The governor’s race: critiquing the criticism

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From the Hutchison campaign, 23 September: Instead Of Cutting Spending, Rick Perry Balanced The Budget Through $12.1 Billion In Federal Stimulus Funds. “With little debate, the Texas House passed its largest budget ever Friday, a day after senators also breezed through the $182.3 billion plan for the next two years. A multi-billion dollar budget hole had long ago threatened to make this an especially bitter session. But budget negotiations turned out to be fairly cordial once the state s coffers received a $12.1 billion boost, courtesy of the federal stimulus package.” All right, Kay, what would you have done? Decline the $12.1 billion in stimulus funds? Propose $12.1 billion in spending cuts? Ask the Legislature to spend the Rainy Day Fund? Or are you going to haul out the old saw about waste, fraud, and abuse? At some point, she is going to have to say what she would have done. And if she says, “Cut the budget,” she is going to alienate her base, the Republican soccer moms who think we ought to spend more on health care and education. From Rick Perry quoted in the Dallas Morning News politics blog last weekend: “The idea that we are about to spend $50 million in a Republican primary is asinine,” Perry said, arguing there’s a limit to how much GOP donors will spend in any election year. “It is a fixed universe…. It is beyond me how anybody thinks that is good for the Republican Party, for conservative values that you want to see instilled in government. It’s not. It’s crazy.” Perry’s complaint reminded the Statesman‘s Jason Embry of “the time that Jon Stewart mocked Zell Miller’s 2004 speech at the Republican National Convention when he [Stewart] said, with a Georgia accent, ‘How dare they nominate a candidate? In an election year!’” Embry is spot on. This is another example of Perry being off his game. He thinks he is criticizing Hutchison, but he comes off as arrogant. How dare she run against me? This does not rise to the level of a gaffe, but it is an another indication, like the recession joke, that he has around so long and has been so successful, that his instincts have become dulled. L’etat c’est moi.

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