Assessing Rick Perry’s Vulnerabilities

Rick Perry may be much less than meets the eye.

In my comments on Rick Perry’s entry into the race yesterday, I noted several positive aspects about him that I thought would serve him well in the battle for the GOP nomination, especially considering who his primary opposition is likely to be. To be sure, there is much about Perry and his record that is likely to impress prospective Republican voters during the primaries and, depending on the economic conditions at the time, independent voters during a General Election against President Obama. The Texas economy has benefited from relative prosperity over the past several compared to the rest of the nation. The state’s unemployment rate is lower than the nation as a whole and the state has led the nation in job growth for the past couple years. And, Perry has managed to do all this and maintain a balanced budget without a state income tax. Judged from afar, it looks pretty darn good, and Perry will no doubt make what some call the “Perry Miracle” a central part of his campaign.

It’s not all sunshine and roses, though, and behind the curtain there are several stubborn facts that may cause problems for Perry in the primaries or, if he is the nominee, in a General Election race against President Obama.

For one thing, the Texas economic miracle may be much less than meets the eye:

While Texas has created more jobs than any other state in the past two years, the increase is far less than advertised. The rate of increase is not much higher than a number of other states, including former rustbelt centers like Pennsylvania or liberal sanctuaries like Vermont.

Moreover, its recent performance is a classic case of “all hat, no cattle.” Texas lost 34,000 jobs in June, causing its unemployment rate to jump to 8.2 percent, which ranks it 25th among states and leaving it worse off than its immediate neighbors. Even as Texas’ unemployment rate rose along the lines of the entire country, the neighboring states of Louisiana and New Mexico saw their unemployment rates fall to 7.8 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively.

Moreover, to the extent Texas has succeeded in adding jobs over the past two years, most of its good fortune rests on conditions that are not replicable elsewhere. Soaring oil prices have provided a substantial number of new jobs and tax revenue since it is the nation’s leading oil- producing state, even as those $4-a-gallon gas prices drained consumers nationwide and put pressure on other states’ budgets. An influx of new government defense spending has also pumped up revenue, while the state has used oil revenue to postpone a sharp cutback in state and local government employment, which is about to hit in full force.

Texas also hasn’t exactly been parsimonious when it comes to going into debt, an issue that could well be an issue among Tea Party supporters when the become aware of it:

According to a recent analysis in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, state debt grew by 282 percent over the last decade, a slightly faster rate of increase than the ostensibly more profligate federal government. Local government debt in Texas grew by a heady 220 percent over the same period.

Additionally, another Fort Worth Star-Telegram article found that state government spending in Texas under Perry had increased significantly faster than under his recent predecessors:

When Bush was governor, total state spending rose 13.3 percent every two years on average. Adjusting the figures for population growth and inflation, that growth rate was 2.3 percent.

Perry took the reinss in December 2000. From then until 2011, spending increased an average of 16.8 percent every two years. Once adjusted for population and inflation, that rate falls to 4.2 percent. Adjusted spending figures in the just-passed 2012-13 budget are not yet available.

On the jobs front, things aren’t quite as rosy as Perry makes them out to be:

Texas leads the nation in minimum-wage jobs, and many positions don’t offer health benefits. Also, steep budget cuts are expected to result in the loss of more than 100,000 jobs.

Perhaps most importantly, Texas can’t create jobs fast enough to keep up with its rapidly growing population. Since 2007, the state’s number of working-age residents expanded by 6.6%, nearly twice the national average.

Factoring in that population growth means Texas would need to create another 629,000 jobs, or 5.6% more positions, just to reach its pre-recession employment level, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

“They have a long way to go before they get back to a positive place,” said Doug Hall, director of the Economic Analysis and Research Network, an institute project.

Indeed, as noted above, while the unemployment rate in Texas is lower than the nation as a whole, it is higher than 25 other states, including such seemingly “old economy” states as New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Maryland.

