Rick Perry Faces Criticism Over Hunting Lodge With Racially Tinged Name

Why does what was painted on a rock 30-odd years ago matter today?

The Washington Post is out this morning with a story from Rick Perry’s past that has already caused one of his rivals to issue a condemnation:

Paint Creek, Tex. — In the early years of his political career, Rick Perry began hosting fellow lawmakers, friends and supporters at his family’s secluded West Texas hunting camp, a place known by the name painted in block letters across a large, flat rock standing upright at its gated entrance.

“Niggerhead,” it read.

Ranchers who once grazed cattle on the 1,070-acre parcel on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River called it by that name well before Perry and his father, Ray, began hunting there in the early 1980s. There is no definitive account of when the rock first appeared on the property. In an earlier time, the name on the rock was often given to mountains and creeks and rock outcroppings across the country. Over the years, civil rights groups and government agencies have had some success changing those and other racially offensive names that dotted the nation’s maps.

But the name of this particular parcel did not change for years after it became associated with Rick Perry, first as a private citizen, then as a state official and finally as Texas governor. Some locals still call it that. As recently as this summer, the slablike rock — lying flat, the name still faintly visible beneath a coat of white paint — remained by the gated entrance to the camp.

When asked last week, Perry said the word on the rock is an “offensive name that has no place in the modern world.”

But how, when or whether he dealt with it when he was using the property is less clear and adds a dimension to the emerging biography of Perry, who quickly moved into the top tier of Republican presidential candidates when he entered the race in August.

He grew up in a segregated era whose history has defined and complicated the careers of many Southern politicians. Perry has spoken often about how his upbringing in this sparsely populated farming community influenced his conservatism. He has rarely, if ever, discussed what it was like growing up amid segregation in an area where blacks were a tiny fraction of the population.

That’s largely true of anyone of Perry’s age (61) who grew up in the southern United States, though, so I’m not sure that it says anything about Perry per se, and if it does then it would seem to disqualify any white southern make over the age of about 35 or so. Racism is an ugly thing, and southern segregation displayed it in one of it’s ugliest forms, but is that really Rick Perry’s fault? I’m not so sure, especially when you realize that place names that are racially insensitive is an issue Texas has been dealing with for decades:

 The name “Niggerhead” has a long and wide history. It was once applied to products such as soap and chewing tobacco, but most often to geographic features such as hills and rocks.

In 1962, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names changed more than a hundred such names, substituting “Negro.”

“Typically these were in areas where African Americans were not all that common,” said Mark Monmonier, a geography professor at Syracuse University who wrote a book on the subject of racially offensive place names.

The federal action still left many local names unchanged. In Texas, Lady Bird Johnson, the former first lady, lobbied to change the name of a mountain in Burnet, Tex., that had the same name as Perry’s hunting spot. In 1968, it became “Colored Mountain.” In 1989, the Texas NAACP began lobbying the state legislature to change many more names, such as “Nigger Creek” and “Niggerhead Hill,” although there has been resistance from private landowners, according to news accounts.

In his responses, Perry said the managers of the Hendrick ranch appealed in recent years to federal officials to rename Niggerhead, although the name does not appear on U.S. topographic maps. Monmonier could not find it in a database maintained by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. That suggests renaming the property would be a simple matter for its owners or possibly state officials, Monmonier said.

Chuck Wilson, the manager of the Hendrick ranch, said that particular parcel is now called “North Camp Pasture.”

The operative question at this point seems to be at what point the rock containing this name was painted over. Perry told the Post that he remembers it occurring in the early 1980s when his father became one of the leaseholders of the hunting lodge, but the Post seems to dispute that:

Perry’s version of events differs in many respects from the recollections of seven people, interviewed by The Washington Post, who spoke in detail of their memories of seeing the rock with the name at various points during the years that Perry was associated with the property through his father, partners or his signature on a lease.

Some who had watched Perry’s political ascent recalled their reaction to the name on the rock and their worry that it could become a political liability for Perry.

“I remember the first time I went through that pasture and saw that,” said Ronnie Brooks, a retired game warden who began working in the region in 1981 and who said he guided three or four turkey shoots for Rick Perry when Perry was a state legislator between 1985 and 1990. “. . . It kind of offended me, truthfully.”

Brooks, who said he holds Perry “in the highest esteem,” said that at some point after Perry began bringing lawmakers to the camp, the rock was turned over. Brooks could not recall exactly when. He said he did not know who turned the rock over.

Another local who visited the property with Perry and the legislators in those years recalled seeing the rock with the name clearly visible.

“I thought, ‘This is going to embarrass Rick some day,’ ” said this person, who did not want to be named, fearing negative consequences from speaking on the subject.

