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Matt Taibbi writes: "In an era when there's exponentially more money in politics than we've ever seen before, Perry is the candidate who is exponentially more willing than we've ever seen before to whore himself out for that money. On the human level he is a nonpersonality, an almost perfect cipher - a man whose only discernible passion is his extreme willingness to be whatever someone will pay him to be, or vote for him to be. Even scarier, the religious community around which he has chosen to pull his human chameleon act features some of the most extreme end-is-nigh nutcases in America, the last people you want influencing the man with the nuclear football. Perry is a human price tag - Being There meets Left Behind. And sometimes there's nothing more dangerous than nothing at all."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on the presidential campaign trail, 09/18/11. (photo: Craig Ruttle/AP)
Texas Gov. Rick Perry on the presidential campaign trail, 09/18/11. (photo: Craig Ruttle/AP)



Rick Perry: Best Little Whore in Texas

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

28 October 11

arly morning in a nearly filled corporate ballroom at the Cobb Energy Centre, a second-tier event stadium on the outskirts of Atlanta. It's late September, and a local conservative think tank is hosting a get-together with Rick Perry, whose front-runner comet at the time is still just slightly visible in the bottom of the sky. I've put away five cups of coffee trying to stay awake through a series of monotonous speeches about Georgia highway and port reform, waiting for my chance to lay eyes on the Next Big Thing in person.

By the time Perry shows up, I'm jazzed and ready for history. You always want to remember the first time you see the possible next president in person. But as every young person knows, the first time is not always a pleasant experience. Perry lumbers onstage looking exceedingly well-groomed, but also ashen and exhausted, like a funeral director with a hangover.

In a voice so subdued and halting that I think he must be sick, he launches into his speech, which consists of the following elements: a halfhearted football joke about Texas A&M that would have embarrassed a true fan like George W. Bush, worn bromides about liberals creating a nanny state, a few lines about jobs in Texas, and a promise to repeal "as much of Obamacare as I can" on his first day in the White House.

"I will try," he says, "to make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as I can."

Then he waves and walks offstage. The whole thing has taken barely 10 minutes.

I can't believe it, and neither can the assembled crowd of Georgia conservatives, who hesitate before breaking into polite applause. I feel like a high school cheerleader who just had her leg jizzed on in the back of a convertible. That's it? It's over? That was Rick Perry's stump speech?

"Low energy, low substance," sighs Justin Ryan, one of the conference attendees. "That's sort of the candidate in general."

But this is America, remember, where one should never underestimate shallow. And Rick Perry brings shallow to a new level. He is very gifted in that regard. He could be the Adolf Hitler of shallow.

Perry's campaign is still struggling to recover from the kind of spectacular, submarine-at-crush-depth collapse seldom seen before in the history of presidential politics. The governor went from presumptive front-runner to stammering talk-show punch line seemingly in the speed of a single tweet, rightly blasted for being too incompetent even to hold his own in televised debates with a half-bright pizza salesman like Herman Cain and a goggle-eyed megachurch Joan of Arc like Michele Bachmann. But such superficial criticisms of his weirdly erratic campaign demeanor don't even begin to get at the root of why we should all be terrified of Perry and what he represents. After all, you have to go pretty far to stand out as a whore and a sellout when you come from a state that has produced such luminaries in the history of political corruption as LBJ, Karl Rove and George W. Bush. But Rick Perry has managed to set a scary new low in the annals of opportunism, turning Texas into a swamp of political incest and backroom dealing on a scale not often seen this side of the Congo or Sierra Leone.

In an era when there's exponentially more money in politics than we've ever seen before, Perry is the candidate who is exponentially more willing than we've ever seen before to whore himself out for that money. On the human level he is a nonpersonality, an almost perfect cipher - a man whose only discernible passion is his extreme willingness to be whatever someone will pay him to be, or vote for him to be. Even scarier, the religious community around which he has chosen to pull his human chameleon act features some of the most extreme end-is-nigh nutcases in America, the last people you want influencing the man with the nuclear football. Perry is a human price tag - Being There meets Left Behind. And sometimes there's nothing more dangerous than nothing at all.

Perry shot into the race for the Republican presidential nomination like a rocket, which is to say, he jumped late into a historically underwhelming contest of bumblers, second-raters, extremists and religious loonies, and became the top dog by default simply by virtue of not looking obviously demented at first blush to the national media. At the time, the GOP's Tea Party base was splitting right down the middle, divided between the intellectual libertarians headed by fellow Texan and original Tea Partier Ron Paul, and the "values"-oriented sect steered by the Bible-thumping likes of Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum. Despite Barack Obama's plummeting approval ratings, Republicans seemed to have little chance of success in 2012 unless someone emerged from the pack with the goods to pull off a seemingly impossible demographic trifecta: capturing enough of these two increasingly insurrectionary camps within the Tea Party to win the primary, while still retaining enough moderate cred to steal the middle from Obama in the general election.

Into this morass stepped Perry, a tall, perma-tanned, Bible-clutching Southerner with front-runner hair and the build of a retired underwear model, boasting 10 years of executive experience and a furious anti-government bestseller (Fed Up!) still sizzling on the nation's bookshelves. This was the magic-bullet candidate, with the End Times connections and born-again beatitude to out-Jesus Michele Bachmann, the CV full of arch-libertarian, anti-Fed ramblings pretentious enough to have been written by Ron Paul, and the eelish good looks to outshine robotic front-runner Mitt Romney. Perry just looked like the inevitable nominee, and it wasn't long before he was sitting atop the polls.

But as a presidential candidate, Perry has mainly distinguished himself with a kind of bipolar wildness in the debates: sullen and reserved one moment, strident and inarticulate the next. He sweats profusely. He can't stand still. When he does manage to get off a zinger, he cracks a smug grin, looking like he's just sewn up the blue ribbon in a frat-house dong-measuring contest. Parts of his record drive the Tea Party nuts, like his decision to pay for the kids of illegal immigrants to attend state colleges just like other students, or his executive order requiring all sixth-grade girls in Texas to be vaccinated against HPV, the human papillomavirus that causes cervical cancer in women.

Liliana Ros, a party committeewoman in Florida, shook Perry's hand during a commercial break at the Orlando debate and promptly finked on him to reporters, offering a pervy description that was missing only the open raincoat and the raging boner. "He grabbed my hand and held on to it," Ros said. "His hand was so cold, like ice. And he was sweating. He didn't seem well, like he was in pain or he was sick or something. I don't know what it was, but something was definitely wrong."

As soon as Perry became that most fragile of early-campaign life-forms, the "presumptive front-runner," opponents and reporters began scrambling to find the skeletons in his closet. The journalism world is abuzz with salacious whispers about his private life, while liberals have focused on his ties to the New Apostolic Reformation, an apocalyptic sect of loopy Christian fundamentalists who think Jesus is coming back soon to blow up the planet. But voters who want to know who Rick Perry really is would do well to remember the advice of noted political analyst Hannibal Lecter, who instructed Jodie Foster about the serial killer she was tracking in The Silence of the Lambs. What does he do, Lecter asked, this man you seek? He kills women? No, that is incidental. Don't look at what the man does, look at what he is.

