Now that I'm home in Austin for the remainder of the year, I feel a strong duty to step up and do what someone in Texas should have done months ago: apologize for Governor Rick Perry. It seemed presumptuous to do so from Washington, DC, but it definitely needs doing and it just can't wait a moment longer.
So I hereby apologize that the man who constantly talks about the constitutional preeminence of the 50 states over the national government, as if that little disagreement in 1861 had not finally settled the issue; and who promises to make Congress a part-time institution and the federal courts subservient to just about everything, has now found it necessary to file a lawsuit against one of those states, and in one of those federal courts.
It is clearly unreasonable and arbitrary that Virginia insists on enforcing its state election law and won't let Perry on the Republican primary ballot simply because his campaign couldn't get the required number of people to sign his petition. That violates his 1st Amendment right to make a damned fool of himself.
I apologize that the unshakable moral courage of the Governor of Texas has now led him to decide, after viewing a Mike Huckabee video, that the broadly accepted political definition of anti-abortion is simply not conservative enough. He now opposes abortion, even in the case of rape or incest. To hell with the rights or health of the victims!
I apologize that this principled and resolute leader has now changed his campaign message for the fourth time, and has run up huge bills repainting his tour bus as he searches desperately for something to say that people won't laugh at. But, he may be on to something. All the other candidates are campaigning on the economy and job creation, so a scathingly brilliant approach is to talk about something else completely. Gov. Perry is now trying to cut through the clutter of competing hard hitting campaign messages and move Iowa caucus-goers to flock to his banner by telling them that he's the most authentic conservative.
Now, I know it is possible that some people might take offense at my apology for Rick Perry. There are still those among the 23 million citizens of Texas who will insist that they're proud our governor is running for President of the United States. They maintain that we should take great pride in sharing such resolute and accomplished leadership with the nation. But deep down, they know he's a chucklehead. They just can't admit it publicly. Besides, we have a long and storied tradition of chuckleheads in the Texas governor's office, and the state has somehow survived.
The one good thing about Rick Perry running for president is it keeps him far away from here. Texas taxpayers are paying his full $150,000 salary as governor plus almost $8,000 a month in retired pay, even though he's still on the payroll, and covering an estimated $1.5 million for his security detail so he can romp around the country telling people how he's going to cut government spending. Truth be told, though, from the Texas perspective, it's a bargain.
The late Molly Ivins, intrepid journalist, insightful writer and, I am proud to say, my friend, warned after a few years of President George W. Bush, "The next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president, please pay attention!" Molly was way right.