The Texas Republican Liberty Caucus, meanwhile, notes that there are several parts of Perry’s record that limited government fiscal conservatives should be concerned about:

    1. Business Slush Funds: Perry made heavy use of business incentive “slush funds” which used taxpayer dollars to subsidize selected businesses, many of them run by his major campaign contributors.  Just two of these funds, the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Emerging Growth fund, spent over $700 million to subsidize businesses to move to Texas or expand operations in Texas, with little evidence that these handouts of taxpayer money produced job or revenue growth anywhere near sufficient to justify the expense.  In fact, many of these businesses eventually downsized or relocated long before they had earned the money Perry gave them, or even went bankrupt with $25 million fund dollars like Countrywide Financial. source
    2. Toll Roads and Land Seizures Perry has never met a toll road project he wasn’t willing to seize huge amounts of private land for and then give the exclusive management contracts to foreign corporations.  Perry’s time in office has set records for eminent domain land seizures – over a million acres have been seized.  His toll road projects have confiscated family farms and torn communities apart.  Toll roads have been used as a massive off-the-books tax program, taking money from Texas drivers and feeding it to foreign financial interests and management groups which lobbied the governor for special deals which produce much higher tolls and higher profits than are typical in other states. source
    3. Forced Vaccinations: In 2007 Perry issued an executive order which would have forcibly vaccinated every girl in Texas entering the sixth grade with Merck’s Gardasil vaccine for Human Papilloma Virus.  This massive violation of the privacy rights of Texas teenagers and their parents would have come at a cost of $360 in taxpayer money per shot.  It would have been a huge windfall for Merck, which had paid Perry’s former Chief of Staff $250,000 to lobby the governor and legislature to promote the forced vaccination program. source
    4. The Job-Killing Franchise Tax: Knowing that it would be impossible to pass an income tax against popular opposition in Texas, Perry promoted the idea of a special business tax called the “Franchise Tax” which taxes businesses at different arbitrary rates set by the government.  This tax expands business taxes to types of businesses which are not taxed in most states and in many cases taxes small businesses more than large corporations they compete with.  For example it taxes small car repair shops at double the rate it taxes large dealerships for car repairs.   It’s a small business and job killer. source
    5. Scuttled the Anti-TSA Bill When Rep. David Simpson led the Texas legislature towards passage of an enormously popular bill (HB1938) to hold the TSA accountable for intrusive searches of airline passengers, Perry played a key role in making sure that the bill was not passed.   When the TSA and the Justice Department began pressuring him, although Perry had promised to submit the bill to the special legislative session, he delayed submitting the bill until it was so late in the session that it was virtually impossible to hold the constitutionally mandated votes necessary for passage.  That way he could score points with the public for submitting the popular bill while at the same time making sure that it wouldn’t pass.  It’s a classic example of Perry’s insincere pandering. source

All of  this is relevant in a Republican primary, and one would expect candidates like Bachmann to capitalize them at some point in the race. Whether they work depends on whether the Tea Party/conservative base of the GOP values experience over political purity. Based on past experience, one would conclude that purity would win the day, which would seem to benefit Bachmann. However, Bachmann’s own vulnerabilities and her lack of a record, something that Tim Pawlenty brought up and which other candidates will bring up in the future, strikes me as being a bigger vulnerability among Republicans who, at heart, want to defeat Obama in November 2012. On that criteria alone, Perry seems to be in a far better position to win a General Election than Michele Bachmann ever will be, this seems even more true considering there are already conservatives saying that the Republican nominee needs to be “Anyone But Bachmann.”

