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James Moore Headshot

Last Lap Around Iowa

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How does Rick Perry avoid smirking at himself? Is he completely without a sense of irony or what constitutes hypocrisy?

He talks about budget management and fiscal austerity and then puts the state in a position of spending like a fool on his security. While he decries the Congressional revolving door of lobbyists as "legal corruption," some of the richest people in Austin tend to be his friends who worked for Perry and then went out into the lobby. There are, according to research conducted by the Huffington Post, 40 lobbyists who have worked for Perry and are now making money by carrying messages to him from corporations and conservative causes.

Maybe it's not legal corruption in Texas. We tend to just think of it as bidness. But Perry is trying to be one of the serious candidates on the grandest of global stages and he thinks no one is noticing his hypocrisies.

The latest absurdity is the money being wasted on his security. The Texas Tribune has reported it's about $400,000 per month, which is likely to total around $4 million by the time Perry plops back down in his $10,000 per month taxpayer-funded mansion in the hills west of Austin. Perry, like George W. Bush before him, sees a relationship between his self-importance and the number of armed men around him whispering into their coat sleeves.

How many are traveling with the Texas governor is hard to discern. News media outlets have been trying under open records laws to get copies of vouchers but can only acquire general spending information. Details won't be available until after the presidential campaign has ended but figures reported by the Texas Tribune indicate an absurd level of spending by taxpayers on a candidate who claimed to raise $17 million for his campaign. Between September 5 and 28 of this year, lawmen shadowing Perry spent more than $50,000 on food, $161,000 plus for airfare, and $112,111.00 for lodging. In one instance, they spent $4400 to eat at a restaurant near the Ronald Reagan Library during the debate and another $6400 for plane tickets to San Diego.

Even if there were 44 of them traveling with Perry, $4,400 for one meal seems absurd when spending taxpayer money.

And nobody laughs when Perry says he'll control spending when he gets to Washington. Maybe because it's not funny. It's a bit frightening that he is pulling close to ten percent in recent Iowa polls. In the last budget Perry passed before he went north of the Red River to chase his fantasy, he cut the heart out of virtually every government program. Teachers got fired by the tens of thousands, class sizes went above state legal levels, in home care for the disabled was dangerously cut, money for state parks, already in serious decay, was reduced, and hundreds of thousands of children and indigent adults were booted off of basic state health care. (The Texas Tribune's web page, which carries the latest Perry story, includes a banner ad from the state's Parks and Wildlife Department asking the public for funding help. The budget has been cut almost every year the legislature has met under Perry's leadership and the parks system has gone hat in hand to the public.)

But there is money available for corporate giveaways like the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Emerging Technology Fund. Perry has now doled out hundreds of millions to companies that are run by friends of his who make donations to his campaigns or to large corporations that promise to come to Texas and create jobs but the work never materializes in the numbers described.

If God really told Perry to run for president, as he claims, then God has bad judgment. Or a twisted sense of humor. Rick Perry is a certifiably ignorant religious zealot who thinks the world is 10,000 years old and global warming is a hoax and evolution is a theory that ought to be subjugated in textbooks to creationism. The fact that he is given any type of consideration by Republican voters is a condemnation of their party and the American electoral process.

And Perry owes Texans millions for the money he has wasted on traveling security.

Also at: moorethink.com