The Morning News story that Perry’s chairman of the Alcoholic Beverage Commission is soliciting funds from restaurant owners in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 is the latest in a series of stories about Perry and his appointees. One of the worst things in the story is the campaign’s defense of the practice: Both he [Jose Cuevas, the chairman] and the governor’s campaign defended the solicitation as coming from a fellow restaurant owner, not as someone who regulates restaurants. No way, Jose. You can’t take off your chairman’s hat. It’s there for keeps. This story doesn’t advance the ball a lot, but the governor has had a lot of bad press lately, and the story keeps the ball in the air. It also reinforces public concerns about Perry’s appointees and cronyism. The Hutchison campaign has benefited greatly from these stories. I haven’t seen any sign that Hutchison is moving forward, but Perry moving backward is just as good, from their perspective. What the Perry campaign has been able to do in recent days is lay the groundwork for an attack on Hutchison’s earmarks. This press release from earlier in the week reveals the Perry strategy: Bike paths in South Dakota and New Mexico? Olive fruit fly research in France? An indoor rainforest in Iowa? A bridge to nowhere in Alaska, funding for the World Toilet Summit in Ireland, and a beach park promenade in Mississippi? Surely a Senator from Texas wouldn’t be voting for such wasteful pork projects, right? Unfortunately, Washington Kay is. Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating government waste, named Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison the Porker of the Month for the third time in her 16-year career in Washington. Sen. Hutchison joins John Murtha, Harry Reid, Robert Byrd, and Arlen Specter in a select group of lawmakers who have been recognized at least three times for their wasteful spending. When this release evolves into a media spot, the Perry argument won’t be against what Hutchison has supported for Texas. It will be that in order to get money for Texas, she has had to vote for [insert the most ridiculous project you can imagine here] in order to get support for her earmarks, and the horsetrading ends up costing the American people billions.