Even if Perry wins the Republican nomination, though, Republican consultant Mike Murphy notes that there are some Republicans who worry that he would be a weak opponent in a General Election:

Anyone who watched Rick Perry destroy Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Texas gubernatorial primary last year should have no illusions; he knows how to win a GOP primary. Whether Perry can win a general election or not is another matter. Most senior GOP strategists have major concerns about running a twangy Christian conservative Texan as the party’s nominee against even a weakened Barack Obama. Count me among them

The questions I noted above about the substance of the “Perry Miracle” is one of the reasons GOP insiders are likely to be concerned, another is the fact that there’s plenty of other things in Perry’s past that Democrats will inevitably bring up in a General Election:

Rick Perry made national headlines in 2009 when, during a speech to a Tea Party group, he floated the possibility that Texas could secede from the union. But the governor’s substantive ties to the neo-Confederate movement may be deeper than previously known.

A 1998 voting guide published by a leading neo-Confederate group and obtained by Salon not only endorses Perry for lieutenant governor but also describes him as “a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.” Perry’s office did not respond to a request for comment about the governor’s possible membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

(…)

Perry, who in 1998 was Texas’ commissioner of agriculture running in a fiercely contested lieutenant governor’s race, was praised by the League of the South as a “solid, conservative candidate” who would provide a “tremendous boost” to efforts in the Legislature to proclaim April as Confederate History and Heritage Month. (A few months after the election, in April 1999, the Texas state Senate did just that, though it’s not clear if Perry played any role.) On Election Day ’98, Perry narrowly beat out Democrat John Sharp to become the state’s first Republican lieutenant governor since Reconstruction — an outcome that positioned Perry to rise to the state’s top job two years later, when George W. Bush left the governorship to become president.

Perry’s office has denied that he was ever a member of the SCV, but even if this is the case Perry still has a record of promoting neo-Confederate groups and causes while holding political office:

In 2000, for instance, Bush was locked in a heated South Carolina presidential primary contest with John McCain in which the question of the Confederate flag and its presence atop the state’s capitol played a prominent role. (Bush basically punted, saying it was a state issue.) At the same time, back in Texas, the NAACP demanded that two plaques bearing Confederate symbols be removed from the state Supreme Court building. The plaques were ultimately removed (sparking a decade of litigation pushed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans), but not before Lt. Gov. Perry weighed in on the side of the neo-Confederates.

According to the Washington Times (via Nexis), in March 2000 Perry fired off a letter to Denne Sweeney, Texas commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans: “Although this is an emotional issue,” he wrote, “I want you to know that I oppose efforts to remove Confederate monuments, plaques, and memorials from public property. I also believe that communities should decide whether statues or other memorials are appropriate for their community.”

(…)

Fast-forward to 2007, when, after being reelected for the second time in a landslide, Perry invited right-wing rocker Ted Nugent to play at his inauguration ball. Nugent showed up in a Confederate-flag shirt (and toting a machine gun, picture here), prompting a minor outcry from black groups. But Perry’s spokesman went on the record saying that Perry would have invited Nugent even if the governor had known in advance that Nugent was going to wear the flag shirt; and Nugent himself said Perry called him in the days after the event and, speaking about the controversy, encouraged Nugent to “give ’em hell.”

In 2008, Perry was featured in the pages of the Confederate Veteran, the magazine of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He is pictured presenting a state flag that had flown over the capitol to Billy Ford, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans camp in Corsicana, Texas. That group’s mission statement says it exists “to preserve the memory of the Confederate soldier, and to help to spread the truth of the cause for which he fought.”

This and other things are what the Obama campaign and its surrogates would use to make the case that Perry is a far-right kook. Would it work? It’s hard to say. If the economy is still in the tank and Obama’s own approval numbers continue to sink, lashing out at your opponent like this is likely to be seen as a move of desperation. Nonetheless, it could cause independents to thinks twice, and it’s the independents that will decide this election.

On first glance, Rick Perry seems like the perfect conservative Republican candidate to take on President Obama. Beneath the surface, though, there’s a series of vulnerabilities that both Primary and General Election opponents are likely to  exploit. Republicans ought to think twice before jumping on this ship.

