Glenn W. Smith : Is Rick Perry a Person?

That goes for all of us! Image of Wile E. Coyote from Three Fingers of Politics.

Is Rick Perry a person?

By Glenn W. Smith / The Rag Blog / August 25, 2011

Glenn W. Smith will discuss “Rick Perry and the ‘Texas Miracle'” with Thorne Dreyer on Rag Radio, Friday, Aug. 26, from 2-3 p.m. (CST), on KOOP 91.7-FM in Austin, and streamed live here. Find podcasts of all Rag Radio shows at the Internet Archive.

Rick Perry and I go back a ways. As a reporter in the 1980s, I covered his undistinguished years in the Texas House. As a staffer to a Democratic lieutenant governor, I sat in meetings with him and watched him getting teased by his colleagues for his vanity. He clearly loves him some Rick Perry. He’s reported to shave his legs. Something about jogging speed. It’s earned him the name, “Nair Do Well,” but maybe shaved legs are de rigueur among the coyote-whacking-while-jogging set.

Here’s an odd fact: Rick Perry loves to criticize the federal stimulus package. But without the billions in federal money Texas received in 2009, Perry would have had to raise taxes to cover Texas’ budget deficit. Had he raised taxes, he would now be dead in the water in the GOP primary. President Obama, in a sense, paid for the campaign viability of his most likely 2012 opponent.

Still, if Rick Perry can be president, I can play center field for the New York Yankees. But I try to reassure myself. The universe simply can’t be this upside down. Nonetheless, Perry is likely to win the Republican nomination for president.

The Perry candidacy would pit a secessionist Southern governor against the nation’s first African-American president. Just pause and think about that a moment.

Perry tries to distance himself from his public flirtations with secession. A recently uncovered video, however, shows he was thinking about secession even before he mentioned it at a Tea Party rally in April 2009. Perry is using racist code when he speaks of secession. Anybody who thinks it is about the size of government or economic populism is kidding themselves. With his secession remarks, Perry is calling the Klan.

When Perry announced in South Carolina, he criticized governments “that elevated rulers at the expense of the people.” Odd, because after knowing Perry since the 1980s, I’m pretty sure that elevating rulers above the people is his first principle.

Perry’s religious cult fest in Houston a week ago was neatly summed up by writer Sarah Posner:

“command” and “obedience” were the day’s chief buzzwords for many speakers…

One preacher, Mike Bickle, was explicit, recommending not liberty but “ a life of obedience.”

It remains a mystery that so many libertarian-leaning Americans overlook the authoritarian ambitions of America’s Right. Perry talks about obedience to Jesus, but he really means obedience to Rupert Moloch, I mean Murdoch, and other transcendent, unreachable corporate gods.

Perry’s allegiance is not to other people, but to global Corporate Olympians. Just like Zeus, the new Corporate Olympians disguise themselves as persons so they can screw us. The disguise is called “corporate personhood,” though it should be called “corporate superpersonhood.” (The organization, Move to Amend, campaigning to end corporate personhood and “legalize democracy,” is worth your support).

The headline above is meant in jest, of course. Rick Perry is an all-too-human person, a human who has turned Texas into a third-world region that is the nation’s most polluted environment populated by the least healthy, most poorly educated, and most poorly paid humans in the nation. Maybe Perry’s running for president to improve Texas’ standing, not by pulling it up but by pulling the rest of the nation down.

Molly Ivins called him “Governor Goodhair” in reference to his Marvel comic book hairdo. He’s learned to speak in short, clipped sentence fragments like George W. Bush did, a practice that guards against “wordrobe malfunction” that would graphically display a rather flat-brained intellect.

Nonetheless, Perry has never lost an election. He’s been lucky. But he’s ruthless, disciplined, and quite willing to step outside the law. Just look at the suspicious network of Super PACs created to spend millions on Perry’s campaign while claiming, outrageously, that they will not spend millions on Perry’s campaign.

Twice now Perry has won elections by running ads that call his opponents cop-killers. I’m not making that up. In 2002, Perry accused Democrat Tony Sanchez of complicity in the murder of a DEA agent. In 2010, Perry accused Democrat Bill White of complicity in the murder of a Houston policeman. We don’t know yet what cops were killed by Mitt Romney or Michelle Bachmann, but Perry’s team will find them. It’s only a matter of time.