It's the same with Rick Perry.

Yes, Perry has deployed some of the campaign's most extreme anti-government rhetoric, denouncing Social Security as an "illegal Ponzi scheme," calling for the repeal of the federal income tax, even seeming to threaten Ben Bernanke with mob violence if he came to Texas. And yes, he hangs out with some of the weirdest religious nuts in America, keeping as allies a Texas evangelical who believes the Democrats are literally controlled by a Satanic demon called Jezebel, and another who believes that a recent Perry-led religious rally helped break an ancient curse laid down on Texas soil by Native American cannibals. And sure, yes, he promises to be a more-than-unusually obnoxious belligerent in the culture wars, having appointed three consecutive creationists to head the Texas State Board of Education, signed a law mandating that every woman who wants to get an abortion must first be forced Clockwork Orange-style to stare at a sonogram of the fetus, and executed more prisoners than any governor in modern times.

Yes, he has done all of those things, and more. But it's all incidental. When you ask what Perry's true nature is - the first and principal thing that defines him - there's just one answer: favors.

Favors are the one consistent thread running through Perry's political career. Throughout his time as governor, whenever his ideology or his religion comes into conflict with the need to give a handout to a major campaign donor, ideology and religion lose every single time.

Though 94 percent of schools in Texas teach a sex-ed curriculum based on abstinence-only - an approach that led one watchdog group to conclude that "shaming and fear-based instruction are the standard means of teaching students about sexuality" in Texas - Perry nonetheless signed an executive order mandating that those same girls subjected to those abstinence-only classes receive an STD vaccine. You can't talk about STDs to sixth-grade girls, but if it's worth $120 a shot to a pharmaceutical company like Merck, you can jam the birds-and-the-bees lesson right into their arms.

Those in Texas who have followed Perry most closely over the years have all come to the same conclusion about him. "He's a cash-and-carry governor," says Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, a group that monitors campaign contributions in the state. "He has an extremely strong stomach for holding his nose and doing really dirty favors."

"He'll be whatever you want him to be," says one longtime political opponent. "He's all about greed."

"There's no line he won't cross," says another.

"This guy doesn't believe in one damn thing," says a third.

As for how this classic, big-government, machine politician - a man who made massive government stimulus routine at a time when Barack Obama was still shooting baskets in the Senate gymnasium - could run as a small-market conservative and Tea Party champion, many in Texas express bewilderment.

"If you tell a lie often enough, people believe it," says Debra Medina, a Tea Party Republican who ran against Perry in the gubernatorial primary last year. "That's Rick Perry."

It's just after midday, a Monday afternoon, and I'm barreling down a stretch of State Highway 176 in the deadest, hottest part of the Texas desert, a few miles shy of the New Mexico border and about an hour west of the rusted oil wells and Friday night lights of Odessa-Permian. Just before I get to New Mexico, I slow down, hang a right and roll down a dirt road, out of America and into a different country. Rick Perry Country. This is a land neither capitalist nor socialist, but somehow boasting the worst aspects of both systems.

The specific spot I'm looking for is a giant hole in the ground - one of the nation's largest repositories of nuclear waste. The facility is run by a company called Waste Control Specialists, the creature of a shadowy billionaire named Harold Simmons, who was one of the single largest financial backers of the Swift-boat campaign against John Kerry, donating more than $3 million.

Chew on that for a moment: The Kerry smear campaign was powered in large part by radioactive waste - or, more specifically, by the fat government contracts to store such waste that were swallowed up by Simmons, a supposedly "anti-government" extremist who, naturally, is one of Rick Perry's biggest supporters.

The Perry-Simmons nuclear landfill is surrounded by giant piles of red clay rising up out of the desert, flanked by huge manmade chasms designed to hold sand-covered drums of sizzling waste. A person entering its gates feels an irresistible urge to wear lead underpants. It's a terrifying sight, but it's even more disturbing as a symbol of Rick Perry's style of government. In Perry's Texas, state regulation doesn't work because regulatory seats can be bought, and the free market doesn't work because connections and influence matter more than competition and performance. The landfill run by Perry's pals at Waste Control Specialists represents an extreme example of both dysfunctional ends of the governor's approach to government, a taxpayer-financed hole in the ground that is as extremely unsafe as it is woefully uneconomic. "The WCS plant," says Lon Burnam, a Texas state representative, "is the ultimate example of Perry's crony capitalism."

Perry's great triumph as governor has been the construction of an elaborate political machine, one that operates according to its own separate dynamic, using donations, appointments and favors as currency. In fact, Texas is run much like a Soviet protectorate, with a party boss (Perry) and a Politburo of superconnected advisers to the governor who shuffle back and forth between the public and private spheres (Perry's chief of staff, Mike "The Knife" Toomey, for instance, jumped from the governor's office to a job lobbying for Merck prior to the HPV vaccination order), all backed by a somewhat larger Central Committee of big financial donors who are the real "representative" power in the state, much more than the actual state legislature.

Who's on that Central Committee? It's not that hard to figure out. Texas has no limit on individual donations to political candidates, which means the governor's best friends don't have to hide behind soft money and other back-door channels. In Texas, you can pay your tribute right out in the open.

"The total of hard-money donations to Perry's three gubernatorial campaigns is $102 million," says McDonald, who tracks the state's pay-for-play system on behalf of Texans for Public Justice. "Half of that, $51 million plus, came from just 204 donors."

Simmons, the billionaire owner of WCS, is near the top of that list of Perry's 204 super-insiders, having personally donated more than $1 million to Perry's three gubernatorial campaigns. If you add in his donations to the Republican Governors Association, which Perry was elected to lead last year, then Simmons and his company have donated $3 million to Perry-friendly causes in the past 10 years. That makes Simmons the second-biggest donor in Perry's camp, behind the homebuilding magnate Bob Perry (no relation), who has handed over an astonishing $13.7 million to Perry and the governors association.

The system of uncapped donations means that Perry's superinsiders effectively operate as mobsters who hold a chit on the state's government. "These are obscenely huge amounts," says McDonald. "You can give a politician $100 or $1,000 because you like his ideology. But when you start giving him $250,000 or $500,000, you gotta think you are getting something in return."

So what did Harold Simmons get for his money? A lot.

For starters, a group of Perry appointees on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality gave Simmons a license to build his hazardous nuke dump, even after the TCEQ's own team of scientists agreed that the project was too risky, given how dangerously close it lies to the Ogalalla aquifer, which provides drinking water for seven states.