Since the Post story came out, the Perry campaign has issued another statement:

“A number of claims made in the story are incorrect, inconsistent, and anonymous, including the implication that Rick Perry brought groups to the lease when the word on the rock was still visible. The one consistent fact in the story is that the word on a rock was painted over and obscured many years ago.

“Governor Perry and his family never owned, controlled or managed the property referenced in the Washington Post story. The 42,000-acre ranch is owned by the Hendricks Home for Children, a West Texas charity.

“Perry’s father painted over offensive language on a rock soon after leasing the 1,000-acre parcel in the early 1980s. When Governor Perry was party to the hunting lease from 1997 to 2007, the property was described as northern pasture. He has not been to the property since 2006.

“In 1991 the Texas Legislature passed a bill to rename old, offensive place names.”

Herman Cain was asked about the controversy during two morning show appearances today, and stated that he thought the name was offensive:

Businessman Herman Cain on Sunday called it “insulting” that the family of Rick Perry owned a hunting camp with a racially charged name well into the 1980s and possibly even later.

According to a Washington Post article that appeared Sunday, the hunting camp owned by the Texas governor was branded with the name “N—–head.” The word — reportedly on a rock at the entrance of the 1,70-acre parcel — has been painted over and the camp renamed.

Perry has said it was changed in 1983 or 1984, but others suggest it may not have been covered until later — with one person estimating for the Post that it was as late as 2008.There “isn’t a more vile, negative word than the N-word, and for him to leave it there as long as he did, until before, I hear, they finally painted over it, is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country,” said Cain, who is running against Perry and a group of others for the Republican presidential nomination.

I think we can all agree with Cain that the name was offensive, and it was the right thing for it  to have been obscured, and later changed by the appropriate Texas authorities. The question, though, is does it really matter whether the rock was pained over in 1983, 1985, or later?

I’m no Rick Perry fan for several reasons, but this story strikes me as much ado about nothing. Reaching back into the past and finding something like this was probably relatively easy for the Post reporter who wrote the story, but I don’t see how it tells us anything about Rick Perry the 61 year old man, or what kind of President he would be. Rick Perry hunted at this camp, and his father owned a lease interest in it starting in the early 80s. They didn’t own the property, they didn’t control the property, and they didn’t name the property. How are they responsible for any of this?

They’re not, of course, but this is nonetheless embarrassing, as the unnamed Paint Creek resident quoted in the article predicted it would be when he first saw it. Something tells me that, if he could, Perry would just as soon go back in time and make sure that rock was painted over from Day One. The fact that it wasn’t, though, doesn’t really strike me as all that big of a deal, and hardly worth the bottom-of-the-fold front page treatment it gets in today’s Washington Post.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Race and Politics, 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. Nikki says:

    Doug, you may be right. He neither owned nor named the lodge. However, the powers that be have decreed Perry’s candidacy must sink. And I am more than happy to throw in an anchor, an anvil and any other heavy object that will make it sink even faster. He and those like him are bad, wrong and terrible for America.

  2. Ardath Blauvelt, Hollis, NH says:

    For shame. Indeed any “anchor, anvil or…” that will sink this candidacy, even if it is hearsay, cannot be verified, goes from invisible to barely visible to turned over….depending on whose ax (anvil?) is being struck. This is the kind of thing that ultimately hurts this country — if truth can’t be found, then we’ll throw a lie, or unfounded slander, out there and give it legs. But we’re the good people, right? In so many ways, America has lost her way. It would be a good thing if we’d stick to truth and not repeat unfounded innuendo — against anyone. It’s called “false witness” — never a good thing. Shame on you.

  3. Nikki says:

    Shame on me? I’m not the one with an unfortunate association to the word “[N-word]head.” Rick Perry has to be extremely stupid if he didn’t think this one was going to come back to haunt him. And if he’s that stupid as a candidate, you should REALLY not want him as your future president.

  4. Steve says:

    This from a newspaper that regularly uses the term “Redskins” – a derogatory term for Native Americans. I guess different rules apply to the Post than the rest of us peasants.

  5. MM says:

    @Steve: Worst. Tu Quoque. Ever.

  6. Nikki says:

    @MM: Yeah. He must have pulled a muscle with a stretch like that one.

  7. steve says:

    “And I am more than happy to throw in an anchor, an anvil and any other heavy object that will make it sink even faster. ”

    Perry should lose based upon the merits, not something made up or distorted.

    Steve

  8. Jay Tea says:

    You know, Nikki has a point. As long as the ends are good, what’s wrong with the means?

    Let’s revive the “Obama’s a foreign-born crypto-Muslim” again. It’s all BS, but if it gets him out of office…

    Oh, and I heard he did coke and had teh ghey sex with this guy. Spread that around, too.

    J.

