A Rick Perry Reader

Stuff to read about Rick Perry —

From Texas Monthly — “Dear Yankee: Eight things you ought to know before you start writing stories about Rick Perry. You’re welcome.”

Via c u n d gulag, this article makes allegations about Perry’s, um, extramarital activities that really should be investigated. However, I understand the parts about Perry running Texas on borrowed money and being a crony capitalist are well documented.

Brad Plumer writes (at Ezra’s place) that much of Perry’s alleged success at steering Texas’s economy came about because of federal stimulus money.

Trouble is, that’s all about to change. Texas could only fend off its deficit woes for so long, and this year, faced with a $27 billion shortfall, Perry and the legislature opted for steep cuts to Medicaid and education over the next two-year budget cycle. Given that roughly half of all new Texas jobs in the last two years have come in the health care, education and government sectors, it’s a real question as to whether a newly austere Texas will keep creating jobs at its current pace.

See also “How Will Rick Perry’s Budget Affect Education?

Paul Begala:

I first met Rick Perry in 1985. He was a Democratic freshman state rep, straight off the ranch in Haskell, Texas. He wore his jeans so tight, and, umm, adjusted himself so often that my fellow young legislative aides and I used to call him Crotch. Even among state representatives, even among Texas Aggies (graduates of this cute remedial school we have in Texas), Perry stood out for his modest intellectual gifts. Hell, he got a C in animal breeding. I have goats who got an A in that subject. But lack of brains has never been a hindrance in politics.

Yesterday Perry suggested that Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke’s “printing” of money is “almost treasonous” and hinted that, in Texas, Bernanke would be lynched. Alex Pareene says this is typical Perryism.

Perry’s love-hate relationship with federalism. He was for it before he was against it.

There, that should keep you busy!

9 thoughts on “A Rick Perry Reader

  1. Thanks for that “Texas Monthly” link, I learned a thing or two, or three, or…

    As he’s coming onto the scene, and especially with his comments about Bernanke, to me, Perry’s trying to look like the tough Texas Hombre who’s got a big swagger, talks tough, and shoots quick.

    Boy, am I going to date myself (hey, somebody’s got to). 🙂
    But Perry kind of reminds me of that old Robert Conrad ad when he’d put a battery on his shoulder and says, “I dare you to knock this off. C’mon… I dare you!”

    He was the subject of many a comedians schtick for awhile.

    Anyone else remember it?

    Someone better tell “Secesh” Perry that he ain’t that bright, and that he needs to learn how to STFU every once in awhile – before he beats Newt’s land speed record for talking himself out of a race. We can only hope…

  2. I liked this comment over at Ian Welsh’s blog:

    2012 will be the first election, which is completely after the politics of the New Deal. In the political division of the New Deal, the mass of people voted their economic interests (in an increasingly simple-minded way as time went on, but still), so broad indicators of economic conditions in February of the Presidential election year were a pretty good predictor. The Federal Reserve, at least since Arthur Burns, would dutifully help out the Republican, if that was feasible. And, the Party nominations were a fairly orderly process of selecting among the senior, powerful politicians, who could marshal some configuration of the Party’s traditional coalition.

    Now, we’re are living the politics of plutocratic oligarchy, in which economic conditions are dictated by the runaway predation of the oligarchy, and so pretty awful. It isn’t even feasible to vote for your economic interests, unless, of course, you are so unfathomably wealthy, that the political parties will notice your contributions to the Billion Dollar Campaign, in which case, voting is superfluous.

    The Political Parties are tribalist herds, assembled around simple slogans and themes of fear and resentment. Politicians — especially on the Right, which is much further along in this rapid evolution — are celebrity spokes-models, personally uninterested in power or policy. Their principle ambitions are celebrity, attention to their own narcissism and easy money; their principle qualifications center on their photogenic willingness to say anything and do anything, to stir the passions of an electorate, which, at base, is deeply angry, frustrated, ignorant and depressed.

    Perry is well-fitted to this new model of Republican politics. He looks good on television. He’s a vicious, ignorant narcissist, completely uninterested in actual power or policy. He’s a very good fit to motivate the confederate party of racist reactionaries, who constitute the core tribe of the Fox News Republican electorate.

