You have to hand it to Gov. Rick Perry: If he or his handlers identify a vote-getting trend, they are on it like white on rice. With a hairstyle already made for Hollywood, is it any wonder that his political style is reminiscent of those celluloid governors in Best Little Whorehouse and O Brother, Where Art Thou? We expect to see him any day now leaping up onto a stage somewhere to croon with George Clooney (or more likely, Glenn Beck) or to do a little sidestep with Charles Durning. As Texas Monthly put it, no Republican “has so ably surfed the wave of populist anger that has swept through the party in the past year.”
The most recent theatrical ploy has been his decision, taken with two other top state officials, that Texas will challenge the Environmental Protection Agency in court over its recent decision to toughen the national standards on emissions of greenhouse gases.
Now Texas produces greenhouse gas as though it were a cash crop along the lines of soybeans (or, perhaps, marijuana). It is a cash crop, of course, when you consider that the oil and gas industry has practically been made an arm of the state religion in these parts.
The rationale used by Perry, along with Attorney General Greg Abbott and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples? That the EPA based its new rule on the findings of the International Panel on Climate Change — the international group of scientists involved in global warming research, which Perry’s release said has been discredited.
Granted, the IPCC has had its controversies — but Perry would rather put his faith in Texas’ environmental overseers? Like the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality? The agency that couldn’t find air pollution in the Barnett Shale with both hands and a flashlight, until public outrage forced them to act? Apparently so. Texas, Perry said in the press release, “has a record of working proactively to protect natural resources and improve environmental quality.” To which Static says, in what alternate universe?
It’s only the latest in a long line of popular hits for Perry, of course. Ah, the secession idea – there was a great one. And the mandatory HPV vaccine for teenage girls. Or how about when he removed several members of a commission who wanted to pursue an investigation that might have proved Perry refused to stop the execution of a man innocent of the crime for which he was convicted? His love-hate affair with federal stimulus money continues, of course, but not so much his concern for unemployed folks who might be helped by the federal funds he wanted to turn down a while back.
Texas Monthly suggested that the Guv is setting the scene for a move to that other head-of-state mansion, in Washington, D.C. Static would say that a Perry for Prez candidacy is a fine idea, assuming that surely the nation’s voters could not be fooled by a glib, shallow Texas politician. History, however, suggests otherwise.