It is always risky to make predictions. Even sports analysts, who are great prognosticators, are very reluctant to predict the winner of the Super Bowl or the World Series. Conventional wisdom says if you claim to be an expert in something and make a wrong prediction, it somehow diminishes your credibility. Nonetheless, here goes as far as our governor’s presidential ambitions.
Having been a watcher of Rick Perry’s career for many years and having served with him in the Legislature, I believe that much like the leopard, his spots do not change. First of all, Perry is an opportunist, and a very lucky one at that. Perry got elected as a Democrat and switched to the Republican Party to run for Agriculture Commission after having advocated the end of that office because the incumbent had the audacity to insist that farmers reveal to farm workers what poisons they were spraying on them in the fields.
Perry got elected lieutenant governor with the assistance of the Bush family in a year when there was a Republican tsunami. Mom and Pop Bush got on television and told Texas that Rick Perry was like a son to them and ought to be elected. He narrowly outdistanced State Comptroller John Sharp, who had reaped national fame in office as an excellent public servant.
Perry walked into the office of governor by default when George W. Bush went to be president of the United States. Ironically enough, in a five-person race in 2006 in which the Bush family switched their loyalties and supported Kaye Bailey Hutchinson, Perry managed to get elected governor of this state with 38 percent of voters voting for him and 62 percent voting for someone else. Nonetheless, Perry took it as a mandate and took a sharp turn to the right, consolidating the far-right base and demanding strict loyalty of all of his appointees, which by the most recent election was 100 percent of the state appointments. The bottom line is that while Perry has been praised for his political acumen, most of it has been luck and timing.
First of all, my prediction is based on my belief that Perry has never intended to run for president. Perry loves the attention and once again seeks the opportunity for taking advantage of perfect timing. Perry is safely in the office of governor and can take advantage of the taxpayers of the state paying for much of his travel expense, and thanks to the most recent session of the Legislature, can do so without public scrutiny.
Perry continues his move to the far right and while making speeches all over the country, has endeared himself as the “darling” of the Tea Party and religious right-wingers.
Part of this is the reason I truly believe he will not have the guts to become an official candidate for president and endure the scrutiny that will bring. As an example, while touting his ability to fight with the federal government on such things as the environment, time has proven him wrong. There is in fact global warming and Texas’ record of producing jobs at the expense of a healthy climate is becoming more and more apparent. Perry brags about the state leading the nation in job creation but does not mention the other areas in which Texas lags behind the nation. These include such things as health for children, high school graduates and use of the death penalty.
Perry appears to be owned by the super rich in Texas. In most all cases, they demand legislative action benefiting their own personal interests while ignoring the vast majority of Texas’ citizens.
Perry’s treatment of Hispanic and other minority groups will bring more focus and will come to light more if and when he is seriously considered as a real presidential candidate. A good indicator of this is the recent foray into San Antonio where Perry spoke to a conservative group of Hispanics who basically sat on their hands instead of giving him the usual standing ovation when he finished his speech.
Most of all his ideological bias will be revealed as intolerant, bigoted and self-serving. A real glimpse into the real Rick Perry is revealed by his recent attempt to present himself as a major disciple of Christ. In politics, it is true as elsewhere that birds of a feather flock together. Perry has decided to use religion to shore up his image in politics by calling a national prayer. The American Family Association with whom he has joined up in this effort is a well known intolerant group that ignores the “love they neighbor” part of the Bible and seems to hate more than it loves. The group and Perry have made it clear the Aug. 6 prayer meeting is for Christians only.
The American Family Association is led by Pastor John Hagee. Hagee was shunned by John McCain, whom Hagee tried to endorse during the 2008 election. Hagee has asserted the Catholic Church is the “great whore.” He also said God sent Adolph Hitler to be a “hunter of Jews.”
Even worse is Perry’s dismantling of education in Texas, running his own slush fund to give to his rich buddies without adequate oversight and flagrant pandering, as opposed to giving to consumers, all of which will soon catch up with him. I believe, however, Perry’s plan is to raise as much money as possible, while teasing the Republican right-wing that he may really become a candidate, amass his own slush fund for politics and firmly establish himself as the “darling” of the far right, hoping that whoever wins the Republican nomination will be almost duty-bound to select him as the number two slot on the Republican team.
You heard it here. Perry is not running for president. He is running for vice-president.