46 years ago today, America walked on the moon. Or perhaps I should say “Nixon walked on the moon” in the same sense that “Obama got Bin Laden.”
Democrats won’t be able to launch partisan witch hunts against statewide Republican officeholders from the Travis County Prosecutor’s Office anymore, as Governor Greg Abbott has signed the bill stripping oversight of the statewide Public Integrity Unit from the Travis County prosecutor’s office
“Under House Bill 1690, the Public Integrity Unit would be shifted from Travis County to the Texas Rangers – part of the Department of Public Safety – which would take charge of investigating alleged corruption among public officials. District attorneys from the home county of the accused would prosecute the cases.”
Travis County Democrats in general, and District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg in particular, have only themselves to blame. Both Lehmberg and equally partisan predecessor Ronnie Earle have pursued vindictive and flat-out-fraudulent cases against Republican officeholders, from Rep. Tom Delay (accused of violating a law that hadn’t been enacted at the time, and whose conviction was overturned and converted into an outright acquittal) to Kay Bailey Hutchison.
But it was Rosemary Lehmberg’s actions that pretty much sealed the fate of the Public Integrity Unit. The video of following her DUI arrest (when she decided that rolling around Austin with an open bottle of vodka in the car and a blood alcohol level of .239 would just be a swell idea) lead to Governor Rick Perry demand for her to resign. When she refused, Perry carried through with his threat to veto funding for the Public Integrity Unit, at which point the Travis County prosecutor’s office indicted Perry for using his constitutionally enumerated veto powers.
If it hadn’t been for Lehmberg’s poor judgment and criminal activity, and and the grossly partisan overreach of herself and Earle, the legislature would never have felt compelled to act.
Given the sterling reputation of the Texas Rangers, the unit is now in far better hands, and the move to their oversight takes effects September 1.
As longtime governor of the most economically successful state in the union, Perry should be a serious Presidential contender, especially since he has a more impressive (and recent) story to tell than Jeb Bush.
The problem, of course, is his poor showing in the 2012 Presidential race, which included a nationally televised “brain freeze” due to him being hopped up on goofballs following back surgery. I thought Perry was the most viable conservative candidate in the race in 2012, for all the good that did either of us. That does not appear to be the case this time around, and my choice for President right now would probably be Ted Cruz first and Scott Walker second.
Cruz, Walker and Marco Rubio all make the case for Perry more difficult. All outflank Perry on the right in ways that Huckabee and Santorum don’t, and Cruz in particular cuts into Perry’s fundraising base.
So while Perry should be a serious candidate, he has a much tougher row to hoe than he did in 2012…and he lost in 2012. Maybe he’s counting on the GOP’s well-known “next time around is the charm” bias (see Reagan, Bush41, Dole, McCain, and Romney), but I don’t think he did well enough in 2012 to have that sort of cachet.
Perry is a tough and tenacious campaigner (though probably not as indefatigable as Cruz), so it’s probably unwise to count him out entirely. Still, he looks to be an even longer shot in 2016 than he was in 2012.
More good news from the Texas legislature: The Texas House has voted to remove jurisdiction over statewide elected and appointed officials from Travis County’s corrupt, partisan Public Integrity Unit. Instead, such investigations would be handled by the unimpeachable Texas Rangers rather than the likes of Ronnie Earl and Rosemary Lehmberg.
It was only a historical fluke that Travis County managed to exercise such authority in the first place, and given the Public Integrity Unit’s willingness to pursue abusive vendettas against Republican political figures such as Tom DeLay and Rick Perry, removing that responsibility was long overdue.
Democrats will no longer be able to get revenge against Republicans from the Travis County prosecutor’s office for what Republicans and voters have done to them at the ballot box over the last two decades…
Just making it to Friday coming back from vacation to Texas in the middle of August seems like it’s own victory condition…
His bored-bird-in-a-gilded-cage attitude, the article said, “has left him with few loyalists to effectively manage the issues erupting abroad and at home and could imperil his efforts to leave a legacy in his final stretch in office.”
The extraordinary candidate turns out to be the most ordinary of men, frittering away precious time on the links. Unlike L.B.J., who devoured problems as though he were being chased by demons, Obama’s main galvanizing impulse was to get himself elected.
The sad part is that this is an ugly, confusing and frightening time at home and abroad, and the country needs its president to illuminate and lead, not sink into some petulant expression of his aloofness, where he regards himself as a party of his own and a victim of petty, needy, bickering egomaniacs.
I’m back from vacation. Have some Low Calorie Content Substitute:
God forbid you take sides in the beheading of a journalist. MT @NewsHour We're sorry to hear of the reported death of journalist James Foley
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) August 19, 2014
Modern journalism is all about deciding which facts the public shouldn't know because they might reflect badly on Democrats.
— Jim Treacher (@jtLOL) August 18, 2014
— Legal Insurrection (@LegInsurrection) August 20, 2014
Evidently the key to beating Islamic extremism lies in playing lots and lots of golf. @SharylAttkisson
— BattleSwarm (@BattleSwarmBlog) August 20, 2014
More and more commentators, on all sides of the political spectrum, have weighed in on the risible nature of the Rick Perry indictment:
They say a prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, and this always seemed like hyperbole, until Friday night a Texas grand jury announced an indictment of governor Rick Perry…The theory behind the indictment is flexible enough that almost any kind of political conflict could be defined as a “misuse” of power or “coercion” of one’s opponents. To describe the indictment as “frivolous” gives it far more credence than it deserves.
In other news, check out the #IStumbleWithRosemaryLehmberg tag…
Friday Rick Perry was indicted for using his constitutionally enumerated veto powers, namely carrying through on his threat to veto $7.5 million funding for the Travis County Public Integrity Unit last year unless Democratic District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned over her DWI.
I eagerly await explication of the legal theory by which a Governor using his enumerated veto powers is a committing a felony. @EWErickson
— BattleSwarm (@BattleSwarmBlog) August 15, 2014
To call it weak sauce is to give the false impression that there’s any sauce there whatsoever. This is pure political hackery by a Democratic prosecutor looking to “get Perry,” since Democrats have been completely unable to do so at the ballot box. As Powerline notes:
The Travis County district attorney’s office has long been a cesspool of corruption. It was that office, controlled by the Democratic Party machine, that infamously indicted Tom DeLay for nothing. It took years before DeLay could finally clear his name, and his career was ruined.
Conservatives should respond to this indictment by rallying around Perry. The indictment is a bad joke, intended simply to generate negative publicity. As with the bogus DeLay indictment from the same source, years may go by before it is finally proved baseless. In the meantime, conservatives should stand behind Perry and denounce the politically-motivated machinations of Texas Democrats.
Eugene Volokh notes that in a previous case (Wurtz vs. Risley) the court ruled that “Coercion of a lawful act by a threat of lawful action is protected free expression.”
Even Think Progress think the Perry indictment is weak. Another sign of that weakness is the fact they released the indictment late Friday, the traditional “bury the story” dumping ground.
I suspect Rick Perry will come out of this just fine. The real loser will be Lehmberg, when a whole new national audience gets to see her drunkenly scream “Call Greg!” all over again…