Palin,
including one from Mary Glazier, were
sent out to the prayer warrior networks.
Palin repeatedly thanked her prayer
warriors during and after the election.
The prayer warrior networks
could work as an additional arm for Perry’s
campaign in early primary states. South
Carolina’s network is led by Frank Seignious,
a former episcopal priest who joined the
movement and was ordained into “apostolic
ministry” by Apostle Chuck Pierce of Texas.
Seignious has incorporated the spiritual
warfare and prayer network under the name Taking
His network is under the “apostolic
authority” of the Reformation Prayer
Alliance of Apostle
the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, led
Both Jacobs and Benefiel endorsed Rick
Perry’s prayer event.
Jacobs announced in March that the
movement hopes to mobilize 500,000
prayer warriors or intercessors to
“prayer for the nation for the 2012
elections to shift this nation into
righteousness and justice." She made
this statement while speaking at
Alaska’s Wasilla Assembly of God, the
church where Sarah Palin was anointed by
Thomas Muthee in 2005.
Ideology of the New Apostolic
The leaders of the movement claim this
is the most significant change in
Protestantism since Martin Luther and
the Reformation. NAR's stated goal is to
eradicate denominations and to form a
single unified church that will fight
and be victorious against "evil" in the
end times. Like many American
fundamentalists, the apostles teach that
the end times are imminent, but unlike
most fundamentalists, the apostles see
this as a time of great triumph for the
Instead of escaping to heaven in the
Rapture prior to the battles of the end
times, the apostles teach that believers
will remain on earth. And instead of
watching from the grandstands of heaven
as Jesus and his warriors destroy evil,
the apostles believe they and their
followers will fight and purge the earth
of evil themselves.
This includes taking “dominion” over all
sectors of society and government,
which, in turn, will lead to a "Kingdom"
on earth, a Christian utopia ruled from
Jerusalem. The end times narrative of
the apostles is similar to that of the
Latter Rain movement of the late 1940s
and 1950s, which was considered
heretical by traditional Pentecostal
Prerequisites to bringing about the
Kingdom on earth are: the restructuring
of all Charismatic evangelical believers
under the authority of their network of
apostles and prophets; the eradication
or unification of Christian
denominations; and the total elimination
of competing religions and philosophies.
Their mandate to take control over
institutions of society and government
is similar to the dominionism of
Christian Reconstructionism, founded by
the late Rousas Rushdoony, but NAR’s
version has been wrapped in a much more
appealing package and marketed as
activism to “transform” communities.
The apostles have a number of
sophisticated promotional tools used to
market their agenda for taking control
over society, including the Transformations movies,
Transformation organizations in
communities around the country, and the
Seven Mountains campaign. The latter is
about taking control over the mountains
or “power centers” of arts and
entertainment, business, education,
family, government, media and religion.
The apostles who lead in areas outside
of church are called Workplace
or Marketplace Apostles.
The apostles teach that the obstacles to
their envisioned Kingdom on earth are
demonic beings who hold control over
geographic territory and specific
"people groups." They claim these demons
are the reason why people of other
religions refuse to become evangelized.
These demons, which the apostles address
by name, are also claimed to be the
source of crime, corruption, illness,
poverty, and homosexuality. The
eradication of social ills, as claimed
in the Transformations media, can
only take place through mass
evangelization; not through other human
efforts to cure societal ills. This
message was repeated throughout Perry’s
prayer event, although it may not have
been apparent to those unfamiliar with
the movement’s lingo and narratives.
The apostles teach that their
followers are currently receiving an
outpouring of supernatural powers to
help them fight these demons through
what they call Strategic
Level Spiritual Warfare (SLSW).
They have held ceremonies to “divorce
Baal” and claim to burn and
otherwise destroy icons and artifacts of
other religious belief systems. These
unique SLSW concepts and methodologies,
previously unknown in the evangelical
world, include spiritual
identify and purge both demons and their
human helpers. The humans are often
identified in training materials as
witches and their activities as
Many of the evangelical
"Reconciliation" programs popularized
over the last decade are an outgrowth of
the apostles' SLSW efforts to remove
demons, including "generational curses,"
which they claim obstruct the
evangelization of specific racial and
ethnic groups. These activities have
political significance not apparent to
outsiders. Kansas Governor and former Senator
Sam Brownback worked extensively with
leading apostles in pursuing an official
apology from the U.S. Senate to Native
Americans. However, NAR has promoted
this apology as part of Identificational
Repentance and Reconciliation,
an SLSW method to remove demonic control
over Native Americans and evangelize
tribes. Curiously, this apology is also
viewed as a required step in their
spiritual warfare agenda to criminalize
Apostle Alice Patterson and Pastor C.
L. Jackson stood
with Rick Perry as
he addressed the audience at his Houston
prayer rally. This went unnoticed by
members of the press, but sent a strong
message to those familiar with Patterson
and Jackson’s activities in convincing
African American pastors in Texas to
leave the Democratic Party and become
Republicans. This is done by outreach to
African Americans through
“reconciliation” ceremonies. They
also utilize David Barton’s revisionist
American history, which ties Democrats
to racism and civil rights to
conservatives and Republicans. Patterson
has written that there is a “demonic
structure behind the Democratic Party."
History of the New Apostolic Reformation
wave of religious fervor swept through
the U.S. in the early 1900s resulting in
Pentecostalism and the establishment of
denominations emphasizing supernatural
"gifts of the Holy Spirit," including
speaking in tongues. A second wave swept
through other Protestant denominations
and Roman Catholicism beginning in the
1960s, producing pockets of Charismatic
believers. (“Charismatic” is usually
used to describe those who embrace the
belief of supernatural gifts of the Holy
Spirit but are not in Pentecostal
Some remained in their respective
churches while the remainder left to
join other nondenominational
Charismatics in what would become the
largest single (and largely overlooked)
block of Protestantism in the world --
Independent Charismatics, also called
neo-Pentecostals or the "Third Wave." By
the late 1980s, Independent Charismatics
began to be networked under the
leadership of self-appointed apostles
and prophets who view the reorganization
of the church as crucial to preparation
for the end times. C. Peter Wagner, a
prolific author and professor for 30
years at Fuller Theological Seminary,
became the primary force behind
organizing one of the largest and most
influential of apostolic and prophetic
networks. He dubbed it the "New
Apostolic Reformation" (NAR).
Wagner and other NAR pioneers refined
their unique Strategic Level Spiritual
Warfare training and demon-hunting
methods through the latter 1980s and
1990s. Due to Wagner's international
reputation as an expert in "Church
Growth" (his most
famous pupil is
Rick Warren) and Wagner's leadership
role in the frantic rush by
international missions to evangelize the
world prior to the year 2000, these
unusual techniques gained surprisingly
widespread acceptance in some
Wagner had a major role through the
1990s in the Billy Graham-endorsed AD
2000 and Beyond, working closely with
Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and
Independent Charismatic groups in what
they would dub as the “world prayer
movement.” Ted Haggard, who would later
become president of the National
Association of Evangelicals, claimed
that the effort involved 40 million
people worldwide. As 2000 AD and Beyond
was winding down in the late 1990s,
Wagner left Fuller Seminary and
resettled in Colorado Springs. Wagner
partnered with Haggard and continued his
international networking from the World
Prayer Center adjacent to Haggard’s
Wagner claimed that the New Apostolic
Reformation, a new era in church
history, began in 2001 and organized
several hundred apostles with their own
networks into the International
Coalition of Apostles (ICA). In
addition, Wagner oversaw: an inner
circle of prophets (ACPE or Apostolic
Council of Prophetic Elders); demon
deliverance experts (ISDM or
International Society of Deliverance
Ministries); faith-healers (IAHR or
International Association of Healing
Room Ministries); an international
training network (Wagner Leadership
Institute); and their own educational
accreditation system (ACEA or Apostolic
Council for Educational Accountability,
now called the Association of Christian
Educators and Administrators).
Transformation is the movement’s
buzzword for taking control over
communities. The Transformation entities
usually begin as prayer networks of
pastors and individuals that are
advertised as nonsectarian. Charitable
activities are emphasized as a way to
gain a foothold in financially strapped
municipalities and they provide
faith-based services from emergency
response to juvenile rehabiliation.
Today NAR has "prayer warrior" networks
under the authority of their apostles in
all 50 states, some now organizing by
The movement has had a widespread
impact, spreading ideology to other
Charismatics inside Mainline Protestant
denominations and Roman Catholicism,
although non-Charismatic Roman
Catholicism is viewed as controlled
by a powerful demon named "The Queen of
the last few years, the apostles have
taken visible leadership roles in the
Religious Right in the United States and
numerous nations in Africa, Asia, and
South America and claim Uganda as
their greatest "Transformations" success
story and prototype.
After years of political
activity and increasing power inside the
American Religious Right, NAR has
suddenly been propelled into national
press coverage by presidential candidate
Rick Perry and his supposedly
nonpartisan and nonpolitical prayer
rally. Now that he has been chosen and
anointed by the movement’s apostles, the
prayer warriors across the nation can be
mobilized on his behalf.
Perry hasn't officially declared his candidacy,
but ads are already on the air in Iowa. Here's
why you should be worried he might run for
Excerpt from an article by on
alternet.org by Sarah Jaffe on August 1,
"Next time I tell you someone
from Texas should not be president of the
United States, please pay attention." -
Texas Governor Rick Perry
has been flirting with the idea of running for
president for months now. While the three-term
Republican has danced around an official
announcement, ads calling him “a better option” are
already airing on
Fox News (naturally) in Iowa, funded by the
political action committee “Jobs for Iowa.”
Related super PACs have been created in South
Carolina and Florida.
The governor Molly Ivins
called “the Coiffure” has claimed he's brought
jobs to Texas, passed a laundry list of
conservative dream legislation, and managed to
become the longest-serving governor in the
history of the state. With a relatively
lackluster—or outright strange--Republican field
this year, Perry appears to have a
better-than-most shot at capturing the
nomination, bringing not only conservative and
Christian credentials but a veneer of
respectability and accomplishment that
candidates like Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain
As Perry oozes toward an
announcement—he says he's waiting til after
Labor Day—under the pretense that he's fixed
Texas' economy and is a more moderate option
than Michele Bachmann but a better evangelical
base-pleaser than Mormon Mitt Romney, we thought
it was a good time to take a look at the Texan.
Here are 10 reasons Rick Perry is just as bad as
Michele Bachmann—and a whole lot more likely to
actually win the nomination.
of church and state? What separation?
August 6, Perry and right-wing evangelical
leaders are sponsoring a a prayer
Houston's Reliant Stadium dedicated to “the One
True God through his Son Jesus Christ.”
“Right now, America is
in crisis: we have been besieged by
financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude
of natural disasters. As a nation, we must
come together and call upon Jesus to guide
us through unprecedented struggles, and
thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so
Allan E. Parker Jr., the
organizer who referred to the rally as for “The
One True God,” also wrote that it would be
“idolatry of the worst sort for Christians to
gather and invite false gods like Allah and
Buddha and their false prophets to be with us at
So much for religious
Even Houston-area clergy
members have spoken out against the rally's
exclusive nature and the extreme figures
involved in it, saying in a joint letter, “We
are concerned that our governor has crossed the
line by organizing a religious event rather than
focusing on the people’s business in Austin.”
It's even more out of line
if said governor wants to be president.
Before he makes up his mind
about being president, Perry ought to decide
whether he wants to be a part of the United
"There's a lot of
different scenarios...We've got a great
union. There's absolutely no reason to
dissolve it. But if Washington continues to
thumb their nose at the American people, you
know, who knows what might come out of that.
But Texas is a very unique place, and we're
a pretty independent lot to boot."
Rush Limbaugh was a fan of
Perry's statements, and Texas Republicans too.
