Naturally, Governor Goodhair is trying to make political hay out of this:
With his effort to help restore higher speed limits on Houston highways, Gov. Rick Perry stepped on the gas in his own race to remain in the Governor's Mansion.
And while Perry can expect to face scrutiny about his dedication to clean the air, political analysts say he scored with voters on an issue that will be difficult for Democratic opponent Tony Sanchez to oppose.
"It doesn't take much imagination to understand that almost every Texan wants to drive faster," said Rice University political scientist Bob Stein. "The candidate who can deliver a 70-mph speed limit to the people of Harris County will have, if not their votes, their gratitude."
And how is it that Perry got to the front of this parade? The main people fighting the lower speed limit have been the counties surrounding Houston, who had threatened a lawsuit to exempt themselves. And according to the EPA, it was in part to "the leadership of Governor Rick Perry" and others that the TNRCC plan, including the lower speed limit, was enacted in the first place. Here's Rick Perry and that noted environmental activist Tom DeLay joining EPA Regional Administrator Greg Cooke for the October 15 signing of the State Implementation Plan (SIP) that imposed the lower speed limit. Here's a TV sound bite from March 25 in which Perry says "everyone is a part of the solution". Only in April, a good six months after implementation, do we see Perry ask the TNRCC to "consider" alternatives to the 55 MPH limit. The man has no shame.
(Oh, and how nice it would be if Houston's Leading Information Source could have pointed this out as a counter to Perry's shameless politicking. How nice it would be if I didn't have to go Googling for this information. How nice it would be if we had some of that famous liberal bias in our daily fishwrap.)
Of course, our Democratic leadership seems to want to insist on handing Perry the victory:
Some Democrats, including U.S. Reps. Ken Bentsen, Gene Green and Sheila Jackson Lee, have complained about the lower speed. But it has been largely a Republican effort.
"I'm sure that Democrats are more concerned with the environment, and the 55-mph speed limit is part of the effort of cleaning up the air," said Harris County Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Schechter.
I'd feel much better about the Democrats' chances in this year's election if I saw actual evidence that they had an idea about how to win. Sheesh.Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 06, 2002 to The great state of Texas