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Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower
3 Feb 2016
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Perry Is Peddling Texas Snake Oil


Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and get your ticket to see "Rick the Wonder Worker!"

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is less than revered back home, where he is widely ridiculed as Gov. Good Hair. So he's now on the road with a traveling medicine show, billing himself as the "Texas Miracle Man." From New York to New Orleans, he's been wowing the Republican hard core by telling astounding tales of his job-creating prowess in our state, suggesting he can do for America what he's done for Texas.

Such GOP sparklies as Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich are hailing the economic wunderkind, and his roadshow spiel has prompted some party stalwarts to tout him for the presidency, hoping he can do for America what he has done for Texas. As a giddy New Yorker put it, "We want a piece of that!"

Hold it right there. First, while the Texas unemployment rate of 8 percent is 1 percent lower than the national rate, 23 other states are doing even better — including New York. Also, his self-touted record of job growth is essentially the same as Democratic Gov. Ann Richards produced and far lower than what Texas had under George W.'s governorship.

Most damning, however, is that Perry-jobs are really "jobettes," offering low pay, no benefits and no upward mobility. In fact, under Rickonomics, Texas has added more minimum wage jobs than all other states combined! After 10 years in office, Gov. Perry presides over a state that has more people in poverty and more without health coverage than any other.

Meanwhile, the Miracle Man has dug Texas into one of the deepest budget holes in the country — $27 billion short of the money needed to cover the same miserly level of state services Texans now get. Although his party controls the state Senate and has a supermajority in the House, he was unable even to get a budget passed in the regular legislative session, forcing him to convene a costly special session. His plan is to cut $4 billion and as many as 100,000 teachers from our public education system, even as school enrollment is growing exponentially.

Do Republicans really want a piece of this kind of "leadership"? PR hype aside, Perry is so embarrassingly inept at governing that he has lately turned to prayer as his official solution for all problems. Interestingly, the 1836 Republic of Texas Constitution banned "ministers of the gospel" from holding office. Our problem these days, however, is not ministers in office, but politicians posing as ministers, literally seizing the pulpit to preach and proselytize.

Perry's praying is not quiet and contemplative, but garish public displays — Elmer Gantryism in action. In April, with a biblical-level drought and some 800 wildfires ravaging the state, his gubernatorial response was to proclaim three "Days of Prayer for Rain." The days came and went, but no rain. Presumably, Rick was praying up a storm, but not a drop fell from the heavens.

Undeterred, the gubernatorial padre simply doubled down on prayer politics. Proclaiming Aug. 6 as a "Day of Prayer and Fasting," he has invited all other governors to join him in Houston for a seven-hour prayer-a-palooza, dubbed "The Response." It's billed as "a nondemoninational, apolitical, Christian" event to unify all Americans by calling upon Jesus "to guide us through unprecedented struggles." Wait ... Jesus? What about all those Americans who're Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or other faiths? No room at the inn for them?

Adding to this PR fiasco, Perry's co-sponsor for The Response is the American Family Association — a Mississippi-based extremist outfit so infamous for bashing gays and Muslims that a watchdog group has characterized it as a hate group. So far, there's been no rush of governors RSVPing.

The governor's spokeswoman loudly insists that his Prayerfest "doesn't have anything to do with (Perry's presidential ambitions)" — which, of course, means that it does. But if this political show is even too hokey for Republican governors, I doubt that God will be tuning in.

Toward the end of George W.'s right-wing presidency, national columnist and Texas icon Molly Ivins wrote, "Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be elected president of the United States, please pay attention."