Perry later affirmed his stance, saying:
“We are very proud of our Texas history;
people discuss and debate the issues of can
we break ourselves into five states, can we
secede, a lot of interesting things that I'm
sure Oklahoma and Pennsylvania would love to
be able to say about their states, but the
fact is, they can't because they're not
Keep your Rick out of my uterus
Republicans in Congress and around the country,
Rick Perry's opposition to “government
intrusion” doesn't apply to women.
that, but a bill to require all women to have an
ultrasound before they can get an abortion was
the first major bill debated in the House, and
was declared an “emergency” by
State Representative Carol
Alvarado noted in
that session, the bill's author didn't
understand how intrusive his own bill was. She
gave the legislature an in-depth description of
a trans-vaginal sonogram, which would be
required for women eight to 10 weeks pregnant.
“This is not the jelly on the belly that
most of you think, she said as she held up a
vaginal probe. 'This is government intrusion
at its best.'”
has no provision for victims of rape or incest.
It does, however, give Perry more social
conservative credentials to trumpet on the
to his changing concerns over government
intrusion, Perry's also got a bit of a
consistency problem where states' rights are
concerned--once again, when it comes to women's
bodies. Perry recently
wanted Roe v. Wade overturned so states
could decide for themselves. But then he
declared his support for a federal
constitutional amendment that would overturn
Roe and ban abortion nationwide.
doesn't matter, apparently, when it comes to
Voter ID, please
what democracy really is all about," Perry said,
new voter identification bill into law. "It's
the integrity of every vote; that every vote
counts. Today we take a major step in protecting
the most cherished right of Americans."
makes “illegal voting” a felony; it too was an
“emergency” item for Perry's third term as
governor. It requires a voter to present one of
five forms of ID—a drivers' license, military
ID, passport, concealed handgun license, or a
state voter ID card that Texas must provide.
it's about disenfranchising groups of people who
do not historically vote for the Republican
Rep. Dawnna Dukes said when
the bill was passed. Black and Latino voters,
the elderly and the poor—all typically
Democratic constituencies—are disproportionately
less likely to have one of those forms of ID and
thus to encounter problems at the polls. In a
state like Texas, with a large immigrant
population, voter ID is not a neutral issue, but
rather another obstacle making it less likely
people will vote.
governors around the country, Perry pushed for
the voter ID bill despite a lack of any proof
that “illegal voting” is actually a problem.
great economy lie
Rick Perry likes to
claim—and conservatives like to believe--that
Texas' economy is a shining beacon of hope for
the country. And it is—if you like your hope
low-wage, low-benefit and deficit-ridden.
really 'jobettes,' offering low pay, no
benefits and no upward mobility. In fact,
under Rickonomics, Texas has added more
minimum wage jobs than all other states
combined! After 10 years in office, Gov.
Perry presides over a state that has more
people in poverty and more without health
coverage than any other.”
Of course, that's exactly
the kind of job growth the country as a whole is
seeing now, and it's just fine with the
big-money base of the Republican party. As Joshua
Holland wrote in AlterNet recently, even
as Texas added those “jobettes,” its
unemployment rate magically increased to 8
percent from 7.7 percent—and 23 states have a
better employment rate than the miraculous
So much for that economic
miracle. Texas's economy is more of an example
of the mess the entire country is heading for
unless we see a dramatic change in priorities.
in March, the Texas state capitol in Austin saw thousands of
protesters descend on the grounds for a rally
against a proposed $10 billion—yes, billion—in
education cuts to the state. Representatives
from 300 school districts, students, teachers,
parents, and others marched and called on Perry
to use the state's “rainy day fund” to cover the
shortfall in schools rather than lay off a
projected 189,000 education workers.
Of course, the budget
cuts are still coming.
Aside from the impact such
layoffs will have
on the economy,
since a good chunk of the new jobs Perry touts
as part of his economic miracle were in schools,
there's the actual impact on the state's
students. It's not just public schools that take
a hit—universities will see their budgets
slashed and financial
aid eliminated for
One Texas school attempted
to trademark its mascot and sell advertising
space on its school buses and Web site in order
to raise desperately needed cash. The New
York Times called
Perry's impending cuts “the largest cuts to
public education since World War II."
Texas is a right-to-work state where less than 2
percent of teachers are unionized. There's no
big bad teachers' union to be the villain here.
Just workers about to be out of jobs, and
kids—and the economy--suffering the
Follow the money
The question voters should
ask first of any candidate is “Where's the money
coming from?” Particularly in the post-Citizens
United age, with the birth of the new “super
PACs,” groups that can accept unlimited
donations from individuals and corporations to
pay for political advertising and organizing,
campaigns for office are getting expensive and
someone's got to be footing the bill.
Since ads for Perry are
already airing in Iowa before he's even made up
his mind to run, it's worth a look at who's
paying for Perry propaganda.
Jobs for Iowa, the PAC
paying for the Iowa ads, was registered with the
FEC on June 21. Its treasurer is Robert
Jentgens, who formerly worked on Mitt Romney's
2008 campaign. Also registered are Veterans for
Rick Perry and Americans for Rick Perry, as well
as Texas Tea Party Patriots PAC (though after
Rick Perry's primary challenge from the Tea
Party-backed Debra Medina it might not be fair
to assume that they have any interest in Perry).
Americans for Rick Perry
raised $193,000 in just eight days in June, the
majority of which comes from Harold Simmons,
Montgomery at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram called
“a Dallas multibillionaire who is developing a
controversial nuclear waste disposal site in
West Texas.” They claim another $207,000 in
that Simmons' donations to Perry and state
lawmakers helped fuel approval of the waste
disposal site despite concerns over
groundwater contamination, but a spokesman
for the project said the application was
rigorously vetted and approved only after
added protections were included.”
Perry's last election
campaign, his third, generated more than $77
million in contributions, as Texas allows
unlimited individual donations as well.
Montgomery wrote that Perry's donors are “
elite of Texas business and industry,” including
Simmons and Houston builder Bob Perry (no
Paul Blumenthal at the
Huffington Post wrote that the Americans for
Rick Perry PAC was the first time a super PAC
had been used by supporters for a campaign that
doesn't, technically, exist yet. If Perry's
well-connected supporters in the energy and
finance industries, among others, are this
excited about him now, imagine the money that
will flow if he actually announces.
Drill, baby, drill
Obviously the governor of
Texas has some oil connections. But with Perry
as a candidate, we're almost certain to have
more of the sort of pro-oil, anti-environment
rhetoric that suffused Sarah Palin's tenure on
the Republican ticket.
all, when the BP spill was still churning oil
into the Gulf of Mexico, Perry called it “just
an act of God” and
warned against any “knee-jerk reaction” that
might include things like halting deepwater
drilling until the dangers could be assessed.
also got $129,890 from
the oil and gas industry for his last reelection
Increases in oil prices tend
to be good for Texas—bringing
jobs and a rise in GDP for the state—but they're
a drain on the rest of the country. And the last
thing the country needs is a president who's
more interested in maintaining oil profits than
preventing more oil-related disasters.
Flip-flopping on immigration
Texas' population has grown
20 percent during Perry's time in office, and
much of that growth has been immigration from
Latin America. Up until he began toying with the
idea of a presidential run, Perry was a moderate
Even last year, he
criticized Arizona's SB 1070, and way back in
2001 he signed the state DREAM Act into law. So
why the sudden change?
positioning himself to be a social
conservative darling. On immigration, he
a bill that
would crack down on so-called 'sanctuary'
cities — localities where the government
prohibits police officers from asking about
the immigration status of legally detained
cities bill would
allow police to inquire about immigration status
of any person arrested or detained—even at a
routine traffic stop.
It's worth noting that
Perry's big business buddies oppose this
legislation—and that his willingness to make
them angry might just be the clearest sign yet
that he's aiming for the national stage.
Executing an innocent man
Rick Perry has presided
over the execution of 232 people, more than any
other governor in history. (The previous record,
152, was held by George W. Bush.) Most of those
are forgotten, but a few of them stick out.
“Outside of Texas,
the name Cameron Todd Willingham did not
mean much to most people until the fall of
2009. In a 17-page article published by The
New Yorker magazine, a curious and
brave woman, a brilliant fire expert, and an
investigative journalist re-opened the case
against this man who was put to death for
killing his children. The 'classic arson
case' was picked apart, revealed to have
been based on junk science and a misguided
sense of expert intuition. Proof of the
flawed fire investigation had been rushed to
Rick Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons
and Parole before the execution, to no
avail. Five years later, the article
uncovered new evidence to all but confirm
what a number of people had suspected for
years: That the state of Texas had executed
an innocent man.”
Perry's utter lack of
interest in examining the evidence of
Willingham's innocence shows us something about
the man, of course. (It won't be the first time
a presidential candidate faces down a
questionable execution on the campaign trail.
Bill Clinton, back in 1992, interrupted his
campaign in New Hampshire to fly home to
Arkansas, where a severely mentally challenged
man sat on death row. Clinton wasn't going back
to stop the execution, though. He
was going to preside over it.
And one of George W. Bush's first acts as
governor of Texas was to reject clemency for a
man who had severe brain damage and an IQ of
was executed the evening of Bush's inauguration.)
The Willingham execution
might not even be the most controversial example
of Perry's execution mania. Just last month, he
executed Humberto Leal Garcia Jr., a Mexican
citizen, over the objections of the Mexican
government, his own president, and the
International Court of Justice. Even George W.
Bush, in 2005, ordered all states to comply with
the international law mandating consular access
to officials from their home country for foreign
nationals. Rick Perry was the only one not to
For conservatives, all of
this is just more red meat. As Megan
at the Guardian, this execution “won't
harm Perry's political career one iota. Sadly,
it might even help it.”
The buzz around Perry isn't
just driven by the polling. It's grounded in the
fact that Perry could potentially bridge the
divide between the Tea Party conservatives and
the party establishment. To borrow a phrase from
Perry's predecessor in the Texas governor's
office, who went on to bigger things: Perry
could be a uniter, not a divider, that the GOP
is desperate to find.
Consider: Romney, like
fellow Massachusetts politician John Kerry
before him, cannot seem to escape the perception
that he is ultimately an establishment figure -
and is thus viewed with skepticism (or worse) by
many in the Tea Party and social conservative
circles. Rep. Michele Bachmann, by contrast, is
beloved by many Tea Partiers and social
conservatives, but she's largely dismissed
inside the Beltway as a fringe figure with
little in the way of legislative accomplishment
or policy chops.
Perry can potentially
bridge that divide: He aggressively embraced the
Tea Party as it was getting off the ground,
pushing a message of limited federal government
(he's a strong critic of the federal health care
overhaul). And his Texas swagger - the often
cowboy boot-clad governor once
shot a coyote that menaced
his puppy during a jog
- doesn't hurt. In a McClatchy-Marist poll last
month, Perry was the most popular GOP
presidential contender among Tea Party
And Perry is an
evangelical Christian who knows how to win over
social conservatives through both his policies -
he signed into law a bill mandating that a woman
seeking an abortion see a sonogram first - and
his public acts. On August 6, he's hosting a
prayer and fasting event
to heal "a
nation that has not honored God in our successes
or humbly called on Him in our struggles."
Yet Perry is also an
establishment figure who is well-liked by top
party figures. He runs the Republican Governor's
Association, a post that affords him important
contacts across the country and the ability to
do favors that can eventually be called in,
thanks in large part to the RGA's fundraising
prowess. During Perry's long tenure in Austin,
Texas has been one of the nation's few bright
spots when it comes to job creation, affording
Perry credibility in making the case to business
leaders and average Americans that he be a
better steward of the economy than President
Obama. Perry would enter the race with an
extensive donor network, a coterie of
well-respected aides and the likely tacit
support of a Republican establishment that sees
Bachmann as a hopeless general election
candidate and Romney as far from ideal.
But the enthusiasm over a
possible Perry candidacy has thus far clouded
one inconvenient truth: While the governor is
currently the model of a Tea Party politician,
his past includes plenty to give Tea Partiers
and social conservatives pause if and when they
decide to take a closer look.
That fact was highlighted
last Thursday, when former Arkansas Governor
Mike Huckabee took a very pointed shot at Perry.
