A Texas sword fight: Perry, thrust and chuckle
August 20, 2014
Editor's Note: This column was changed from its original version.
Politics is getting a bad name — again.
It's a bogus notion in our infinite wisdom we choose great leaders. If it ever was true, such wisdom has exited modern life for various reasons. Among them: an educational system that neither educates nor enlightens; a media geared more to violence and celebrity than to vigilance and the cerebellum; an apathetic populace attuned to triviality rather than reality.
But it probably has been a bogus notion since the founding fathers plugged in our democratic republic and the clock began ticking on this noble yet sputtering experiment called the United States of America. Sure, we had some whiz bang presidents along the way, as well as a thinker or two in Congress and on the Supreme Court, but no more than you could have gotten by lottery or tossing darts at names in a phone book.
"The whole aim of practical politics," said H.L. Mencken, "is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
Keep that in mind as you assess reports from Texas on the spat between Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat who is the Travis County district attorney, and Rick Perry, the Republican who is the state's governor. The broohaha shows why the 20th century newspaperman and columnist quoted above could see not only into past and present, but also the future.
The facts of the pointless Texas fight are Lehmberg got drunk, picked up by police and Perry brandished his veto voice over her office's funding in a bid to force her from office, so a special prosecutor was called in and he got a grand jury to indict Perry for something akin to practicing practical politics at the state level while positioning himself to run for president.
It's been said a prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, but this DA got one to indict a ham. If you recall Perry's last run for prez, he isn't even a ham who can remember all of his lines.
This Ken Doll named Rick likely couldn't or wouldn't run for prez were he not governor of the large and growing state of Texas. Consider the candidate, then count electoral votes and you'll know why.
Texas' net in-migration from 2003-2012 was first in the nation at more than a million. Illinois, from which the current prez hails, lost almost 625,000 folks in the same time span.
California, by the way, lost 1.4 million while Nevada next door picked up almost 275,000 in that period. All this comes from an American Legislative Exchange Council report just released.
Perhaps if outgoing Carson City DA Neil Rombardo would get an indictment against Gov. Brian Sandoval or Mayor Robert Crowell, they could get publicity, too, while seeking the prez prize. Better them than Perry. But probably not.
The Silver State is still short a few electoral college votes.
John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.