No one wants to give the governor a Bum Steer. No one wants to poke fun at the elected representative of 25 million Texans. In fact, when Rick Perry launched his presidential campaign four and a half months ago, we felt compelled to defend him (a little) from the slings and arrows of a national press corps incapable of seeing a boot-wearing Texas governor as anything other than George W. Bush II. We’d had our differences with Perry, about whom senior executive editor Paul Burka wrote, back in May: “He excels at consolidating and maintaining power but not at using it to move Texas forward.” But now that the Texas-mocking Yankee press was approaching, what Texan did not want to circle the wagons?
“We have endured a disproportionate amount of bad writing about our state from journalists who don’t know very much about the place, and I for one can’t bear to suffer through another campaign of it,” Paul wrote, in an August column addressed to the hordes of journalists soon to be clogging the taxi stand at the Austin airport. “I am writing you this note in the hope that it will help you avoid the political and sociological clichés that Texas is subjected to every time one of our politicians seeks the national stage.”
Among other things, Paul’s column counseled these reporters not to confuse Perry with Bush and to accept that the governor was “cannier than you think he is.” The next month, our account of his undefeated electoral history carried the headline “ The Great Campaigner.” The month after that, we explained his rugged, individualistic “ frontier style” and traced