When I visit the site in September, it has just rained in the area for the first time in a year - really - and there is water all over the place. Rod Baltzer, the president of WCS, insists that the wastewater is being contained and disposed of in a safe, orderly fashion. But it's hard not to look beyond the dump to nearby Eunice, New Mexico, visible just a few miles away, and wonder about the wisdom of taking a private company's word that there is no contaminated water running underground to the nearby town. Especially since another of Simmons' companies, NL Industries, has already been caught leaking radioactive waste into an aquifer in Ohio. In a supremely ironic demonstration of how the modern system of payola capitalism works, Simmons is now being paid millions by taxpayers, via the federal Energy Department, to clean up his own mess, moving radioactive waste from his dump in Ohio to the one in Texas.

All of this is key to understanding Perry, because the WCS landfill so perfectly fits the business model of his key donors. The company leases the land for the dump, meaning that WCS keeps the lion's share of the profits, while the liability mostly stays with the state. There's no real regulation to speak of, and many of the state's decisions appear to have been greased by massive campaign contributions or other favors: The executive director of the state's environmental commission, for instance, received a job as a lobbyist for WCS not long after helping the firm get its license.

What's more, the company even got the government to pay for the landfill, lobbying the town of Andrews to float a $75 million bond issue to finance the construction of two new dump sites on the property. And in a final insult, WCS managed to negotiate a loophole exempting it from having to pay school taxes in Andrews. Instead, it offers a few small scholarships a year.

"When I was a kid, our high school was the first one in Texas to have carpets," says Melodye Pryor, a local resident and longtime opponent of the dump. "Now, our schools are falling apart."

Andrews is little more than a few crisscrossed roads in the middle of the desert, wrapped around a couple of gas stations and Mexican restaurants and populated by tough blue-collar workers hunkered down in modest little sun-cooked houses. If you can grasp this little working-class neck of Texas lending a Dallas billionaire $75 million so that he can keep 90 percent of the revenue from a dangerous nuclear-waste dump that runs without any real regulatory oversight, all while paying no school taxes, then you've begun to understand what Rick Perry's America might look like.

"It's the worst possible hybridization," says Medina, the Tea Party candidate who ran against Perry. "A private entity keeps the receipts. The state and the taxpayer own all the liability."

The descriptions of Perry's early political career all sound like the early chapters of true-crime books about serial killers, where nobody notices anything special about the protagonist until the bodies start piling up along the local riverbank. In Perry's case, those bodies didn't start showing up until 2000, when Bush became president and Perry assumed his seat as governor, turning the state government into a factory of obscene backroom deals. At first, like many of today's would-be Tea Party leaders, Perry started off trying to milk big government rather than dismantle it. In the late Eighties, when Michele Bachmann was training for her future as an anti-tax crusader by working for the IRS, Perry - who like Bush had a military pilot's background, but unlike Bush flew in the real Air Force for five years - was serving in the Texas state legislature, representing Haskell County, a dry little pocket of nowhere just north of Abilene and west of Dallas.

While Bush made a great political career pretending to be a hick Texas rancher, Perry started out as the real thing, a cotton farmer and cattle rancher who spent his early adulthood looking for a way out of life on his dad's farm. "He was ranching with his family," says Fred McClure, a former aide to Sen. John Tower who met Perry in 1978. Perry had come to Washington to observe the American Agricultural Movement, a grassroots campaign launched by farmers to get the federal government to raise farm subsidies. Though the movement was the ideological opposite of the Tea Party, begging for government handouts, Perry knew a political opportunity when he saw it. "This was an early indicator of his ability to evaluate politically what was going on," says McClure, who remains friends with Perry today. "The grassroots nature of the American Agricultural Movement was not unlike the grassroots nature of the Tea Party. He developed the skill set to read the political tea leaves." It was after watching the angry farmers descend on Washington that Perry decided to run for the state legislature. "I think part of it was that he was bored farming in Haskell," McClure says.

Perry's early political career was marked most particularly by a seeming lack of ambition to accomplish anything specific. After being elected to the Texas House in 1984, he told a newspaper in Abilene, "I had not one piece of legislation I planned to carry." When the state land commissioner asked him to sponsor a bill, Perry told the commissioner not to bother explaining it. "I wouldn't understand it anyway," Perry said.

Back then, the future global-warming denier was a Democrat, and even supported Al Gore for the presidency in 1988. But with Texas moving to the right, Perry switched parties the following year - not for ideological reasons, it appears, but because he could sense the wind shifting. "Perry is a really, really good politician," one Republican strategist later explained. "He understood where the state of Texas was going." The move also enabled Perry to defeat Jim Hightower, a popular Democrat, as agricultural commissioner, a powerful post in America's second-biggest farm state. During his two terms in the office, Perry demonstrated little ideological bent, even expressing support for Hillary Clinton's health care plan in the early Nineties. In 1998, Perry was elected lieutenant governor alongside George W. Bush, serving with the kind of distinction that made his boss look like Winston Churchill. Perry reportedly zoned out during a series of breakfast meetings that Bush held with top Texas politicians. "Sometimes, to pass the time, he would file his nails," The New Republic reported.

Bush and Perry reportedly had a chilly relationship, thanks in part to Bush's refusal to let Perry test the limits of political nepotism. In 1995, Perry wanted to nominate his brother-in-law, Joseph Thigpen, to the 11th Court of Appeals. Bush blocked the move, and legend has it that Perry blamed Karl Rove for the incident and never forgave either of them. This might help explain in part why Perry was so eager to start packing the state offices with cronies the moment Bush left for Washington.

Perry's prowess in building his political machine at the expense of taxpayers can be tied directly to his administration's almost mathematical precision in making government handouts match the campaign contribution. "There are a couple of things you need to do if you want to raise obscene amounts of money," says Andrew Wheat, research director at Texans for Public Justice. "One, you need to send the message that you're carefully counting who's giving how much, to create a competitive atmosphere. And two, you want to send not-so-subtle signals that there's going to be a return on the investment. And this governor has been a master of sending those signals."

How masterful has he been? According to Texans for Public Justice, Perry appointed 921 of his donors and their spouses to government posts over the past decade. All told, those appointees gave a staggering $17 million to his campaigns - 21 percent of the entire amount he raised during that time. To give an indication of just how completely for-sale public appointments became during his administration, Perry collected $6.1 million from the 155 people he appointed to be regents of state universities in Texas.

You can get a fairly decent summary of Perry's track record as governor just by going down the list of political favors that were granted to the 204 "Central Committee" members who collectively contributed half of his campaign money. Start at the top: Perry's biggest single donor, the homebuilder Bob Perry, was rewarded with his very own regulatory agency.

Back in the Nineties, Bob Perry made a fortune building cheap homes, and he had enormous success in circumventing regulation, taking advantage of arbitration clauses that prevented homeowners from suing in the event of leaks or faulty construction or other problems. But after he lost a high-profile arbitration case, he and other builders decided to go straight to the top. In 2003, his company's general counsel, John Krugh, served on a task force established to craft new legislation. The result was a bill creating the Texas Residential Construction Commission, which Gov. Perry signed into law that year. Not long after getting a $100,000 check from Bob Perry, the governor appointed Krugh to serve on the new nine-member commission.

