By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
"Perry sets up pay for recruiters"—headline in The Dallas Morning News about Governor Rick Perry's Amway-like campaign program that pays cash incentives to "volunteers" who recruit additional "volunteers"
Coming soon to a cable channel near you: Perry, dressed in an electric-blue dress shirt, white belt and tan slacks, rushes from behind a curtain into a television studio, where he's greeted by a cheering studio audience.
Perry: "Hi, everybody!"
Audience: "Hi, Gov'nor Rick!
Perry: "Get ready, friends, because today we're going to talk about a golden opportunity for you to break out of your 9-to-5 rut and find riches beyond your wildest dreams with Perry Home Headquarters®!
Perry: "It's simple. It's straightforward, and anyone can do it! All you need is friends! Lots and lots of friends! All you have to do is go to your friends and sign them to work for my re-election campaign, and I'll pay you cash money! It's as simple as that! For every friend you sign up, I'll introduce you to my friend, Mr. Andrew Jackson!" (He holds up a $20 bill. The crowd cheers.)
"But wait, there's more! Sign up 11 friends to vote for me in the GOP primary, and that's another $20 for YOU and your friends, plus I'll send you ABSOLUTELY FREE these his 'n' her Slankets embossed with the governor's seal!" (The crowd ooohs.) "These sleeved blankets will keep you toasty warm when those blue northers blow in and will help fight off colds and flu! Remember, everyone, we're not going to get any other decent health care in Texas if I can help it!" (The crowd laughs.)
"Friends, we here at Perry Home Headquarters® know times are tough. We're not doing much about it, but we know they're tough, and the good Lord knows it's hard to get a Republican elected these days. That's why, if you act now, not only will you get the free cash and Slankets, but if you bring in another 11 friends we'll send you, absolutely free, this Flowbee hair trimmer for your own Rick Perry-style 'do, plus this 'Texas: A Whole Other Country for Real' pro-secession T-shirt, available in plus and ladies' sizes!
"That's right! You can have the $20s, the Slankets, the Flowbee, the T-shirt and a huge chunk of my remaining shreds of dignity all for persuading your friends to vote for me, Rick Perry. But that's not all: Pals of Rick Perry who sign up 100 friends to Home Headquarters® become special Platinum Level friends, eligible for one of two special prizes: a seat on the State Board of Education, or your very own toll-road franchise!" (The crowd goes wild.)