What can you say about an editorial from a Republican-stronghold newspaper that calls Governor Perry dumb and mean? Not mincing words, I guess.
The political behavior exhibited by Governor Rick Perry has been perplexing to many people. He often seems to revel in disaster, as when his staff reportedly cheered at the Legislature’s unanimous — unanimous, Democrat and Republican — rejection of his jerry-built school finance proposal.
Today he suffers the lowest popularity of any governor in modern Texas history. Republicans seem to be lining up to oppose him: Karen Hughes and Commerce Secretary Don Evans are rumored to be testing the waters already heavily navigated by Carol Keeton Strayhorn. Biding her time at the wheel of her own battleship is the most popular Republican in the state, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
So what gives with the governor? Why has he gone to such lengths to alienate his own base? Come to think of it, why does he so often do the opposite of what makes sense?
We think we may have found the answer.
In our experience, there are four types of people.
Then there are people who are dumb and mean. By far the worst of the human lot, these people are too dimwitted to grasp where their self-interest lies. They’re always suspicious because they believe that everyone else is trying to take advantage of them, and since they’re too dumb to figure out what’s good for them, they mistrust anyone who tries to explain it to them. Not trusting anybody else’s motives, and not quite sure of their own, they are likely to react by firing in all directions, often shooting themselves in the foot.
We would never say publicly what so many of Mr. Perry’s colleagues say privately, so we will address the first part of the dumb-and-mean equation by simply averring — as he would probably acknowledge himself — that Mr. Perry is no intellectual giant. Measuring the man by his actions, we have little need to know his IQ.
On the second part of the equation, Mr. Perry has also revealed enough of himself to make his character plain. There are people who confuse nastiness with toughness in the hope that other people will confuse them too. Mr. Perry has cultivated a reputation in political circles, and this is one case in which reputation reflects the real man.
When one considers how Mr. Perry so often does the opposite of what is in his own best interest to do, no other explanation fits. He thinks he knows what he’s doing. Unfortunately for Texas, he doesn’t. And he’s mean about it.
Kinky Friedman has compared Rick Perry to Gray Davis, and I think it's an apt analogy. Think back to when Davis when office. Here are some characteristics they share or shared:
1. Unloved by their own party, despised by the other party.
2. More interested in ruling, by force of will if need be, than governing. Not known for compromise, and not afraid to stomp on a legislative colleague who isn't singing from his hymnal.
3. Won reelection after a strongly negative campaign.
4. Presided over bad budgetary times, and increasingly seen as largely to blame for it.
Now, no one's going to start a recall campaign for Rick Perry, and they wouldn't get anywhere even if they did. But I do know that given a choice, he's the opponent the Democrats want in the 2006 Governor's race. I could certainly see a John Sharp or a Jim Turner, a moderate Dem with a fiscal conservative background and an ability to reach across the aisle, giving him a tough race. I also see it as being even nastier than 2002, as he likely won't have much of a record to run on. Who do you think the Park Cities People Newspapers editors will endorse? They're probably looking forward to writing that piece. Via Yellow Dog Blog.Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 10, 2004 to Show Business for Ugly People | TrackBack