The commission, which initially included four builders and not a single consumer advocate, was a masterpiece of deregulation - actually a kind of deregulation from within, in which builders created and ran a toothless regulatory agency to non-police themselves. The body forced homeowners to pay, at minimum, hundreds of dollars for an inspection fee before making any complaint against a builder. And though the commission frequently ruled in favor of ripped-off homeowners, it had no enforcement power at all - meaning homeowners rarely got their homes fixed.

Perry's entire career as governor is marked by a history of similar handouts to his top donors. In 2005, he signed an executive order to speed approval for 17 new coal-fired power plants that would drive the state's carbon footprint past that of Florida, California and New York combined. Eleven of the plants were slated to be built by TXU, a million-dollar donor. Then there was the chicken-farming king Lonnie Pilgrim, who once handed out $10,000 checks on the floor of the Texas legislature in advance of a bill; he gave more than $600,000 to the governor and his causes, and Perry repaid the favor by petitioning the EPA for a waiver of federal ethanol mandates, which had jacked up the price of corn feed for Pilgrim's business.

Perhaps the single most interesting favor that Perry doled out is one that directly violated his supposedly "conservative" Tea Party principles. One of his first big moves as governor was to back the Trans-Texas Corridor, a $175 billion project to privatize the state's highways. This was to be the mother of all public-works projects, a 4,000-mile highway network, at some points four football fields wide, that would also include commuter rails, freight rails and telecom pipelines. The TTC, in essence, was the ultimate Tea Party nightmare, a massive public boondoggle that would have created a huge network of new tolls and required a nearly unprecedented use of eminent domain to help the state seize nearly 500,000 acres of land from ranchers and farmers.

Though most of the project was shot down by the state legislature, Perry did manage to push through several parts of it, most notably a few stretches of new highway construction around Houston and Dallas. Some of the beneficiaries of those projects were American firms that had donated lots of money to Perry and the governors association, like Williams Brothers Construction ($621,000), Parsons Corporation ($410,000) and JP Morgan Chase ($191,000). But another beneficiary was a Spanish firm called Cintra, part of a consortium that won the development rights for the original TTC project.

Cintra's involvement was an obvious case of revolving-door politics. A Cintra consultant named Dan Shelley left private practice in 2004 and joined the Perry Politburo that same year, working as the governor's legislative liaison during the time Cintra was in line to win the multibillion-dollar project. A year later, Shelley went back to private practice, earning more than $50,000 in consulting fees from Cintra once he left "public" office.

Cintra ultimately received about $5 billion in contracts from the state to develop three major highway projects, one of which, a toll road in central Texas, is one of the few surviving remnants of the hated TTC. On another Cintra highway, the North Tarrant Express near Fort Worth, the state ponied up $570 million to subsidize the project and permitted Cintra to recoup its investment by building toll lanes for drivers who want to bypass the free lanes. That means future generations of Texans who are in a hurry to get somewhere will have the pleasure of being able to jump on a toll lane they already paid taxes to help build. It turns out you can mess with Texas after all.

That's if the road ever gets finished. Cintra received a similar contract to run a toll road in Indiana, but it soon ran into financial problems and had to jack up tolls to pay for the $3.8 billion project. In Texas, Cintra will have some latitude to raise rates on its roads, and if you don't like it, well, fuck you. "What are we going to do - go complain to a board in Spain?" says Terri Hall, founder of an advocacy group called Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom that fought the highway deal.

In addition to the highway contract with Cintra, Perry this year signed a bill written in part by a lobbyist for a British firm called Balfour Beatty, paving the way for the state to sell virtually everything that isn't nailed down to anyone - foreigners included. The bill, Hall says, allows "all public buildings, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, ports, mass transit projects, telecommunications, etc. to be sold off to corporations." Even more incredibly, the bill authorizes companies to borrow money from the state, which will also help secure their debt. In other words, Perry passed a bill under which a foreign company could theoretically borrow money from Texas taxpayers to buy the taxpayer's own state property back from him, at a discount!

But the most treasonous Perry deal of all came when he tried to do a macabre favor for his political hero, former senator Phil Gramm. Gramm gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Perry's campaign, essentially emptying the remnants of his own campaign war chest into Perry's when he left public office and went to work for the Swiss bank UBS. In 2002, Gramm came to Perry's administration with a proposal that would allow the bank to take out life insurance policies on retired Texas teachers. Under the deal, UBS would collect on the policies of the teachers when they died, and reward the state with a small cut for arranging the wagers. Teachers who balked at letting UBS profit from their death were reportedly to be paid $100 to sign on the dotted line. The state insurance commissioner, a Perry appointee, approved a special waiver to allow the deal to go through, but the project collapsed after a media backlash.

To recap: Rick Perry sold the right to tax Texas highway drivers to Spanish billionaires, let a British firm write a law authorizing the sale of virtually all Texas state property to foreign corporations, and tried to literally sell the lives of retired Texas schoolteachers to a Swiss bank. Yet he's somehow built a reputation in the national media as a fist-shaking America-first nativist, with a Tea Partier's passion for small government. How Perry has managed to sell this fictional version of himself is a testament to the extraordinary power of marketing over reality in our modern political system. In fact, his entire career is a profound testament to our nagging collective inability, or perhaps unwillingness, to distinguish between what a politician says and what he actually does.

"People are like, 'He wears a red shirt, he must think like I do,'" says Medina, Perry's Tea Party opponent. "It's 'you're Christian, I'm Christian, we must believe the same.'"

For a long time, perry masterfully exploited this basic weakness of the American voter. As he prepared his run for the White House, he took loud and drastic steps to plant flags in both of the main camps of the Republican Party base, making sure there was an extensive record of Tea Party-friendly remarks attached to his name, as well as lots of file footage of him cozying up to prominent evangelicals. He accomplished the former task mainly through his book, Fed Up!, an impressively shameless volume of avalanching self-congratulatory horseshit that lays the indignant Tea Partyisms on so thick, one imagines Perry wearing a tricorner hat as he dictates to his ghost writer. "We are tired of being told how much salt we can put on our food, what windows we can buy for our house, what kind of cars we can drive," Perry writes. "We are fed up with bailout after bailout and stimulus after stimulus... the government picking winners and losers based on circumstance and luck."

Nowhere in the book, of course, does it mention that Perry, who famously refused Obama's stimulus money and blasted the administration for reckless borrowing and creating "zero jobs," greenlighted two gigantic stimulus programs of his own. Both the $200 million Emerging Technology Fund and the $363 million Texas Enterprise Fund were little more than crude vehicles for repaying campaign donors with state aid. The state has also given millions in handouts through the Texas Film Commission, paying for TV commercials for Fortune 500 firms like Walmart.

