There was a time in politics where the last thing a person wanted associated with one's name is a criminal indictment. Recently, Texas Republican Governor, Rick Perry, surrendered to authorities following an indictment for allegedly abusing his power in office. Typically, when celebrities face such actions, they find the most discreet place to "turn themselves in" and try to leave with an equal amount of discretion. Not Rick Perry. Specifically, Perry is accused of being politically motivated in using his line item veto powers to stop the funding of an agency because of the person running that particular office. According to The Washington Post, "Perry asked Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, to step down after her drunken driving arrest and threatened withhold $7.5 million in funding for an anti-corruption unit that operates in her office if she refused. She didn't leave. He made good on his promise to veto the money." Lehmberg did plead guilty to the charge. It was, in Perry's opinion, the epitome of hypocrisy for Lehmberg to stay in an office charged with prosecuting corruption, after being found guilty of a DWI.
Perry's office coordinated with authorities (and the media), his surrendering, and proudly walked up to the Sheriff's office and stopped to read a statement before entering the facility. That statement echoed a speech he gave immediately after learning he was being indicted:
"As governor, I took an oath to faithfully uphold the constitution of Texas, a pledge that I have kept every day as I've worked on behalf of Texans for the last 14 years. This same constitution clearly outlines the authority of any governor to veto items at his or her discretion. Just as I have following every legislative session during my service as governor, I exercised this authority to veto funding for an office whose leadership had lost the public's confidence by acting inappropriately and unethically.
"I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand behind my veto, and will continue to defend this lawful action of my executive authority as governor. We don't settle political differences with indictments in this country. It is outrageous that some would use partisan political theatrics to rip away at the very fabric of our state's constitution.
"This indictment amounts to nothing more than an abuse of power and I cannot, and will not, allow that to happen. I intend to fight against those who would erode our state's constitution and laws purely for political purposes, and I intend to win. I will explore every legal avenue to expedite this matter and bring it to a swift conclusion. I am confident we will ultimately prevail, that this farce of a prosecution will be revealed for what it is, and that those responsible will be held to account."
In Perry's opinion, he was completely forthright in his attempt to remove Lehmberg. Furthermore, his state allows the governor to exercise a line item veto (giving the chief executive the power to pick and choose certain items he wants eliminated from the budget) and does not have limits based on "motivation." This will be a tough battle for those pursuing this suit against Perry.
Meanwhile, many see Perry's 2012 presidential campaign as laughable. Many more believed he could never be taken seriously again after his poor performance (particularly in debates). However, there is nothing more persuasive in moving voters than empathy. Many rank and file conservatives (a huge part of the GOP base) have felt victimized by government on many levels. This includes small farms injured by EPA regulations or organizations harassed by the IRS in their effort to get a tax exempt status. There is nothing like being "mugged' by the government, to make someone a conservative favorite. Many average conservatives will perceive the action against Rick Perry to be just such a "mugging" and it is the kind of thing to make Perry move from "also ran" in 2012 to Tea Party Poster Boy in 2014. He will be wearing this indictment like a badge of honor.
Follow Kevin Price on Twitter: www.twitter.com/KevinPriceLive