EDITORIAL P.’s in a Pod IIIV hen Gov. Rick Perry’s perpetual reelection machine mailed Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s rousing endorsement to 10,500 members of the Texas Federation of Republican Women in early February, former federation President Taffy Goldsmith of Dallas pronounced herself “shocked.” Since she’s one of the federation’s many backers of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s bid to dislodge Perry from the governor’s desk, “shocked” was probably the politest term Goldsmith could muster. Especially as she read a letter full of glancing swipes at Hutchison’s ideological impuritiesparticularly on abortion rights, where the senator has positioned herself a shade to the left of Pat Robertson. “Rick Perry believes in protecting the most vulnerable in society, and who is more vulnerable than an unborn child?” Palin wrote. Who’s more vulnerable? In Perry’s Texas, it’s possible to think of a few: public school children and teachers utility-bill payers in deregulated Houston and Dallas, parents racking up debts thanks to skyrocketing college tuition, homeowners grappling with unfettered home-insurance rates, sick kids with no health coverage. Small wonder Palin is such a fan. “He walks the walk of a true conservative,” she effused. “He sticks to his gunsand you know how I feel about guns!” Perry and Palin are P’s in a pod so much so, it seems, that my joking suggestion back in November that they’d make a swell national ticket in 2012 if the Republicans decided to commit harakiri has now become a certified subject of speculation. “A Sarah PalinRick Perry GOP ticket in `12?” the Los Angeles Times wondered aloud upon getting wind of the endorsement. Perry would face some stiff competition for the veep nod if Palin were to win the Republican nomination. Another oft-mentioned possibility, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, managed to top Perry in the rhetorical war against the Congressional stimulus plan by labeling it “anti-religious.” But Perry has been gamely treading the very path Palin took from relative obscurity to the GOP ticket, touting himself around the country as an effective chief executive with rock-ribbed moral and fiscal principles. “The message that the bailout sends is one of you don’t have to be responsible for your actions:’ Perry recently said on a video featured on the Heritage Foundation’s Web site. “I think it’s one of the powerful foundations of freemarket capitalism that you compete. Now, granted, in that scenario, there are gonna be winners and there are gonna be losers. But that’s OK” Asked about the key to Texas’ economic future, Perry declared himself “a big believer that … you must have wealth first.” Wealth first: There’s a slogan. Certainly more honest than the Palinesque fauxpopulism Perry has been dishing up in the early stages of his death match with Hutchison. On the Saturday in January when the senator unofficially launched her bid, holding a “private strategy session” with 300 human dollar signs in downtown Austin, Perry rallied his life-affirming base a few blocks away. Reviving those old yell-leader skills from his Aggie days, the governor urged his folks to shake the rafters at the Hutchison klatsch and “let them know that Texas is here and Texas is pro-life.” Three cheers for life! Uninsured, undereducated, foreclosure-bound life in Rick Perry’s Texas, where there are winners and losers and that’s OK. And where Hutchison will spend the next 16 months being tarred in the terms used by Perry spokesman Mark Miner: “We’re going to tell the truththere’s only one conservative in this race. She’s not going to be able to hide behind her policies, whether it’s bailouts, abortion or out-of-control spending.” But isn’t there some place, pray tell, where the rest of us can hide? Bob Moser THE TEXAS OBSERVER I VOLUME 101, NO. 4 I A Journal of Free Voices Since 1954 Founding Editor Ronnie Dugger CEO/Publisher Carlton Carl Editor Bob Moser Managing Editor Brad Tyer Associate Editor Dave Mann Investigative Reporter Melissa del Bosque Staff Writer Forrest Wilder Associate Publisher Julia Austin Circulation/Office Manager Sharon Sparlin Art Director Leah Ball Webmaster Shane Pearson Poetry Editor Naomi Shihab Nye Copy Editor Brian Baresch Editorial Intern Jaime Kilpatrick Nation Magazine Legislative Intern Reeve Hamilton Legislative Intern Susan Peterson Contributing Writers Nate Blakeslee, Robert Bryce, Emily DePrang, Michael Erard, James K. Galbraith, Patricia Kilday Hart, Steven G. Kellman, James McWilliams, Char Miller, Kevin Sieff, Andrew Wheat Contributing Photographers Alan Pogue, Jana Birchum, Steve Satterwhite Contributing Artists Maggy Brophy, Michael Krone, Dusan Kwiatkowski Alex Eben Meyer, 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 Lisa Blue, Melissa Jones, Susan Longley, Jim Marston, Mary Nell Mathis, Gilberto Ocalias, 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 Frankie Carter Randolph,1894-1972 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 www.texasobserver.org . Periodicals Postage paid at Austin, TX and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Subscriptions One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students S18 per year; add $13 per year for foreign subs. Back issues $3 prepaid. 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. Books & the Culture is Wawa: AI% funded in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts. FEBRUARY 20, 2009 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3
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