Perry, who consistently criticizes Obama for borrowing to pay for his stimulus, even paid for the Texas Enterprise Fund in part by borrowing $161 million from the state's unemployment insurance fund - meaning he took money from the paychecks of blue-collar workers and turned it into millions in welfare grants for companies like Lockheed Martin, Texas Instruments and Hewlett-Packard. Ironically, Texas is now running out of money to pay for unemployment claims - including those laid off by companies receiving grants from the Texas Enterprise Fund.

But despite the fact that Perry does a lot of exactly what he decries in his book, there are still plenty of Tea Partiers who profess fierce loyalty to him. The odd thing is that while being uncompromising and morally absolutist is normally one of the key features of the entire Tea Party movement, some of the same true believers who were willing to risk a national default rather than borrow one single dollar over the debt limit suddenly become long-view-taking pragmatists when it comes to Perry. "Ideology is wonderful in principle," says Toby Marie Walker, a Tea Party leader in Waco, sounding more like Barack Obama than John Birch. "But it's not practical in politics."

Walker says she gives Perry credit for changing course when there was a public outcry over some of his less-than-classically-conservative policies - including his use of eminent domain (he later signed a bill restricting it) and his HPV vaccine order (which he has since renounced as a "mistake"). Admitting your mistakes, says Walker, is "valuable to have in a leader."

When I point out that Perry essentially repeated the same "mistake" this year, signing a bill mandating shots of a meningitis vaccine (made by Novartis, a $700,000 donor) for every college freshman in the state, Walker suddenly changes tack and defends the move as good policy. "You can opt out of a shot - you cannot opt out of meningitis," says Walker, joking that I'm giving the governor a hard time for forcing people to avoid cancer. When I ask how that is any different from Obama forcing people to buy health insurance, she again points to the "optional" nature of Perry's executive orders. "I can't opt out of Barack Obama's health care plan," she says.

In point of fact, students can "opt out" of Perry's vaccines only if they obtain a conscientious-objection form from the Texas Department of State Health Services, and renew it every two years - which, if nothing else, is an entertainingly surrealist take on the Tea Party doctrine of limited government.

In any case, my discussion with Walker is predictably pointless. When I ask about Perry selling stretches of already-paid-for highway to foreigners, Walker replies, "We need another road." When I ask about Perry trying to force Texans to pay tolls to an unaccountable Spanish corporation, the answer is, "I don't have a problem paying for upkeep."

When you start hearing Tea Partiers say they don't mind paying taxes, you know the matter has exited the realm of the logical. Medina, who took an impressive 18 percent of the vote in her primary race against Perry, says some Republican voters are so focused on beating Barack Obama that they can't see the truth about a big-government machine politician like Perry.

"You have to want to know," she says. "And it's easier not to."

As befits any Texas politician, Perry has always been at least superficially religious, growing up in the same Methodist tradition as George W. Bush. But like his relatively late conversion to extreme anti-tax/Tea Party rhetoric, Perry's decision to throw in with the truly loony sect of evangelicals only came very recently, after a prayer meeting with two crazy-ass pastors, Tom Schlueter of Arlington and Bob Long of San Marcos, in his office in 2009. According to The Texas Observer, Schlueter had received a "prophetic message" the day before this visit from a local Christian soothsayer named Chuck Pierce, instructing him to "pray by lifting the hand of the one I show you that is in the place of civil rule." Meaning Perry, apparently.

The governor bought the act, paving the way for his impressive slate of primary-season pandering to evangelicals this year. The big ploy was an early-August stadium God-tacular called "The Response," in which Perry invited Christian leaders - featuring a heavy concentration of Rapture merchants and End Timers - to pack into Reliant Stadium in Houston to read the Good Book and "respond" to wayward America's departure from proper Christian values. Perry surely scored points with evangelicals everywhere by brazenly using state resources to promote the event, which his office unironically described as "a nondenominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting." And his performance in front of the crowd of 30,000 evangelicals was strong stuff. He smiled through his perfect tan and repeatedly clasped his hands together for rhetorical emphasis as he read from the Book of Joel: "Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning!"

The choice of reading was no accident, as the Book of Joel is very popular with the two preachers who shared the stage with Perry that night, Alice Patterson and C.J. Jackson, both bigwigs in the extremist movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation. In fact, followers of NAR sometimes refer to themselves as "Joel's Army." They believe Joel describes how God is coming back to set up a "kingdom on Earth" with a church that will be "organized more as a military force with an army, navy and air force," to dispense justice and set shit straight with all of us nonbelievers before the second coming of Jesus.

NAR literature dwells endlessly on the need to conquer the so-called "seven mountains" of earthly culture, including the media, Hollywood and Congress, so all the Democrats and relativist comics and other satanic forces can be purged on time before the Great End. These people are completely nuts, and quite obviously expect Perry to start filling the cattle cars for them as soon as he gets elected.

Watching Perry addressing the crowd, several questions naturally came to mind. One was, "Does he really believe this stuff?" But another one was, "Would it matter if he did?" After all, there are times in life when insanity is indistinguishable from cynicism. A man who will take money to greenlight a dangerous nuclear-waste dump that might blow up 30 years from now is not much different from the guy who doesn't balance his checkbook because he thinks Armageddon is coming before the end of the quarter. In both cases, the long view doesn't matter.

That is why Rick Perry is so dangerous. He represents the ultimate merger of nihilistic short-term corporate calculation and rightist apocalyptic extremism. He is a politician willing to do absolutely anything for a buck today, playing to a demographic of millions willing to walk off a cliff en masse tomorrow. In a Rick Perry White House, there will not be much planning for a rainy-day future.

Perry's run for the White House as a small-government Tea Party conservative is one of the all-time great marketing scams, a breathtaking high-wire act by a man who if nothing else certainly has the gigantic balls required for the most powerful job in the world. But it's an act that should have ended after just a few steps down the rope, when he slipped up in the Orlando debate and told the truth.

Among other attacks that night, Perry was taking criticism for his decision back in 2007 to order all sixth-grade girls in Texas to be inoculated against HPV - specifically, with three shots of Gardasil vaccine, a Merck product that sells for a tidy $120 a shot. Michele Bachmann, who not only hates the move as an intrusive use of state power but probably also because it interferes with God's ability to administer punitive cancers to dabblers in extramarital sex, blasted Perry for delivering such a blatant favor to his corporate buddies at Merck. "We cannot forget that in the midst of this executive order, there is a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate," she said, pointing out that Perry's former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for Merck.

Perry's response was telling. "It was a $5,000 contribution that I had received from them," he said. "I raised about $30 million. And if you're saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I'm offended."

The Orlando crowd applauded nervously, not quite grasping what Perry had just said. Had the debate taken place in Austin, however, the crowd would have erupted in knowing laughter. Rick Perry, as any Texan knows, does not roll over for 5,000 measly dollars. He charges a hell of a lot more than that. The price tag varies, of course, depending on the favor. Based on the donations Perry has collected, it costs an average of $39,354 to buy a seat on the board of a state university. Landing a state road project runs about half a million, while creating an entire government commission specifically designed to protect your business interests will run you more than $13 million.