"For all his new found commitment to
hyper-conservatism," said the former GOP
presidential candidate, "he'll get to explain
why he supported pro-abortion, pro-same sex
marriage Rudy Guiliani last time."
Perry's support for
Giuliani - whose moderation on social issues
alienated social conservatives and contributed
to his dramatic flameout in the 2008
presidential race - isn't his only potentially
problematic endorsement. He doesn't much like to
talk about it these days, but Perry was actually
a Democrat until 1989; the year before he
converted to the GOP, he served as Texas
chairman for then-presidential candidate (and
current target of conservative disdain) Al Gore.
Then there are the issues,
chief among them immigration. Perry, who
presides over a state with a large and growing
Hispanic population. has been
by Texas Tea Party groups
for not pushing hard enough to pass a "sanctuary
city" ban and other hard-line immigration
legislation. In 2001, he
the Texas version of the
DREAM Act allowing children of illegal
immigrants access to in-state college tuition.
As Arizona Sen. John McCain's reelection
campaign illustrated last year, any perceived
softness on immigration issues can become a
major headache in a Republican primary.
There are niche issues
that could hurt Perry, like his support for the
(never-created) Trans-Texas Corridor, a
toll-road despised by small-government types
that would have meant the appropriation of an
estimated 81,000 acres of rural land. Or the
executive order he signed in 2007 requiring that
Texas sixth-grade girls be vaccinated against
the human papilloma virus,
a sexually transmitted disease that causes
cervical cancer. (The order was ultimately
blocked, but the order outraged many
And then there's the
elephant in the room: Texas' debt problem. In
the 2010 governor's race, Democrat Bill White
pointed out that Texas'
debt has doubled under Perry.
Mitchell Schnurman, Texas' debt has grown at a
faster rate than that of the U.S. government.
Perry assumed office in December 2000.
this could lead Republican voters to the same
conclusion about Perry that many have made about
Romney, whose position on a number of issues has
shifted over the years: That he is a political
opportunist without core beliefs. Some
conservative bloggers have already seized on a
list of 14 reasons Perry "would be a really,
really bad president." The list points to many
of the issues mentioned above as well as tax
increases. One blogger, citing the list,
derides Perry as
"a big-time globalist."
past breaks with Tea Party-orthodoxy could
potentially stay below-the-radar if he enters
the race. But Perry's rivals for the nomination
are unlikely to ignore them, particularly if
Perry is as strong a candidate as he looks. The
question for Perry, if he runs, is whether he
will be able to convince Tea Partiers and the
rest of the GOP base that, occasional missteps
notwithstanding, he is ultimately one of their
Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, has announced
that he is running for president. And we already
know what his campaign will be about: faith in
these miracles will involve things that you’re
liable to read in the Bible. But if he wins the
Republican nomination, his campaign will
probably center on a more secular theme: the
alleged economic miracle in Texas, which, it’s
often asserted, sailed through the Great
Recession almost unscathed thanks to
conservative economic policies. And Mr. Perry
will claim that he can restore prosperity to
America by applying the same policies at a
So what you need to know is
that the Texas miracle is a myth, and more
broadly that Texan experience offers no useful
lessons on how to restore national full
It’s true that Texas
entered recession a bit later than the rest of
America, mainly because the state’s still
energy-heavy economy was buoyed by high oil
prices through the first half of 2008. Also,
spared the worst
of the housing crisis, partly because it turns
out to have surprisingly strict regulation of
Despite all that, however,
from mid-2008 onward unemployment soared in
Texas, just as it did almost everywhere else.
In June 2011, the Texas
unemployment rate was 8.2 percent. That was less
than unemployment in collapsed-bubble states
like California and Florida, but it was slightly
higher than the unemployment rate in New York,
and significantly higher than the rate in
Massachusetts. By the way, one in four Texans
lacks health insurance, the highest proportion
in the nation, thanks largely to the state’s
small-government approach. Meanwhile,
Massachusetts has near-universal coverage thanks
to health reform very similar to the
“job-killing” Affordable Care Act.
So where does the notion of
a Texas miracle come from? Mainly from
widespread misunderstanding of the economic
effects of population growth.
For this much is true about
Texas: It has, for many decades, had much faster
population growth than the rest of America —
about twice as fast since 1990. Several factors
underlie this rapid population growth: a high
birth rate, immigration from Mexico, and inward
migration of Americans from other states, who
are attracted to Texas by its warm weather and
low cost of living, low housing costs in
And just to be clear,
there’s nothing wrong with a low cost of living.
In particular, there’s a good case to be made
that zoning policies in many states
unnecessarily restrict the supply of housing,
and that this is one area where Texas does in
fact do something right.
But what does population
growth have to do with job growth? Well, the
high rate of population growth translates into
above-average job growth through a couple of
channels. Many of the people moving to Texas —
retirees in search of warm winters, middle-class
Mexicans in search of a safer life — bring
purchasing power that leads to greater local
employment. At the same time, the rapid growth
in the Texas work force keeps wages low — almost
10 percent of Texan workers earn the minimum
wage or less, well above the national average —
and these low wages give corporations an
incentive to move production to the Lone Star
So Texas tends, in good
years and bad, to have higher job growth than
the rest of America. But it needs lots of new
jobs just to keep up with its rising population
— and as those unemployment comparisons show,
recent employment growth has fallen well short
of what’s needed.
If this picture doesn’t
look very much like the glowing portrait Texas
boosters like to paint, there’s a reason: the
glowing portrait is false.
Still, does Texas job
growth point the way to faster job growth in the
nation as a whole? No.
What Texas shows is that a
state offering cheap labor and, less important,
weak regulation can attract jobs from other
states. I believe that the appropriate response
to this insight is “Well, duh.” The point is
that arguing from this experience that
depressing wages and dismantling regulation in
America as a whole would create more jobs —
which is, whatever Mr. Perry may say, what
Perrynomics amounts to in practice — involves a
fallacy of composition: every state can’t lure
jobs away from every other state.
In fact, at a national
level lower wages would almost certainly lead to
fewer jobs — because they would leave working
Americans even less able to cope with the
overhang of debt left behind by the housing
bubble, an overhang that is at the heart of our
So when Mr. Perry presents
himself as the candidate who knows how to create
jobs, don’t believe him. His prescriptions for
job creation would work about as well in
practice as his prayer-based attempt to end
Texas’s crippling drought.
Excerpt from an
article posted on huffingtonpost.com by
on August 3, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas -- It was 105 degrees outside
late last week when Vanessa Surita, 24,
planted herself on the sidewalk and
stretched her legs. Her young daughter sat
in a stroller within arms length, outside
Austin Resource Center
for the Homeless.
Her needs were great: housing, a job, a high
school diploma. She could mark progress in
job applications filled out.
A local pizza chain, a
Pizza Hut, a local grocery chain, a Family
Dollar -- each the equivalent of a
professional lottery ticket.
"I just recently tried
to apply at Whataburger," Surita said. "It's
been like two weeks ... I've been calling
them. They still haven't had a chance to
look at my application. They still haven't
had a chance to look at my application.
They're like 2,000 people that apply every
month, so I don't know."
Surita said she and her
21-month-old daughter crash at her sister's
place with her two children. "We've been on
the waiting list for housing since she was
born," she said.
A few days earlier,
Kelly Johnson waited patiently in a corner
by ARCH's entrance. She sat hugging her
backpack. She had lost her job at Subway a
month ago. She found temp work sticking
price tags on clothes in a warehouse. It was
two days a week, and neither day was a sure
thing. It did little to prevent her from
ending up homeless. Last week was her first
without a roof over her head.
"It feels helpless. It
feels horrible," Johnson, 31, said. She had
a series of jobs she wanted in mind. "I'm
looking for customer service, call center,
housekeeping like in hotels at the Marriott
or "maybe the Omni." One day, she said, she
dreams of working in an office, maybe as a
Surita and Johnson do
not fit in the prevailing narrative about
the Lone Star state. According to the Bureau
of Labor Statistics, Texas has created more
jobs in the last year than any other state.
These job openings have become known as the
much-hyped, "Texas Miracle." In his February
Governor Rick Perry boasted: "Our economic
strength is no accident. It's a testimony to
our people, our entrepreneurs, and, yes, to
the decisions made in this building.
Employers from across the country and around
the world understand that the opportunity
they crave can be found in Texas, and
they're headed our way, with jobs in tow."
Should he ultimately choose to run for the
White House, Perry will be spending a lot of
his time on the stump repeating those lines.
Dig beneath the talking points and you find
a more troubling picture: rising
unemployment, a glut of low-wage jobs
without benefits, overcrowded homeless
shelters and public schools facing billions
in budget cuts. Surita and Johnson have been
airbrushed from the miracle. But they still
can be found on the housing waiting lists
and shelter entrances.
"If you want a bad
job, go to Texas," said Texas Rep.
(D), who represents a district in Houston,
in an interview with The Huffington Post.
"If you want to work at Carl's Jr., our
doors are open, and if you want to go to a
crumbling school in a failing school system,
this is the place to come."
The state capital, with
its expanded skyline and renovated office
parks, will surely be b-roll in any Perry
campaign ad. But Austin -- like many across
the country -- simply hasn't witnessed
across-the-board job stability.
There's a crowd outside
the ARCH no matter the heat. The building
was designed for 100 dormitory beds, but now
sleeps 215 -- including 115 men sleeping on
mats on the a second floor dining room and a
conference room floor. Even then, Mitchell
Gibbs, the director of development and
communications, said they are turning away
15 to 50 men a night.
"Austin is supposed to
be ground zero of the Texas Miracle,"
explained Doug Greco, lead organizer with
a nonpartisan group of some 30
congregations, schools and unions. "But we
have the higher poverty rate and higher
child poverty rate--nearly one in three
children." He added that the need for
shelter, food and clothing has spiked in the
city. "It doesn't take much to pierce
through the rhetoric," he said.
Texas is struggling
right along with every other state.
According to the
Bureau of Labor and
Texas had recently bumped up to 8.2 percent
unemployment in June which puts it below the
national average. Still plenty of states
without miracles posted lower unemployment
rates; New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania,
Minnesota, Louisiana, Arkansas, and
Wisconsin, among others are all out
performing Texas. Drill down even further
into the numbers and there are plenty of
residents that haven't felt the miracle.
job growth slowed
According to a
in the Houston Chronicle, Houston's
not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate
jumped to 9 percent. The unemployment rate
has hit double digits
in the Rio Grande Valley. In Hildago County,
Quality of life indexes like child poverty
rates put Texas further behind. State Sen.
(D) told The Huffington Post her state ranks
48th in teen birth rates, 50th in prenatal
care and 46th in income disparity -- and
50th in the number of persons who receive a
high school diploma by age 25.
With Texas' minimal
regulation and low taxes -- and Perry's
cheerleading -- a spike in job growth during
the past few years became known as the Texas
Miracle. The rise in oil and gas prices, as
well as a long-time state law protecting
homeowners, helped stave off the recession
for a while. And as a result, a miracle myth
was created, with little exploration as to
what impact Perry's policies actually had on
the economic picture. The miracle is that
anyone would call minimum-wage jobs a
miracle. Of the all the jobs in Texas
created last year, 37 percent paid at or
below minimum wage -- and the state leads
the nation in
total minimum wage
according to a recent New York Times
"The important thing
to do is not to just count jobs but to look
at what kinds of jobs are being created in
Texas," explained Dick Lavine, a Senior
Fiscal Analyst with the
Center for Public
"Texas is tied for last with Mississippi for
the highest percentage of minimum wage jobs
and Texas is by far the leader of residents
who don't have health insurance. It's low
wage jobs without any benefits."
This resonates with
Gibbs at the ARCH, which created a 100-bed
unit on the third floor for homeless
night-shift workers who needed a place to
sleep during the day. These workers, Gibbs
said, included bakers from downtown hotels
who simply couldn't afford Austin rents.
