Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday Tens: Ten Reasons *Not* to Vote for Rick Perry

If you don't live in Texas, are not interested in (more) politics and/or you disagree with me, I hope you'll forgive this entry. You may want to skip it. I try not to make this blog too political because it's just not that type of blog. But today is Election Day, and even though the polls close in a matter of hours, I'm going to take a risk.

And if you disagree with me, I still want to be your friend, and I hope you'll still visit my blog for whatever attracted you to it in the first place. I want to maintain this blog's spirit of sanity and general friendliness.

One of my goals has been to campaign against Rick Perry in the 2010 governor's race. I set this goal before I even knew who was running against Perry.

In high school, one of the classes (I think it was the class of '97) ran a potted plant for class president. The plant was named Boopy. That's how much I don't want Perry to be reelected. I was ready to vote for Boopy.

We lucked out. Bill White is the democratic candidate for governor. He's awesome.

I've met my goal. I've been phone banking for Bill White. My personal goal was at least two solid hours on the phones (not including arriving at the campaign office, getting the script, etc.) once a week for the past month, and I've done that. I also want to use my blog to help campaign in some small way. So today, I'm telling you why Rick Perry sucks.

I want to let you know that I did the best I could to find reputable resources and write an accurate blog entry. I'm not a historian or political expert. My degree is in Print Journalism, so I think I know something about writing. However, if this entry was for work, I would have held it to a higher standard.

Some of the resources are partisan, but most of them aren't. I reference Politifact quite often. It is a non partisan site that has become popular in Austin after the Austin American Statesman started carrying its stories.

All in all, I think I did a decent job for a personal blog that is primarily focused on the fiber arts.

1. He didn't want to accept federal funds. Seriously. $555 million in Federal funds was put aside to help the unemployed in our state. Just Texas. And Perry wanted to say no because he didn't agree with the stipulations that came with the money.

Let's pretend that the federal government offered the state a giant piece of American Pie (*rim shot*). We're hungry, and we haven't had pie in a while. But Perry said we shouldn't eat this pie. The American Pie is a bad pie. It would prevent us from getting more pie in the future. Texas can make it's own pie.

"OK fine," Texas says. "When do we get the Texas pie?"

"I don't know," Perry says.

"How are we going get the Texas pie?"

"I don't know."

"Do we even have sugar?"


And we sit there hungry while everyone else eats pie.

(FYI - The state senate eventually went against Perry's suggestion.)

2. He refused to debate, then claimed that Bill White was the one wouldn't debate. Perry has said he won't debate until Bill White releases his tax records for a long time now. White has released his income tax returns going back to 2004, but Perry wants to see more. And from what we can tell, Perry has never set conditions for a debate like this in the past.

What does that say to you when a candidate refuses to take on his opponent mano a mano? And then claims his opponent is the one who doesn't want to debate because the opponent won't comply with his demands? I say it means the candidate is a coward.

PoltiFact says it best:
"If every debate sponsor statewide required the candidates to release their tax returns and White refused, Perry's logic would be more reasonable. But this is a precondition that only Perry has set, and, as we recently reported, a term to debate he hasn't made in the past. Plus, it hasn't stopped White from debating: on July 5, White joined Kathie Glass, the Libertarian candidate for governor, at the League of Women Voters forum in Kerrville — the first governor's debate after the primary. Perry was absent."

Since Politifact's article, White has participated in other debates with the third party candidates. But not Perry.

3. What does he do all day anyway? For much of my working life, I've wondered what managers are actually doing all day. I realize managers have a lot of supervising to do and decisions to make. But the higher up the food chain someone gets, the more they can't be bothered with everyday tasks. I know this because I often do those tasks. But what does that leave them to do day to day?

These musings have caused me to be especially interested in the Part-time Perry, a website created by the Bill White campaign. The whole website focuses on Perry's schedule, and the fact that his schedule shows that he only worked an average of about 7 hours a week in the first six months of 2010. There are a few theories about what this means.

The first one is that Perry has a secret schedule to cover up the fact that he is using state resources for his reelection campaign. In the video above, he seems to imply that his reelection campaign is state business. That isn't helping his case.

Another is that he isn't keeping good records of how he spends his time. Other governors keep public schedules with more detail.

The third possibility is that Rick Perry really spends that little time on state business.

However you look at it, it doesn't look good.

4. Perry has cut CHIP in the past, and he is against expanding it. CHIP is essentially medicaid for children. It's a way for lower income families to get health care coverage for their children. And Perry has cut a lot of its funding.

In 2009 he vowed to veto an expansion of CHIP that would have given about 80,000 kids health care coverage. And then he claimed, "That is not what I consider to be a piece of legislation that has the vast support of the people of the state of Texas." I can't speak for the rest of the state, but I would have supported it.

Won't someone please think of the children?

5. Trans-Texas Corridor Need I say more.

6. I take the whole secession thing pretty seriously. In case you missed it, in 2009 Rick Perry implied that Texas might secede in the future. You can see the video of his comments above. Then when asked about it later, he stood by his comments.

In case you're not familiar with our history, Texas was once its own country. We were the only state to enter the union by treaty. We're the only state in the union that can raise the flag to the same level as the American flag. And we do take pride in this. I'm not a historian, but it seems like Texas is more likely to have the ability to secede than other states, although I don't know what that would take. But just because we can secede doesn't mean we should. I think it's unlikely that Perry would really pursue secession, and I don't think we're at risk of seceding. But I also think it's offensive and unpatriotic to even consider it. And I don't want our governor to promote this, even as a joke.

7. Follow the money. There's so much out there about Perry and campaign funds, lobbyists and corruption. Perry has been sued for accepting illegal campaign contributions, accepted a fair amount of campaign contributions from lobbyists, had many chiefs of staff that were lobbyists and gave public funds to businesses with ties to his donors. And I'm sure there's more that I'm missing.

8. He hasn't been good for the environment. Particularly the air. Perry asked President Obama to ask the EPA to back off on their air quality permitting standards. The EPA believes that changing Texas's air quality permitting process would improve the state's air quality. Perry said we deserve slack because Texas's air quality has improved.

Or in my interpretation, Perry thinks the EPA is mean and wants it to quit being so mean. I have asthma. I want the EPA to be mean to Perry.

9. He's been named one of the worst governors in the nation. That pretty much sums it up.

10. He's a jerk. I could go on for years on this one. I believe that vague criteria of "character" should only play a small part in your vote, so I tried not to spend too much time on this one. But there's so much to cover. Some of his greatest hits include Adios MoFo and "Why don't you just let us get on down the road?" I believe his campaign was within its legal right to air the controversial ad featuring businesses on South Congress, but I think they should have pulled it out of respect. And what kind of person jogs with a gun. Also, as of 1:06 p.m. today, if you Google "Rick Perry is a douche" you get 808 results. If you Google "Bill White is a douche" you only get 143 results.

Go vote everybody! Polls close at 7 p.m., and your local League of Women Voters should have a good non partisan voting guide if you need more information. (It's especially helpful with those smaller races you may not be familiar with.)