We thought Bush was the worst thing Texas ever gave to America. But if Rick Perry wins the White House, it won't be long before we're all remembering crazy-ass W. and his loony Iraq crusade with something like fondness. Bush, for all his flaws, actually believed in something, and was filled with humanity - negative humanity, mostly, but it was there all the same. Good ol' George, the ex-drunk who loved football, couldn't speak English, choked on his pretzels and sincerely wanted to save Iraq from itself!

There were lines even George Bush wouldn't cross, but we don't know any that exist for Rick Perry. Imagine what he could charge for abolishing the EPA, or selling Mount Rushmore to the Sultan of Brunei. And while he may have slipped in the polls, he's far from done. In this country, you never count out the lowest common denominator, especially when it knows how to raise money.

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+73 # Barbara K 2011-10-28 09:56
We don't need nutty people putting bigger idiots in a government they don't even like. Get rid of them. We want people who want our government to be a success, not one to make the people suffer while they destroy us and our country. The only thing the Rick Perrys of the government worship is money.

NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN !!
 
 
+12 # Rita Walpole Ague 2011-10-28 11:31
In a massive, way underestimated in number by the 'mess' media protest in San Francisco in '03, happening as we were about to enter into the lied into Iraq Oil War, I walked next to a good and Godly, supportive Franciscan priest, holding high my sign: BUSH, PUPPET WHORE, NO MORE WAR!!!

Sorry to disappoint you, Barbara K, but while the Kochsucking puppet whores predominate now in the G.O.P., particularly in their Toilet Paper (Tea Party) Kochsucking segment, more than just a small amount of taking over in the Dem. (too often these days, jackass) Party has occured.

And, tragic and then some, third party, real true servers of the 99% are most likely in these election fraud, death by Diebold and disenfranchised days, are not going to get into office, but rather are going to allow the skamming into office of yet more puppet whores.

The only solution that I can figure out is returning the one person/one vote m.o., with each vote paper trailed and immediately counted and publicly shown, of course by and through an anonymous 'vote tab' number. And, if and when we get real McCoy people servers into office vs. bought out Kochsuckers, we need to enact heavy penalites (i.e. mandatory sentencing) for election frauders, etc.

In the meantime, plese consider adding to your logo: ...OR FOR PHONEY DEMS!
 
 
+7 # IndyTexan 2011-10-28 12:50
Hear hear ritaague. We need a full fledged transpartisan movement of Wallstreeters to tea party independents to bust up the two-party monopoly. Then we can go back to fighting again on a level playing field. IndyAmericas.co m
 
 
+1 # AJJax 2011-10-31 22:00
I loves me some Matt Taibbi snark. awesome article.
 
 
+9 # Rara Avis 2011-10-28 10:06
I'm supporting Warren G. Harding this time around. I did like Perry inititally, as he crushed all the porcelin in the American political civility China Shop in just his first week, I find Harding much more congenial, he's very quiet, will cause no trouble and he'll be very predictable and safe for voters in 2012.
 
 
+16 # GeeRob 2011-10-28 11:19
Some voters around here need a sense of humor AND history. Loved your post.
 
 
+1 # RSJ 2011-10-31 15:14
I bet Harding would still find a way to sell off the White House china, even if he's dead. But I disagree: I think even that larcenous lout Harding had more on the ball than Rick "Lookit My Big Gun, Y'All" Perry.
 
 
+64 # Bill Clements 2011-10-28 10:52
Another mind-boggling book-length expose by Taibbi. Anyone who thought they had a fairly good grasp on Perry will no doubt be throwing that perception into the garbage. My God, the fact that this is someone who the GOP is putting front and center as a serious candidate for President of the U.S. should tell you far more than you need to know about just what this party stands for these days. If the Mafia were a political party, they'd be hardput to best the GOP on corruption.
 
 
+20 # jimyoung 2011-10-28 11:08
An Argentine pilot offered that American elections have become auctions. I'd add that the restrictions on bids are gone and there are layers of hidden agents to mask where the bids are coming from (especially when they transfer money from ones required to report donations to others who bundle or otherwise hide the sources). To me, it seems like the Republicans are sponsoring twenty deep layers of wrestlers in a tag team match where their opponents only are only fielding two. Then they have paid off the referees and have hundreds of layers of secret rules changes they throw in at every opportunity (American Legislative Exchange Council).

I'd at least like to see public results of the auction, bidders, (open and secret), major results, and the little nibbles they sneak in while people are distracted by MSM stories seemingly timed to distract (though more likely held in reserve to quickly release at any opportune moment).
 
 
+9 # Adoregon 2011-10-28 10:53
Mr. Taibbi writes:

And sometimes there's nothing more dangerous than nothing at all.

Mr. Taibbi may do well to remember that
nothing lasts forever. Everything else (other than nothing) comes to an end eventually.

Ergo, the nothingness exemplified by Rick Perry is infinite. Into this void the nipple brained can project whatever they want.
We see what we want to see.
We hear what we want to hear.

Oh, gosh, the circus has come to town.
 
 
+30 # Rara Avis 2011-10-28 11:07
Guess you guys did not get it. Harding has been dead since 1923 when he died in office. He's considered the worst President next to James Buchanan. I was saying that Perry is more of a whore and more lame than a dead man!

Get it? I really don't support Harding. How could I vote for him in 2012.
 
 
+18 # in deo veritas 2011-10-28 11:52
In states where dead people have been on the voter rolls, anything is possible. Now we are looking at the morally dead running for office-like Perry. Harding was typical of the era he lived in-a good ol boy to most. Typical of other Presidents, he was undone by the group of thieves he was surrounded by-especiallySe c of Treasury Mellon who was perhaps the most instrumental villain bringing on the crash of 29 by shifting the tax burden from the rich to everyone else. Just what the Repukes have been doing and want to make it even worse. Look at what Obama is surrounded by-Geithner, Summers, etc. I think Harding would be appalled by the corruption that runs amok on WallStreet and DC.
 
 
0 # RSJ 2011-10-31 15:15
Isn't Romney dead, I mean technically? He sure acts like a zombie. ;)
 
 
+18 # reiverpacific 2011-10-28 11:10
Well duh!
Perry fits the description of John "Boner" to a tee without perhaps B's quite so close proximity to the "Rapture" crowds -and the tears (I don't know about the golf).
Y'know, since Reagan, there HAS to be a bad-actor but-good-enough -to-fool-the-un informed, performance aspect to any aspiring political discourse, especially on the right and even more so with those who are of a march-in-"Halle lujah", unquestioning, tunnel-vision, lock-step religious (as opposed to deeply personal spiritual) persuasion.
How the hell else could the likes of Perry, Palin, Cain, and Barfmann to name but a few even get their faces out there and be taken even a little-bitty seriously?
I know that some extreme and looney-tunes parties pop up in the UK but they, except for the Britsh-National ist quasi-Mosley-Fa scist crowd, not a significant one: the rest are more silly than dangerous and usually lose their small deposit required to run for office.
This is the only country I can think of that the likes of the current Repub' mob could get enough of a listening -or more likely, watching- potential base including the sponsored- backed means to run?
I mean, I just heard that Koran- burning Pastor Terry Jones is now running for president.
Sheesh!
I suppose you could interpret that as "freedom" if you have the $ and cojones to run -but Only in America!
 
