By RAWLEIN SOBERANO
GERMANTOWN, MD (Sept. 16, 2011) — Texas is the icon of the American Dream since 1836. It is blessed with land, rivers, oil and other natural resources. Early in its history, Texas has opened its doors to everyone, from cattle ranchers and farm hands to cotton farmers and Chinese railroad workers. They built a great state rooted in the firm belief that everyone, regardless of background, could soar to the highest pinnacle of success their talent can carry them to. With education, determination and hard work, nothing was impossible!
Today that dream is a distant mirage, if you are not white with money. The state has the highest rate of uninsured children in the nation. Rick Perry gutted children services even as Texas childhood poverty hit 25 percent as reported by the Center for Public Policy Priorities. It has an inordinately high percentage of impoverished children, and he opposed expanding CHIPS (State Children’s Health Insurance Program).
Instead of raising revenue like CA did, he scaled back more than $10 billion of child support over two years, in spite of an $8.2 billion rainy day fund. It is dead last in the number of residents without a high school diploma, and near last in SAT scores; 26 percent of the population has no health insurance, though he continues to claim that Texas has the best healthcare in the country.
Texas has the dirtiest air and water in the country, suing the federal government for disapproving the state’s air quality standards. He is a global warming denier who called the 2010 BP oil spill an “act of God.” If Texas doesn’t change course, the next generation has a bleak and uncertain future.
James Richard “Rick” Perry was elected Lt. Governor in 1998 and became governor after George W. Bush resigned to become President of the United States. He was elected to full gubernatorial terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010. He announced in South Carolina on August 13, 2011 that he was running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2012 presidential elections.
A fifth-generation Texan, he attended Texas A&M where he earned a B.A. degree in Animal Science in 1972. He supported Al Gore in the Democratic presidential primaries and chaired the Gore campaign in Texas in 1988. He joined the Republican Party the following year.
Who is Gov. Rick Perry? Is he the “anointed one” to get the Republicans to win back the White House? Can he redeem the blunders and mistakes of GWB? What is the “Texas economic miracle” that his supporters are talking about? If that is real, can he do the same for the rest of the country? He was the first governor elected to a three 4-year term and the fourth to serve three terms since Allen Shivers, Price Daniel and John Connally.
When it comes to Republican claims of success or accomplishment, the country is weary and has lost interest in their rhetoric. In Texas, JRP is known as “Bush without brains.” He is your typical Texas politician in cowboy boots and Stetson hat and all. The boots and hat do not make a Texan. RWR and GWB showed us you don’t need brains to be president. We have seen a brief Sarah Palin burst, a lunatic Donald Trump boomlet, a Michele Bachmann rumble which went nowhere after much hoopla.
As of August 2011, Texas has an unemployment rate of 8.2 percent vis-à-vis the national unemployment of 9.1 percent; 25 states have a lower unemployment rate than Texas, and 25 states (including the District of Columbia) have a higher employment rate. This translates to Texas having a median unemployment among US states.
Between June 2009 and August 2011, 237k jobs were created in Texas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 9.4 percent hourly-paid workers in Texas are paid at or below minimum wage. In comparison, the national percentage is 6.0 percent. Among the 50 US states and the District of Columbia, Texas has the highest percentage of workers paid at or below minimum wage, second only to Mississippi with 9.50 percent. This is not much to crow about and be proud of.
Now we are looking at JRP. GWB and he came from different backgrounds and they cannot stand each other. He was a Democrat at one time and the Texas chairman for Al Gore’s presidential race in 1988, a possible source of contention for GOP hardliners. He is a strong proponent of anti-sodomy law that was struck down by the Texas Supreme Court in Lawrence vs Texas. He dismissed the court decision as the result of “nine oligarchs in robes.” He designated as “emergency legislation” a bill requiring all women seeking abortion to have sonograms first, requiring doctors to tell a woman the size of her fetus’ limbs and organs, even if she doesn’t want to know.
The physician must also provide the woman an image of the fetus and must listen to the sound of its heartbeat. He is a stimulus hypocrite who loudly criticized federal recovery money but changed his tune when Texas was ravaged by wildfires, begging for federal dollars to fight them ($2 billion) and used another $10 billion of stimulus money to balance his state budget.