The ARCH may want to
think about expanding its homeless worker
unit. If there is continued job growth in
Texas, the trend continues to point toward
the low-skilled, low-wage variety. According
to a just-released Georgetown University
Texas ranks 41 among all 50 states in the
percentage of jobs requiring post-secondary
If you've become recently unemployed in
Texas or struggle with a low-wage job in the
Lone Star State, we want to hear from you.
Tell us your stories by emailing
include your phone number if you're willing
to do an interview.
The Texas Miracle may
become part of Perry's national pitch, but
it's nonsense to state Sen. Zaffrini.
"Talking about the so-called 'Texas
Miracle," she said in an emailed statement,
"is at best disingenuous because it ignores
the state's shameful national standing in
terms of supporting education and helping
the neediest of the needy."
Nor has there been
much in the way of adequate job protections.
Texas still ranks as the most dangerous
state for worker safety. An April study [PDF]
produced by the University of Texas and the
Workers Defense Project stated that one in
five construction workers were injured on
the job, while only 45 percent had workers'
compensation. The study also noted that a
worker dies every 2.5 days and the state
sees 16,900 job-related accidents annually.
Emily Timm, a policy
analyst with the
said that roughly 45 percent of the more
than 300 workers surveyed reported being
paid wages below the federal poverty line.
And one in five workers complained that
their employers had paid them less than what
they were owed. Being allowed adequate
drinking water is even an issue. Nearly a
third of the workers surveyed reported that
their employers did not provide them with
access to drinking water.
Timm said her
organization has only seen a further rise in
worker problems. "We're seeing more
complaints of wage theft than we ever have
before," she said. "We're also seeing more
and more workers being misclassified as
independent contractors." That distinction
can be crucial, she said, as it allows the
construction companies to not deduct taxes
from their paychecks as well as skirt
minimum wage and overtime requirements.
In Austin, that lack of
income growth has been met with increasing
rents and state cuts to safety-net services.
This past year, rents have gone up by more
than 4 percent. Fred Krebs, a pastor with
the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in
central Austin, said he's noticed an
increasing number of his congregants are
having trouble keeping up. "People's
economic level in my congregation has
clearly gone down in the last few years," he
said. "That's been very clear ... We've had
to help our members with meals. Sometimes
just $20 to make sure they have milk and
eggs and bread ... We just helped a member
buy glasses. It was either the glasses or
their place to live."
Every Saturday morning,
Pastor John Elford serves a free breakfast
at University United Methodist Church for
Austin's neediest. The number of residents
waiting in line, he said, has recently shot
up from from 375 to 500.
Elford remembered one
family that stuck out. They had left
California in the hopes of finding their own
piece of the Texas Miracle in Austin. They
were in their mid-to-late '30 with two
elementary-school aged kids. Things didn't
work out so much. "They ran out of money,"
he said. "They came to us."
collected enough money to put the family up
in a motel for week. "When I talked with
them, they were just worn out from living
here and there," he said. At the end of the
week, the family moved back to California to
live with relatives.
Excerpt from an article on
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Gov. Rick Perry's political
stock has soared in recent months as he has traveled
the country touting a decade of fiscal restraint in
Texas under his leadership.
Last month, Perry made Texas
history by signing a two-year state budget that cuts
overall spending for the first time in over 40
Perry has long promoted the
state's fiscal record as a model for the country and
a key to why Texas has weathered the recession
better than most other states. He has opposed new
taxes and been vehemently anti-Washington, and his
message is drawing interest among Republican primary
Yet before the latest one, the
Texas budget had consistently grown during Perry's
time as governor, with total spending rising faster
than inflation and population growth, state data
What's more, spending through
2011, adjusted for population and inflation, rose
more on average while Perry has been in charge than
it did under his predecessor, George W. Bush,
according to a Star-Telegram
In the past, Perry has
criticized Bush for not controlling spending while
"Let me tell you something,"
Perry told a small group of Iowa Republicans in 2007
while campaigning for former New York Mayor Rudy
Giuliani, who was running for president. "George
Bush was never a fiscal conservative. ... I mean,
'95, '97, '99, George Bush was spending money."
When Bush was governor, total
state spending rose 13.3 percent every two years on
average. Adjusting the figures for population growth
and inflation, that growth rate was 2.3 percent.
Perry took the reins in
December 2000. From then until 2011, spending
increased an average of 16.8 percent every two
years. Once adjusted for population and inflation,
that rate falls to 4.2 percent. Adjusted spending
figures in the just-passed 2012-13 budget are not
If Perry runs for president,
his fiscal record in Texas is sure to draw more
scrutiny, just as it did for Bush.
In the final months of the 2000
presidential election, then-Vice President Al Gore
pointed to the growth of the Texas budget under Bush
to argue that he and President Bill Clinton had more
experience at reducing the size of government.
Perry's office and some budget
experts say the entire state budget is not a fair
gauge of a governor's fiscal record, since portions
such as federal funding are not under his direct
"Lawmakers and the governor
have no control over that," Perry spokeswoman
Catherine Frazier said.
Fed largely by state taxes and
fees, general revenue has typically made up roughly
half the Texas budget. It's the part of the budget
that lawmakers spend most of their time arguing over
during legislative sessions. Much of the rest of the
budget is tied by provisions in federal law and the
When general revenue spending
is examined by itself, the trends match better with
the fiscal conservative image that Perry promotes.
Though general revenue spending has grown with
nearly every budget since Perry took office, it
actually fell over the last decade an average of 0.6
percent every two years once those numbers are
adjusted for inflation and the state's booming
population growth. It rose during Bush's tenure.
"Obviously fiscal restraint is
always something the governor has made a priority,"
Frazier said. "He's the only Texas governor since
World War II that has cut general revenue spending."
That distinction is one that
Perry has touted repeatedly in recent years, from
campaign commercials to the biography on the
governor's office website.
Mike Hailey, who runs the
Austin political site Capitol Inside and served as
Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock's press secretary, said that
general revenue spending is "a more telling gauge"
of a governor's fiscal record but that the rest of
the budget is relevant as well.
He also noted that the
Legislature chose to accept billions in federal
stimulus money in 2009, which temporarily pumped up
During their periods as
governor, Perry and Bush have faced very different
political and economic environments. For the nearly
six years that Bush had the job, Democrats
controlled at least one chamber of the Legislature.
Since 2003, Republicans have held majorities in both
the House and Senate.
Many Texas Democrats praised
Bush's ability to work with both parties.
"If you compare the budgets of
both governors based on keeping Texans with services
and doing tax cuts, you'll find that Bush did both,
whereas you'll find all Rick Perry did is cut
spending and cut services," said state Rep. Garnett
Coleman, D-Houston, who has served in the House
Talmadge Heflin, director of
the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation's
Center for Fiscal Policy, served in the Texas House
from 1983 to 2005 as a Republican and has been
chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
"I don't think it's just Perry
has been a Bush 2," Heflin said. "Perry's had a
different approach to government even though both
have been more on the conservative side than the
Heflin said Perry has done a
better job controlling spending than Bush, but he
criticized lawmakers' use of accounting gimmicks to
avoid deeper cuts in recent years. Like Perry, he
has advocated for the Legislature to cap spending at
the rate of population growth plus inflation.
"That does allow for
infrastructure growth," Heflin said. "It just
doesn't allow for bringing a bunch of new programs
Both governors also worked amid
very different economic conditions.
"Gov. Bush enjoyed a time of
steady economic growth, even overheated growth if
you include Texas' part of the 1990s tech bubble,"
said Terry Clower, an economist at the University of
Perry, meanwhile, has been
governor during two recessions and major changes in
key federal programs.
"In many ways, these
differences make budget performance over these two
governorships a matter of comparing apples to
oranges," Clower said.
While the governor clearly has
significant sway over the general revenue portion of
the budget, his or her power over the rest of it is
less clear. Federal funding has routinely made up
about a third of the budget over the last decade.
Heflin said state officials
have chased federal funds too aggressively, ignoring
that they often prompt more state spending and can
impede private-sector growth. He has argued that the
state took too much stimulus money in 2009.
Frazier made clear that Perry
is aware of the balancing act that comes with
"Texas taxpayers send that
money to Washington," Frazier said. "We deserve to
have our fair share back as opposed to seeing that
money go to other states. But there is that separate
concern that federal spending has grown out of
control and needs to be reined in."
During the 2004 campaign,
Republicans delighted in pointing out
one particular entry on John Kerry's
resume: his service as lieutenant
governor of Massachusetts under Michael
It made for a
perfect talking point. 16 years earlier,
the campaign of George H.W. Bush had
sold swing voters on a caricature of
Dukakis as an arrogant, technocratic,
and insufficiently patriotic liberal.
And here was George W. Bush's campaign
trying to do the exact same thing with
Kerry. Sure, by '04 there were many
Americans who didn't remember much, if
anything, about Dukakis. But there were
also plenty who did, so the Bush
campaign happily played up the linkage.
For instance, when
a television interviewer asserted to
Bush adviser Dan Bartlett that Kerry's
Senate voting record wasn't nearly as
liberal as the Bush campaign had been
portraying it, Bartlett replied: "Look,
he's a senator from Massachusetts and
the protege of Michael Dukakis. He was
his lieutenant governor!"
The fun that the
Republicans of 2004 had with the
Kerry-Bush connection is worth keeping
in mind as Texas Governor Rick Perry
moves closer to a presidential run. If
Perry were to win the GOP nomination,
Democrats would be able to have some fun
of their own, reminding Americans over
and again that the GOP candidate had
once been George W. Bush's lieutenant
Perry held the
position in 1999 and 2000, assuming the
top job in the state when Bush gave it
up to become president, then winning
election on his own three times since
then. When he initially succeeded Bush
more than a decade ago, Perry
made sure to note
that "certainly, you are not going to
see a great philosophical difference
between Rick Perry and George Bush."
This raises two
questions about the national campaign
Perry now seems likely to wage: (1)
Could a concerted effort by Democrats to
link Perry to Bush, whose presidency is
still viewed as a failure by most swing
voters, cost Perry general election
support that would otherwise go to a
generic Republican candidate?; and (2)
Would the possibility that it might give
the GOP's opinion-shaping elites pause
about supporting Perry for the
Kerry's case suggests that the answer to
the first question is "no." Sure, it's
hard to imagine that his service as
Dukakis' No. 2 helped him at all in '04.
But when you take into account
structural factors that govern
Kerry ended up performing just about
where he should have. Moreover, to the
extent that Kerry lost any voters who
would have supported a generic Democrat,
an endless list of factors could explain
this. So while the GOP got a nice
talking point out of the Dukakis link,
there isn't any evidence it alone moved
many -- if any -- voters.
Then again, Bush's
name in '12 will be much fresher in the
minds voters than Dukakis' was in '04.
He was president for eight tumultuous
years and left office with some of the
worst approval ratings on record. A case
could be made that turning around just
four years later and nominating his
Texas successor -- a man whose style and
intellectual reputation has many
similarities to Bush's -- would hurt the
GOP in a way that Democrats weren't hurt
with Kerry. Assuming Perry does run, it
will be interesting to see if this
concern takes hold among GOP elites --
either because they decide that they
genuinely fear the consequences of
nominating Perry, or because they
dislike Perry for other reasons and see
the Bush link as useful in convincing
their fellow Republicans to spurn him.
Perry is plainly
trying to create distance between
himself and Bush. Last year, he stressed
that he and his gubernatorial
predecessor are "different people," said
that the Bush administration in
Washington had "missed some
opportunities to send some good messages
to the Congress that was spending too
much money frankly on programs that we
can't afford" and
would only agree
that Bush "may go down as more than a
In a way, Perry has
a point: He and Bush were never close in
Texas, nor are they today. In some
states, candidates for governor and
lieutenant governor run together as a
ticket, often with the gubernatorial
candidate picking his or her own
running-mate. But not in Texas, a state
where the office of lieutenant governor
is unusually strong and independent.
Bush and Perry were both on the
Republican ticket in 1998, but they ran
separate campaigns and were elected
individually -- Bush is a record-setting
romp (63 percent of the vote), Perry in
a squeaker over Democrat John Sharp.