Perry’s campaign themes — no regulation or oversight over corporations, low taxes on corporations, no legal accountability for corporations — are the themes of a dangerous corporate authoritarianism. They are meant to complete the transformation of democracy into Democracy, Inc., to use Sheldon Wolin’s fine term. Perry’s is a frontal assault on individual liberty.

Perry is all about obedience to authority, his authority and the authority of corporations to run our lives without interference or oversight. Libertarians — and the rest of America — had better wake up to the place Perry’s ruthlessness and discipline will take us.

Here’s a video some Texans put together to give the nation a look at Perry. I hope they look hard.

[Austin’s Glenn W. Smith, according to Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas, is a “legendary political consultant and all-around good guy.” A former newspaper reporter, Smith managed Ann Richards’ successful campaign for governor of Texas and worked for Texas Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby and Sen. Lloyd Bentsen. His excellent blog on politics and culture is DogCanyon. This article was first published at Firedoglake. Read more articles by Glenn W. Smith on The Rag Blog.]

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5 Responses to Glenn W. Smith : Is Rick Perry a Person?

  1. Thank you RAG BLOG for doing Your Job!!! RICK PERRY is DANGEROUS and we need to wake up to that fact, otherwise, we’ll be even more screwed than we already are. We’re in a downward spiral. WAKE UP AMERICA! BEWARE!

  2. I’d like to see him go door to door in South Oak Cliff or Polytechnic Heights (the latter in Ft Worth) preaching the Gospel of Secession.

    Or maybe at the very least offer a heartfelt apology to White Southerners for perpetuating the myth that every white person in Texas especially is so stupid as to believe that the original secession had naught to do with slavery or that slavery wasn’t founded on racist hatred. Although that was what they taught me in 7th grade nearly 40 years ago and, as I understand, the newer Texas History curriculum provided the publishers for whom the brother of his friend and accomplice George Bush now works… has taken it further into the absurd.

    His friends Karl Rove and Saxby Chambliss did a huge character assassination on Max Cleland, triple-amputee VietNam veteran.
    Chambliss and Perry and Bush and Rove prefer to have other people do their fighting for them at really low pay.

    Another of their friends, Barbour of Mississippi, has called for a commemorative license plate (they’re celebrating the 150th anniversary of the START of the anti-American slaughter spree) honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest… one of the founders of the anti-American terrorist group the KKK. And a war criminal who had American soldiers murdered at Ft Pillow while they were prisoners of war. Because they were black.

    Not hate, but heritage…
    uh uh… it’s a heritage OF hate and the sooner Perry and his comrades get it through their pointy little heads the better off all of us will be.

  3. JJ says:

    Rick once seemed to be a formidable opponent against Obama. But his recent gaffes have made him look like a fringe candidate. And that’s why he’s unelectable.

  4. There’s a circus expression, applies to rodeo as well “send in the clowns” In the Rodeo the clowns actually do disaster recovery in full view of the audience, in the circus they send in the clowns to distract from the part of the action floor where the aerialists have fallen from the trapeze or where the lions are feasting on their suddenly ex-tamer.

    With the RNC it’s taken on a whole new meaning. Bachmann just proposed drilling for oil and gas in the Everglades.
    Sarah Failin’ now has her daughter shacked up with a guy she met on Dancing with the Stars and still preaching “abstinence only” Sex Education.
    Way to show off the massive success of THAT doctrine! Woo woo!!
    Oh, and Draft Dodger Perry promised the VFW, people who actually DID go to war, to create more wars.
    Pre-emptive wars where the excuse is “we thought they might be harboring terrorists” or “they might have extremist thoughts going on in their heads that we don’t know about”.

    Or my favorite “The U.S. and its puppets are the only ones who are allowed to have WMDs”.

    Or simply be suspected of having the plan to eventually maybe start developing WMDs.

  5. Perry is a fringe candidate … Unelectable …
    Why am I laughing you ask? Well here are a few Nostradamus-like rag blog predictions from the last election

    The Tea party is AstroTurf … Can't last … Violent … Can't appeal to independents … The house won't change hands in 2010 …

    If you liked 2010, you will love 2012 even better …

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