Rick Perry denies climate change on the campaign stump.
As Paris, Texas burns this summer under a punishing and unrelenting solar onslaught, Texas Governor, Rick Perry, declares that climate change, or global warming as he still calls it, is a myth perpetuated by climate scientists who manipulate data to receive more money for their research.
Record temperatures and record drought in the northern third of Texas, combined with disastrous fires consuming the southern third, are costing the state billions of dollars but do nothing to dissuade the Governor from his far right-wing position on climate.
Perry, citing contrarian scientists, dismisses the fact that 98 of 100 scientists believe accelerating climate change is the product of man.
Or is this strictly the hand of God?
Could there be any connection between man and the damage the Lone Star State is experiencing?
The Texas A&M graduate and erstwhile farmer should have a better understanding of the problems his state is facing from fire and drought. Based on his college transcripts, he may have skipped class that day.
Whether he missed that class or not, climate change is not the only thing he is in denial of.
As he stumps around the Midwest in his race for the White House, his precious Texas is confronted with large future deficits, a declining educational system, increasing unemployment, the highest percentage of uninsured residents in the country, and the greatest number of minimum wage earners in the country.
And those are just some of his difficulties. Those and others will dog him during his run for the Republican nomination.
His entry sparked immediate excitement in the Republican race. But, as his record and recent statements are scrutinized his popularity will fade.
Some on the left are describing him as Bush on steroids. That, of course, is not flattering. But, it would, ultimately, prove to be true.
There is no way this country could survive another George W. Bush. We have not yet recovered from the damage he wrought in his eight sordid years. Electing Perry would be even worse.
Perry subscribes to the same failed policies -- endless wars, low taxes, eradication of social net programs, and privatization of education -- that caused our economic turmoil and decline. He now subscribes to huge spending cuts which will cause even more economic havoc.
And he serves the same corporate masters that Dubya served.
Even more disturbing may be his religious zealotry; his open desire to merge church and state, which is not only bad policy from a Governor, but even less desirable in a president.
His overt prayer for rain to end the devastating fires in Southern Texas could be viewed as a sign of desperation in the face of adversity. But factor in the 35% budget cuts to the departments responsible for fighting those fires and the need for prayer takes on a whole different meaning.
His recent Call to Prayer -- The Response -- held in Houston with 30,000 Evangelicals in attendance, was over the top, and the intended exclusion of some religions was in contravention of the Constitution and unpresidential.
His first campaign stops proved that he was more like Michele Bachmann than Barack Obama. His shoot-from-the-hip statements, many indicating a general lack of knowledge or understanding, have been distasteful even to Republican establishment who see him as an insensible Tea Partier.
There is an undeserved ebullience over Tea Party candidates that has vaulted right-wing politicians like Perry and Bachmann to the top of the Republican ticket at the expense of 'real' conservative's like Jon Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty -- who exited the field after the weekend Iowa Straw Poll.
It's become increasingly difficult to determine what the Republican Party stands for or what they want for the country; but Perry's isn't a healthy direction.
One thing is evident, the Republicans' have not yet found a viable candidate -- not even in Perry. Mitt Romney still appears to be the consensus nominee, but is he electable?
When the smoke clears on Perry's first campaign swing it will be obvious that he, with his cowboy bravado and uncontrolled spontaneity, is not presidential material.
The problems he's ignoring in his own state will be his demise, extinguishing his national aspirations. He is caught in a nexus between fantasy and reality.
The Governor and the State of Texas would be better served if he would return home and take care of the numerous problems that exist in his home state.
While Perry fiddles with the fantasy of becoming president Paris is still burning.
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