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



14 Comments | Post Comment
Wonder why it rained out her in West Texas once Gov. Ricky left the state?
Comment: #1
Posted by: Jimmy Alan Hall
Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:32 AM
Wow-so much twisted and wrong information in one single article. I would say this rivals New York Times. Congrats!
Comment: #2
Posted by: Carmen
Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:43 AM
Carmen - what information is wrong and twisted? Do you have facts that are in opposition to those presented in the piece?
Comment: #3
Posted by: Julie Benningfield
Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:49 AM
Perry is a political twin to Palin
Lightening fast pop offs
Vast vast emptiness to a job well done as a governor
Hightower this is a straight shooting article, with a great amount of FACTS
thank you
Comment: #4
Posted by: Petrifiedhippy
Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:58 AM
I have to second Ms. Benningfield's response to Carmen. It's real easy to denigrate an article with a snide comment because it doesn't echo your beliefs based on the propaganda you've ingested. It's another thing entirely to post facts refuting those in an article. In this case, all I've seen is a link to another piece Carmen apparently disagrees with. I have yet to see any facts from anyone opposing the ones given in this article.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Jami
Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:07 AM
: Jimmy Alan Hall
Why did it rain when Gov Perry left the state? God only knows; but I have a good idea; it was a sign!
maybe he should leave permanently and move to Miss or somethin...
Great article as usual from Hightower; spot on.
Comment: #6
Posted by: rose marie harrison
Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:38 AM
lol, gotta just love those rednecks of Texas, Yeee Hawww.
Comment: #7
Posted by: WoxFoo
Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:59 AM
Re: Carmen The governor calls himself a prophet--if he is a prophet why can't he fix the problems in Texas.
We don't need a religious nut in the Whitehouse.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Dan Bynum
Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:36 AM
Gov. Good Hair practices the religion of his predeccesor "Duba" in practicing the religion of "Big Business". Passing Tort Reform laws that take the word "Accountablity, Risk, and Restitution" out of the Big Business Vocabulary Book. He has done nothing to ease the economic pain felt by the Middle Class. He is Big Business with big hair and big plans to take our civil rights away! We Texans need to WAKE UP and smell the expired coffee! Stale and smells like poo!
Comment: #9
Posted by: LHENDBORNE5
Fri Jul 1, 2011 2:10 PM
He should follow the state of Illinois or Califoria. They are both rich, and have great job increases!
Comment: #10
Posted by: Vulgarmastermind
Fri Jul 8, 2011 11:01 AM
Perry is the biggest threat to Ron Paul so you take him down anyway ya can. Anyways, Perry's numbers are fabulous in the "Obamaconomy." What about Ann Richards? What kind of economy did she have? It is funny how those with jobs make fun of "jobettes." Some people will take anything right now jobettes or not. That is one heck of a comment, Jim. How many very high paying administrators' positions and extraneous teaching jobs does Texas need? In this economy, cuts need to be made. Suck it up.

Out with Barry in with Perry.
Comment: #11
Posted by: laffn
Fri Jul 8, 2011 11:07 AM
I am not a Texan, but have been hearing about Mr. Perry on various news broadcasts. He certainly seems the typical Republican / big business supporter when it comes to jobs...create low-paying jobs with few or no benefits that keep the vast majority of Americans from improving their standard of living and quality of life. The "trickle down" economics that have been so prevalent since the days of Ronald Reagan have only widened the gap between the "have" and "have nots". I'm all for people earning their own way, but there needs to be a level playing field. In today's USA, there is not.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Steve
Fri Jul 8, 2011 12:26 PM
Thanks to any investigative reporter who uncovers or publishes notable facts that allow us to see inside what is really going on in Austin and Washington. Big business Republicans have convinced the average American theirs is the road to the promised land...yet all the while they do not pay their fair share of taxes. Their statements include it is my money my genius and my effort that lifted me to my good fortune. Please remind them it was good old employees that made him money and saved him money. Those employees were educated in public school rooms, the veterans who worked for him served in harm's way to allow him to pursue his dreams without being invaded by some dictator. Yeah you did it all right but you had help.
Comment: #13
Posted by: curtis autrey
Sat Jul 16, 2011 7:59 AM
@Julie: "Carmen" says it's twisted and wrong. Ain't that enough for ya?
Comment: #14
Posted by: BaltoJim
Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:38 PM
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