  9. EddieInCA says:

    @steve:

    Steve –

    How can you write that, with any seriousness, in the age of “Death Panels”, “Tax Cuts create jobs”, “The Wealthy Are Job Creators”, “Obama is a Facist/Marxist/Kenyan/Communist who is Anti-American”?

    Have you even been paying attention tot he current rhetoric by the GOP?

    This whole Perry thing is not much – 30 years ago on a property around long before he took a lease on it that he had nothing to do with naming.

    But then again, as an Obama supporter this time around, I’m hoping Perry is the nominee. Well, or Palin, just to see Doug and James’ heads explode.

  10. jukeboxgrad says:

    They didn’t own the property, they didn’t control the property, and they didn’t name the property. How are they responsible for any of this?

    I think the interesting thing to do is imagine what the reactions would be if the situation involved a different group. What if the word, symbol or image was offensive to Jews, Christians, or Americans? What if it was a swastika? What if it was an image mocking Jesus, or glorifying Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Che or OBL? And imagine that the candidate was D, not R.

    Would that person deserve a pass, or get a pass? Just something to think about.

  11. Jay Tea says:

    @EddieInCA: “Death Panels”, “Tax Cuts create jobs”, “The Wealthy Are Job Creators”, “Obama is a Facist/Marxist/Kenyan/Communist who is Anti-American”?

    1) It’s already been acknowledged by ObamaCare backers that there will be rationing of resources, and the decisions will be made by government officials. What does it matter what we call them?

    2) They can certainly help, and rarely hurt. Tax hikes creating jobs? Not that common.

    3) Why, just the other day I saw a welfare recipient hire three people. And the unemployed guy across the street just took out a “help wanted” ad.

    4) As I noted before, if the new standard is “whatever works,” then why not spread ’em around?

    J.

  12. Terrye says:

    Oh come on. It is not as if the South is the only part of the country with a past..hell, Indiana used to be headquarters for the KKK. The north had the Jim Crow laws. At some point we have to stop holding the people of today responsible for the past.

  13. jan says:

    @Terrye:

    At some point we have to stop holding the people of today responsible for the past.

    You would think that would be the case. But, then there are people still being killed because of the Crusades.

    IMO, if something in a person’s past is relevant to the present and future, then it deserves airing and parsing. But, this thing about a name on a rock being so racially inflamed, is going to the bottom of the barrel in order to get someone out of presidential contention.

    Even the “N’ word itself, is strangely hyped and put into the politically-correct hall of fame. I can’t tell you, though, how much that word is used within the AA community between each other, in jest and even affection.

  14. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Yeah, because no Republicans said anything like that about Obama.

    Oh, wait, you mean they did?

    Then what can you possibly imagine your point could be?

  15. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Actually, Jay, “whatever works” would be a major step up for you and the blog you write for. Your usual standard is “whatever words I can string together that might annoy someone.”

  16. John Peabody says:

    I once watched “Blazing Saddles” once without walking out of the theater. Does that make me racist?

  17. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: If you actually did read Wizbang, WR (which I doubt), you should comment some time. I’d dearly love to see you “enlighten” our readership with your superior intellect and wisdom.

    I’d almost pay money to see it.

    Now back to your kennel, lickspittle.

    J.

  18. eric florack says:

    Fast and Furious gets ignored.
    Solyndra is ignored.
    The racism of Jerry Wright is ignored.
    But this gets to the front page.
    No bias there. Go about your lives, citizen.

  19. Jay Tea says:

    @John Peabody: I’m even worse. I once cited one scene of it — “The Sheriff is a ni-(BONG!)” — in a posting where I actually stuck up for President SCOAMF.

    http://wizbangblog.com/2010/01/25/the-president-is-a-nibong/

    Someone report me to AttackWatch, pronto!

    J.

  20. jukeboxgrad says:

    florack:

    Solyndra is ignored.

    Really? Are you sure? I wonder how often WP has discussed that subject. Here, let me google that for you.

    Feel free to keep inventing your own reality. It’s what the GOP is all about.

  21. Nikki says:

    I can’t tell you, though, how much that word is used within the AA community between each other, in jest and even affection

    You guys can’t help yourselves, can you? It’s like a reflex..or something…perhaps a whistle…?

  22. Nikki says:

    Let’s revive the “Obama’s a foreign-born crypto-Muslim” again. It’s all BS, but if it gets him out of office…

    Jay, you cite this as if it is an issue that has disappeared from all thought and memory.

  23. Nikki says:

    At some point we have to stop holding the people of today responsible for the past.

    I agree. And that day will come as soon as folks agree to stop making an issue about the color of my skin and their right to discriminate against it. So someone please speak to Ron Paul and his son so we can get this party started!