But this history
probably means nothing in the sound bite
wars of national politics, as we learned
with Kerry in '04. The Kerry-Dukakis
relationship was probably better than
the Bush-Perry relationship, but as
anyone followed Massachusetts politics
in the early '80s will attest, the idea
that Kerry had been Dukakis' "protege"
was laughable. They both won grueling
primaries on their own in 1982 --
Dukakis in a rematch with Governor Ed
King, who had ousted him in the 1978
primary; and Kerry in an upset over
Evelyn Murphy, who had won the party's
state convention endorsement -- and only
then were they joined together. A year
after taking office, Kerry essentially
gave up the job when Paul Tsongas
announced that he wouldn't seek a second
Senate term, with Kerry winning the race
to succeed him. But about all voters
heard in 2004 was that they'd been
Kerry-Dukakis case, there really aren't
many modern examples of a governor and
lieutenant governor who served together
both going on to run for president. As
last week, there is the story of Jimmy
Carter, the Democrats' nominee in 1976,
and Lestor Maddox, who ran as the
American Independent Party's candidate
that same year, mainly because of his
intense dislike for Carter. But it
doesn't tell us much about whether Bush
will be a liability for Perry.
But we do know
that, if Perry does run, Democrats will
try very, very hard to do to him exactly
what was done to their own candidate
back in 2004.
took particular glee in slamming the right wing in his
New Rules segment, in which he singled out
uber-religious, uber know-nothing Texas Governor Rick
Perry for the Maher treatment. And with good reason, as
AlterNet's Josh Holland recently noted:
Texas is a mess thanks to
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is being
encouraged to enter the presidential race.
Perry has spoken to Rep. Pete
Sessions (R-Texas), the chairman of House
Republicans' campaign efforts, and Rep. Sam Johnson
(R-Texas), a senior member of the Ways & Means
Committee, as part of his decision-making process,
the members said.
And other members of the
delegation are openly advocating for Perry, who’s
reconsidering his earlier decision to stay out of
the 2012 White House campaign.
"I think he's
going through a very deliberative process that will
be very good for him to properly determine how and
when he would offer himself up to the Republican
Party to run for president," Sessions said. "He's
somebody who I think would be a strong candidate for
the Republican Party nomination."
Republican, who's the longest-serving governor in
the U.S., has received renewed overtures because of
a perceived dissatisfaction with the candidates in
the race, particularly with no major candidate to
carry the banner of the Tea Party, of which Perry
was an early supporter.
said he'll make up his mind about whether to enter
the race once the state legislature finishes its
special session later this month or in early July.
He would be one of the last candidates — if not the
absolute last – to enter the race, but he may prove
a formidable foe.
McKinnon, a longtime Texas Republican operative who
helped President George W. Bush go from the
governor's mansion in Austin to the White House,
said he thinks Perry will run.
"I think he
has a lot of potential. I think he has honed a
strong anti-Washington message that will appeal to a
lot of Republicans," McKinnon said. "Perry is a
disciplined and aggressive campaigner. He should not
Marchant (R-Texas) wrote Perry a letter that
"pledged my full support to him.”
watching the [GOP primary debate last] Monday night,
it was clear to me that we're not anywhere close to
deciding who the candidate is," Marchant explained.
"I just think this would be the time for him to make
optimistic he'll run, and if he runs, he'll win the
nomination," said Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas).
McCaul (R-Texas) also wants Perry in the race.
"I know he's
seriously considering it, and I personally think
that he'd be a great choice. I think right now, the
Republican Party's looking for a real leader to come
out of the fray, and he has the narrative, in terms
of creating more jobs than any other state," he
Hensarling, the top-ranking House Republican from
the delegation, said he's not ready to "take a
stand" on the presidential campaign, but he had kind
words for Perry.
"He's been a
great governor of our state -- one of the reasons
that people are leaving other states to come to
Texas is because we have a great job climate," said
Hensarling, who hasn't spoken to Perry. "Frankly,
that has a lot to do with his leadership."
to enjoy an amenable relationship with the
delegation following last year’s bitter
gubernatorial primary battle with Sen. Kay Bailey
Hutchison (R-Texas). He beat her soundly with 21
percent of the vote and went on to win a full
third-term in office. (Perry, who was lieutenant
governor under then-Gov. Bush, finished out that
term when Bush won the White House).
Most of the
Texas delegation who got involved with the primary
sided with Hutchison, but multiple members of the
delegation said they expect most of their colleagues
to support Perry if he gets into the presidential
meanwhile, said it's "pretty far down the road" in
the campaign for Perry to win her support, but
acknowledged his tough campaign credentials.
certainly will be formidable," she said earlier this
month on MSNBC. "He has a very good political team,
I will say that. I know that firsthand."
If Perry does
suffer defections in support from the powerful Texas
bloc, it will be more due to his late entry and
commitments other members have already made.
"I think if
he decided to run, he would definitely be a
contender. There's some appetite for other
candidates, to get in, and he may well fill that
niche," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who won’t
endorse in the GOP primary because of his
obligations as chairman of the National Republican
Senatorial Committee (NRSC). "The daunting part of
it is to start from scratch after so many other
people have had such a lead, particularly when it
comes to fundraising. The fundraising challenges
would be pretty steep."
Barton (R-Texas), who's endorsed former House
Speaker Newt Gingrich's (R-Ga.) presidential
campaign, said that a Perry campaign would put him
in a "real tough spot."
"I'm a close,
personal friend of Rick Perry and I think he's an
outstanding governor and I think he would be a great
president," he said. " I think having Gov. Perry in
the field would be good for the Republican Party.
From a personal perspective, I would rather see him
not run, because I'm already committed to Newt
Gingrich. But having a qualified candidate like Rick
Perry for the people of the United States to choose
would be a good thing."
members all acknowledge the case for Perry is
strong. As governor of Texas, the Lone Star State
has thrived (relatively speaking) amid an extended
economic downturn most everywhere else in the U.S.
He was quick to embrace the Tea Party, and rode the
grassroots momentum to his primary victory over
Perry's conservative bona fides have never been in
question. He's been an ardent supporter of gun
owners' rights, and conservative groups have gladly
talked up the tort reforms he got through the Texas
state legislature. And while Perry's said the Day of
Prayer he's holding Aug. 6 for fellow governors is
nonpolitical, it's certainly not doing anything to
harm his chances with social conservative voters.
meat conservatives play an important role in early
primary states, especially in Iowa and South
Carolina, where McKinnon said Perry would contend.
"I think Iowa
could become a contest between Perry and [Minnesota
Rep. Michele] Bachmann," he said. "And if he wins
there, he could do well in South Carolina."
else, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said, Perry's
traction represents somewhat of a quick political
rebound for the Lone Star State.
notion of having a Texas governor run was something
that I did not think I would see again in my
lifetime," said Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas),
another Gingrich backer. "So thorough and effective
was the demonization of George W. Bush by the left
and the press when he left office ... it's been
remarkable to see a resurgence where now a Texas
governor would find the landscape just right for
entering the field."
piece from Ben, our new Perry tracker here at BOR. -
promoted by Phillip Martin)
The Perry-for-President chatter continues as the lackluster
GOP field continues to lack luster. After Monday's CNN GOP
primary debate, pundits
went so far
as to say Perry, who was not there,
a winner in the debate. On
told Fox News' Neil Cavuto
that while he wasn't thinking about a presidential run six
weeks ago, his wife and supporters have successfully
encouraged him to reconsider. He claimed to be "giving it
some serious thought." We're glad to hear that he's taking
it seriously. Later in
the interview, Cavuto asked Perry why polls show he is not
very popular in Texas. Perry's answer was stunning. "I say
that a prophet is generally not loved in their hometown.
That's both Biblical and practical," Perry smirked. Watch
believes he's not finding support in Texas (only
4% of Texas Republicans support him for president)
because he's been showing us the light and Texans just can't
In religion, a
prophet is an individual who is claimed
to have been contacted by the
supernatural or the divine, and serves
as an intermediary with humanity,
delivering this new found knowledge from
the supernatural entity to other
prophets are regarded as having a role
in society that promotes change due to
their messages and actions.
That is Rick Perry, the
leader of the Pray-apalooza coming to
Houston in Aug. He is the prophet from God
that instructed him to tank the Texas
economy through tax breaks for the rick and
tax gimmicks for the homeowner, resulting in
massive deficits. He was instructed by God
to then cut services for the elderly, the
sick, and the poor, and to demonize those
that are not angel white.
Rick Perry believes he has been sent here by
God's to bring his word to all of America
just like he did to Texas. To many, Rick
Perry is Jesus Christ.
Intelligent Texans dislike Perry
because Perry is a terrible governor. How long before
the rest of the country shares our distaste?
Governor Rick Perry of Texas, liar, tea party darling
and wingnut extraordinaire, has been babbling about God
again. When asked about his popularity being greater
around the country than in his home state, he responded:
prophet is generally not loved in their hometown.
That’s both biblical and practical.”
Jesus used those words to describe himself while
denouncing his countrymen who rejected him, and for Rick
Perry to similarly apply them to himself, given the anti
God Republican policies he enacts in Texas, is
absolutely absurd. His latest budgest slashes necessary
services to the needy and the poor, while laying off as
many as 100,000 teachers, sadly and almost thankfully
denying their capacity to
impart revised US history
to the children of Texas.
No, Rick, that's not it at all. The Bible teaches us
that the love of money is the root of all evil,
and it was the wicked policies of your predecessor in
the Texas governor’s mansion and his cronies (some of
whom are your cronies too) when they took the White
House with the Congress in their pockets that
accomplished that. George Bush and the Republicans
crashed the economy by doling out the national treasury
to their wealthy friends.
However, since you are so fond of mentioning God and the
Bible, surely you know that God expresses His wrath upon
mankind using fire. Here are a couple of scriptures for
Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of
thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his
wrath, and the fire shall devour them. Psalm 21:9
Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon
them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath:
their own way have I recompensed upon their head, saith
the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 22:31.
In April, when Texas was battling wildfires, Perry
publicly criticized Obama
for not helping his state while he was receiving
federal funds to do just that. That is hypocrisy, and
being a hypocrite precludes Perry from possibly being a
So, Rick, if you are looking to a manifestation of God's
displeasure with acts of Americans that controvert the
Bible, you should look to the wildfires which ravaged
your own state, and which are currently burning out of
control in Arizona—the
largest ever there.
Wicked men control economies, but God is Lord of the
elements: he kindles fire with His fingernails of flint,
and fans and spreads the flames with the wind, which is
And why? Because it is also written in the Bible:
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this;
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Galatians
The Arizona legislature’s relentless persecution of
their neighbors to the south--God’s children in
recently enacted laws
which persecute their neighbors in their own
communities, are in direct contradiction to ‘all the
law,’ also known as the OLD TESTAMENT, and this is what
incites the LORD to ire.
If Rick Perry were truly a prophet he would quickly
recognize these plain truths: but he’s doesn’t, and he’s
Conservatives claim the "Texas Miracle" is a model for the
nation, but it's actually a blueprint for winning the race
to the bottom. AlterNet by Josh Holland
June 16, 2011
now holds up Texas as a shining example of right-wing
governance in action. Republicans would have us believe that
gutting the state's social safety net, denying workers the
right to bargain collectively and relentlessly cutting taxes
unleashed a torrent of “job creation” and, ultimately,
Under governor Rick
“Goodhair” Perry's term in office, Texas
has indeed been a
model of conservative governance, but the truth is that it
has resulted in anything but prosperity for the people of
the Lone Star State. In fact, Texas is not only a complete
basket-case, it would be faring far worse today without the
help of policies enacted by Democrats at the federal level –
policies Perry lambasted as “irresponsible spending that
threatens our future.”
