Gov. Perry indictment: when even David Axelrod says it looks weak…

August 16, 2014
"A prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich"

“A prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict even a ham sandwich”

You might have heard yesterday that a Travis County, Texas, grand jury has indicted Governor Rick Perry for allegedly abusing his powers to try to force the Travis County DA, Rosemary Lehmberg, a convicted drunk driver, to resign.

This is the same “lawfare” strategy that’s been used in recent years to try to destroy the political careers of other Republicans: former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the late Senator Ted Stevens, and Wisconsin Governor Walker. (In Walker’s case, thankfully, it doesn’t seem to have worked.) I’m sure you can think of others.

The idea is to get charges in the media and drag out the “investigation” and court proceedings long enough to do the needed damage. The legal results don’t matter so much as the public traducing of the target. Even if cleared on all counts, the people will have been treated to months of allegations and rumors and denials, all meriting front page treatment, while the exoneration gets mere passing mention. In the mind of a cynical (but perhaps not cynical enough) public, all those charges must indicate the target was doing something wrong, right? We can’t vote for them, now, right?

But it may not work this time. When even one of President Obama’s closest advisers says publicly that the case looks weak, you know they’ve got problems:

“Sketchy” is being nice. It’s an utter BS charge, a perversion of the legal process designed to take down a strong potential 2016 candidate. The Governor was clearly acting within his authority under the Texas constitution, in this case vetoing money for the state’s Public Integrity Unit to force a personnel change: the removal of the convicted drunk driver District Attorney who heads the office.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this gets resolved quickly in Governor Perry’s favor.

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Did Obama threaten state governors?

March 10, 2014
Not likely to be bullied.

Not likely to be bullied.

Via Moe Lane, that’s sure what it sounds like in the video below. Rick Perry of Texas was speaking as part of a panel at the Republican Governors Association late last February; the group had had a meeting (1) with President Obama, and what he told them left Governor Perry disturbed. Here’s the video, followed by a transcript.

“When you have governors, and we all compete against each other — we are the laboratories of innovation — and for the President of the United States to look Democrat and Republican governors in the eye and say, ‘I do not trust you to make decisions in your state about issues of education, about transportation infrastructure,’ — and that is really troubling,” he said.


Perry expressed his own fears regarding Environmental Protection Agency restrictions choking off America’s energy production and a possible reduction in his state’s national guard.

“As a matter of fact, he [Obama] said at that meeting, he said, ‘If I hear any of you pushing back, making statements about Washington spends too much money, you’ll hear from me,” he said, adding, “I’m highly offended by that.”

Obama takes everything personally, doesn’t he? Criticize him or oppose his policies as part of the normal give and take of politics, and to him it’s a personal affront. And, if you offend him, perhaps by speaking out on behalf of the people of your state, by God you’re going to hear from Obama, himself!

That is the mark of a thin-skinned, petty personality. A punk. And weren’t the Democrats supposed to be against “bullying?”

It’s also telling about how he sees the governors: not as fellow heads of state and government, with their own experiences and perspectives to draw on (2), but as errand boys. It’s how someone who grew up in the Chicago thugocracy works. “Federalism? Just shut up and do what you’re told — or else.”

Perry’s remarks about the threat to the state national guards are well-taken, too; not only do the guard units provide invaluable reserves of skills, knowledge, and talent to fill out the military in wartime, but governors rely on their guard units to deal with all sorts of emergencies, from riots to disaster relief.

Seems to me Governor Perry and his colleagues were right to be perturbed.

Footnotes:
(1) I think this was the same meeting after which Louisiana Governor Jindal and Connecticut Governor Malloy went after each other a bit.
(2) Many of whom had far more executive experience prior to taking office and far better records of accomplishment in office than a certain president I can think of.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Rick Perry serves a heaping helping of red meat at CPAC

March 7, 2014

Texas Governor Perry spoke this morning at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and, well, got the crowd more wound up than any amount of coffee ever could. Enjoy:

smiley cheering

After his poor performance in the 2012 primary debates, there was some speculation that pain meds he had been taking to get him through back surgery had affected him. Whatever the reason, he looks to be well over it, now.  This was a great speech and he hit all the notes near and dear to a limited-government conservative’s heart. The Washington Examiner quotes the conclusion:

“My fellow conservatives, the future of this country is upon you, it belongs to you,” Perry roared. “You have the power to change America, you have the power to speak to our newest hopes in addition to our age-old dreams, you are the path to the future, a light on a distant shore and you represent the renewed hope that America can be great again!”

PS: I didn’t see a teleprompter, did you?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Rick Perry drops out; I pout and move on

January 19, 2012

As I wrote on Twitter, I never get what I want.

From Legal Insurrection, Governor Rick Perry has ridden off into the sunset. The race is down to Romney and Gingrich (1), now.

