Rick Perry is following a long line of Republicans who blame Obama for their own misdeeds and failures
Governor Rick Perry (R, TX) was indicted on two felony counts related to his repeated efforts to pressure Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, to resign her post as Austin’s top prosecutor. Perry is the first Texas governor indicted since 1917. Not surprisingly, even in his darkest hours, Rick Perry has found a way to blame President Obama for his troubles. Because if you are Republican and in trouble that is your go to talking point.
Perry has been under investigation for several months and earlier this year a prosecutor presented the facts of that investigation to a grand jury. It was announced Friday of last week that the grand jury returned with two felony counts against Perry including abuse of his official capacity and coercing a public servant. The back story of what led to the indictment is detailed in “Man Down: Rick Perry in the Crosshairs.”
Perry took to the airwaves on Sunday and immediately went on the defensive referring to his actions not as felonious, but as mere policy differences. Instead of indictments, Perry said “We settle our differences at the ballot box.” In stark contrast in his choice to veto funding for an office charged with investigating public corruption headed by a duly elected official instead of letting it play out at “the ballot box.”
Republican Mantra of Blame Obama
Instead of explaining why he is not guilty of the behavior charged, like every Republican foot solider, Perry instead found a way to pile blame on President Obama. Perry repeatedly mentioned “the rule of law” and how it had suffered under Obama. He invoked the IRS scandal (even though a scandal has yet to materialize), lack of enforcement of border security (started under Bush Jr.), and the surveillance by the NSA (also started under Bush Jr.).
Steve Bennen of the Maddow Show, noted that it is hard not to “step back” and notice a pattern: when Republicans find themselves in a difficult position, they reflexively try to blame the president whether it makes sense or not. Eric Cantor lost a primary? Blame President Obama. John Boehner failed to pass immigration bills? Blame President Obama. Bob McDonnell was indicted on corruption charges? Blame President Obama. Sam Brownback fared much worse than expected in a GOP primary? Blame President Obama. Chris Christie’s plan screwed up New Jersey’s finances? Blame President Obama.
The Republicans are sticking to the basic argument that President Obama is not bending to our will and therefore we have to break the law to get noticed. Only Obama has nothing to do with a grand jury indictment in Texas. Obama did not convene the grand jury. He did not present evidence at the hearing and he most certainly was not in the deliberation room with the jurors.
Perry has acted with impunity in Texas. He has been responsible for filling “every positon on every board and commission in the state.” He has done so for 14 years with no push back from the other Republican-controlled branches. But the Public Corruption Unit is not under his control and it is one with considerable power in the state. If he had succeeded in forcing the resignation of Lehmberg, he would have been in charge of naming her successor. For her part, Lehmberg has already said she will not run for office again.
Perry, who has repeatedly said “I think America is a place that believes in second chances”, is proving he is not only a hypocrite but a bully. He is attempting to take control of the one Texas government agency beyond his control which would allow him to dictate the scope of ongoing investigations (many of which involve Republicans or republican interests). He should be held accountable for his actions.