Update: A further cautionary tale from today’s Wall Street Journal, where Charles Dameron writes about Perry’s crony capitalism:

Among the companies that the Emerging Technology Fund has invested in is Convergen LifeSciences, Inc. It received a $4.5 million grant last year—the second largest grant in the history of the fund. The founder and executive chairman of Convergen is David G. Nance.

In 2009, when Mr. Nance submitted his application for a $4.5 million Emerging Technology Fund grant for Convergen, he and his partners had invested only $1,000 of their own money into their new company, according to documentation prepared by the governor’s office in February 2010. But over the years, Mr. Nance managed to invest a lot more than $1,000 in Mr. Perry. Texas Ethics Commission records show that Mr. Nance donated $75,000 to Mr. Perry’s campaigns between 2001 and 2006.

The regional panel that reviewed Convergen’s application turned down the company’s $4.5 million request when it presented its proposal on Oct. 7, 2009. But Mr. Nance appealed that decision directly to a statewide advisory committee (of which Mr. Nance was once a member) appointed by Mr. Perry. Just eight days later, on Oct. 15, a subcommittee unanimously recommended approval by the full statewide committee. On Oct. 29, the full advisory committee unanimously recommended the approval of Convergen’s application. When asked why the advisory committee felt comfortable recommending Convergen’s grant, Lucy Nashed, a spokesperson for Mr. Perry, said that the committee “thoroughly vetted the company.”

Starting in 2008, Mr. Perry also appropriated approximately $2 million in federal taxpayer money through the auspices of the Wagner-Peyser Act—a federal works program founded during the New Deal and overseen in Texas by Mr. Perry’s office—to a nonprofit launched by Mr. Nance called Innovate Texas. The nonprofit was meant to help entrepreneurs by linking them to investors. It began receiving funding on Dec. 31, 2008, soon after Mr. Nance’s previous company, Introgen Therapeutics, declared bankruptcy on Dec. 3. According to state records, Mr. Nance paid himself $250,000 for the two years he ran Innovate Texas. Innovate Texas, whose listed phone number is not a working number, could not be reached for comment. (Two phone calls left for Mr. Nance at Convergen’s offices went unreturned.)

ThromboVision, Inc., a medical imaging company, was also the recipient of an award from the Emerging Technology Fund: It received $1.5 million in 2007. Charles Tate, a major Perry contributor, served as the chairman of a state committee that reviewed ThromboVision’s application for state funding, and Mr. Tate voted to give ThromboVision the public money. One month after ThromboVision received notification that it would receive a $1.5 million state grant in April 2007, Mr. Tate invested his own money in ThromboVision, according to the Dallas Morning News. The Texas paper later found that by 2010 Mr. Tate owned a total of 200,000 preferred shares in ThromboVision.

Like I said, there’s much less here than meets the eye.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Kylopod says:

    >Nonetheless, it could cause independents to thinks twice, and it’s the independents that will decide this election.

    Oh, please. You should know better than to be floating that myth. It’s been debunked many times. See here and here for the evidence.

    Put simply: Independents do not decide elections. The majority of independents are closet partisans who vote predictably for one party just as much as registered members of that party. The minority of independents who are truly independent constitute only a tiny slice of the electorate and are not the decisive factor in elections. Bush lost the indie vote in ’04, as did Carter–by a huge margin–in ’76.

    So let’s put this myth to rest for once, shall we?

  2. sam says:

    All hat, no cattle.

  3. RW Rogers says:

    Let’s see…

    Bible thumper?
    Confederate cause apologist?
    Economic illiterate?
    Uses government position to secure favors for/ divert money to friends?
    Expands government power while advocating limited government?
    Expands government itself while advocating smaller government?
    Story line about the “Texas Miracle” about as true as Dukakis’s “Massachusetts Miracle?”
    Claims to support no new taxes plank while compiling record inventing new and unique taxes?
    Has a beautiful head of hair?
    College record proves beyond doubt will never be mistaken as one of intelligentsia?
    Career politician claiming to be otherwise?

