By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Governor nutso: So, whaddya think? Is Governor Rick Perry crazy like a fox or just plain crazy?
Dallas Morning News editorialist William McKenzie posed a similar question in his column Tuesday...well, sort of similar. "What is Rick Perry doing?" McKenzie asked about the governor's recent gutting of the Texas Forensic Science Commission days before it was set to review the shaky evidence used in the case of a Corsicana man executed in 2004 for starting a fire that killed his three children. Pretty heavy-handed stuff, McKenzie wrote, and part of a pattern of authoritarian, secretive moves that have left political observers slack-jawed.
McKenzie suggests three possible motives for Perry's actions: He's following his principles; he's following a political strategy that marries no-holds-barred leadership with conservative values; or he's just out of touch.
Let's add a fourth possibility to that list: Perry is a cuckoo bird. Of course, that's just Buzz spitballing. We're just an ol' softy liberal sort who kinda would like to know whether the state of Texas is executing innocents and who was appalled by Perry's actions in the Corsicana case.
But it would be unfair to draw the conclusion that the governor is a bloodthirsty nut without doing some investigating, So, adopting the standards of Fox News, we posed our question to the most fair and balanced expert we could think of: Vince Leibowitz, chairman of the Texas Progressive Alliance and communications director for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Hank Gilbert.
"I think the crazy aspect of his campaign plays to...the far right wing of his party," Leibowitz says. Perry's strongman tactics in the Corsicana case might serve him well in locking up the wingnut vote in his primary battle against Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. If he wins the primary, however, he's going to have a hard time repositioning himself toward the center to appeal to voters who haven't sipped "Perry-Aid...his own kind of Kool-Aid," Leibowitz says.
"Trying to turn off the right-wing switch and returning to moderate is just going to be impossible," he says.
So, this new Generalissimo Perry, he of the heavy hand and secretiveness, is following a bad strategy, but a strategy nonetheless? Sure he isn't just certifiably batshit? We asked again, lobbing a big old slow pitch Leibowitz's way. He wouldn't swing. Instead of choosing Perry's flavor of nuttiness, he offered this: "It's almost like we're running against Richard Nixon's and George W. Bush's love child. He's got the worst attributes of both."
Do yourself a favor and don't think about that comment too hard. It'll stir up an image that'll put you right off your feed.