Rick Perry Is Back in Austin Doin' Nothin', and That's Right Where We Want Him

Categories: Politics

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Final Rick Perry-for-President footnote? Next to last? Please, no more? Look, there's one more point to drive home here. Then I think I can promise not to mention it again. I think I can.

Now that he's not running for president any more, Perry apparently has returned to his more natural status of very handsome irrelevance. Christy Hoppe had a piece from Austin in The Dallas Morning News reporting that our governor, after coming home from the national hustings, spent a total of nine hours in the office between January 19 and February 3.

His staff told Hoppe that, even if he didn't come to work, the governor was still thinking about stuff and talking on his cell phone. And that was their attempt to make him look good.

But is it a bad thing for Perry not to come in to the office?

Oh, no, no, please don't get me wrong. It's a good thing. The less actual work our governor does, the better off we all are.

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But, you ask very fairly, why do I want to talk about it? Why not just shut up about Perry? Good point. But this goes back to the footnote thing and maybe to my own needs as a person.

You may not recall, but last fall I did a great big fat project on Rick Perry's role in the economic success of Texas. I wondered aloud about this to my editors at the time, and now I'm convinced that that there was never a need to do any serious reporting on Perry. I do realize that he sort of begged for it by claiming on the presidential campaign trail that God was on his side and he could accomplish miracles. As campaign promises go, causing miracles is a whopper. I do see that. But as Rick Perry goes, I still say the best reaction would have been to nod and walk away quickly.

I know you will recall that Perry said he was the guy who created high employment rate and economic growth in Texas, which he called "The Texas Miracle." In my work for the miracle story, I interviewed a bunch of experts, including Republican experts. I asked them if Perry had caused our economy to be strong. They basically said, "Oh, yeah, sure, and every year Rick Perry orders the swallows to go back to Capistrano too."

The Texas economy since 1970 has been strong relative to the rest of the country, they told me, because of a continental population shift. They said they didn't think Rick Perry causes continental population shifts. If he could, his first impulse would be to shift all the Yankees and the Mexicans back home.

Everybody knows that for the most part, Perry doesn't do squat. Never has. And that's a good thing. When he suddenly decides to go big picture on us, we get something bad and potentially disastrous out of him like the Trans-Texas corridor, in which he was basically going to sell Texas back to Spain, or we get something potentially good that he totally screws up, like Gardasil.

What we really need from Perry is for him to stay away from the office, be handsome, think about stuff and talk on his cell phone. So according to Hoppe's story we're right back where we need to be. He comes in once a week for a couple hours. His chief of staff says, "Wow, Governor, you are really looking great."

"You think?"

"Oh, yeah."

"Really?"

"Definitely."

And he's outta there. We're safe again.

We can thank the framers of the Texas Constitution for giving us a system in which the governor, no matter who he or she may be, is always pretty much irrelevant anyway.

But back to my little footnote. Rick Perry was mainly irrelevant before he ran for president. His cell phone does not go directly to God. He cannot cause miracles. Everybody figured that out. Now he's back in Austin, and he's irrelevant again.

God's in his heaven; Rick Perry's in Austin; all's right with the world. I promise to try to drop it.

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33 comments
Travis Bush
Travis Bush

 One hopes Wilonsky has big LOLS with his new overlords...they did make Rick Perry "man of the year"..

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

JS, there are three reasons you're wrong about Rick Perry's relevance to the economic performance of Texas:

1. Energy;2. Education; and3. Oops.

Hungover
Hungover

Where is Kinky when we need him?

ts
ts

Backing Perry in his Presidential run last I heard.  Kinky just lost a listener.

Augie
Augie

So long a Perry has rich friends who want to be much richer at the expense of all Texans, you may not put your pen down.  He will run again because this is the end of the line for him.  He can go no further politically and he has found a place that will keep on electing him so long as he runs a few good t.v. ads that make him look like a good ole boy Texan from our memory of what a Texan should be and was.  Unfortunately, even in a weak Governor system, he has managed to quite of a lot of damage to this state, and given the chance, there is NO doubt in my mind he will rape and pillage at a much greater rate than ever before.  Now he knows he has reached the end of his ladder climb, so he doesn't have to worry about "what if they find out I made up fancy sounding high tech prizes that were really just thinly veiled excuses to give my big donors a piece of the Texas budget" among many other public rip offs.  I see hope to rid the state of the pestilence because parents realize that it makes no sense whatsoever to take $5B away from education, while giving away Texans' money to campaign donors.      

Interested
Interested

I wondered how he can do that when other "employees" can't. Is that legal?