The kernel of
truth on which the tale of the Texas Miracle is built is
that the state has in fact added a lot of jobs over the past
decade. In a
gushing lead editorial,
the Wall Street Journal
“37% of all net new American jobs since the recovery
began were created in Texas.” The Journal then spun
that fact like this:
and investment—is highly mobile, and it migrates all the
time to the places where the opportunities are larger
and the burdens are lower. Texas has no state income
tax. Its regulatory conditions are contained and
flexible. It is fiscally responsible and government is
small. Its right-to-work law doesn't impose unions on
businesses or employees.
In the Journal's
hyper-partisan view, the lesson to be learned is that “the
core impulse of Obamanomics is to make America less like
Texas and more like California, with more government, more
unions, more central planning, higher taxes.” That spin was
echoed during last week's GOP debate by none other than Newt
Gingrich, who asked, “Why [would] you want to be at
California's unemployment level when you can be [at] Texas's
an economist at the University of Texas, scoffed at the
whole narrative, telling AlterNet, “the notion that our
state government is a model is almost enough to beckon the
spirit of Molly Ivins back from the shades.” Galbraith said
“Texas has been a low-tax, low-service state since the time
of the Republic,” and noted that it's “therefore impossible
that this fact suddenly accounts for its better job
performance over the past few years.” (Texas' record of job
creation under Perry is the same as it was under former
governor Ann Richards, a
“Texas is an
energy state benefiting from high oil prices and the
incipient boom in natural gas,” explained Galbraith. “That's
an accident of nature.” He added that the state “went
through the S&L crisis, had major criminal prosecutions and
more restrictive housing finance regulations this time
around; hence it was not an epicenter of the subprime
housing disaster. That's called a learning experience.”
Tighter regulation of the lending industry is also
anathema to today's GOP.
Arguably the biggest
sleight-of-hand in the Texas Miracle storyline, however, is
that many of those jobs were a result of a huge surge in the
state's population, much of it fueled by immigration from
Latin America (rather than liberal hell-holes like
grew by 20 percent over the past
decade, and Hispanics
accounted for almost two-thirds of that growth. A surge in
people created greater demand for goods and services, which
leads to more jobs. But the jobs being created in Texas
aren't keeping up with the state's expanding workforce – the
Wall Street Journal
somehowfailed to mention that during the exact same period in
which it was adding all those new jobs, Texas' unemployment
rate actually increased from 7.7 to 8 percent (it also
failed to note that 23 states -- including such deep blue
ones as Vermont, New York and Massachusetts --
enjoy lower unemployment rates than
But perhaps the
most laughable claim in this whole narrative is that Texas
has been “fiscally responsible.” Perry certainly adhered to
the conservative playbook, offering massive tax breaks
without the deep cuts in services that might inspire a voter
backlash. As a result – an entirely predictable one – the
that “state lawmakers have spent much of the year grappling
with a budget shortfall that left them $27 billion short of
the money needed to continue current state services.”
that while Perry was railing against the Democratic stimulus
package passed over the fierce resistance of conservatives,
the state “was facing a $6.6 billion shortfall for its
2010-2011 fiscal years,” and “it plugged nearly all of that
deficit with $6.4 billion in Recovery Act money.” The
stimulus package created or saved
205,000 jobs in Texas,
second only to California. But as James Galbraith told
AlterNet, while “the state budget has not yet been cut
drastically” due to the stimulus boost, “the key phrase is
'not yet.'” Now that the stimulus has run its course, “if
projections for the current budget cycle are correct, things
will get much worse in the next year.”
But Perry's tax breaks
are indeed part of the state's jobs picture; as Time magazine's
Perry established several massive business tax breaks
“designed to lure companies from other states.”
[But] the funds
have been controversial. They have channeled millions of
dollars to companies whose officers or investors are
major Perry campaign donors and Perry has allowed them
to keep their subsidies in many cases even when they
fail to deliver promised jobs. More important for the
purposes of judging Perry’s job-creating record, even
those that do produce jobs don’t necessarily create
long-lasting ones, or increase the state’s overall
In a report written for
Perry last spring, Michael Porter of Harvard Business School
noted that such tax breaks “ultimately don’t support
long-term prosperity,” because companies that can move
easily “are looking for the best deal and when the deal runs
out they move” again, taking their jobs with them.
He also found that
Texas’ per capita income growth was the eighth slowest of
any state in the country between 1998 and 2008. That's
because, as the
American Independent's Patrick Brendel noted, “Texas
has by far the largest number of employees working at or
below the federal minimum wage,” and the number of crappy
jobs has exploded while this supposed Texas Miracle was
taking place. “From 2007 to 2010, the number of minimum wage
workers in Texas rose from 221,000 to 550,000, an increase
of nearly 150 percent,” wrote Brendel. As a result, Texas is
now “tied with Mississippi for the greatest percentage of
minimum wage workers, while California had among the fewest
(less than 2 percent).”
At a fundraiser this
week, Rick Perry, who despite toying with the idea of
secession in the past may now be eying a White House bid,
told a group of Republican fat-cats that in his state, “you
don't have to use your imagination, saying, 'What'll happen
if we apply this or that conservative principle?' You just
need to look around, because they've been in play across our
state for years, generating real results.”
In this, Perry is
absolutely, 100 percent correct. He slashed taxes to the
bone, handing out credits to his political cronies like they
were candy. He decried the evils of Big Government while
hypocritically using federal stimulus funds to help close
Texas' budget gap in the short term, and now he's using the
state's longer term fiscal disaster – one of his own
creation – as a premise for destroying an already threadbare
social safety net serving the neediest Texans. As a result
of these policies, plus immigration and other external
factors, his state's added a lot of low-paying poverty jobs
without decent benefits. He's added very little in the way
In the final analysis,
Texas is indeed a shining example of conservative
governance, as well as an almost perfect model for winning
the race to the bottom.
9:46 AM on
Wed., Oct. 7, 2009 |
is losing the message battle on the Willingham case. In
elections, it's vital that you control the message. Control what
people are saying about you. You define the issues.
With that in mind, I might suggest that Rick Perry's move last
week to scuttle the search for truth in the Willingham case was more
than just a desperate attempt to avoid an awkward conversation. It
may have been a rare political blunder on his part.
take a stroll down Rick Perry's press clipping of late:
He's seen his weak excuse
dismissed as transparent by the two largest newspapers in the
And don't forget criticism
San Antonio Express-News
(The explanation from the governor's
office that the commissioners' terms expired on Sept. 1 doesn't
hold water.) and others, detailed nicely by Steve Hall on the
One important reason why
Rick Perry won't be able to tack back to the middle and win
independent voters is that Hutchison never put his record of failure
under the microscope. Her attacks came late, didn't stick, and she
was never a strong messenger. But as
Emily Ramshaw at the Texas Tribune wrote,
that doesn't mean those issues aren't there:
The attack ad could
write itself: On Gov. Rick Perry’s watch, Texas weathered a
sexual abuse scandal at the Texas Youth Commission, fight clubs
at state institutions for the disabled and deaths of kids
monitored by Child Protective Services.
But three of the
biggest messes of Perry’s 10-year tenure — two of which spurred
U.S. Justice Department investigations — have been noticeably
absent on the campaign trail. While U.S. Sen.
Kay Bailey Hutchison,
Perry’s chief Republican primary opponent, has hit the airwaves
on toll roads, immigration and education, she has largely
steered clear of these high-profile social services debacles.
While Kay Bailey Hutchison may
have dropped the ball, the Texas Democratic Party has not. Last
fall, the state party put out a list of top ten state agency
scandals under Perry's watch. The top three? Those same issues
Ramshaw highlighted -- the TYC abuse scandal, fight clubs at state
schools, and deaths at CPS.
Ed. note: This post has
been udpated to provide more context to the original press release.
This is pretty huge. From a
press release the Bill White campaign sent out minutes ago:
Bill White called for
an immediate state and federal investigation, and
one of the nation's preeminent criminal defense lawyers weighed
in today as Rick Perry stonewalls questions about the public
Perry handed out $16
million in taxpayer dollars from a high tech fund to companies
tied to his top political contributors.
"This is the kind of
thing a Public Integrity Unit ought to investigate. If the
fundraisers promised or suggested that grants would go to
political donors and then that happened, that's criminal, plain
and simple," said Dick DeGuerin.
DeGuerin has defended
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Representative Tom DeLay and
was recently named one of the 25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the
Past Quarter Century.
"Perry's had 48 hours. He's
stonewalling simple questions and refusing to release documents
revealing the investors in companies getting taxpayer dollars.
The Travis County DA and the Department of Justice should
investigate," said White.
The scandal we're referring to
is the major, breaking story from Dallas Morning News.
An investigation by The
Dallas Morning News found that more than $16 million from
the Emerging Technology Fund has been awarded to companies with
investors or officers who are large campaign donors to Perry.
The governor's office
administers the tech fund, and the governor must approve each
award – a system that most other states with tech funds avoid to
guard against political influence.
found that tech fund money has been awarded
to companies with which at least eight significant Perry donors
Greetings from the bizarro state of Texas, which voted out popular
governor Ann Richards in order to replace her with George H. W.
Bush’s profligate---and dumb as a bag of rocks---son. W. Some
folks say he got the job, because Rove called Richards a lesbian.
I think a bunch of voters mistook the son for the father and decided
that the job of governor would be a nice consolation prize for the
one term ex-president. W. maintained that he was not
interested in being president. But that did not stop him from waging
one of the dirtiest campaigns ever in 2000, when he used the Supreme
Court of the United States to keep lawfully cast votes from being
counted in Florida.
Then Obama was elected.
Now here comes Rick “Goodhair” Perry. He says he does
not want to be president. Now, where have I heard that before?
Dubya was able to steal the election in 2000, in part, because he
carefully scrubbed his Texas record. For instance, he boasted during
a debate that he helped pass the Texas Patients Protection Act, a
law that prevented managed care abuses. In fact, he vetoed the law
the first time around, after the legislature was out of
session, so it was dead for two years. He got a lot of flak over
this veto. So much flak that the next time the bill came around, two
years later, he grudgingly allowed it to become law. Then he claimed
credit for it. Then , after he stole the election, he had
Attorney General Ashcroft attack (and kill) the law in federal
I mention this, because the story teaches us a lesson. Do not listen
to what the candidate says. Look at what he has done. If he is
promising to be the new Teddy Roosevelt, but during his term as
governor he was Ebenezer Scrooge, you can safely predict that the
poor houses will be full to bursting under his administration.
Now, to the matter at hand. Let’s talk turkey. A great big fat
turkey with a really nice head of hair.
I. Rick Perry Protects
Texas Governor Rick Perry has done a lot of shameful things during
his excessively long term. If people were actually forced to wear
their Badges of Shame, he would look like an Eagle Scout or a four
star general. His biggest, baddest medal is the one that says I
(Heart) Child Molesters .
Now, I could quote a bunch of liberal journalists, but folks would
just say that they are biased. So, I will rely upon the reporting of
a bone fide conservative writer, Jerome Corsi, from World
Daily Net to show you all just how big and bad this story was.
Here is a link which outlines the basics of the case.
Briefly, in 2005 Texas Ranger, Brian Burzynski discovered that
employees of the Texas Youth Commission had been engaging in sexual
activities with their (underage) charges. This made them
guilty of both rape and abuse of power. In a solidly red state like
Texas, sexual shenanigans are not tolerated, right? State and
local prosecutors should have jumped on the case. But they did
not. Instead, two years passed, during which time the pedophiles
were allowed to continue their child molesting ways. Texas
Attorney General Greg Abbot and U.S. Attorney General Al Gonzales
both threw up their hands and said “It’s not my problem, man.”
Here is a link about Rick Perry’s involvement in the scandal.
You see, he was facing a challenge from the right in the form of
third party candidate Carole Strayhorn. Perry was afraid that
the if folks in Texas found out that he had overseen and made
appointments to a Texas Youth Commission that was crawling with
pedophiles, he might earn the reputation as someone who protects
pedophiles. In order to keep the story under wraps, he
decided to .......protect the pedophiles.
While Texas Gov. Rick Perry claimed to
reporters he learned only last month of the teen sex scandal
rocking the state's juvenile justice system, his office admitted
to WND it knew of an investigation that began two years ago.