  24. @Nikki:

    Just so you know, I know of no mainstream conservative that considers World Net Daily a credible news source.

  25. Jay Tea says:

    @Nikki: It’s been my observation that the majority of people who cite WND as “authoritative” or “representative” are on the left. Most of the conservatives I know look at them as essentially the Right’s Democratic Underground.

    Sorry, Nikki. I know you’re used to being able to pick the Right’s “leaders” for them, to make it easier to Alinskyize them, but we ain’t playing that game any more. Notice how the vast majority of the Tea Party people don’t acknowledge ANY leadership of the movement.

    On the other hand, you get stuck defending every single dumbass thing your guy, Obama, and his administration does. So, tell me, what the hell was the actual plan behind Operation Fast And Furious? I’m still looking for a coherent theory where it made sense to give military-grade weaponry to Mexican drug cartels, without telling the Mexican government…

    J.

  26. Jay Tea says:

    @Nikki: I agree. And that day will come as soon as folks agree to stop making an issue about the color of my skin and their right to discriminate against it.

    Tell me about it. Try going through life with green skin and purple pants.

    Dr. R. B. Banner, Ph.D.

  27. Nikki says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Neither does any mainstream Democrat or liberal. But when WND is the one putting out a press release (just last month, mind you) announcing their hire of Sheriff Joe Arpaio to conduct a **FINALLY OFFICIAL** investigation of Obama’s birth certificate…in other words, when they are CREATING the news, and not simply reporting it…one has to go with what one has.

    Would it help if I provided a link to the Washington Post reporting on the WND press release?

  28. My point is that linking to a WND story proves nothing about the right in general

  29. Nikki says:

    @Jay Tea:

    Let’s revive the “Obama’s a foreign-born crypto-Muslim” again. It’s all BS, but if it gets him out of office…

    I give you a link to someone reviving the “Obama’s a foreign-born crypto-Muslim.”

    You spout some drivel about leaders of the Tea Party or whatever.

    Doug says:

    Just so you know, I know of no mainstream conservative that considers World Net Daily a credible news source.

    Ok… how’s this?

    Now we have the Washington Post reporting what WND is doing. Just as Doug has the Washington Post reporting what someone told them about Perry’s unfortunate association. Please forgive me for providing a link directly to the source.

  30. Nikki says:

    @Doug Mataconis: What does any of this have to do with the right or left in general? Michael Moore is a leftist. He is an indictment of the entire left, but WND is not an indictment of the entire right?

  31. Nikki says:

    Also, too, are you guys also disavowing Sheriff Arpaio’s association with the right? ‘Coz he’s in on this, too, ya know.

    Just askin’.

    Edit: Now I get it. You guys saw the WND link and didn’t bother to read what was there. Ok…now it makes sense.

  32. jukeboxgrad says:

    doug:

    I know of no mainstream conservative that considers World Net Daily a credible news source.

    That only demonstrates that you’re not paying attention. It’s not hard to find examples (link, link) of National Review citing World Net Daily as if they are “a credible news source.”

    If National Review does not represent “mainstream conservative” then I’d like to know what does.

  33. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: If you’d saved every nickel you’d made in your life, you wouldn’t have enough money to pay me to read Wizbang. But thanks for the invitation.

  34. Jay Tea says:

    @Nikki: Thanks, Nikki! I bring up how most of the people who give WND credibility are on the left, and you respond… by citing the Washington Post. Thanks for proving my point for me!

    J.

  35. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: Actually, Jay, “whatever works” would be a major step up for you and the blog you write for. Your usual standard is “whatever words I can string together that might annoy someone.”

    If you’d saved every nickel you’d made in your life, you wouldn’t have enough money to pay me to read Wizbang. But thanks for the invitation.

    Gee, contradict yourself much?

    Good lord, you are so gung-ho to go all ad hominem, you can’t even keep your pathetic story right. My blog is so wretched and awful, but you would NEVER actually read it.

    Tell you what: let me spare you the anguish. I hereby forbid you from EVER looking at Wizbang. You’re not allowed to even look at the page.

    Of course, I have no way of enforcing such a decree, so I’m putting you on your honor (snicker, snort) to respect my command.

    Back to your kennel, lickspittle.

    J.

  36. jukeboxgrad says:

    jay tea:

    It’s been my observation that the majority of people who cite WND as “authoritative” or “representative” are on the left.

    Then I guess Limbaugh must be “on the left,” since he has cited them dozens of times.

  37. Jay Tea says:

    That link gives 74 results, the first page showing several from 2004. So let’s see… that’s 10.6 (call it 11) times a year, or once a month… and Limbaugh, as I recall, does a 3-hour radio show five days a week…

    Yup, he’s just ALL OVER them, ain’t he?

