Bronze-level articleRick Perry

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I'll tell ya, it's three agencies of government, when I get there, that are gone: Commerce, education and uuuhhh... ...oops.
—Yes, he actually said this.[1]

Rick Parry Perry, aka Governor Goodhair,[2] is the current Republican governor of the State of Texas, a position which he has held since 2000, when he was appointed to succeeded George W. Bush. He was one of the contenders for the Republican nomination in the 2012 presidential election, but dropped out on January 19th and endorsed Newt Gingrich[3]

Rick Perry is the sort of guy we can trust to run America as scrupulously, fairly and honestly as he ran his home state of Texas. Which is a scary thought indeed.

Or is he?[4][5][6]

Contents

[edit] Rick Perry's insatiable bloodlust

As of August 2011, Perry had presided over 235 executions, the most of any modern governor. Second place goes to George W. Bush, who's not even a contender with only 152.[7] He also vetoed a bill prohibiting the execution of the mentally handicapped.[8]

In just one high-profile case, that of Cameron Willingham, Perry went forward with the execution despite the fact that the defendant's lawyers produced evidence indicating that the investigation had been seriously flawed.[9] The prosecution relied heavily on the evidence of a fellow prisoner who later changed his story. Five years later, Perry interfered with the workings of a state panel investigating the case, by dismissing several commissioners on the eve of a crucial testimony, raising accusations of a cover-up.[10][11]

More recently, Perry allowed the execution of Mexican national Humberto Leal García, despite serious flaws in the prosecution: García was not informed that he had the right to consular support, which is guaranteed under international law. His US-assigned attorney missed out on challenging the prosecution's key evidence and presenting mitigating factors, while the Mexican embassy could have provided a professional legal defense, but did not learn of the trial until after the conviction. Perry apparently feared delaying the execution might alienate Republicans in the run-up to his presidential campaign.[12] [13]

[edit] Rick Perry and the wacko Christian right

Perry's preferred way of dealing with problems is apparently to pray them away, although his success rate leaves a lot to be desired. When Texas was hit by a severe drought in the spring of 2011, Perry's reaction was to proclaim a three-day "Prayer for Rain", personally taking charge by leading several public prayer sessions himself. In a predictably sadistic fashion, God responded by turning the heat up, and the drought and wildfires continued to devastate Texas farmlands all through the summer.[14] Never one to be dissuaded by such minor setbacks, Perry made his personal relations with God a cornerstone of his nascent presidential campaign. When asked how he would go about fixing the nation's numerous problems, he responded:

I think it’s time for us to just hand it over to God, and say, "God: You’re going to have to fix this".[15]

In August 2011, shortly before kicking off his 2012 campaign, Perry attempted to put his plan into practice by organizing a huge prayer event ("The Response") in Houston. Apart from raising concerns about the separation of church and state, this event was also notable for featuring a number of extremist evangelical pastors, including old favorites like David Barton and members of the American Family Association.[16][17] This time, God's response to The Response came in the form of a massive stock market crash. Oh, Yahweh, you silly guy, you.

It seems like Perry's not quite over his problem with pandering to evangelical fucknuts zealots at every turn; he's recently opined (in a conference call with the equally happy-go-lucky Rick Scarborough) that "spiritual warfare" is necessary to combat the very idea of separation of church of state because some dude with a pitchfork and horns is apparently the one behind the concept[18] and not the actual framers of the Constitution.

[edit] New Apostolic Reformation

Perry has ties to the New Apostolic Reformation, a bunch of Pentecostals who seem hell-bent on turning America into a theocracy [19], see Dominionism. Rick Perry's prayer rallies were organized by (arguably) this crazy New Apostolic Reformation. These people are scary. They also have apparent connections to Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin. Oh, and they think Oprah Winfrey might be the Antichrist.

[edit] Treason

On at least two separate occasions, Perry has argued that Texas has the right to secede from the union, and suggested that he might be prompted to follow through with it.[20][21] Perry has repeatedly associated himself with neo-Confederate groups, received support from them, and campaigned for preserving Confederate monuments.[22] While the rest of the country would probably rejoice if Perry and his followers buggered off and constrained their madness to their own state, it's still treasonous and illegal to attempt to break up the union.

