|One of these men is the aspiring leader of an increasingly desperate people whose culture is collapsing under the weight|
of its own ignorance and short-sightedness. The other is a character from the movie "Idiocracy".
If you believed the field of Republican president candidates was already about as venal, dumb, hypocritical and incompetent as it could get, you were wrong. Texas Governor Rick Perry, a man who can best be described as George W. Bush for people who didn't think George W. Bush was George W. Bush-enough, has thrown his hat in the ring.
If the thought of fellow GOP contenders Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum working to restore the American theocracy that never was, but which haunts their fever dreams, scares you, get ready for Mr. Perry, who is not only fresh from an organized prayer vigil for which he used state resources to publicize, but which is apparently his plan for when, you know, actual policy fails.
Unfortunately for the governor, at the same time that 30,000 conservative Christians showed up to all wish together that the historic drought plaguing their state would end and that things would get better, just down the road, more than three times that number of desperate Texans lined up for donations of school supplies, immunizations, fresh produce, and school uniforms. If there is a better illustration for the leadership of Rick Perry, one would be hard-pressed to find it.
Still, what makes the chief executive of the Lone Star State so dangerous is that voters may be able to ignore his radical religious outlook, his contention that Medicare and Social Security are unconsitutional, or even his statement that perhaps Texas should secede from the United States, if the fairy tale of job creation within the so-called "Texas Miracle" gains any traction. Texas has, in fact, added jobs even during the current recession, but at a terrible price: massive cuts to education coupled with the layoff of 100,000 teachers; the highest level of airborne carcinogens in the country; and sweeping empowerment of corporations at the expense of individuals. Oh, and those jobs? The majority are low-paying, low-skill, hourly positions.
Today, despite all the hype, Texas is ranked dead last among states in health coverage for children; fourth in teen pregnancies; and again, dead last in the percentage of the population with a high school diploma. The Texas Miracle is really a Texas Debacle, and a blueprint for winning a race to the bottom. In a field of terrible candidates, Rick Perry may well be the worst.