Stumper of the Week: Perry vs. White vs Gohmert

Who said the single weirdest and nuttiest thing in Texas politics this week?


Okay, folks, we’re right on the cusp of that magical, mythical day when everyone supposedly—all at once, now!—stops thinking silly, summery thoughts and sets their collective mental channel on politics. Yes, Labor Day, when election campaigns are widely known to either “heat up,” “kick into overdrive,” “begin in earnest,” or the cliche of your choice. And of course the campaign that everybody in Texas is supposed to tune into is the governor’s race. (So far, it’s a good thing they’ve been thinking summery thoughts instead.)

In this Friday’s late edition of Stumper of the Week, the stumpers will be almost exclusively devoted to the Rick Perry-Bill White showdown. (I can’t ignore good old Louie Gohmert, hard as I try.)

First, this week’s 20-second recap of the main event: White wants term limits on governors—retroactively effective, no doubt. Perry still won’t debate his challenger mainly because he doesn’t want to, and he’s found an excuse to blame it on White. Both men are waving their fists, stamping their feet and declaring that they will “secure” the border, even though everybody knows that neither of them can. Perry still likes to spread a little anti-gay cheer on the campaign trail. White still clings to his belief that Texas voters are supremely rational beings. And the poll numbers still lean solidly—though not overwhelmingly—toward Perry.

But most importantly, which candidate stumped us most this week? Onward to our Honorable Mention Stumpers of the Week:

Since when?

“Texans are tired of political theater.”

Bill White, telling reporters in Austin that Rick Perry’s border bluster hasn’t produced “results.” There is surely some truth in that. But where on earth did White get the notion that Texans aren’t the world’s biggest suckers for high-entertainment-value politics?

And Jesus said, “I got mine, you get yours.”

“[O]ne night when we were on the floor of the House, we were talking about tax cuts, and I heard more scriptures quoted from people on the other side [than ever before]. … I take to the floor and I said ‘nobody is more deeply moved than I am to hear all this scripture on the floor of the house, it’s wonderful. It’s what used to be done the first 150 years of our country all the time. People were afraid to bring up bills unless they quoted scripture to support it.’ But I said, ‘Jesus,’ you can check, ‘Jesus never said, go ye there forth use and abuse your tax authority and take somebody else’s money to give,’ he said, ‘You do it, with your own money.’”

Congressman Louie “Terror Baby” Gohmert, speaking at Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party Town Hall, held after the Aug. 28 Restoring Honor rally in Washington, D.C.  According to the Texas Independent, Gohmert’s purpose in the speech was to “rebuke arguments that the tea party is only self-interested, upper-income individuals.”

Thank goodness. We were so worried!

“Unfortunately, this junk lawsuit has gone on for four years, and to the Democratic trial lawyers’ dreams, will likely go on two or three more. The good news is that it won’t divert from our efforts to win in Texas or any other state this cycle.”

Mike Schrimpf, communications director of the Republican Governors Association, spinning his group’s loss in court to Chris Bell, the 2006 Democratic candidate for governor, to The Dallas Morning News. A Travis County judge ruled on Aug. 31 that the RGA must pay Bell $2 million after he sued over a last-minute $1 million contribution from mega-homebuilder and major Republican donor Bob Perry, which was funneled to the Perry campaign through the governors’ group. (See Dave Mann’s Observer story about the RGA-Perry connection here.)

Spanish Invasion

“Perry would bulldoze half a million acres in private land and give it to a Spanish company to build toll roads and let the company set the tolls. When lawmakers tried to stop him, Perry vetoed the law.”

—Actor playing a rancher in anti-Perry commercial from Back to Basics, the PAC that called the governor a “coward” the previous week. Rodger Jones at The Dallas Morning News points out that White’s campaign site also mentions “foreigners” who’d have benefitted from the Trans-Texas Corridor. Jones calls the commercial “nativist,” resembling similar attacks by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison during her losing challenge to Perry, and grills White about it here.

Stumper of the Week

Gay marriage-onomics

“There is still a land of opportunity, friends — it’s called Texas. We’re creating more jobs than any other state in the nation. … Would you rather live in a state like this, or in a state where a man can marry a man?”

—Gov. Perry, quoted by The Texas Tribune‘s Ross Ramsey, talking at Clem Mikeska’s Bar-B-Q in Temple

STUMP US! Send your favorite campaign stumpers of the week to [email protected].