In August 2011, in comments aimed at Federal Reserve boss Ben Bernanke, Perry declared that printing more cash (known as quantitative easing) was "treasonous in [his] opinion", and suggested that Bernanke had better stay out of Texas, lest he come to harm.[23] Even his Republican colleagues found those remarks a little unpresidential.[24] [25]

[edit] Strong

During Perry's 2011 campaign to become a Republican Presidential nominee, he released "Strong"[26] a video espousing his view of important matters for America. Was this the ongoing war in the middle-east? The poverty faced by average Americans? The economy? Jobs? Nope; it was all about where you stick your giggle-stick and how you can't force children to pray in school. In an America where as many as a quarter of the people may not actually identify as "Christian" and where the majority do support same-sex marriage, this has been almost universally considered to be out of touch and plain bigoted. Just to show there's no out of context bullshit here, this is the full transcript of the standalone message:

I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.

As President, I'll end Obama's war on religion. And I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again. I'm Rick Perry and I approve this message.

The video quickly became one of the most disliked on YouTube, ranking alongside the likes of Rebecca Black and Justin Bieber for downvotes.[27] A host of parodies appeared to take the piss even further. One asking what other unpopular opinions Perry held[28] and one cartoon by YouTuber DarkMatter2525 effectively translating it into what he actually meant.[29]

It's probably worth letting George Takei have the last word on that one.

[edit] Racism

During his non-campaign to be Archbishop of God's Only Party, Poltico released a photo of a hand-painted sign posted at the entrance of Perry's hunting camp. Apparently, the Perry family hunted at a camp known as 'Niggerhead Ranch'. Perry claimed that the sign was already there when he started leasing the land in 1983, and that he ordered it painted over the moment he laid eyes on it. Seems his underlings took the better part of thirty years to get round to this chore, and Perry never followed up[30]. He could have just rickrolled that thing outta there. It's kinda hard to quantify what is the worst aspect of this story: the fact that Rick didn't personally, immediately paint over the offensive sign the instant he saw it back in 1983, or that the discovery of the sign didn't seem to have much of an effect on his chances in the race.

[edit] Pseudoscience-pushing

Perry's wingnuttery wouldn't be complete, of course, without a generous dash of anti-science in the form of creationism and more. In fact, he hand-picked the now-notorious creationist dentist Don McLeroy to serve on the Texas State Board of Education and then appointed another creationist when he was voted out.[31] On the campaign trail, Perry officially endorsed presenting creationism as a viable alternative to evolution in state schools:

(Evolution) is a theory that's out there and it's got some gaps in it. In Texas, we teach creationism and evolution because I feel you're smart enough to figure out which one is right."[32]

The Washington Post's Fact-Checker has granted Perry its Pinocchio award to indicate exactly how reliable he is on global warming.[33] On that front, he calls it "all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight."[34] He also subscribes to a climate science conspiracy:

I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. And I think we are seeing almost weekly or even daily scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. Yes our climate's changed, they've been changing ever since the earth was born. But I do not buy into a group of scientists who have in some cases found to be manipulating this information.[35]

Under the Perry administration, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality erased climate-related references in one of its reports.[36]

[edit] Legislative hijinks on behalf of wingnuts the unborn

In June 2013, the Texas legislature attempted to pass an omnibus abortion bill that would tightly restrict abortions in Texas; the law was on its way to passing (despite receiving "help" in the way of a bizarre statement from state Representative Jodie Laubenberg, who claimed that an exception for rape and incest was unnecessary since "rape kits" could get a woman "cleaned out")[37] until state Senator Wendy Davis staged a filibuster in order to prevent it from being passed by the midnight legislative adjournment deadline.[38] The bill failed despite Davis' filibuster being ended by a rules vote due to vocal intervention by protestors in the gallery[39] and despite some additional chicanery concerning a timestamp on the actual vote.[40] Perry - who is nothing if not a persistent brand of wingnut - immediately called for a special legislative session to pass the bill[41] and made predictably condescending noises that Davis "hasn't learned from her own example" of being a teenage mother.[42] To her credit, Davis only called Perry a breaker of legislative rules and not just a complete idiot despite ample proof.[43]

[edit] Future in politics

He's since announced his retirement from the gubernatorial position in Texas (cue cheers from the whole of Texas)... in that he'll live out the rest of his term before stepping down (cue boos from the whole of Texas). We're unsure of who'll be his successor, but if it's Greg Abbott, good luck to you. We can only hope that Wendy Davis manages beat him and drives the state back to sanity.