    Not being a billionaire myself, I’m not sure how worried the billionaire class might be, about the whole competence-of-the-President issue. I presume that there is a split in the oligarchy, a factional division among the Whigs and the Tories, as it were. One gets a definite impression that GWB was the oil guy, backed by a Big Oil/military-industrial complex Presidential Party, but at least some elements of that oligarchic faith lost confidence in Shrub, toward the end. I’ve read that Perry has been receiving attention and support from Rumsfeld and some of the ol’ neocon and Texas oil gang, but that may just be the dead-enders, who never saw any dangerous (to the oligarchy) shortcomings in Bush.

    Obama is clearly a Finance guy, who did cultivate a slice of the Republican elite, who were frightened by Bush, on the competence issue. Gates at Defense, Bernanke re-appointed Fed Chair — really the whole Bush’s Third Term theme — has been about selling the Oligarchy on the concept of Obama as a more competent Bush.

    Obama’s biggest selling point, though, was his capacity to channel the potential of the financial crisis to turn into a liberal moment, and transform it into less than nothingness. The great fear of the oligarchs — particularly the Financial oligarchs, who would understand this better than the Oil and Military-Industrial Complex oligarchs — was surely that 2008 might become 1932: that is, that financial and economic collapse might provoke a liberal moment in politics, of mass political movements promoting populist and progressive reform. Is that danger past? I believe it is. So, I suspect that our Galtian Overlords feel the danger has passed as well.

    I don’t think Perry, personally, cares at all about becoming President. He just wants to be in the cast of the Presidential Campaign Reality Show, and he’s a practiced and convenient shepherd for the confederate tribe. Perry does not have a Presidential Party of professional consultants and office-seekers behind him, as far as I can tell. Without the professional consultants and PR people, he produces a never-ending string of gaffes, any one of which could be marshalled by our corporate news media, to sink his candidacy in a ready-made “Dean Scream” moment. That vulnerability, however, may work to his advantage. For the oligarchs in power at the Media-industrial complex, it makes him seem controllable.

    The confederate party has been a factor in the dynamics of American politics since roughly 1830, when the slaveowner oligarchs of Greater South Carolina (who had been expanding their plantation cotton agriculture across the Deep South for a generation), decided to manufacture a distinctive Southern patriotism, peculiarly devoted to defending their interests. But, they were never well-suited to defending the interests of the larger northern, commercial and industrial business oligarchy. Revulsion against the confederate party is deep-seated in American politics; even with the census shifts, Obama voters will have to be deeply depressed, for a confederate party candidate to win.

    When I add it all up, Perry just does not seem a likely Republican nominee, or winning Presidential candidate. The only reason to nominate him is to make it easy for Obama to win re-election. If Obama appears to have screwed the pooch on his own election, the safer course is Romney. Romney, personally, wants to be President, and is backed by a Presidential Party of people, who want office and power. And, Romney, with the credentials of a Rich White Business Guy with ties to the Northeast and the mountain West, is going to be appealing to the class of corporate and financial executives. Romney promises “competence” without even a hint of Obama’s socialist drivel.

  3. But Perry has used his appointment power to install political allies in every state agency, effectively establishing a Cabinet form of government and making him vastly more powerful than any of his predecessors.

    A Cabinet form of government?… It’s more like a bunch of minions eating out of his hand and ready to grovel.

    Jesus might heal, save and deliver, but he won’t deliver the nomination.. Perry might be following Bush’s play on Jesus where he plants the Jesus seed and then drops the act after he’s snared the lunatics. I’m sure Perry realizes that an over reliance on proclaiming his religious faith will guarantee that a majority of voters will reject him. History has affirmed that Americans don’t want Jesus in their government..and that’s why Bachmann and Perry won’t make the cut.

  4. I disagree with the commenter at Ian Welsh’s blog in at least one thing. I believe that Perry craves personal political power more than anything. He reminds me of LBJ in this one particular way.

    • He reminds me of LBJ in this one particular way.

      LBJ was famously ruthless, but he really did “go big” in addressing poverty and racial injustice. He also initiated some genuinely progressive action in the areas of consumer and environmental protection — and he didn’t have to do those things. He knew some of it would hit him hard politically, in fact. So while he could play in the mud as hard and dirty as any other politician of his day, he wasn’t entirely without redeeming value.

  5. And there is the ending comment about “Obama’s socialist drivel”, which gave me a WTF? moment after the writer made some good points.

  6. Lynne, after reading about Perry in Texas Monthly, I definitely agree with you. I think the “socialist drivel” remark is meant to be taken in the context of the oligarchs who are evaluating this or that candiate – Obama may say this stuff, but to the oligarchs it is socialist drivel.

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