Perry told reporters he became aware of the Texas Youth
Commission scandal last month, after news reports broke in Texas
newspapers detailing Texas Ranger Brian Burzynski's probe into
the charges. But WND's investigation shows Perry's office knew
of Burzynski's probe as early as February 2005, two years before
any grand jury had been convened in the case or any statewide
investigation was launched from the governor's office.
The cabal of Texas Republicans in DC and Austin carefully avoided
doing anything about the case until after Perry was safely
re-elected (by less than a plurality) in the fall of 2006. Then,
they sprang into action----pointing fingers at the local Democratic
prosecutor in the case to explain why they decided to do nothing for
Note that when Perry was finally forced to appoint someone to
(stonewall the) investigat(ion) of the pedophiles, he chose a
staunch Republican, Jay Kimbrough, whose other claim to fame is that
he is the one who demanded that federal law enforcement officials
arrest Texas Democratic legislators who fled the state in an effort
to keep Tom Delay from doing an illegal, minority-vote-splitting
redistricting in 2003. Note that Rick Perry was involved, too. He
called for three special legislative sessions that year in
order to force lawmakers to pass that redistricting plan, which the
Supreme Court later said violated federal voting rights protection
II. Rick is Opposed to
Sometimes, I think that Rick Perry is W. with an extra poofy wig.
Recall that after a series of failed businesses, Bush finally made
some real money by having the City of Alrington, Texas steal private
citizens’ land for him so that he could build a ballpark. He then
turned around and sold the ballpark to the city for millions. Now,
if the city had used its powers of eminent domain to seize the land
to build a city owned ballpark, that would have been one thing.
However, they allowed one private developer (W.) to take land from
other private citizens, presumably on the grounds that the son of an
ex-president was more equal before the law than a bunch of
nobody property owners.
Given the controversy that this case caused, you would think that
aspiring Republican politician, Rick Perry would run, not walk, from
any eminent domain scandal. However, in 2007, he vetoed the very
popular bill that would have protected Texas property owners from
eminent domain claims by private developers. He said that he was
doing it, because of provisions involving road access. However, no
one bothered to say a word about the road access provisions when
they were being considered by the legislature. That was because they
provided Perry with a convenient excuse to veto the entire bill
after the legislature was out of session (and yes, it is a wonder
that anything ever gets done in this state when all you have to do
is bribe the governor if you want to kill a progressive law for two
III. Rick Perry Panders
to the Confederate Flag Constituency
I want to make one thing clear, here. There are some that claim that
they wave a Confederate Flag out of sense of pride in their southern
heritage. This is bullshit. Even in the south, everyone knows that
the flag is the banner under which states committed the ultimate act
of treason in order to protect their right to deprive Blacks of
their rights as human beings and United States citizens. Waving a
Confederate Flag around while claiming that you are not a racist is
like getting a swastika tattooed on your forehead while protesting
that you love Jewish people. The Confederate flag symbolizes the
south’s hatred of federal laws which have required equal treatment
for all, regardless of race. If you believe that special schools
should be built for whites and that Blacks should not make the same
wages as other workers and mostly importantly that no Black man
should ever be president of your country , then you express your
displeasure by waving around one of these things.
During the speech, people waved "Don't Tread
on Me" flags and signs lampooning the Obama administration's
economic stimulus efforts. Some shouted, "Secede!"
Among the signs: "Obama. Liar in Chief" and "I'll Keep My Guns
and Money. You Can Keep the Change."
Perry told reporters following his speech that Texans might get
so frustrated with the government they would want to secede from
"There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington
continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know,
who knows what might come out of that."
Note that Perry has assumed the role of modern day Jefferson Davis
in order to pander to extreme right wing voters in Texas who might
consider voting for Hutchinson. He hopes to make the Confederate
Flag constituency associate her with Obama. Can “Call me, Barrack”
ads featuring the former UT cheerleader turned U.S. senator be far
IV. Some of Rick
Perry’s More Memorable Vetoes
Perry vetoed a bill that would have informed ex-felons of their
right to vote in Texas, because
Many GOP political consultants believe
ex-offenders will be more likely to vote Democratic.
Getting arrested for something you did not do sucks, right? Well, in
Texas, that unpleasant situation gets even worse, because the
Republican State Supreme Court has ruled that the police can keep a
record of every arrest ---even if charges were later dropped
because you did not do it----until the statute of limitations of the
crime in question passes. That means two years for a misdemeanor and
forever for an offense like murder. The state legislature tried to
correct this problem, by passing a law that would have required law
enforcement to wipe records clean if charges were dropped. But guess
who vetoed it?
In its final form, it would have done more
harm than good to our citizens.
Because hey, what about the rights of cops to sully your reputation
permanently by making bogus arrests?
One way in which Perry does not resemble W.? His wife is not an
ex-school teacher. That probably explains why he vetoed a bill that
would have provided $25 million to pre-K programs. Early childhood
education is the great equalizer in our society, and anyone who is
courting the Confederate Flag vote knows that “equality” is a four
Note in the above article that Perry has used (abused?) his veto
power more than any other Texas governor. This does not bode well
for our Democratic Congress were he to get into the White House.
Here is another head
scratcher. Texas tried to pass a law to keep buses from idling while
waiting for students. Anyone who has ever been forced to hold his
breath while wading through the chemical soup mixture which a fleet
of idling buses can pump into the air understands this one. It is
bad for asthmatic children and it’s bad for the environment.
However, Rick Perry (who is the number one recipient of oil and gas
money in the state) wants to see those buses sitting there
burning up fuel.
Now, if you read section I. of this thread, you will understand the
reason for Perry’s next veto. Sometimes young folks get convicted of
sex offenses for the relatively innocuous crime of having sex with
their girlfriends or boyfriends. Say, the guy is a high school
senior age 19 and the girl is a senior age 16, and things got out of
hand after the prom. The way things are now, even if the two
are engaged and get married, he can still be labeled a sex offender
for the rest of his life. That means he may not be
allowed to have contact with the children he will have with his
wife. His kids definitely will not be allowed to have friends
over---just because his parents got hot and heavy at the prom.
Lawmakers in Texas attempted to fix this problem by giving courts
the option of removing some people’s sex offender status.
The bill had widespread public support---and Perry vetoed it.
Because hey, he would not want voters to get the idea that he is
soft on pedophiles.
Another bill that passed with unanimous support was one designed to
give consumer protections to people buying annuities.
Apparently, the people who sell annuities did not like it, because
they got Perry to veto it.
Perry’s vetoes are so controversial in Texas that the Texas Monthly
wrote an article about them entitled “No! No! No!
The governor, of course, is empowered by the
Texas Constitution to veto bills. But the veto power, if not
exercised wisely and sparingly, can be a dangerous one. It can
make lasting enemies of those who expected to benefit from a
bill's passage. It negates the sponsoring legislator's hard
work. Most of all, a veto is often a tacit admission of the
governor's own failure, because the legislative process offers
ample opportunity for intervention and compromise. A veto
becomes necessary only if the governor's intervention was
nonpersuasive—or nonexistent. Think of a veto as the
parliamentary equivalent of a spanking. It is a last resort that
should be used only when really necessary. Like a spanking, a
veto will get the attention of the recipient. It may also
inspire fear. But it cannot purchase respect. Or love….
Most startling was the contrast between
Perry's attitude toward legislation before the May 28
adjournment and after. Overnight, he and his staff underwent a
transformation from distant observers to obsessive nitpickers.
This mutation will define Rick Perry for his cohorts in Texas
politics long after the details of the bills he vetoed have been
forgotten. He chose to be an outsider, chose to play gotcha with
the Legislature rather than to work with it, chose to snipe from
ambush rather than engage in the open.
One of the bills which roused the ire of the Texas Monthly was a
veto of a bill that would have allowed the execution of mentally
retarded criminals. In most states, you have to know what you
did wrong and why you are being punished for it before you can die.
In Texas, you just have to possess a pulse and a vein through which
lethal drugs can be injected.
Speaking of executions…
V. Rick Perry Believes
in Executing Innocent People
Perry’s most recent controversy involved the case of a man who was
almost certainly arrested for an arson/murder that did not happen.
Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 (during Perry’s watch)
for setting a fire in his house and killing his own children. The
problem with the case---there were no witnesses, there was no
confession. All the prosecution had was some flawed science.
Last week, five years after the (almost certainly wrongful) death of
Willingham, the Texas Forensic Science Commission tried to right
this wrong by considering new evidence in the case. Perry put
a stop to this by firing three members of the commission on the eve
of their meeting.
I guess he is worried that the combination of his veto of the bill
protecting the mentally retarded plus a finding that he allowed an
innocent man to die might make voters in other states a little bit
leery of electing him their president. Texas was unique in a
national survey as the only state where a majority of voters said
they would be fine allowing innocent people to be put to death if it
meant that no guilty folks evaded execution. The other United States
put a greater value on human life than Texas and its Republican
VI. Remember What Don
Seigelman was Prosecuted for Doing?
Selective prosecution of Democrats for things that all politicians
do is one of the major scandals of the Bush DOJ. Alberto Gonzales
even announced publicly in 2006 that he planned to start a lot of
investigations and prosecutions of Democratic elected officials in
the wake of the Democrats’ sweep of Congress. In the process, he
painted a great big read Kick me (out of office) sign on his
own back that lead to him being the first (and last) Bush
administration official to be forced out of office by Congress.
The case of Don Seigelman who was charged and convicted of
appointing someone to a board in exchange for a contribution was one
example of the way the Bush administration used the DOJ like a Mafia
enforcement squad. Funny thing is that Gov. Rick Perry of Texas (and
his predecessor, W.) is notorious for playing quid pro quo with
The University of Texas is a huge system that is swimming in cash.
The ability of a few VIPs to make a lot of money off UT has been
protected in Texas, first by W. and then by his separated at birth
When George W. Bush signed UTIMCO into
existence, he created a lasting connection between the
investment company and the governor's office. Rick Perry has, in
every way possible, kept this tradition alive. The most obvious
example of this relationship is the close correlation between
the campaign donations Perry receives and the appointments that
are then graciously given out to his donors.
This close connection between a few elite Texans, their deep
pockets, and their appointed positions is not only dangerous but
it is undemocratic. These people who make and control decisions
have many negative affects on many different people, but usually
not themselves. When a few connected individuals control
University policies and its investments while fighting to gain
even more power, less accountability and more corruption can be
expected. Rick Perry, although he is a public servant, does not
act on the public's behalf when controlling this elite group.
This quid pro quo Good Ol' Boy system, on which Texas politics
are now based, is continually damaging the University and those
who are associated with it.
Gov. Rick Perry has accepted nearly $5 million
in political campaign donations from people he appointed to
state boards and commissions, including some in plum jobs that
set policy for state universities, parks and roads, records
Nearly half the appointee donations came from people serving as
higher education regents, including more than $840,000 from
those at the University of Texas System, according to a Houston
Chronicle review of campaign-finance records.
Political patronage is nothing new for Texas governors in both
political parties. The contributions are a legal and common
practice, though it has been fodder for critics over the years.
“The reason people should care is that it would be nice to think
that government functioned as a meritocracy,” said Andrew Wheat
of the watchdog group Texans for Public Justice, which has
tracked appointee donations in the past.
Meritocracy? You have got to be kidding. Right now, Texas is an
oligarchy, and Rick Perry is the bought and paid for aspiring
Mussolini of the state’s corporate elite.
Under the appropriate heading
of "Naked City," the weekly Austin Chronicle became the first media
source beyond Internet blogs and ezines to report on the alleged sex
scandal involving Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry.
The Feb. 26 story by Michael
King mentioned a "support rally" this week at the Governor's Mansion
for Perry under the theme, "It's OK to Be Gay." The story mentions
the numerous rumors that "the governor's marriage is in trouble,
that his wife Anita has/will/may decide to divorce him, and that the
issue is Rick's alleged infidelity, with one or another member of
his administration of undetermined gender. [Rumors of this sort,
about multitudinous politicians, circulate all the time, but the
current Perry rumors are indeed extraordinary in their baroque
detail and remarkable persistence.]"
