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EDITORIAL 6.14,1. 1111 he soon-to-be longestserving governor in Texas history says he wants to extend his run. James Richard “Rick” Perry has declared he will campaign for another term. The governor made the announcement to a handful of surprised reporters during a National Governors Association forum in Grapevine on April 17. By the end of his current term, Perry will have been in office a decade, making him Texas’ longest-tenured governor. \(The runner-up, Bill Clements, served eight years over two nonconsecutive his administration will be on track to last 14 yearslonger than the lifespan of most dogs. Every dog has its day. Let’s hope Perry has had his. In his last election, Perry won only 39 percent of the vote against a lacklusterto be kindfield of opponents. Presumably, the competition in 2010 will be more robust. On the Republican side, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Lite Gov David Dewhurst both appear to want the job. Hutchison is the most popular elected official in the state, but is too moderate for Republican hard-liners. Dewhurst can barely run the state Senate, but has plenty of money and more ambi tion than sense. For Democrats, the strongest contender so far is Houston Mayor Bill White. While admittedly on the bland side, White has won bipartisan plaudits for his management of the nation’s fourth-largest city. Some speculate that Perry’s announcement is a ploy to strengthen his hand in the 2009 legislative session. Or our favorite theory: He is pushing Hutchison to resign in 2009 to run for governor so he can appoint himself as her replacement and run as an incumbent for the Senate in 2010. Yes, he can do that. We checked. For the moment, let’s take him at his word. “I’m a firm believer that experience does matter,” Perry was quoted as saying in the Fort Worth Star -Telegram. We believe that the experience of Perry as top dog in Texas has been a disaster. For too many Texans, the quality of life in this state is abysmal. More than a quarter of us have no health insurancethe highest percentage in the nation. We rank among the top 10 in the gap between rich and poor. Our state spends less money per resident than any other state in the country. One out of every three students fails to graduate from our public high schools. Presented with a historic opportunity in 2006 to improve Texas schools, Perry rushed a plan through the Lege that did little to improve education. Last year, Texas surpassed California as the nation’s leader in imprisoning its citizens. We also lead the nation in putting people to death. That should scare the bejesus out of even death penalty proponents, since it’s increasingly evident that we excel at convicting the innocent. Texas’ governmental failures are too numerous to catalog here. As readers of the Observer know, Perry has only exacerbated this tale of woe. What our governor excels at is using the machinery of government to reward special interests, usually the ones who donate to his campaigns. His money-raising prowess is on display in this issue’s Political Intelligence column \(see “Hog at a mania for privatizing state assets and shoveling taxpayer money into the coffers of private corporations. We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again. We are in the midst of an unparalleled demographic shift in this state. It’s seen in the faces of a huge, young minority population whose families are struggling just to survive. To avoid future ruin, we need to make social investments in these folks now Above all, we need a governor who can view the situation clearly, and not through the myopia of ideology or self-interest. THE TEXAS OBSERVER I VOLUME 100, NO. 9 I A Journal of Free Voices Since 1954 Founding Editor Ronnie Dugger CEO/Executive Publisher Carlton Carl Executive Editor Jake Bernstein Managing Editor Brad Tyer Associate Editor Dave Mann Publisher Charlotte McCann Associate Publisher Julia Austin Circulation Manager Sandra Beckmeier Art Director Leah Ball Webmaster Shane Pearson Investigative Reporter Melissa del Bosque Poetry Editor Naomi Shihab Nye Copy Editor Rusty Todd Staff Writer Forrest Wilder Marketing Asst. Robby Brown Editorial Interns Brad Briggs, Patrick Caldwell, Leah Finnegan, Tobias Salinger Contributing Writers Nate Blakeslee, Gabriela Bocagrande, Robert Bryce, Michael Erard, James K. Galbraith, Steven G. Kellman, James McWilliams, Char Miller, Debbie Nathan, Karen Olsson, John Ross, Andrew Wheat Staff Photographers Alan Pogue, Jana Birchum, Steve Satterwhite Contributing Artists Sam Hurt, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Gary Oliver, Doug Potter Editorial Advisory Board David Anderson, Chandler Davidson, Dave Denison, Sissy Farenthold, Lawrence Goodwyn, Jim Hightower, Kaye Northcott, Susan Reid, Rusty Todd Texas Democracy Foundation Board Mary Margaret Farabee, Melissa Jones, Jim Marston, Mary Nell Mathis, Gilberto Ocatias, Jesse Oliver, Bernard Rapoport, Geoffrey Rips, Geronimo Rodriguez, Sharron Rush, Kelly White, In Memoriam Molly Ivins,1944-2007 Bob Eckhardt, 1913-2001 Cliff Olofson, 1931-1995 The Texas Observer \(ISSN 0040-4519/ righted 2008, is published biweekly except during January and August when there is a 4 week break by the Texas Democracy Foundation, West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. E-mail [email protected] World Wide Web DownHome page . Periodicals Postage paid at Austin, TX and at additional mailing offices. Subscriptions One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year; add $13 per year for foreign subs. Back issues $3 pre paid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Indexes The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981, The Texas Observer Index. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Books & the Culture is funded in part by the City of Austin \(17.1’…1,:r through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts. MAY 2, 2008 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3