Yesterday, The Austin American Statesman gave its endorsement to Rick Perry in an editorial that was, shall we say, less than ardent:
We would be more enthusiastic in recommending Perry’s re-election if we were sure that the governor will follow the direction he set for himself the past 18 months. Our reservations notwithstanding, Perry, 56, is the best of the five-candidate lot.
The best part of the editorial is actually the headline, which is – get this – “Perry best fits Texas’ need for serious leadership.” After a quick check to make sure I wasn’t reading The Onion, I realized that the Statesman really was endorsing a man whose performance doesn’t exactly inspire the phrase ‘serious leader.’
Maybe I’m missing something here, but the man who sent a budget of 0’s to the legislature, who only truly committed himself to one issue in the past six years – congressional
redistricting re-gerrymandering, who only made school finance a priority when the courts forced him to isn’t the most serious of leaders. Leaders, after all, lead, but Perry typically follows, and the people whose orders he follows? Grover Norquist, James Leininger, and Tom DeLay. You can tell a lot about a guy by the company he keeps.
The only thing Perry has succeeded in doing is acting on school finance and only because the courts forced him to deal with it, and ‘deal with it’ is about all that was accomplished. True, the last eighteen months have been better than the previous four years in the same way that a cold is better than the flu, but why not support a candidate who doesn’t have this kind of record of poor leadership, a candidate who would actually work with both parties rather than just the Republican majority?
A Democrat, Libertarian or Independent would have to govern in a bipartisan way. It simply makes no sense to return an empty suit governor to power when there are four other candidates any one of whom could easily clear the low bar set by Perry.
I can’t for the life of me figure out why the Statesman picked Perry unless, perhaps, they haven’t been reading their own paper for the past six years. Of course, they also choose Bush. Twice. Fool me once… oh, never mind, now that I think about it, I’m not at all surprised.