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Perry is just a worthless figurehead and a total embarrassment to all true Texans. Maybe we'll get smart this next ledge cycle and build in term limits for the guvs office...

heyheymama
heyheymama

“I happen to think that being the governor of Texas, I’ve said many times, is the best job in the world. I still believe that.’’ - Perry, from the Texas Tribune article cited by Robert above.

Lafayette
Lafayette

You will be sorry he's not in the WH in a year or so!

Darrylrs
Darrylrs

Only if that nutjob Santorum is in there. Perry is stupid, but Santorum is plain scary.

Sloppy Joe Biden
Sloppy Joe Biden

Once again, Jim Poop Schutze goes after the low-hanging political fruit. Have you ever skipped the chance to beat a conservative straw man? I assume the reason Joe Tone let's such garbage pollute the Observer is because Mr. Tone is working so hard on his resignation that he hasn't seen the ulcerous swine bowels that Schutze passes off as journalism.

JimS
JimS

You secretly love me, you typically conflicted conservacrazy you.

Mike
Mike

We do not want anybody in that office stirring up trouble. Supposedly he knew that assumption and has held up his end of the deal for many years. Then he goes off and starts taking up with non-Texans and starts hearing about the Governor being CEO of state, driving policy, rounding up support for legislation, etc. it was good that he took some cool down time after the campaign ended to wash those asinine concepts away.

The Governor of Texas by our constitution does not really do anything and we like it that way.

Likeicare
Likeicare

I'll bet he did have fun on our dollars and he wants to continue getting a big salary, have us pay for his bigass home, and get his pension forever.  Me, too... Right.

Bill Lumbergh
Bill Lumbergh

Oh great, the folks that said they'd never reelect him after this Presidential bid embarrassment will get an opportunity to prove themselves wrong. I can hardly wait.

Tim Covington
Tim Covington

If the Democrats will nominate a true Texan, I believe he will lose. This means the person has to have some of that classic "cowboy" attitude. Ann Richards had it.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

I agree 100%, we need an Ann Richards to straighten this state out...

Paul
Paul

 ... and people wonder why our esteemed Legislature meets for only 150 days in odd numbered years ...

I hope that the national media realize that our political leaders are like a half blind elderly labrador retriever ... at one time they may have been very useful, but now they just lie around and make the occasional mess on the floor; and, we feel sorry for them ...

Phelps
Phelps

Agreed.  This is why I don't complain about all the time Obama spends on vacation.  If he would take off from, say, Monday, until, say, first Monday in November I think we would all be a lot better off.  He could go play golf with Ric Perry.

Likeicare
Likeicare

And did you know that George W took 308 vacation days in 8 years?  that's a lot.

Phelps
Phelps

If you count his time at Camp David and his ranch, that's correct.  The problem is that those are substantially cheaper to the taxpayer than Obama's jaunts to Hawaii, NYC "Date Nights" and renting out half of Martha's Vineyard.

If Obama wanted to take the rest of the year as vacation days, that would be fine with me as long as he took them at home in Chicago instead of on a taxpayer funded resort trip to Hawaii.  

ts
ts

Yes, GWB was quite thrifty with taxpayer's money.  

MattL1
MattL1

Those 9 hours he spent in the office concern me.  You can do a LOT of damage in 9 hours.

Paul
Paul

Jim, even though you are not a native, you have lived here long enough to know that the only political job more useless than the Governor of Texas is the Vice President of the United States.  Although I must admit that it is a close tie as the VP does get to break tie votes in the Senate and the Governor gets to appoint the heads of the state agencies in the Executive Branch of the state government.

The real political power in our state government rests with the Lt. Governor and the Speaker of the House.  One we get to vote for and the other we do not.

Being Governor of Texas is like being the bowl of cereal in the TV ads for breakfast cereals where at the end, the voice-over goes: " Such and Such Cereal, Part of this nutritious breakfast!" as we close with a shot of the breakfast table setting with the glasses of milk and orange juice, the side of bacon or sausages, the two pieces of toast and the bowl of fruit pieces.  My goodness, you could stick a piece of pig iron in the bowl and the statement is just as true.

We could stick a 50 pound sack of fresh compost in the Governor's chair come next election and we would probably have the best outcome possible.

As for me, I plan on voting for the dead possum.

Paul
Paul

"Thank you for listening to me and not voting for a governor from Texas as the next President"-- Molly Ivins (Sort of)         

Phelps
Phelps

Zombie Molly Ivins doesn't start her column until after Wilonsky leaves.

Paul
Paul

 I have always held Molly in high esteem.  She and I had no common ground when it came to politics, except for the humor that we saw in it and the sarcastic disdain for the buffoons.

Our political landscape is much bleaker since she left us.

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

" he was basically going to sell Texas back to Spain"

He did sell the LBJ toll tunnel project to Spain.

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