Saturday, September 12, 2015
Why Rick Perry Failed to gain Traction
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
Today is a bittersweet day. On the one hand, it's been obvious for at least a year that Rick Perry wasn't the man for the job in 2016. On the other hand, he was a decent Governor and it's a shame he ended up being the first to drop out.
Rick Perry was the perfect Republican Presidential candidate for another era. There was a time when it seemed Obama and the Democrats were the problem facing the country. Perry always did best in partisan, R vs. D, comparisons. Unfortunately for Perry, it has become clear over the past five years, both in Texas and Nationally, that Legacy Republicans (not Democrats) are the real problem. While Rick Perry never put up with crap from Democrats, far too frequently he allowed Legacy Republicans to get away with Murder.
We strongly supported Governor Perry in his final race for Governor in 2010. We stand by that decision. Among the plausible alternatives, Rick Perry was easily the best choice to lead Texas from 2011 until earlier this year. Some good things happened during Perry's final term. Rick Perry appointed Wallace Hall to the U.T. Board of Regents and vetoed a separate bill that would have gutted the Regents' authority. Rick Perry vetoed SB 346, which would have enabled IRS-style persecution of conservative activists in Texas. And, of course, we wouldn't have passed a phenomenal pro-Life law in 2013 without Rick Perry's assistance.
But too often, Rick Perry looked the other way while the Republican "leadership" of the Texas Legislature engaged in reprehensible behavior. Rick Perry signed into law a budget that INCREASED SPENDING BY 26%. Rick Perry sacrificed his integrity to promote a "water infrastructure development bank" that is more accurately described as a slush fund. Rick Perry's efforts on the border were more about self-promotion and Obama bashing than actual substance. And, of course, there's the ongoing Texas Enterprise Fund scandal.
The scandals at U.T. illustrate this tension. Last summer, the U.T. politburo was on the ropes. Bill Powers had just been fired and the reform effort had gained real momentum. Unfortunately, Perry failed to publicly engage and Bill Powers got the lifeline that led to the present situation. Yes, Rick Perry deserves credit for appointing Wallace Hall. Yes, Rick Perry deserves credit for standing by him during the impeachment fiasco. But, regrettably, Rick Perry's failure to cut Bill Powers' throat when he had the opportunity allowed Greg Abbott to kneecap the reform effort once he took over.
Rick Perry had a terrible habit of taking a few steps in the right direction then retreating when the size of the fight within his own party became apparent.
Rick Perry was a better Governor than Bill White, Kay Bailout, Debra Medina, Chris Bell, Carole Keaton "Froghorn Leghorn" Strayhorn, Kinky Friedman, Tony Sanchez, or John Sharp would have been. He was a champion on pro-Life issues, and he never raised taxes (in a consequential manner) or made pre-K an emergency item. In partisan fights against the Democrats, he was a reliable ally. Unfortunately, both in Texas and Nationally, the most important fights are no longer with Democrats. From Austin to DC, it's the legacy Republicans who are killing conservative public policy. Rick Perry had a terrible habit of allowing those legacy Republicans to eat his lunch. And that's why Rick Perry's second Presidential campaign failed to gain traction....