 
+10 # in deo veritas 2011-10-28 11:56
These nitwits waiting for rapture will get rupture instead. They are too deluded to realize that they are part of the problem and not the innocent. When they leave the world either now or much later they will be in for a rude awakening. Unlike what Lincoln said- God didn't love fools because He created so many of them. They were made by our corrupt society not born that way.
 
 
+32 # Isar 2011-10-28 11:11
Thank you Matt Taibbi. This article should be required reading for all Republicans. Unfortunately, most of them probably don't read more than four or five sentences per week. That's why they watch Fox News. Yes, we thought we couldn't get anything worse than Dubya....and then along comes "worse"...right ? Several trustworthy Texans warned us about Dubya...Molly Ivens did over and over again in her columns, but Dubya got elected anyway. Molly was being read by liberals...Cons ervatives didn't read her columns...and certainly didn't read her book, "Bushwacked"... .So....that's the problem with in-depth articles like this one. Who was it that said of Mozart "Too many notes?" In a word, one can bring Rick Perry down to simply "Stupider!"
 
 
+21 # ABen 2011-10-28 11:20
Just what the country needs--another witless, swaggering Texan to attract the ah-shucks, dumb-like-me voter.
 
 
+6 # MicheleB 2011-10-29 21:50
Quoting ABen:
Just what the country needs--another witless, swaggering Texan to attract the ah-shucks, dumb-like-me voter.


Thanks for the big bear-paw swipe. We aren't all witless, don't all swagger, and most of us gave up "aw-shucks" with the Beverly Hillbillies. In fact, ABen, very few of us have tumbleweeds in our front yards or oil wells in our backyards. And contrary to uninformed, popular opinion, Texas is not a uniformly red state. There's a lot of blue around here. We despise Rick Perry and wouldn't wish him on our worst enemies. Oh, and when he gets trounced -- as he inevitably will -- don't forget to say Thank you to those of us who will have to take on on the chin for our country when we have to take him back as our governor, even though he is crooked as a dog's hind leg. In advance, ABen, you're welcome. (Unfortunately, those elected to state office in Texas are not restricted by term limits.)
 
 
+15 # GeeRob 2011-10-28 11:31
So, during a series of breakfast meetings, The New Republic reported of Perry "Sometimes, to pass the time, he would file his nails." Might I add "and his teeth."
 
 
+21 # SouthBrun 2011-10-28 11:46
Matt, thanks for taking off Perry's Sheep costume and showing him for the FOXX that he is.The descriptions of him at the "human price tag" is priceless. On the otherhand, Multiple Choice Mitt, is a Human Windsock.
 
 
+20 # IndyTexan 2011-10-28 11:46
As a Texan that's been fighting Perry for a decade, it amazes me that this piece does not acknowledge that Perry was reelected in 2006 with only 39% of the vote and HOW this happened.

Even though Matt even goes into much of the Tran-Texas Corridor (aka the Nafta Highway) story, he leaves out the transpartisan movement of Texans to stop it. Carole Strayhorn, then Texas Comptroller and Republican, left to run as an independent on our issue. Carole lost, but we Texans won.

Debra Medina (Ron Paul tea partier), quoted in this piece, has been working WITH environmentalis ts to fight the toxic nuke dump.. He again fails to describe this transpartisan effort.

These omissions leave us without hope that a truly transformative movement (the one Obama led in 2008) could come together -- from Occupy Wall Streeters to the indies in the tea party. Citizens must build it, not the politicians.

Matt -- you can help us.

That's what we're doing at IndyAmericans.c om. Matt - you'll love the front page picture and you need to read "OUR Story."

Linda Curtis,
IndyAmericans.com
 
 
+8 # reiverpacific 2011-10-28 12:20
Quoting IndyTexan:
As a Texan that's been fighting Perry for a decade, it amazes me that this piece does not acknowledge that Perry was reelected in 2006 with only 39% of the vote and HOW this happened.

Even though Matt even goes into much of the Tran-Texas Corridor (aka the Nafta Highway) story, he leaves out the transpartisan movement of Texans to stop it. Carole Strayhorn, then Texas Comptroller and Republican, left to run as an independent on our issue. Carole lost, but we Texans won.

Debra Medina (Ron Paul tea partier), quoted in this piece, has been working WITH environmentalists to fight the toxic nuke dump.. He again fails to describe this transpartisan effort.

These omissions leave us without hope that a truly transformative movement (the one Obama led in 2008) could come together -- from Occupy Wall Streeters to the indies in the tea party. Citizens must build it, not the politicians.

Matt -- you can help us.

That's what we're doing at IndyAmericans.com. Matt - you'll love the front page picture and you need to read "OUR Story."
Linda Curtis,
IndyAmericans.com

"IndyTexan" Thanks for that information; -I admire y'r moxie in fighting that state's administration which the late, great Molly Ivins called "The University of Bad Government".
 
 
+7 # IndyTexan 2011-10-28 12:31
Thanks a bunch -- is that you, Matt? Whoever you are, Americans need to hear our story from the "horse's mouth,", not the horse's ass - Rick Perry. Linda Curtis, IndyAmericans.c om
 
 
+4 # IndyTexan 2011-10-28 12:47
Well duh (on me), I see you are reiverpacific. We baby boomers must work hard to keep up!
 
 
0 # Cliff 2011-10-31 19:21
Yes, isn't it foolish that we elect someone with less than 50% of the vote?

I live in Austin, an island in Texas and voted against Perry every time.
 
 
+11 # russinaustin 2011-10-28 11:54
He: "Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?"
She: "Well, possibly."
He: "Would you sleep with me for five dollars?
She: "Of course not; what do you think I am?
He: "We've settled that; now we're just haggling over price."
 
 
+7 # Doubter 2011-10-28 15:02
George Bernard Shaw, if I remember correctly.

Wonderful rant by Matt. I hope some undecideds read it.
 
 
+16 # Laurence Glavin 2011-10-28 12:07
This was a great article, and nothing in it surprises me. Next, Matt needs to provide endless amusement to his readers by chronicling how Texas taxpayers will now haqve to subsidize Formula 1 Racing by building a track for same near Austin. The CEO of Formula 1 Racing has two daughters who are poster children for wretched excess. One has just bought the former Aaron Spelling estate for 85 million dollars; the other is installing a 1-million-dolla r crystal bathtub in her mansion, and was recently photographed literally swimming in dollar bills!
 