    Plus, I didn’t say ONLY the left gives them credibility, just that the majority of citations I’ve seen are. Witness above, when Nikki immediately goes to the Washington Post.

    J.

  38. Jay Tea says:

    But back to the story at hand: Perry says that he saw it and didn’t like it for years, and shortly after he had the authority to do something about it, he did. Good thing he didn’t wait for someone to tell him “hey, that’s something rotten, you should do something about it” in the midst of a campaign.

    In other words, it’s good for him that this wasn’t a “Reverend Jeremiah Wright” situation, where the candidate spent decades without noticing how wrong something was until someone pointed it out to him.

    J.

  39. jukeboxgrad says:

    jay tea:

    Yup, he’s just ALL OVER them, ain’t he?

    He cited them dozens of times, which is enough to prove that he views them as “a credible news source.” And Limbaugh, like National Review, is a pretty good definition of “mainstream conservative.”

    And here’s another one for you. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) cited WND in the congressional record (link). I guess he must be someone else who is not “mainstream conservative.”

    Also citing them scores of times: Power Line. But I guess they’re also not “mainstream conservative.”

  40. jukeboxgrad says:

    And have you ever heard of a place called wizbang? There are posts there criticizing WND, but there are also posts (example) that treat it as “a credible news source.” But I guess wizbang isn’t really “mainstream conservative,” right?

  41. Nikki says:

    @Jay Tea: Um…I have no idea what you are talking about here. The Post is saying that WND has hired Arpaio to investigate Obama’s birth certificate. Now…nowhere in this comments section did you state that the revival of Obama’s foreign-born nonsense had to come from a right wing source that you, Doug and other “mainstream” conservatives found credible. Sorry, but it’s too late to move the goalposts now.

  42. Jay Tea says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Wizbang? Awesome blog. Think the world of it. It’s what all other blogs should aspire to be.

    OK, semi-seriously… that particular example? My good colleague Chone (private joke) found a legit story through them, and followed up on it. They’re nuts on certain issues, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find a good one every now and then. Personally, I wouldn’t have written that story, because I wouldn’t have seen it because I don’t go to WND, but it’s a good piece.

    And my, isn’t that a familiar name in the comments? I had NO idea he’d ever commented on Wizbang! Thanks for pointing me to it!

    J.

  43. Jay Tea says:

    Back to the topic at hand: the INSTANT Perry saw that sign, he shoulda burned the whole mother-frakking camp to the ground. Because he didn’t, he has no business running for president.

    J.

  44. Nikki says:

    @Jay Tea: Yeah, I would be going back to the topic at hand right about now, too, if I were you. That butt-kicking you were getting was looking particularly nasty. And man, did you come back with some weak tea to defend your OWN blog’s reference of WND as a CREDIBLE NEWS SOURCE!

    Too funny, man!

  45. kimberly says:

    @Nikki:

    Funny how this never came up in the two Governor campaigns over 10 years in Texas? Especially while running against Bill White? Hmm, smells like the same type of vetting the media did on Sarah Palin to me. Perry has a bulls eye on his back because he is the largest threat at this time. Herman Cain stuck his foot in his mouth big-time today. He, of ALL PEOPLE, should have seen this trap coming. He’ll pay for it this week.

  46. jukeboxgrad says:

    jay tea:

    that particular example? My good colleague Chone (private joke) found a legit story through them, and followed up on it

    English translation: ‘mainstream conservatives don’t treat WND as a credible news source, except for when they do.’

    There are only two possibilities:

    A) your pal knew the story was credible because he trusted WND

    B) your pal knew the story was credible because he verified the story with other sources

    If B, then there was no need to cite WND. Your pal just should have cited those other sources. But of course that’s not what he did. Instead, he accepted various unsubstantiated claims made by WND. That is, he treated WND as “a credible news source.”

    the INSTANT Perry saw that sign, he shoulda burned the whole mother-frakking camp to the ground

    Not exactly, but it’s no surprise to see that you can hardly get through a comment without resorting to a ridiculous straw-man argument.

    No, “burned the whole mother-frakking camp to the ground” is not what he needed to do. This is what he needed to do: leave and not come back until the rock was turned over or removed.

  47. Jay Tea says:

    @jukeboxgrad: This is what he needed to do: leave and not come back until the rock was turned over or removed.

    Yeah, like Obama did with Jeremiah Wright and Billy Ayers.

    It might have escaped your notice, but that was the place’s legal name. It wasn’t renamed until Texas passed a law getting rid of a whole bunch of racist and offensive names.

    Perry could have chosen to boycott it, washing his hands of the whole matter. Instead, he stuck around until he had the legal right to do something about the name, and then did something about it.

