Nel's New Day

October 8, 2011

Perry Sinking in Polls

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:47 PM

Florida declared Herman Cain the top of the heap in the Republican presidential campaign crew, and now the far-right religious conservatives have anointed Ron Paul with the most votes. In both cases, Rick Perry was far down in the numbers. The once favored upfront direct guy is shooting downward.

Even Supreme Court Justice Scalia thinks he’s wrong. His response to Perry, who wants to get rid of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and any other support for people? The Constitution gives Congress the power to “to lay and collect taxes” and to “provide for the…general welfare of theUnited States.” And all these programs that Perry thinks is unconstitutional provide for the “general welfare.” Perry is way far to the right when Scalia thinks he’s wrong!

It’s old news that Perry wanted Texas to secede from the nation, believes that Social Security is “a Ponzi scheme, ridicules global warming, wants to teach “intelligent design” to kids, opposes any federal income tax, wishes to reinstate anti-sodomy laws, and supports radical anti-abortion prevention. His friends include neo-Confederates, preachers who believe the Holocaust was the fault of Jews, ultra-right businessmen Harold Simmons and Bob J. Perry who funded the deceptive anti-Kerry Swift Boat ads in 2004 and gave $1.1 million and $2.5 million to Perry’s campaigns since 2000, and AT&T which has contributed $462,739 to him since 2000.

Beyond Perry’s inability to balance the books in Texas without obtaining lots of federal money which he denies, he uses state money for personal benefit. Because he considers himself the governor of  Texas “100 percent of the time,” he takes state money for family vacations, book promotion tours, and campaign events. Sometimes the campaign provides for part of the expenses, but the money for his security comes out of funds provided by state taxpayers. Trips included not only the family vacation to the Bahamas but also his wife’s trips—without Perry—to Amsterdam, Madrid, and New York. Perhaps she is part of the 100 percent-of-the-time-governor.

Did we mention that he has doubled Texas’ debt and refused to raise taxes on the wealthy (who pay for his campaigns) while he cuts billions from public education, women’s health centers, and shortchanged Medicaid, the last by $14 billion. His school grades show that he finds little importance in education.

Perry got ideas from former Sen. Phil Gramm for increasing the coffers of the state—and helping investors. One of these, called the “dead peasants” plan, allowed Wall Street investors to take out insurance policies on retired teachers that paid off when they died. Gramm has been described as “Rick Perry’s Karl Rove.”

Regulations and climate change are anathema to Perry. There’s a very good reason for this. He got $633,575 from TXU, now known as Energy Future Holdings Corporation, for allowing them to build 11 huge coal-powered power plants in the state, giving the state a #1 ranking in carbon dioxide emissions. Coal pollution results in 12,000 hospitalizations every year for chest pain, coughing, and breathing trouble, and worsens the effects of asthma and emphysema. Toxic mercury spewed by coal plants poisons rivers and aquatic wildlife while posing serious health risks to children and pregnant women. Fortunately opposition to the plan resulted in the building of only three plants, but Perry supported the utility the whole way. At the same time, Perry took $135 million on year from public education to hand out oil subsidies.

Perry’s ranking went down because of his big “heart,” wanting young people to get HPV vaccines and go to college. His heart stopped at preventing rapes at the state juvenile facilities. Although complaints of sexual assault were filed beginning in January 2000, nothing was done in the early years because, as children’s advocate Isela Gutierrez said, “Local prosecutors don’t consider these kids to be their constituents.” The TYC Board of Supervisors, responsible for letting most of the complaints die, consists almost entirely of major GOP donors rather than qualified criminal justice professionals. Several facilities and guards that received complaints were operated or employed by GEO Group, one of the nation’s biggest private prison contractors. System reform was stopped by Perry’s financial entanglements with GEO Group and his support for prison privatization. With over 750 complaints, not one agency employee has been sent to prison for sexually abusing a confined child.

Centralized government is a polite term for Perry’s approach as he fires people on commissions if they don’t agree with him or support another candidate. This is his idea of “inconsequential” government. To show his contempt for government, Perry let private firms run Medicaid during his first term, earning enormous sums for contractors like Deloitte Touche and Accenture (along with their Texas lobbyists), while costing taxpayers $500 million dollars. With an outdated computer system after the program was dropped, the state paid another $1 million a month.

Problems with Perry in the conservatives’ eyes is that he has been on the public dole his entire life, first in the military and then as a politician. He’s against a fence on the border to stop immigrants and had experimental stem-cell surgery on his back. His book Fed Up! opposes government control, yet Dave Nalle, national chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a group of libertarian Republicans whose Texas chapter has never endorsed Perry for governor, said, “What he says in the book and what he does are not the same. He’s a good salesman, no question about it. But he’s selling something that’s mostly a fiction.” He also opposes building a fence along the Mexican border to keep immigrants out of the U.S.

During the last decade he failed to challenge George W. Bush, oversaw a substantial increase in the size and scope of the federal government, both in post-9/11 security programs and in social programs like the creation of a prescription drug benefit for Medicare. Perry’s book criticizes Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act and suggests it is unconstitutional but accepted financing for the education program. Now he wants the United States to send the military into Texas to solve the state’s drug smuggling problem.

While he says that he opposes raising taxes, his state raised cigarette taxes by $1 a pack and increased the number of businesses subject to the state franchise tax in exchange for billions of dollars in property tax reductions. Anti-tax conservatives said the business tax overhaul was an income tax in disguise, and critics said big refineries and other property-intensive businesses got huge breaks while medium-sized businesses got stuck with higher bills.

Other positions that conservatives hate include his pushing for the Trans-Texas Corridor super highway, a.k.a. the “North American Union” under NAFTA in 2007. Texas conspiracy theorists in Texas (i.e., Alex Jones) accused him of trying to create a single nation consisting of Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., living under one currency, the Amero. The massive project, Trans-Texas Corridor, would have built a toll road, rail lines, and telecommunication infrastructure across the length of the state using eminent domain to confiscate land from rural Texans.

On the other side, Perry supports a federal amendment banning gay marriage. This comes from the man who thinks that the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government should have no control over citizens. He has also signaled support for various federal actions to restrict abortion and vows to defund Planned Parenthood. He also lies about his record as job-creator and his use of federal monies. The dearly-departed journalist/humorist Molly Ivins would be having a great time writing about Gov. Goodhair during this campaign. I miss her.

Meanwhile, Rick Perry–and the other candidates–will speak for themselves in Dartmouth (NH) this coming Tuesday. We’ll see how the ranking goes in the Northeast.

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