    Looks like a potential winner!

  4. john personna says:

    @Kylopod:

    It’s hard to believe a study that denies my experience. What’s more, I really know that I am a demographic. We are what Kevin Phillips called lapsed Republicans. Philosophically we might lean right, even now, but that doesn’t mean it will translate into a vote. It didn’t in 2008.

    A lot of “my folk” show up here.

    (As your second (working) link shows, the growth in independents is pretty post-Carter.)

  5. Boyd says:

    Republicans ought to think twice before jumping on this ship.

    No doubt. And yet, no other GOP ship is any more palatable.

  6. Doug, you have a very cerebral, above-the-ground outlook on things, but in this case, I worry that look understated things a bit. I hiss a bit more at Rick Perry than I do at the Bachmanns and Palins of the race. Bachmann and Palin are kooks, but ultimately pretty harmless. Perry’s policies in Texas have caused a great deal of harm, and what’s worse, he’s cynical enough and intelligent enough to be able to say one thing while doing what he really wants. It’s all the worst parts of the modern GOP all bundled into one: hardcore social conservatism, a willful disdain for the separation of church and state, conservative policies that do little but hurt the little man while siphoning money to rich friends… I mean, this man is everything that we hated about Bush, in a package that’s able to get it done more effectively.

  7. Don’t forget he’s also a homophobe. And not even the modern “we need to protect marriage by keeping it between one man and one woman” sort. I mean the old fashioned “homosexuals should be imprisoned” sort.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    @RW Rogers:
    Too true for comfort. It bothers me Democrats taking this guy lightly. The arguments against him are rational. The arguments for him are emotional. Guess which wins more votes?

  9. john personna says:

    BTW, an interesting take from a medievalist on what is conservatism may be found here. He claims conservatism has gone post-modern and sells authenticity of experience over abstract truth. In this it borrows from the old liberals, who went there first. We still see vestiges of it on the left. Contradictory movements like native fishing rights and veganism can both be “progressive,” bound by their common “authenticity.”

  10. michael reynolds says:

    That said, though, here’s my Perry attack ad. Don’t make it Perry vs. Obama, make it Perry vs. George W. Bush. Use the stats above in animated graphs to make the point again and again that Perry actually did worse than Bush. Tag it with the line: “Perry: Worse Than Bush.”

    Of course we don’t want to that yet. First we want to see the battle of Mormon money vs. Evangelical money and East/Mid-West money vs. Deep South money. Let Perry and Bachmann force Mitt further right. If Romney wins go after him on his vacuity and spinelessness. If Perry wins go after him with Bush.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ten years ago, Texas ranked 25th nationally in spending per capita for Texas public schools. Today, the state ranks 46th nationally, and after the budget cuts for public education are fully implemented in September, Texas will be last in the nation in per capita in spending for public education. Texas is currently last in the nation in overall state spending per capita and number 1 in the growth of child poverty. Texas has the lowest percentage in the nation of residents over 25 with a high school diploma.

    Texas ranks 50th nationally in Medicaid reimbursement rates, and the state ranks 42nd in the nation in taxes and fees collected as a percentage of personal income. Our state is tied for last nationally with Mississippi in the percentage of jobs that pay the minimum wage.

    After the legislative adoption of significant insurance deregulation in 2003, Texas homeowners’ insurance rates have soared. Texans now pay the highest homeowners’ insurance rates in the nation.

    Texas also has the highest percentage of citizens without health insurance among all 50 states.

    Texas, it’s a whole ‘nother country.”

  12. @Stormy Dragon: Is there an actual statement, or policy position, backing up that assessment?

  13. @Christopher Bowen:

    Well, from his 2010 Election Platform:

    Homosexuality – We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, refuse to recognize, or grant special privileges including, but not limited to: marriage between persons of the same sex (regardless of state of origin), custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.