JRP wants to repeal the 16th (federal income tax) and 17th amendments (direct election of senators) to the Constitution. If he had his way, the federal government would be stripped of its ability to fund highway construction project, food inspection and the military.
On Medicaid, in addition to stripping 3.6 million low-income Texans of their healthcare, his proposal could hurt the state’s budget deficits. Opting out of Medicaid would take billions out of the state economy that supports hospitals and other providers while forcing them to swallow the cost of care for the uninsured individuals. He describes Social Security as “a crumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal.” He likened it to an illegal Ponzi scheme, suggesting it was unconstitutional, having been enacted at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government.
JRP is good at using other people’s money (Asinus asinum frecat! – It takes two to tango). Texas taxpayers are paying $10,000 per month rent for his home outside Austin. He has declared his travel vouchers off limits for security reasons (there goes transparency) to keep taxpayers from seeing how much of their money he has spent traveling throughout the country in the lead-up to his candidacy.
He and his cronies in the Legislature raided the fund that was to help senior citizens pay their utility bills, some of whom succumbed to their death from excessive heat, but why should Perry care? Republicans are never known for helping those in need; they only help those who contribute to their campaign coffers.
There is nothing in Texas that the rest of country should look with envy. What you see as “success” is skin-deep. The jobs generated (40 percent of net new jobs since mid-2009 and unemployment remains below the national average) were made possible by the federal government even though they were low-paying non-skilled jobs for the most part.
Besides, there is nothing great about a state where 25 percent of its population are uninsured and whose governor rants and raves “treason” for floating the idea of secession, if the federal government “continues to thumb their nose at the American people.” How convenient to use the “American people” as supporters of his perversity.
The only TV station he could find to air his “treachery” is Fox News. Don’t let the door hit you in the rear on the way out. Idiot! He was elected governor three-times and served for more than 10 years. Conservatives salivate about their newest presidential hopeful. He is the epitome of far-right extremism which may excite many Texas cowboys but is frowned upon by the rest of the country.
In fairness to Texas, it has awesome, friendly, warm people. Many regret the pathetic static status of children’s services and education. Unfortunately, they have no control over what their moronic governor does. Many detest him and would have wished Bill White (former mayor of Houston) have won.
Austin is one of the best cities in the world, full of diverse, inclusive, educated, artistic, open-minded democracy-loving people. Don’t make generalizations or use clichés on Texas because of JRP. There are many progressives in that state, working hard to make that state blue again. Dallas is rather blue and ethnically mixed and has a lot of progressive residents.
Many Texans wonder why JRP keeps getting elected. And they are starting to get suspicious after what they saw in Wisconsin regarding abuse of power to hang on to their seats. Vigilance is a small price to pay to protect our democracy.
There is no doubt that Karl Rove has a whole blueprint on how to neutralize JRP, the arrogant, ignorant, bible-banging moron. His supporters tried to make light his criticism of the Federal chairman Ben Bernanke that he was joking and was simply being Perry.
Words cannot be uttered anytime one wants to entertain without some consequences, sometimes lethal. It says something about what kind of a man is JRP, especially when he causes himself to implode when he can’t control what comes out of his mouth.
If Texas is an independent country, it won’t take long for it to be downgraded as a banana republic. He was elected and reelected simply because the next “best” person was even a greater idiot. It doesn’t take brains to run for governor of the state as long as oil prices are high due to speculation and new technology allows previously untapped oil and gas fields to be economically feasible. Many Texans are appalled at what is happening to their state, but their government is currently in the hands of big business which is the Republican Party.
State lines have been redrawn to make it impossible for the opposition to win. Money buys elections and big business holds the purse strings. Republicans win because they have mastered the art of “divide and conquer.” JRP managed to win the last time with only 34 percent of the votes. He has been in office for 52 years and shows no signs of slowing down.
If you live in Texas, you’re stuck with him. But the rest of the nation should not be saddled with this fake cowboy. This country cannot afford another hypocritical, homophobic, backward liar, owned and operated by billionaires.
Rawlein G. Soberano, Ph.D. is the President of the Asian American Business Roundtable.