King said he looked into the
Perry rumors when they first surfaced some weeks ago and "found no
evidence of any truth to any of them, whatsoever." He lamented that
"nobody will go on the record." Did anyone involved in the story "go
on the record" when everyone from Saturday Night Live to Reuters
published the alleged affair rumor against John Kerry a few weeks
ago? No, but of course, Kerry is a Democrat so the media and people
in general believe the myth that Democrats are more likely to have
extramarital affairs than Republicans.
King had this comment from
Perry spokesperson Kathy Walt: "These are false, malicious, and
hurtful rumors, and the Chronicle's own investigation
acknowledges that fact."
King also wrote that "numerous
other reporters, from here to New York, have looked into the rumors,
with, as far as we know, an identical lack of results. Nor do we
expect anything we say here to have any effect on the rumors, which
have become entirely self-replicating as they echo through the
A note on this story: It is
extremely difficult to find "evidence" of extramarital affairs
unless one party spills the beans or it comes out in a court divorce
document. In 2001, The Washington Post put two reporters to
spy on former Democratic Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening, who was
rumored to have had sex with Jennifer Crawford, his unmarried chief
of staff, while he was separated from his wife. The Post
reported in Sept. 2001 that Glendening eased out of Crawford's home
early on a few mornings that summer.
Remember that Crawford
was unmarried and Glendening was separated. Has any media outlet
devoted similar resources to try to catch Perry, who says he is
committed to his wife? No. Can anyone recall the media catching a
Republican in an affair through such an investigation? I can't. And
it's not like Republicans don't have affairs; read my
essay at to
learn about a few of them.
So just because some reporters
found "no evidence" to support the rumors doesn't mean the rumors do
not have some basis. It just might take more work to unearth some
evidence-- such as reporters following Perry around 24 hours a day
as they did to former Democratic Sen. Gary Hart, a potential 1988
presidential candidate, and Glendening - than these reporters can
devote at the moment.
The Chronicle also pointed out
how last year Perry signed the "Defense of Marriage Act," the Texas
Legislature's "latest gratuitous demonstration that it believes gay
and lesbian Texans deserve fewer rights than other citizens." The
rumors have become stronger as Bush and other Republicans push for a
Constitutional amendment to ensure that no gay couple marries.
The Chronicle's story mentioned
how Perry and his wife spent Presidents Day weekend in the Bahamas
with major political donors James and Cecelia Leininger and John and
Bobbi Nau. The official story on this was it was a "working trip"
paid for by "campaign funds" to discuss "public school finance." As
the Chronicle pointed out, "That is, during a luxury retreat in the
Bahamas, the governor discussed "public school finance" with a group
of wealthy right-wing activists who have done everything in their
power to undermine, or even abolish, public education."
blog written by Wick Allison,
publisher/editor of D Magazine, a mainstream city magazine,
mentioned that Geoff Connor, Perry's secretary of state and alleged
playmate, threatened to track down the source of the rumor and sue.
Republicans have blamed a Democratic operative in Houston.
This is from a strong
Republican insider and apologist. Allison has given money to
Republican candidates, such as $500 to Hillary Clinton's NY Senate
opponent in 2000.
That would be an interesting
lawsuit if Connor were to actually sue someone, wouldn't it? I doubt
he would follow through since the gay stories would get further into
the public record.
attorney in Texas told me he has known about Perry's gay side since
the 1980s. And two district judges in Odessa told him that the rumor
was always there when they served in the Legislature with Perry.
I don't care if he is gay or bi
or whatever, what's appalling is the hypocrisy involved - Perry is
going around condemning gays and signing laws against them in public
while possibly doing something different in private.
And check out this statement in
the Texas GOP's platform, the most extreme platform in the country,
which also calls for abolishing Social Security, the Department of
Education and others, along with getting the U.S. out of the U.N.:
"The Party believes that the practice of sodomy tears at the fabric
of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and
leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual
behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have
been ordained by God, recognized by our country's founders, and
shared by the majority of Texans." It also says, "The party opposes
the decriminalization of sodomy."
Perry approved the statement,
and all candidates who run as Republicans in Texas have to sign it,
or forfeit financial support by the party. So if the homosexual
encounter with Perry is true, I would think his own party's leaders
would be making plans to get rid of him. I hear Perry won't run for
governor again in 2006, even if these rumors die.
I also hear there is a court
transcript or statement of facts in the Texas Court of Appeals that
contains sworn testimony that former Waco Rep. Lane Denton had an
encounter himself with Perry. Some reporters I know are checking on
Denton was found guilty in 1995
of diverting $67,201 from the Texas Department of Public Safety
Officers Association while serving as its executive director in
1988-89. He received 20 years in prison, but his sentence was
suspended, and he was placed on community supervision.
The Austin-based 3rd Court of
Appeals, where the Perry document allegedly is, also ruled against
In the original trial,
prosecutors said Denton funneled the trooper group's funds to a
public relations company owned by New Orleans architect John
Chrestia, who testified that he had been Mr. Denton's gay lover.
Why is the story important in
the battle to dethrone Bush? Why not focus on the economy or Iraq in
Because with his support
for a Constitutional amendment to crack down on gay rights, Bush has
signaled that he plans to make "morality" and cultural issues a big
part of his 2004 campaign. And pointing out the Republican
hypocrisies-- which include charges of extramarital sex against Bush
in this area is important to win this battle.
If Democrats can show that the
very Republicans who blasted Clinton for having an extramarital
affair in the 1990s have extramarital affairs of their own and might
even be extra hypocrites in publicly bashing gays, then this
supposed advantage in "morality" that Republicans seem to enjoy over
Democrats can be negated. Like it or not, sex and extramarital
affairs register more with many average voters who get most of their
news from TV than Iraq or even the economy.
I'm not expecting the Kerry
campaign to conduct this "expose the cultural Republican hypocrites"
campaign. As far as I know, the Kerry campaign has nothing to do
with spreading these rumors. People like me will do it and take the
heat as muckrakers or mudslingers or whatever from the whining
Republican babies who don't like to see their own tactics slammed
back in their faces. As I have long said, many far-right Republicans
can dish it out, but they can't take it.
Message to the Republican
whiners: Don't be surprised and cry foul when your opponent plays by
the rules you devise. While I can't take credit for starting this
Perry rumor, I have helped move it along. I see this campaign as
part of my duty and my contribution to restore some legitimacy and
sanity to the White House.
So a non-Internet media outlet
has published this Perry story. Can we expect Reuters and others who
jumped on the Kerry rumor to follow suit? It would be the fair thing
to do, based on the precedent set with the Kerry rumor. But I'm not
holding my breath.
James Richard “Rick” Perry (born
March 4, 1950) is the secession-happy governor of Texas, an
outspoken Christian Conservative despite the fact that outspoken
Christian Conservatism is so 2002, and a complete basket
Rick Perry is the
longest-serving governor in Texas history, making him one of the
most influential people in a state primarily known for its barbecue,
belt buckles, longhorn hood ornaments, and lethal injections of the
mentally handicapped. As such, Perry has appointed nearly
every state officer, board, or commission member a governor can
appoint someone to, including five of the nine state supreme court
justices. He also does most of the choreography for the Dallas
Leathery and blow-dried, Perry
easily lays claim to the title of “Most Bouffant U.S. Governor,”
especially now that Rod Blagojevich has officially been barred from
holding the office ever again.
Recently, Perry has drawn
attention for his criticism of the Obama administration’s handling
of the recession, and for turning down approximately $555 million in
federal stimulus money. Though he has officially “said thanks,
but no thanks” on that bridge-loan to nowhere, you can be sure that
federal money will quietly find its way into state coffers anyway.
Also, Texas isn’t going secede any sooner than Jim Carey is going to
win an Oscar.
In this, Rick Perry epitomizes
all the Republicans who “vowed” to move to Canada if Barack Obama
won the election, and before them, all the Democrats who said the
same of a George W. Bush victory in 2004. As if Canada
would even take them.
Rick Perry began looking gift
horses in the mouth from his birth on March 4, 1950, a birthday he
shares with Prince Henry the Navigator of medieval Portugal, William
Shatner’s brash, sometimes hot-headed partner on TJ Hooker,
Metallica’s bass player back before they totally pussed out, and the
guy who wrote those insufferable
Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns novels. Oh,
and also fetishist porn actress Summer Cummings (good name).
Born James Rick, Perry is the
exact inverse of Rick James: square, white, and decidedly
un-superfreaky, with nary a pair of leather pants in sight. That’s
probably a good thing. Perry is a fifth-generation Texan, raised in
the small town of Paint Creek and educated at Texas A & M
University, alma mater of similarly coiffed Lone Star Stater Lyle
Lovett, as well as a variety of American Idol
and Miss USA pageant runners-up. As seemingly incongruous as it
sounds, Perry was a member of both the male cheerleading squad and
the student military corps, though you’d have to imagine he tried to
keep the one a secret from the other.
Thoroughly prepared for his
eventual career in government with a degree in animal science, Perry
continued to bolster his political credentials by going into his
father’s cotton farming business.
In 1982, Rick Perry married
Anita Thigpen. The couple has two children, son Griffin and daughter
Sydney. Want to know what kind of slug Rick Perry is? The kind who
names his kids Griffin and Sydney, with a y.
Though fooling around with
stupidity throughout his youth and early adulthood, Rick Perry
officially went all the way in 1984, finally losing his cherry by
getting elected to the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat.
Not long after, he would pull what is known in political parlance as
a “Reverse Specter,” switching over to the Republican Party. Thus
Rick Perry sealed his fate as a complete and total flip flopper, or,
as it is sometimes referred to, a “dick-on-a-stick.”
In 1990, Rick Perry decided to
run for the glamorous position of state Agriculture Commissioner,
defeating populist incumbent Jim Hightower, not to be confused with
Moses Hightower, Bubba Smith’s character in the Police Academy
movies (except for Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow, in
which, of all the original “recruits,” only Michael Winslow was
unfortunate enough to star).
After two terms as Texas Ag
Czar—the responsibilities of which consisted entirely of a) hawking
Texas produce; b) overseeing the calibration of supermarket scales
and gas pumps—Perry was ready for the big-time, sneaking his way
into the Lieutenant Governor’s office in 1998 with a .04 percent
majority of the vote. That’s four-hundredths of a percent. Al Gore
lost Florida by more than that, paving the way, two years later, for
Rick Perry to backdoor-man his way into the big chair after George
W. Bush resigned to clear brush on his ranch.
Of course, in Texas it’s easier
to find a vegetarian at a rodeo than it is to unseat an incumbent,
and as a result, voters elected Perry in 2002, then re-elected him
in 2006. In each of these campaigns, Perry adopted a tough stance on
crime, even going so far as to veto a ban on the execution of the
mentally retarded. This did not, however, prevent the mentally
retarded from continuing to vote for him time and again.
Highlights of Rick Perry’s
gubernatorial tenure include: a near-record use of vetoes; a grant
of $20 million dollars to Countrywide Financial right before it
collapsed; staunch support of Texas’ anti-sodomy laws even though
the U.S. Supreme Court overwhelmingly struck them down; vocal belief
in the absolute inerrancy of the Bible, even the parts with the
talking snake, the rib that grows into a woman, and the dude who
gets eaten by a whale, which then, after housing him quite
comfortably for three days inside its digestive tract, disgorges him
completely unscathed. In February 2007, Perry issued an executive
order mandating that all Texas girls be vaccinated against HPV,
which causes cervical cancer, blatantly ignoring the
long-established fact that any time a public figure, no matter how
well intentioned, goes messing with a teenager’s reproductive
system, it’s going to make for real bad headlines.
In April 2009, Rick Perry
endorsed a resolution supporting Texas’ secession from the United
States. This move has officially branded him a total crackpot; even
the people at Fox News think so.
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