    I understand that the left values appearances over substance, and make heroes of people who say “I won’t have anything to do with this” instead of actually making changes, but to blame people for wanting to make things better instead of washing their hands of it? That’s pretty low, even for the left.

    J.

  48. jukeboxgrad says:

    Yeah, like Obama did with Jeremiah Wright and Billy Ayers.

    I realize you’d love to change the subject.

    that was the place’s legal name

    I don’t care.

    but to blame people for wanting to make things better instead of washing their hands of it?

    Letting the owners know that he would refuse to do business with them until they removed the rock would have been exactly the proper way “to make things better.”

  49. samwide says:

    Deperryiation n. The process wherein a political figure is continually bitten in the ass until he has no political ass left.

  50. Jay Tea says:

    @jukeboxgrad: And exactly would his one-man boycott achieve? Instead, he DID IT HIMSELF.

    From Hot Air, here’s Perry’s official statement:

    “A number of claims made in the story are incorrect, inconsistent, and anonymous, including the implication that Rick Perry brought groups to the lease when the word on the rock was still visible. The one consistent fact in the story is that the word on a rock was painted over and obscured many years ago.

    “Gov. Perry and his family never owned, controlled or managed the property referenced in the Washington Post story. The 42,000-acre ranch is owned by the Hendricks Home for Children, a West Texas charity. http://www.hendrickhome.com/

    “Perry’s father painted over offensive language on a rock soon after leasing the 1,000-acre parcel in the early 1980s. When Gov. Perry was party to the hunting lease from 1997 to 2007, the property was described as northern pasture. He has not been to the property since 2006.

    “In 1991, the Texas Legislature passed a bill to rename old, offensive place names.”

    Oh, and as far as my changing the subject? I gotta admit, I did a rotten job at it. I apparently tried to steer it away from Perry and on to Obama — and then undid it with the very next sentence. But that little aside was one more example of the thesis that the mainstream media goes digging on both sides of the political spectrum. On the right, they dig up scandals — even if they have to make them up. On the left, they dig holes to bury them. John McCain’s non-affair with a lobbyist got more attention than John Edwards’ real affair. And Perry’s being held to a far higher standard than Obama was ever subjected to.

    You know, it just occurred to me that this all took place in the 1980’s and earlier — when Perry was a Democrat in very good standing. Perhaps we should blame him — and his fellow Democrats — for it…

    J.

  51. jukeboxgrad says:

    exactly would his one-man boycott achieve?

    It’s not about a need to “achieve” something. It’s about doing the right thing. Refusing to do business with and at that place would have been the right thing.

    he DID IT HIMSELF

    That’s not what “Perry’s official statement” says. It says this:

    Perry’s father painted over offensive language on a rock soon after leasing the 1,000-acre parcel in the early 1980s

    Perry doesn’t claim “he DID IT HIMSELF.” Perry is making a claim about what his father supposedly did (and there’s no need to go to hotair to see this claim, because this same claim appears in the original article). Trouble is, that claim is unsubstantiated and disputed, by a bunch of different people:

    the seven who said they saw the rock said the block-lettered name was clearly visible at different points in the 1980s and 1990s

    So I guess if it was “painted over” it wasn’t done very effectively.

    this all took place in the 1980′s and earlier — when Perry was a Democrat in very good standing.

    Perry wouldn’t be the first example of a Southern Democrat who found that his views on race made him a better fit in the GOP.

    And according to a bunch of witnesses, your claim (“all took place in the 1980′s and earlier”) is false.

  52. Console says:

    That’s a tough headline. “Perry used to hunt at niggerhead ranch.” Overall, it’s a rather benign thing, but I just don’t know how you overcome that statement.

    Do I feel bad for this being used politically against Perry? As long as the attacks come from his side, not really.
    If the attacks came from the left, then it would just be written off as another politically correct attack on white men. Because lord knows this country won’t truly be healed until white people can associate with the word nigger without anyone raising an eyebrow.
    Maybe if the attacks come from someone they respect, then self examination will go up rather then down.

  53. Franklin says:

    I’m just curious what definition of the word ‘tinged’ is used in the title of this post. I think most people would say that the n-word is well beyond racially tinged.

  54. Peter says:

    Even more remarkable than Perry’s alleged involvement is the fact that a children’s charity owned the property and kept the name in place for years.

  55. Moderate Mom says:

    It’s amusing that the Post went to the trouble to interview seven different people (most of them anonymously) about a sign on a lease-hold hunting camp. I’m trying to remember how many people the Post interviewed in 2007/2008 that knew Obama from either Occidental or Columbia. If someone here knows, please post the links. I’d love to read the Post’s idea of investigative journalism.

    I’m no fan of Rick Perry, and hope he does not win the GOP nomination. I heard enough of a West Texas accent for eight years, and don’t particularly care to have to listen to one again anytime soon. However, this really is a case of character assassination and the Post should be ashamed.