 
+4 # IndyTexan 2011-10-28 12:28
Hi Laurence, this is Linda Curtis from IndyAmericans.c om. I also work with ChangeAustin.or g that led the fight against the F1 subsidy. The fight ain't over yet, by the way, if we, and former County Judge and now mad dog attorney, Bill Aleshire, have anything to say about it. Make sure to read TheAustinBullDo g.org, assuming you're an Austinite. Best!
 
 
+1 # Laurence Glavin 2011-10-28 14:20
I'm from near Boston, which makes me a "Bostonite"?
 
 
+5 # lincolnimp 2011-10-28 12:08
OK...I've just been struck by the feeling that someone has kidnapped Barack Obama. It's starting to make sense... the ineffectual guy parading around is some B actor making a quick buck and the guy I voted for is tied up in some dank dungeon. Think about it for a while.
 
 
+5 # Doubter 2011-10-28 15:06
I've thought he had a gun pointed at his head or at his family; but he seems to be sincere in his betrayal.
 
 
+19 # TomDegan 2011-10-28 12:30
Rick Perry had so much going for him. Until he opened his mouth.

The deeply disturbing similarities to George W. Bush aside, Rick Perry has also got that Ronald Reagan thing happening, have you noticed that? Good hair, telegenic, sunny disposition, smooth talker - and dumber than an empty box of Rice Crispies. Ronnie with a Texas twang. The perfect candidate in this era of soundbites and snake oil.

http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

Tom Degan
 
 
+22 # fredboy 2011-10-28 12:43
The Perry just came to Florida, touting the same job promises as our current tea nightmare governor, Rick Scott. I call them the Ricks. Both bullshit artists, yet the fools here are lining up at the trough.
 
 
+12 # TexasToast 2011-10-28 13:51
To continue the story...this just in from the Texas Tribune:
Regents’ Potential Conflicts of Interest to Receive More Scrutiny

"Legislators and other concerned groups are preparing for a thorough review of the conflict of interest policies — or lack of policies — that apply to regents of the state’s public university systems." (http://www.texastribune.org/

The corruption is everywhere in this state...and Taibbi is absolutely right that all these positions have been up for sale during Gov. Goodhair's term.
 
 
+13 # peanut123 2011-10-28 15:06
Rick Scott, governor of Florida, believes Rick Perry is wonderful and that Florida should follow his lead in all things. Please save us!!
 
 
+10 # qasee 2011-10-28 15:12
I'm afraid this is the future of America.
The way corporate money controls politics, this guy is the perfect candidate for president. I won't be surprised if he gets the office through our "fair and balanced" election process.
 
 
+12 # rhgreen 2011-10-28 16:45
OK Perry may be worse than "W", but in many of the traits described here the two of them are a lot alike. Which raises the question "What is it about Texas that produces politicians like them?" Is it the Scots-Irish Appalachian culture moved west? (Read Joe Bageant's 'Deerhunting with Jesus'.) Is it the birth of Texas from a US invasion of & land-grab from another country? (That was Abe Lincoln's and Ulysses S. Grant's opinion of the Mexican War.) Is it the warped Southern Baptist religious culture in which limp unread bibles are waved from pulpits? (Read Harold Bloom's 'The American Religion'.) Or is it that Texans are wounded by the oft-repeated Alaska joke about the Alaskan who told the Texan to shut up or Alaska would cut itself in half and make Texas the third largest state?
 
 
-5 # Paul Scott 2011-10-29 12:06
Perry is simply a true republican political christian, he represents himself; not that much difference from a democratic political christian.
 
 
+6 # MicheleB 2011-10-29 22:21
I live in Texas. I am not a Republican. I did not vote for Rick Perry -- ever.

But, for all of the rest of the country who doesn't know much about us, let's be clear. Rick Perry is not every Texan any more than Jesse Helms was every North Carolinian.

That said, Taibi has written a good and accurate profile of Governor Goodhair. Perry is a political robber baron instead of a corporate one. He has no true political stance. He is an unapologetic opportunist. He has been known to sacrifice his friends as well as enemies if it is in his interest to do so.

Perry is considerably worse than George Bush, a guy I largely thought was an undisciplined thinker incapable of letting his hot-head get in the way of good decisions.

By contrast, Perry is very deliberate in his thinking and constantly working all the angles to find out what's in it for him. He doesn't negotiate, he takes hostages. He doesn't free the hostages either, but simply guts and field-dresses them.

Long after he has faded from the national stage and everyone else has voted for our next president, we'll be here with Rick, wishing our state constitution called for term limits so we could get rid of him. Or maybe we'll just pray that the Rapture comes quickly and puts him out of his misery.
 
 
+5 # Buddha 2011-10-30 12:25
If the GOP field wasn't so weak and off-the-map loony-toon, Obama would be in deep trouble. It says something about today's GOP when Pat "Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for Gay Marriage" Robertson says they have to stop publicly taking such extreme positions (notice he never said they shouldn't hold such extreme beliefs, just shouldn't express them publicly for all to hear)...and when the only GOP candidate to actually state that Climate Change is real and that the GOP shouldn't be so anti-science, Jon Huntsman, is so far in the basement he is a non-factor.
 
 
+1 # RSJ 2011-10-31 15:19
Perhaps Pat noticed, with all of the natural disasters in pious Red States this year, that God was mad at the Christopublican nuts and decided to run to the middle. Not likely that he'll ever read Jesus' words in the New Testament and stop fleecing the sheep to make himself rich, though.
 
 
0 # Cliff 2011-10-31 19:13
Yes, so true about Huntsman. The things that they cheer will take them down. Can't say I like Huntsman, because he is a Republican and I read up, but fortunately we don't have to worry, because the smart ones don't pass Republican muster. Remember when Republicans used to accuse Democrats of voting with their emotions?
 
 
+1 # the_cooker 2011-10-31 09:03
Subject: The Warren Buffett Solution

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:

"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just
pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election"

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds)
took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple!

The people demanded it. That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure.

Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.
 
 
0 # Cliff 2011-10-31 19:17
Republicans always tell us to throw ALL the bums out, so I don't trust that logic. But then Perry comes along.
 
 
0 # giraffee2012 2011-11-01 01:06
I think Perry has an alcohol problem. He can't remember anything and then gives a "comedy routine"? Either he is hung over at those debates or nuts and if he wasn't drunk last Friday with the "comedy" thing - he should have had the decency to be.

Romney has no agenda (flip-flop) and Cain is a liar (can't tell the same story the same twice) and he's a real "joke"

But it's all mute.

Vote Obama Vote Dem. Get the minorities and the young registered in your area - we need them and all Dems get mail-in ballots (the GOP/TP/Koch brothers have warned us they will do whatever then can to keep Dems from voting -) 2012 is the most important election to date. VOTE or we'll have more of the same as 2010 -- and down we go.

Get out there to help get all Dems registered. Voting is still FREE in USA (and thus so are the required IDs for voting)
 

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