However scary to think about, there's a chance he's preparing for a bid at the presidency in 2016. If he does, bring in the popcorn and remember to superimpose a cowboy hat on his head. If he somehow wins the nomination, pray that he doesn't take the White House.

In 2014, he surprisingly endorsed the decriminalization of marijuana at an economic forum.

[edit] See also

  • Greg Abbott: Perry's Attorney General and another source of state-wide queasiness
  • Ted Cruz: His former Solicitor General

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. MSNBC. Said at a November 2011 Republican presidential debate in Michigan
  2. According to Molly Ivins
  3. The Caucus:Perry to End Bid for Presidency
  4. Mother Jones: Rick Perry's Top Controversies
  5. Dallas News: Murky land deals mark Gov. Rick Perry's past
  6. LA Times: Gov. Rick Perry's big donors fare well in Texas
  7. Rick Perry loves executing people.
  8. Rick Perry on Crime
  9. The New Yorker: Trial by Fire
  10. TPM: Evidence Builds That Perry's Office Pressured Panel On Willingham Probe
  11. Sentencing Law and Policy: Texas Governor Perry disrupts panel looking into Willingham capital case
  12. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jul/08/rick-perry-texas-leal
  13. http://www.humbertoleal.org/
  14. NYT: Rick Perry’s Unanswered Prayers
  15. Salon: Rick Perry platform: Let God figure it out
  16. Salon: Extremist pastor signs on to Perry prayer event
  17. Right Wing Watch: Fact Sheet: Gov. Rick Perry’s Extremist Allies
  18. Rick Perry: 'Christian Warriors' must use 'Spiritual Warfare' against 'Satanic' Separation of Church and State, Right Wing Watch
  19. "Rick Perry's Army of God"
  20. CNN Politics: Texas governor says secession possible
  21. Politico: Rick Perry critics unearth another secession comment
  22. Salon: Rick Perry's Confederate past
  23. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14553127
  24. Politico: Bushies slam Rick Perry's Ben Bernanke comment
  25. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/19/bruce-bartlett-rick-perry-bernanke_n_931334.html
  26. Rick Perry - "Strong" (video)
  27. Huffington Post - Rick Perry's 'Strong' Ad Surpasses Rebecca Black's 'Friday' With More Dislikes On YouTube (VIDEOS)
  28. Rick Perry's Unpopular Opinions
  29. DarkMatter2525 Really Really STRONG (Really)
  30. http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/10/rick_perry_niggerhead.php
  31. Rick Perry: The Most Successful Creationist Governor in America, Little Green Footballs. Also not surprising: McLeroy was an advocate for abstinence-only sex education.
  32. http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/08/18/perry-questioned-evolution-and-creationism-new-hampshire-says-texas-teaches-both
  33. Rick Perry's Made Up Facts About Climate Change. Note the citation of the Oregon Petition.
  34. Rick Perry to Delight Climate Sceptics by Running for President, The Guardian
  35. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/aug/18/rick-perry-scientists-climate-data
  36. Perry Officials Censored Climate Report, Mother Jones
  37. Texas GOP Rep On Abortion: Women Get ‘Cleaned Out’ With ‘Rape Kits’, Talking Points Memo
  38. In Texas, a Senator's Stand Catches the Spotlight, New York Times
  39. Texas Abortion Bill Fails After Challenge, Talking Points Memo
  40. Internet Catches Texas Senate Altering Timestamp on Abortion Bill Vote, Gawker
  41. Perry calls special session for Texas legislature, CNN.com
  42. Perry: ‘Unfortunate’ Davis ‘Hasn’t Learned From Her Own Example’ About Being A Teenage Mom, Talking Points Memo
  43. Wendy Davis: Rick Perry Has 'Made A Mockery' Of Texas' Rules, Huffington Post
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