    Texas Sodomy Statutes – We oppose the legalization of sodomy. We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.

    Pornography – We urge our governmental bodies to enforce laws regarding all forms of pornography. We urge more stringent legislation to prohibit all pornography including virtual pornography and operation of sexually–oriented businesses. We oppose the sale of “Not Rated” (NR) movies and video games to minors.

  14. @Stormy Dragon: Yeah… that would do it. I’d like to see what qualifies as “conviction” in his eyes.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, refuse to recognize, or grant special privileges including, but not limited to: marriage between persons of the same sex (regardless of state of origin), custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits.

    Notice how none of the things he lists are “special legal entitlements” for heterosexuals? It is only a “special legal entitlement” when a homosexual wants it.

    They don’t even listen to themselves.

  16. David M says:

    Don’t forget Perry’s shameful actions regarding Cameron Todd Willingham’s execution as well, unfortunately it doesn’t appear that many will view them as a liability.

  17. Hey Norm says:

    Rick Perry…the GOP’s future is so bright I have to wear shades.

  18. Gustopher says:

    Texas also hasn’t exactly been parsimonious when it comes to going into debt, an issue that could well be an issue among Tea Party supporters when the become aware of it:

    No ones cares about deficits. The Tea Party cares about Democratic Deficits, but not deficits in general. Republican Deficits are fine.

    It’s not a conviction, it’s just a club to smack down Obama.

  19. Fiona says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Thanks for the rundown. I knew the place was bad, but you’ve provided even more reasons why I never want to live in Texas.

  20. An Interested Party says:

    No doubt. And yet, no other GOP ship is any more palatable.

    Which says less about Perry and more about the dismal GOP field…

  21. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I expect the Poofs For Perry contingent will be very small, but I am always surprised that the Log Cabin Republicans will come out and vote these days, so I might be wrong.

    Log Closet Republicans, however, are probably a lock for Perry.

  22. Russell says:

    Sadly one must never underestimate the power of cognitive dissonance, especially in the hands of Authoritarians

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Fiona: I help where I can.

    @David M:

    When Kay Bailey Hutchinson was running against Perry for Gov, they did a focus group on the whole Todd Cameron Willingham situation… One man spoke up and said, admiringly, “It takes a lot of balls to execute an innocent man.”

    The sad thing is, there were more than a few heads nodding in agreement.

    Texas, it’s a whole ‘nother country.”

  24. Jay Tea says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Ten years ago, Texas ranked 25th nationally in spending per capita for Texas public schools. Today, the state ranks 46th nationally, and after the budget cuts for public education are fully implemented in September, Texas will be last in the nation in per capita in spending for public education. Texas is currently last in the nation in overall state spending per capita and number 1 in the growth of child poverty. Texas has the lowest percentage in the nation of residents over 25 with a high school diploma.

    Two points, Ozark:

    1) The underlying presumption there is “the more money you spend on education, the better.” I would suggest that there is considerable evidence to the contrary. For example, DC spends the most per capita, and their schools are consistently rated as the worst. Conversely, the states that rank near the bottom are often rated as having the best schools. I’m not saying “spend less and you’ll automatically get more,” but the theory of “spend more and get better results” is NOT being borne out.

    2) ” Texas has the lowest percentage in the nation of residents over 25 with a high school diploma.” Let’s do some basic math here. Perry became governor in 2000. Today, it’s 2011. Subtract 11 from 25 and get 14. That means that the group in question was only high school age for the first four years of his governorship, and the study doesn’t cite the other seven. That makes me a wee bit suspicious of what the numbers would look like if the bottom age was 20 — which would encompass far more of Perry’s tenure.

    Further, the “Texas residents” does NOT exclude people who moved to Texas after reaching adulthood, and Texas has been a freaking magnet for people relocating from all over the country. If this study is not excluding those people, then it’s even less fair to apply it to Perry.

    J.

  25. An Interested Party says:

    Log Closet Republicans, however, are probably a lock for Perry.

