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Perry hams it up

Published: Thu, September 4, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Jim Hightower


Lawyers will tell you that any good prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.

Well, meet that ham sandwich: Gov. Rick Perry. He’s a real ham — only not as smart.

A Texas grand jury indicted Perry, charging the Republican with official abuse of power. Specifically, he’s accused of threatening to veto all state funding for a public integrity unit. Among other things, that office was investigating corrupt favoritism in one of the governor’s pet projects.

Perry was trying to muscle out of office the woman who is the duly elected head of that unit, presumably to halt its inquiry. Leave office, he publicly barked at her, or I’ll take away all your money. She didn’t, and he did.

Not smart, for that’s an illegal quid pro quo, much like linking a campaign donation to an official favor. This led to the selection of a judge, the appointment of a special prosecutor, the establishment of a grand jury and the indictment of the gubernatorial ham sandwich.

Perry and his Republican operatives quickly denounced and even threatened both the special prosecutor and the jurors as partisan hacks who, in the governor’s words, “will be held to account.”

Thuggish as that is, the national media have mostly swallowed Perry’s hokum that he’s the victim, indicted for nothing more than exercising his veto power. It’s crude politics, Rick howled, as he turned his courthouse mug shot moment into a raucous Republican political rally.

Serious matter

Perry has hornswoggled the pundits, but don’t let them fool you. This is serious.

Again, the issue isn’t Perry’s veto, but his linking of a veto threat to his effort to oust an elected public official. His hamming it up about being a poor victim of Democrats doesn’t withstand scrutiny. The judge who appointed the prosecutor is a Republican. And the prosecutor himself was nominated to federal office by President George H.W. Bush and endorsed by two Texas Republican senators.

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker.


1steivo(540 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I wish you would focus as much on Lois Lerner as you do Rick Perry.

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2adamrussell(1 comment)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

"The big lie in Perry’s PR playbook is to dismiss these charges as a
partisan witch hunt. While there’s no bipartisan love between Perry and
Lehmberg, Perry’s indictment has been advanced by Republicans. Recusing
herself, Lehmberg referred our complaint to local Democratic Judge Julie
Kocurek. Judge Kocurek also stepped aside, forwarding the matter to a
Republican Perry appointee: Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield. Stubblefield
assigned the case to Republican Judge Bert Richardson in San Antonio.
And Judge Richardson appointed Michael McCrum as special prosecutor.

It’s hard to argue that McCrum has a partisan axe to grind. He served as a
federal prosecutor under the first President Bush. The second President
Bush later nominated McCrum to be a top federal prosecutor — with the
backing of Texas GOP Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn. If
Perry’s indictment really is a partisan witch hunt, then it is one of
the Grand Old Party’s making."


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