  56. jukeboxgrad says:

    mom:

    I’m trying to remember how many people the Post interviewed in 2007/2008 that knew Obama from either Occidental or Columbia. If someone here knows, please post the links. I’d love to read the Post’s idea of investigative journalism.

    Link. That’s WP, 8/8/07. 9,000 words on Obama’s background. The article cites at least a dozen named witnesses, mostly people who knew Obama a long time ago.

    Link. That’s NYT, 2/9/08. 1,800 words. This article is based on “more than three dozen interviews [with] friends, classmates and mentors from his high school and Occidental.”

    The idea that the ‘liberal’ media never investigated Obama is pure baloney, just like most other right-wing talking points.

    And since you’re so interested in what he did in college, let me know how many articles you can find from any source, right or left, that interview people who went to college with Palin, McCain, Romney or Perry. Because surely your interest in this question isn’t based on any kind of double standard, right?

  57. ponce says:

    Sometimes politicians choke on their dog whistles.

    Tragic.

  58. Jay Tea says:

    @jukeboxgrad: That Washington Post is a fascinating piece. Whitewashing the Hull divorce records and Ryan child custody records getting unsealed. More about the “atmosphere” and “climate” than about Obama, who still comes across as… well, part of the landscape. The only really personal anecdote is from his then-future brother-in-law. Zero mention of Ayers and only one passing mention of Wright.

    All in all, a fascinating love letter.

    The other piece? One quote jumped out at me.

    “He would point out the negatives of a policy and its consequences and illuminate the complexities of an issue the way others could not.” He added, “He has a great sense of humor and could defuse an argument.”

    Makes you wonder what happened to that guy, and how we got stuck with Mr. “I won.”

    J.

  59. Nikki says:

    @Jay Tea: Still trying to change the subject I see. Butt still smarting?

  60. Jay Tea says:

    @Nikki: My butt is smarter than your whole head, Nikki.

    And yeah, I messed up a detail — Perry didn’t paint over the rock, his father did. I went to correct the comment, but was timed out by seconds.

    Still don’t see the big deal here. Perry says it was painted over the instant his family had the legal right to do so. And all those unnamed people who saw it after it was supposedly painted over? Names and pix, or GTFO.

    J.

  61. Nikki says:

    @Jay Tea: This whole post was never a big deal. I conceded that with the very first comment. It was you and Doug who felt the need to defend Perry. You just got bowled over and made to look foolish in the process. Sucks to be you.

  62. jukeboxgrad says:

    jay tea:

    Whitewashing the Hull divorce records

    There’s nothing to whitewash. And as Nikki pointed out, this and your other comments are a pathetic attempt at changing the subject.

    And all those unnamed people who saw it after it was supposedly painted over? Names and pix, or GTFO.

    As usual, your reading comprehension is exceptionally poor. The article cites a named witness (Ronnie Brooks). And Perry has cited this many witnesses not named Perry: zero. And Perry has presented this many photos supporting his story: zero.

    And there’s no disputing that Perry leased a camp known by that name. Isn’t Texas supposed to be a big place? Perry couldn’t find a place to hunt that didn’t have a name like this? Not exactly great judgment on his part.

  63. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Silly little Jay. When I first became aware of your sad existence, I clicked the link attached to your name to find out who you are. That led me to Wizbang, where I spent about thirty seconds before going in search of Drano to wash my eyeballs with.

    I do love how desperate for some kind of “win” you are that you find some sort of major hypocrisy in my saying I won’t visit your site after I checked it out once to find out what it was. I guess if you’re a Republican you have to vow never to look at a site without having first seen it, depending on your masters to tell you which is appropriate and which forbidden.

  64. john personna says:

    My first reaction was to give it a bit of a pass. “That’s Texas.”

    But then I started hearing from White Southerners who said it crossed the line for them, that they would have not bought the property, or if they had, painted out the sign on day one.

    That gave me a bit of an “oh, yeah” feeling. Would I have bought that property? Hell, no.

  65. They didn’t buy the property, Perry’s father acquired a leasehold interest for hunting rights that was later transferred to Perry himself sometime in the 90s. The owner of the property was, and remains, a Trust managed on behalf of a children’s charity

  66. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    We’ll see how the legal distinction between father and son “acquiring a leasehold” and “buying” plays. For me it matters less than other people, like the game warden the local, seeing it as an obvious problem, ignored.

    As I say above, it will probably hinge on the response of other Texans, and Southerners, to the story.

  67. John,

    Either the stone was painted over or it wasn’t. It seems to me that if the Post had that smoking gun, we would’ve seen it on Sunday. If not, then it’s a 30 year old story with really thin sourcing and dubious relevance.