    They are a curious bunch…I won’t risk breaking Godwin’s Law and talking about Jewish Kapos, but LCRs do remind me of slaves who fought in the Confederate Army…maybe LCRs think they will be respected and gain the same rights as everyone else once they help to elect that next candidate who will give them a tax cut…

  26. michael reynolds says:

    @Jay Tea:

    Let’s do some basic math here. Perry became governor in 2000. Today, it’s 2011. Subtract 11 from 25 and get 14. That means that the group in question was only high school age for the first four years of his governorship, and the study doesn’t cite the other seven.

    I forget: who was Texas governor before Rick Perry? Oh, that’s right.

    So, let’s work this through, shall we? Mr. Bush leaves Perry a bad situation in education and 11 years are not enough to transfer the blame to Perry.

    But Mr. Bush leaves Obama a bad situation on the economy and 3 years are all it takes for it to become his problem, and his problem alone.

    So, since we’re doing math, hmmm, 11 years minus 3 years = 8 years. That’s the extra slack you cut a Republican.

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    1) The underlying presumption there is “the more money you spend on education, the better.” I would suggest that there is considerable evidence to the contrary. For example, DC spends the most per capita, and their schools are consistently rated as the worst.

    so Jay, your presumption is that the less you spend on education the better it is?

    Jay. you are an idiot. Incapable of collating a coherent argument. Texas is the armpit of America. I know…. I was born and bred there. Don’t believe me? Go ahead, move there….

  28. michael reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    We looked long and hard at moving to Texas. (Would have been Austin, presumably since my wife and I met there when she was at UT.) The rationale would have been saving the 10% we currently give to the State of California. Round numbers might have saved us 50k a year (at least for the next couple of years) not even counting the difference in housing costs.

    We just couldn’t do it.

    Could not face living in Texas, raising our kids in Texas, dealing with Texans. Is it worth 10% more to live in CA rather than TX? Absolutely. And that’s contrasting with Austin. I don’t know that there’s any dollar amount that could get me to live in Dallas or Houston or San Antonio.

  29. A voice from another precinct says:

    @Jay Tea: Once again, Jay’s “impose causation where none is offered” and tortured mathmatics cause me to exclaim

    WHAT…?

  30. Neil Hudelson says:

    Michael,

    Houston is an absolute sh*thole of a city(lived there, and ran away after a year). Dallas is ‘meh.’ But San Antonio? Truly a world class city. Some of those most fascinating culture I’ve seen in an American city, and has 2 of the best used and rare book stores in all 57 states.

  31. michael reynolds says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    Okay, that was a cheap shot at San Antone — I haven’t actually been. But I have lived in Houston (fairly briefly) and would hang myself rather than move there again. And I’ve visited Dallas — slightly less heinous than Houston.

    I have fond memories of Austin, but it’s hard to hate a place where you met the love of your life.

  32. Boyd says:

    @michael reynolds: I’m sure you’d love it here even today, Michael. The only thing I don’t like about Austin is all the long-haired (philosophically, not so much literally) hippie commie tree-huggers who seem to gravitate into local government where they get to boss the rest of us around. (I mean, c’mon, in order to approve a Formula 1 racetrack 20 miles outside of town, they included a requirement to put in bike trails to get there from town, and then public showers at the track. These people are nuts!) Them, and the knuckleheads who elect them.

    But I’ve no doubt you’d love it here, as long as you aren’t overly attached to rain or temperatures below 103°F.

  33. WR says:

    @Boyd: Shorter Boyd: People who live differently than me are insane.

  34. Gulliver says:

    Mataconis – short version; “Yes, Perry has accomplished much more that Obama and the Democrats were able to do on jobs – even though they had all the power in the world and a Trillion dollars to work with – but its not enough.”

