Opinion: Bush, Phil Gramm, Now Rick Perry ? Texas Won't Stop Messing With Us

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 03:26 PM

Republican Party power-brokers are having a tough time finding a candidate they can get enthusiastic about. They thought Mitch Daniels or Haley Barbour would be their savior and both demurred. They trumpeted Jon Huntsman, whose leap into the pool didn't even ripple the surface.  So many old names keep resurfacing that it's just a matter of time before Fred Thompson tosses his hat back in the ring.

Their latest entrant - Texas Governor Rick Perry - is a prolific fundraiser, a big state executive and a true conservative. But he hasn't proven a game-changer. In part, he quickly became a target of rival candidates, media scrutiny and pundit mockery. Additionally, as soon as analysts started peeking beneath the edges of "The Texas Miracle," they found a weak economy, household insecurity and the same problems plaguing the rest of the nation.

Perry holds out the promise that he could make the rest of America look more like Texas…but would the rest of America want that?  This is the state that gave us George W. Bush, Karl Rove and Tom DeLay.

Sure, you watch a few episodes of "Friday Night Lights" and you want to declare, "Texas, forever."  But then you remember that this is the home state of Sen. John Cornyn, who asked what is different between marriage equality and allowing people to marry box turtles.

You think about how much fun South-by-Southwest sounds. Then you remember that it's the state that produced Phil Gramm who, as McCain's economic advisor, told working Americans to stop whining about the economy.

You find yourself humming along to the Dixie Chicks.  Then you remember that a Texas gubernatorial candidate Clayton Mill once compared rape to bad weather, saying "It's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it."

So, no, Americans don't all think we need to Texasify our country.

And in fairness, when Governor Perry isn't trying to lead our nation, he's trying to lead Texas out of it, with repeated comments about Texas leaving the union.  The best response to the threat of secession is the one that comedian Andy Cobb offered in this video:



Truly, though, I don't want Texas to leave the union.  But I also don't want Rick Perry to leave Texas - and evidently neither do the GOP honchos who continue to search for their new savior.

As they keep building up the next candidate, they seem to be following the old logic, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

Too bad their most recent candidate misheard them slightly -- "If at first you don't secede, try, try again" - which might be how they do things in Texas…but isn't the right campaign slogan for the rest of the USA.

Justin Krebs is a political organizer and writer based in New York City. He is the founder of Living Liberally, a nationwide network of 250 local clubs that create social events around progressive politics, and author of "538 Ways to Live, Work and Play Like a Liberal."


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Sep. 01 2011 10:00 PM
John Jackson from Central New Jersey

Where is the Democratic Party's platform?

We lost the 2010 election because we lacked clearly defined planks on which voters could hang an accurate opinion. "Come out and vote or the loonies will take over!" is not a compelling election slogan.

Without taking the time to define ourselves and our vision for the direction of the country, too many of us sat home and let those who had an opinion ("Obama is bad", "Obamacare is bad!!", "Obama wasn't born in America!") decide the course of that election. The fault for that outcome is in ourselves.

What I would like to see the Democrats put forward...
1) Increase FICA withholding to 4X median income. Base taxes and FICA on percentages of median income - rather than hard dollar amounts.

2) End FICA matching by the employer at 2X median. SBO's would get to know that those extra taxes end. Corporations would continue to pay into a public campaign fund up to 5X median income.

3) Progressive income tax rates also based on median incomes not hard dollars.

4) Reduction in the amount of deductions an individual or a corporation can take. I personally would like to see all deductions eliminated completely. This would take a long while to implement as many CPA and tax attorneys make their living from this artificially constructed occupation. Let's get our legislators get back on to more important things rather than long lunches over tax impacts of political change. I would settle for some limit to the amount of deductions.

Most of the changes I seek are economic about how to structure the governments revenue. There are other planks - civil rights of women and minorities; illegal immigration and what to fairly do about it; abortion rights; income inequality and can it be fixed...but other readers will have to articulate their vision.

I want a country that is fair and I can be proud of again. I don't expect perfection but I do expect us to try.

Aug. 31 2011 11:19 AM

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