  68. john personna says:

    It would matter to me when it was painted out, and if it was in the 80’s that would make it fine, for me personally.

    FWIW, I was surprised to hear my aunt volunteer on her Texan experience recently. It was kind of out of the blue. She was a (white) California girl who married into the Air Force. She talked about what a shock it was to suddenly be in the land of black and white bathrooms, and blacks served at the back door. I think she told the story in the spirit of “that was so weird!”

    I’d guess that having that in their past, within living memory, should shape their reaction to simple signs, marking hunting camps. That’s what I mean by this being an issue that the southerners have to process themselves.

    And it seems some of the locals saw it in that larger context.

  69. kathy says:

    @Nikki: I think that Doug’s complacency here would not exist if he was an African American. I would be very alarmed that someone who is running for the highest position in the U.S. is not sickened by racism. The silence of the GOP towards the gay military man speaks volumes. The tolerance of such a blatantly racist name or term DOES make you a racist. If you can stand next to a group of Tea Partiers who are holding racists signs at one of their rallies, and still be proud to call yourself a member of the Tea Party, then you ARE a racist. Our mind set makes us who we are, not necessarily our deeds.

  70. Nikki says:

    @kathy: I can see where you are going and, on this particular blog, I would ask that you please don’t go there. A few here are just waiting for the chance to blubber on about racism’s double standard, as in “How come they can say “nigger” and I can’t?” (see here if you doubt me). I’m not enough of a martyr to want to have to put up with that nonsense.

  71. jukeboxgrad says:

    doug:

    Either the stone was painted over or it wasn’t.

    It’s not that simple. It could have been painted over in a way that was complete and effective, or it could have been painted over superficially, which would be a way of winking at it.

    And this thing is sitting in the Texas sun. What happens to the paint over time? It was probably not enough to paint it once. It probably needed to be repainted periodically. Why not just remove it or turn it over?

    Notice what Perry said:

    It is my understanding that the rock was eventually turned over to further obscure what was originally written on it

    There are a couple of problems with this statement. One problem is that it’s contradicted by this:

    As recently as this summer, the rock was still there, according to photographs viewed by The Washington Post. In the photos, it was to the left of the gate. It was laid down flat. The exposed face was brushed clean of dirt. White paint, dried drippings visible, covered a word across the surface. An N and two G’s were faintly visible. … As recently as this summer, the slablike rock — lying flat, the name still faintly visible beneath a coat of white paint — remained by the gated entrance to the camp.

    That’s a description of the rock facing up, not “turned over.”

    Adding to the confusion is this:

    Brooks … said that at some point after Perry began bringing lawmakers to the camp, the rock was turned over. Brooks could not recall exactly when. He said he did not know who turned the rock over.

    Anyway, if the original paint job was actually effective in hiding the letters, then it would have been unnecessary for the rock to be “eventually turned over to further obscure what was originally written on it.” The idea that there was ever a need to “further obscure” something is directly at odds with your simplification (“either the stone was painted over or it wasn’t”).

    Before Perry did business here, the rock should have been either removed or turned over. But it seems that neither of those things ever happened, to this day.

    I think it’s also important to notice this:

    Wilson declined to grant permission for a reporter to visit the camp and instructed workers not to speak to journalists.

    This tends to create the impression that as of right now, “the name [is] still faintly visible beneath a coat of white paint.” Otherwise, there would be nothing to hide, and no reason to deny access to the site.

  72. Gene says:

    You must have voted for Obama. You seem to be one of those closed minded politically correct persons. Niggerhead Oysters was one of Louisana’s top brand names which had to die because of insensitive people who try to find things to gripe about. It seems to be alright for Blacks to refer to themselves as Nigger or Nigga, however Whites are racial even to say the word.

  73. An Interested Party says:

    It seems to be alright for Blacks to refer to themselves as Nigger or Nigga, however Whites are racial even to say the word.

    Poor, mistreated, downtrodden White people just can’t catch a break…it’s such a shame…

  74. Nikki says:

    @Gene: Good lapdog…very good lapdog.

  75. Ken says:

    I grew up in the 1960’s only 40 miles from the town of Throckmorton, Texas. At that time it was one of the most backward racially prejudiced places in the state. They had a legend which they were very proud of. The saying goes that a car with some black folks stopped off and asked some local people where the local black people “hung out.” The reply they got was, “the last ones hung at that tree over there.”

    That legend is true to the extent that the last time any black people lived at Throckmorton, Texas was after a lynching that took place in the 1940’s. I was born and raised in Texas. But the likes of the crimiinal Bush family, and now this insane creature Perry and the general insanity which infests the entire state are perfect examples of why I would never set foot in the state again. By the way, I am not black.