    Perry’s pinkie has more ability than Obama and his advisors together. Will he be President? Who knows… but he at least has a clue about what to do build and support an economy (the 15th largest in the world). Obama, on the other hand, is proud of spending 300 million creating a couple of hundred jobs making batteries for cars that don’t exist yet.

  35. Jay Tea says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I forget: who was Texas governor before Rick Perry? Oh, that’s right.

    Who was governor before Rick Perry? Not Rick Perry.

    The point I was making was that the statistic covers, in all likelihood, several decades of statistics… of which three years can be attributed to Perry.

    @OzarkHillbilly: Damn, if only I’d said something like I’m not saying “spend less and you’ll automatically get more,” but the theory of “spend more and get better results” is NOT being borne out.

    Oh, that’s right, I did say that. You just chose to pretend I didn’t.

    I need to keep a list of the dipshits who aren’t interested in sincere discussion. Too many of you tend to just blur together, and I end up wasting my time.

    The statistics Ozark cited have so many loopholes as to be utterly worthless, and bear the stink of cherry-picked statistics brought up only for partisan smear efforts. If someone really wanted to evaluate Perry’s educational record, they’d cover more of his tenure than barely a quarter of his years in office, and control for residents who were the product of the Texas educational system.

    But that might not give results that lend themselves to smearing Perry, and we can’t have that, can we? Better to just stick with the statistically worthless data, and hope no one spots the flaws.

    Oops, too late.

    J.

  36. Boyd says:

    @WR: Longer WR: I’m so hyper-partisan that I can’t just let people crack a joke.

  37. sam says:

    @Gullible:

    “Perry’s pinkie has more ability than Obama and his advisors together.”

    Actually, that would be Perry’s redie:

    Perry welcomed Chinese firm despite security concern

    t was the kind of scene that Texas Gov. Rick Perry will point to often as he rolls out his presidential campaign: a ribbon-cutting ceremony just outside Dallas, launching a corporate headquarters, with hundreds of new jobs, and validating what he calls his “Texas miracle” of growth.

    After a months-long courtship that included a trip to China, where he dined with the company’s chief executive, Perry announced that telecommunications firm Huawei Technologies would base its U.S. operations in Plano. In a video of that October 2010 event — now playing on YouTube, courtesy of the governor’s office — Perry praised the company’s “really strong worldwide reputation” and its chairman, Ren Zhengfei, whose straight talk he said reminded him fondly of West Texans.

    While Perry focused on Huawei’s ability to create jobs in a sluggish economy, national security experts in both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations had concluded that the global telecom giant poses a potential cyber-security risk to the U.S. military and businesses. Three times since 2008, a U.S. government security panel has blocked Huawei from acquiring or partnering with U.S. companies because of concerns that secrets could be leaked to China’s government or military.

    “Yee-Haw” in Mandarin means “What a sucker.”

  38. WR says:

    @Boyd: Way to show your keen sense of humor there!

  39. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: Here’s the distinction: Boyd knows how to make a joke. You are the joke.

    Back to your kennel, lickspittle.

    J.

  40. michael reynolds says:

    @Boyd:
    I remember 103 degree days in Austin, back when I was too poor to be able to turn on the AC. And I remember the roaches, like an orc army.

    But even back in those days, back in late 70’s, Austin was never about hippies, it was always about frat boys and sorority girls. Mean, superficial little jerks with nothing but money and drunkenness on their tiny little brains. The hippies were ridiculous and as fried as a chalupa but at least they weren’t assholes.

  41. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: I say thee nay!

  42. Boyd says:

    @michael reynolds: You’d be taken aback by this summer, despite your late-70s experience. We recently achieved a new record of 27 consecutive days of 100+° heat (shattering the previous record of 21 consecutive days), and we’re well on the way to breaking the record of 69 total days of 100+° temperatures, set before my father was born early in the last century.

    The area around the UT campus is still pretty much as you described from your tenure there. Of course, college students have pretty much always been that way, in all (US) places and at all times. And as for the hippies…well, they’re hippies.