While I’m disappointed, I can’t say I’m surprised; after starting with tremendous momentum, Perry blew it all in some terrible initial debate performances. And though he did much better in later debates, one only gets one chance to make a first impression, and he couldn’t overcome his. (In spite of having a tremendous video shop. Really, Newt or Mitt should hire these guys.) But this election is not only practical — fix the economy, stupid! — but ideological, a stark choice between American conservatism/classical liberalism and progressive statism. And Perry just couldn’t articulate the conservative case.

And while I’m not surprised, I can say I’m disappointed. Perry had far and away the best overall record of anyone running as well as the right governing philosophy. I’m still convinced that he’d make a great president, even if he isn’t a champion debater.

While 98% of the blame must rest with Governor Perry in this case, the debate process and the ridiculously outsized influence of two or three small states play are broken. The debates are too crowded, reducing the candidates to seeking soundbites and reciting slogans. (Newt being sometimes an exception.) And why in Heaven’s name they let liberal MSM figures moderate debates for conservative candidates, I’ll never know. The questions are designed to make the candidates look bad and they’re almost never on crucial issues (Really, how many times did Fast & Furious or the European debt crisis come up? *crickets*). The AEI debate was the only good one; coincidentally, that was moderated by conservatives.

And the influence of Iowa and New Hampshire? Gee, people in later states once again get to enjoy a meaningless choice on their primary ballot based on the results in a couple of states with electorates smaller than some congressional districts. The primary system is desperately in need of reform, and I suggest the RNC look carefully at alternatives, such as Jim Geraghty’s suggestion.

Ah well. No use crying over a spilled martini. Reports are that Governor Perry has endorsed Former Speaker Gingrich and will campaign for him, especially on 10th amendment issues:

I’m told reliably that Governor Perry will head up a 10th Amendment project for Speaker Gingrich to rally Governors and state legislators toward a plan of devolving power from Washington. This project will include helping shape the Republican platform for the general election, something small government conservatives have been concerned about.

Hopefully this will draw Newt more strongly to the federalist, limited-government side of the Force.

As it is, I can’t get excited about either Romney or Gingrich, each for different reasons. I’ll of course vote for whichever wins the nomination, because getting rid of Obama is the overriding priority. But, from now through November, I may concentrate my efforts on getting as conservative a congress as possible elected, to drag the new president in the Right direction. Sign me up for Operation Counterweight.

Footnote:
(1) Sorry, sweater-vest fans, I just don’t see Santorum going anywhere.

UPDATE: Here’s Governor Perry’s withdrawal speech. Very nice; he’s clearly a classy guy, in the most genuine sense. I wish more people had seen this part of him early on.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Rick Perry doesn’t quit

January 4, 2012

Well, this shocked the heck out of me (1):

And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State…Here we come South Carolina!!!

After a miserable fifth-place finish and an announcement of a return to Texas to “reassess” the campaign, I thought sure Governor Perry was done. (And, like ST, I was depressed.) A candidate doesn’t “reassess” only to say “Yep, we’re in it to win it!”

Unless said candidate is Rick Perry, I guess.

Still, throwing one’s campaign into neutral and deflating supporters’ hopes is an odd way to build momentum.

But then, Texas has always been a bit different.

Regardless, I’ve thought and continue to think Rick Perry would far-and-away make the best president from among the current field. Anyone can find individual issues on which they vehemently disagree with a candidate, and I won’t argue with single-issue voters.

But, for me, there are two goals that override any single issue: the first is sending Barack Obama, the worst president since James Buchanan, into retirement. Governor Perry isn’t a good debater (but neither is Obama), but he  has the experience and the track record on the key issues of the day –jobs, the economy, and energy– to make Obama stand out as the Socialist failure he is. Mitt Romney can’t credibly attack ObamaCare; Rick Perry can go after it with an ax and give it forty whacks.

The second is putting in office a president who can take the experiences gained in accumulating such a record, combine it with a governing philosophy of limited government, federalism, and free markets to help create similar success in the nation as a whole. While almost all the candidates have one or more elements in their platforms I can approve of, it’s my opinion that Governor Perry combines it all in a package that makes him a potentially great president.

So, while this development surprises me (to say the least), if he really is still in the race, then I’m with him till the end.

Bring on South Carolina.

PS: RickPerry.org

Footnote:
(1) And so did the accompanying photo…

UPDATE: The Austin Statesman confirms.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Rick Perry: how to recover from a public self-humiliation

November 10, 2011

I’m sure most of you have heard about Governor Perry’s brain-freeze in last night’s debate. (If not, see here, too, and prepare to cringe.) I only heard about it secondhand and still felt terrible for the guy. I’ve performed on stage and had that very thing happen to me — it’s one of the worst feelings one can have.

