Governor Perry's biggest problem is Rick Perry

Governor Perry has joined the GOP race, but what does he bring besides his rugged good looks and Texas?

EASTON, Md., August 18, 2011 — From Republicans to the media, everyone seems to be in a swoon now that Governor Rick Perry has declared his candidacy for President.

They just can’t get enough of the Texas governor. 

Republicans think he just might be the Third Way: not Bachmann, not Romney, an alternative with all their strengths and none of their faults. They see him as a candidate who can unite Bachmann’s and Romney’s bases, appealing to all and offending none.

The media are excited for new, chili-hot copy, and Perry looks good, and not just on paper. He cuts a fine figure in the flesh.

Perry has better hair than Mitt Romney, he sports custom-made cowboy boots emblazoned with the 1842 Texas motto Come and Take It (a slogan that summarizes the spirit of Texan defiance), he can drop to his knees to pray for the country in a nanosecond, he is the longest serving governor of the second largest (both in area and population) U.S state, and he is the father of the Texas Miracle, the more than 1 million jobs created in Texas since 2000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Or as like the Governor himself likes to brag: “Since June of 2009,Texas is home to 40 percent of all the jobs added in the United States.” 

So what’s not to love about Perry? He sounds like Perry the Perfect.

His sumptuous mansion, the one he chose to live in while the Governor’s house is repaired and renovated, also sounds perfect. Do you want to see taxpayers seethe? Then ask Texans about the rental bill they’ve been footing for the past four years. Rick Perry and his family currently reside in a $1 million plus residence with all expenses paid, including new window treatments by Neiman Marcus, all financed by Texans to the tune of  $700,000.  So far.

Want to take a tour of the house? Be my guest. Just don’t use the guest towels, if you please.

Now if you are ready to take a closer look at Perry’s Texas record, you will see something very different from Perfect Perry, something scary.

Here are five reasons why Governor Perry is a problem for the GOP and bad for America. There are many more, but let’s start with these five.

1. Perry’s job creation record is less than it seems:

* Most of the jobs created in Texas have been in the natural gas and oil industries; as energy prices rise, those jobs increase, soaring by 16.8% over the last year;

* fewer state regulations attract businesses to Texas that don’t like following the usual rules of health and safety;

* nearly 10% of Texas’ hourly laborers earn less than the $7.25 an hour minimum wage, sharing that bottom of the barrel distinction with Mississippi;

* Perry just slashed the state budget, which will kill 100,000 jobs. Most of those fired will be public sector workers, such as teachers;

*Perry’s braggadocio aside, Texas’ unemployment rate is 8.2%, lower than in many states, but higher than in 25 others, including liberal Massachusetts and New York (CNN Money).

2. The Texas economy is rocky.

Governor Perry signed a budget this year that is balanced only through the use of accounting gimmicks, such as delaying payment on bills coming due in 2013. Perhaps he believes he will be in the White House by then. 

Over the last decade Perry doubled the state’s debt, from $12.7 billion in 2001 to $34.08 billion in 2009. He did this by refusing to raise any state taxes, at the same time pruning property and business taxes and handing out tax breaks and exemptions.

He claims that he preserved the Rainy Day Fund, but angry fellow Republicans say that’s untrue and have demanded that he drop the claim. (AP report)

3. Texas is the country’s biggest polluter.

Just look at what lax or nearly nonexistent regulations can do to a state. They’ve made Houston the smog capital of the nation, according to the Houston mayor’s report. The Texas Legislative Study Group on the State of Our State wrote in its damning report that Texas has the rare distinction of being:

1st in amount of carbon dioxide released into the air;

1st in amount of volatile organic compounds released into air;

1st in amount of toxic chemicals released into water;

1st in amount of recognized cancer-causing carcinogens released into air;   

1st in amount of hazardous waste generated; 

1st in amount of toxic chemicals released into the air.  

Perry’s solution to the problem is to tell the EPA, “Don’t mess with Texas.”

In February, 2010, Governor Perry sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in federal court for its recent finding that CO2 is a pollutant. EPA’s national campaign to tighten pollution regulations led to this pushback from Texas, not surprising since the state is home to huge petrochemical corporations, major producers of industrial pollutants and carbon dioxide.

4. Just as you would expect, then, Texas has an abysmal health record, ranking at 40th out of the 50 states. 

Texas is last in:

* percent of non-elderly women with health insurance;

* percent of pregnant women getting prenatal care in the first trimester;

* workers’ compensation coverage;

* per capita spending on mental health.

Nearly 26% of Texas’ children live in poverty.

Texas is on the brink, thanks to Republican misrule, including the misrule of that other infamous Texan, George W. Bush. The policies of its current governor continue to push it towards the edge.

Or as the Texas Legislative study put it:

You get what you pay for. In Texas, we do not get much because we do not pay for much. Compared to other states, Texas ranks near the bottom in spending for education, health care, environmental protection, workforce development, public safety, and other services and protections. Our failure to invest in ourselves puts our children at risk and our future in jeopardy.” (Texas on the Brink)

5. Perry looks to God to step in and solve Texas’ problems when he won’t.

Stop: Wildfire ahead.

In April of this year, Governor Perry declared three days of prayer in Texas to get God to intervene and stop the drought and the ensuing wild fires that were engulfing the state. What did Perry do to help God out?

Since fire season started on Nov. 15, 2010, the Texas Forest Service and area fire departments have responded to 18,300 fires that have burned 3,435,963 acres, according to the Forest Service. July was the hottest month ever recorded in Texas, according to state climatologist John Nielson-Gammon, and the 12 months ending July 31 were the driest since records started being kept in 1895. The drought has ravaged more than 78 percent of Texas and is rated historically exceptional.

Texas depends mostly on volunteers to fight wildfires in rural areas. The appropriate response to the situation might be to raise the Forest Service’s budget to fight fires. When the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram asked the Governor’s office about a proposed 30 percent budget cut, spokeswoman Lucy Nashed responded:

“We’re still working through the budget process, but the governor is committed to continuing to work with lawmakers in the House and Senate to craft a budget that prioritizes essential services, including public safety, without raising taxes.” 

So, Governor, rather than raise taxes to fight fires, I guess you’d prefer to pray that God stop them for you, “Pretty please.”

In May the Governor revealed that he prayed for President Obama every day: “I pray that God will open his [Obama] eyes. I wish this president would turn back the health care law that’s been passed, ask that his EPA back down these regulations that are causing businesses to hesitate to spend money.

Are you listening, God? It’s me, Rick Perry. We’re 40th in health care, so won’t you please do something about Obama?

And don’t forget the big pray-in Perry sponsored with his right-wing minister pals on August 6th, calling together nearly 30,000 people to fast and pray all day to bring an end to our economic woes and set this country on the right track.

Of course it was too late for God to step in and stop Standard and Poors from downgrading our nation’s credit rating, since S&P did that the Friday before God heard about it from Perry.

And two days after the day of prayer on August 8th, the stock market plunged 635 points.  Guess God wasn’t paying much attention or we are not worth saving. Or perhaps He only helps those who help themselves. State deficits are a big part of the problem, so He might leave his prayer line off the hook when Perry calls.

This is the man the GOP thinks will be its savior/warrior ready to smite President Obama in 2012. However, the chinks in Perry’s armor are enormous and his backside is exposed, with more to be revealed about Perfect Perry. Stay tuned.

To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib in the Communities at the Washington Times. She can also be heard on the Democrats for America’s Future.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

Contact Catherine Poe


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