The question is, how does one handle it? Panic? Get angry at others? Ignore it? Via Moe Lane, the Perry campaign has handled this about as well it can be, by admitting and owning the flub and then asking people, “What part of the Federal Government would you like to forget about the most?

There are several good choices. For the record, I picked the NEA; the federal government should have no part in deciding what is “worthy” art.

We’ll see if the Perry campaign can recover from this and other debate stumbles. Regardless, they get a pat on the back for trying to make the best of the problem and not running from it.

PS: I’ve come to the conclusion I should stop backing candidates. Every time I do, something happens. I back Palin, she hems and haws and then pulls out. I back Perry, and he goes from being Superman to Alfred E. Newman. I can’t win.

PPS: On the other hand, maybe people should pay me money not to endorse their candidate. I’d get rich!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


See 20-20? Dial 9-9-9? Which plan is the right plan? — Updated

October 25, 2011

One of the big issues on the Right side of American politics is large-scale tax reform: not just tinkering with rates or eliminating this or that deduction, but massive changes that would amount to junking the current byzantine progressive tax code that punishes wealth creation and saving and hobbles our economy by replacing it with something much simpler and, in the mind of most Americans, much fairer. Generally a flat income tax or a “fair tax” — a national sales tax.

Today Governor Rick Perry issued his proposals for tax reform to spur economic growth — the 20-20 Plan:

The plan starts with giving Americans a choice between a new, flat tax rate of 20% or their current income tax rate. The new flat tax preserves mortgage interest, charitable and state and local tax exemptions for families earning less than $500,000 annually, and it increases the standard deduction to $12,500 for individuals and dependents.

This simple 20% flat tax will allow Americans to file their taxes on a postcard, saving up to $483 billion in compliance costs. By eliminating the dozens of carve-outs that make the current code so incomprehensible, we will renew incentives for entrepreneurial risk-taking and investment that creates jobs, inspires Americans to work hard and forms the foundation of a strong economy. My plan also abolishes the death tax once and for all, providing needed certainty to American family farms and small businesses.

My plan restores American competitiveness in the global marketplace and provides strong incentives for U.S.-based employers to build new factories and create thousands of jobs here at home.

First, we will lower the corporate tax rate to 20%—dropping it from the second highest in the developed world to a rate on par with our global competitors. Second, we will encourage the swift repatriation of some of the $1.4 trillion estimated to be parked overseas by temporarily lowering the rate to 5.25%. And third, we will transition to a “territorial tax system”—as seen in Hong Kong and France, for example—that only taxes in-country income.

20-20 would also end the taxation of Social Security income, qualified dividends (It’s unclear what “qualified” means here), and long-term capital gains. A family of four would see their first $50,000 of income exempt from taxes, and the end of the death tax would mean that small family businesses wouldn’t have to be broken up to meet taxes.

One thing not often noted in reports I’ve seen is that 20-20 would cap spending would both cap spending at 18% of GDP, the modern historical average for tax revenues, and seek a balanced budget amendment. I consider these strong selling points, a simple fiscal restraint will take advantage of normal economic growth to balance the budget.

20-20 is in reply to Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, which would impose a 9% personal income tax, 9% corporate income tax, and 9% national sales tax.

Let’s stipulate three things at the beginning: either plan would be better than the current mess, both have their strong points, and both have criticizable aspects.

Cain’s plan has been accused of disguising a Value-Added Tax (VAT) as a corporate income tax, and for giving the government an added revenue stream by creating both an income and a national sales tax.  I also have constitutional questions about a national sales tax: where is the federal authority to tax any sales transactions, especially if they stay within the boundaries of a single state?

Supporters, on the other hand, correctly point out that Cain’s plan is a transitional phase to a single Fair Tax.

Perry’s plan, meanwhile, retains more deductions (home mortgage, charitable, &c.), which leaves room for special interests to game the system, as they do now. However, I don’t think it’s likely, politics being the art of the possible, that one will be able to eliminate the home mortgage exemption, for example, especially in bad economic times. In that regard, 20-20 may be more practical than 9-9-9.

So, which is better? I’m not sure (no one would ever accuse me of being a numbers-guy), but, like Dan Mitchell, I lean toward 20-20 because it aims for the same goals while avoiding the VAT and tricky constitutional questions. And I’ll note the Club For Growth has endorsed 20-20.

Like I said, though, in the end, either would be better than what we have.

Which do you prefer?

LINKS: Ed Morrissey on the Perry conference call about 20-20. Tom Maguire thinks it’s a gimmick. Perry supporter Bryan Preston provides more details.

PS: I looked through the Romney site and could find no mention of a tax reform plan. If I’ve missed it, please post a link in the comments and I’ll add an update.

UPDATE: Okay, I found Mitt’s tax plan. It’s on page 37 of his Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth. The first thing I see is that it retains the current marginal rates and sets a “flatter, fairer, simpler structure” as a long-term goal. Ummm…. No, thanks.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)