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Plumbing the rest of the Perry record

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By Michelle Malkin  •  August 18, 2011 01:20 PM

Yesterday, the Washington Post asked me to comment on conservative concerns about Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry’s records.

Here is what I told them in full:

“The Gardasil debacle is just one of many concerns a wide range of grass-roots conservative activists have about Perry’s record as governor. He’s soft on illegal immigration despite a few recent nods to border enforcement. He’s prone to crony capitalism. And as the vaccine mandate scandal shows, he demonstrated Nanny State tendencies that are anathema to Tea Party core principles.

A clearer, more forthright apology about the Gardasil executive order would have helped. But in the end, I don’t think there’s anything he can do to ‘fix’ his political/ideological instincts. They are what they are.

The reaction to my criticism of Perry’s Gardasil mandate is mixed. Yeah, I’ve gotten heat for not falling in line with the latest GOP bandwagon. Many Perry backers will accuse detractors of being single-issue purists making mountains out of molehills. Some Texan readers will defend him to the death out of parochial loyalty. The majority of responses have been positive, though. If we demand that Obama answer for the glaring discrepancies between his rhetoric and his record, we must do the same for our candidates.

The important thing is that we’re having the debate. It’s healthy. It’s necessary. It’s why we have primary battles for the GOP nomination and not coronations.”

I made the same points on Fox and Friends this morning.

Here is the article in the Post, which concludes:

Perry’s campaign is brushing off the criticism, saying there’s nothing in his record that a conservative wouldn’t love.

“The governor has a conservative track record on fiscal issues, on social issues and on the border,” said spokesman Mark Miner. On the HPV vaccine, Miner, said, “this is a life issue and he erred on the side of life.”

But on this issue — and others — Perry is only likely to get more scrutiny, not less.

Once again, the Perry campaign proves my point about the non-walkback-walkback. If Perry “erred on the side of life,” what his campaign continues to suggest is that those who opposed his Gardasil mandate from the beginning chose death. Instead of renouncing the human shield demagoguery he engaged it after the repeal, the Perry campaign has doubled-down.

There is nothing — nothing — Tea Party about this.

As I pointed out on Tuesday, the Gardasil debacle is a useful red flag on Perry’s basic political instincts, judgment, core values, and trust.

It is no surprise — given the Merck ties — that Perry is a consummate practitioner of corporate welfare “public-private partnerships.” Tim Carney, who wrote the book on Obama’s crony capitalism, dissects Perry’s big government-big business collusion in the Examiner today. As with the Gardasil mandate, Perry exercised his habit of overriding the deliberative process, exercising unilateral executive authority, and benefiting donors and cronies:

Corporate welfare king Boeing provided a formative experience for Perry. Weeks after Perry took over the governorship in 2001, the jet maker announced it was moving its corporate headquarters out of Seattle and was considering Chicago, Denver and Dallas. Undoubtedly, Texas provided the best business environment: lower taxes, less regulation, better weather, less traffic. But Chicago won because Mayor Richard Daley and Gov. George Ryan offered Boeing $63 million in “incentives,” including a $1 million buyout to a tenant who was occupying Boeing’s preferred office space.

One problem: Texas’ slower legislative process prevented the state from making a counteroffer. Perry was determined to fix this inefficiency so he would never be out-corporate-welfared again.

In his next State of the State address, Perry pushed the Legislature to create the Texas Enterprise Fund, giving the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker the power to hand out multimillion-dollar grants to businesses seeking to relocate to or expand within the state. Two years later, Perry and the Legislature created another subsidy bank, called the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, using taxpayer money to invest in high-tech companies. Perry made government a venture capital fund.

Muckrakers at the Los Angeles Times and the Austin American Statesman have shown a strong correlation between Perry’s biggest campaign contributors and the money handled by these funds and Perry’s other public-private partnership. Almost half of Perry’s “mega-donors,” according to the Times, have received profitable favors from the Texas government. Poultry magnate Joe Sanderson, for instance, gave Perry’s campaign $165,000 and received $500,000 from the Texas Enterprise Fund to open a facility in Waco, the Times reports.

The Austin paper documents the unsavory case of $80,000 Perry donor David Nance winning a $4.5 million grant from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. A regional board had denied the grant to Nance’s Convergen LifeSciences, but Perry intervened and ushered the grant through.

The Wall Street Journal earlier scrutinized Perry’s crony capitalism here.

Then there’s Perry’s troubling erosion of private property rights via the Trans Texas Corridor.

It is all of a piece.

If big government “public-private partnerships” sound familiar, they should. I have highlighted the same taxpayer-draining practices by Barack Obama (see here:

While the White House pushes for a bonanza of new “public-private partnerships,” let me refresh your memories of some of the Democrats’ great ideas of “public-private partnerships”…

taxpayer-funded black hole FANNIE MAE;

Chicago’s shady Shorebank and its crony-supported successor, Urban Partnership Bank;

…the failed Chicago Olympics wealth distribution boondoggle;

…and the failed Richard Daley/Valerie Jarrett Chicago low-income housing boondoggle.

This isn’t about letting the best ideas and businesses thrive. It’s about picking winners and losers. It’s about “managing” competition and engineering political outcomes under the guise of stimulating the economy. As I noted last April when the command-and-controller-in-chief lectured businesses that “at some point you have made enough money,” we are dealing with a president who presumes to know when you have earned “enough,” who believes that only those who provide what he deems “good” products and services should “keep on making it,” and who has determined that the role of American entrepreneurs is not to pursue their own self-interest, but to fulfill their “core” responsibility as dutiful growers of the collective economy.

What’s in it for the statist businesses that go along for the ride with Obama and his team of corruptocrats?

Like they say in the Windy City: It’s all about the boodle.

And I have highlighted the same abuse of “public-private partnerships” for corporate gain by George W. Bush. Flashback 2001:

As co-partner of the Texas Rangers, Bush championed a sales-tax increase and loan package worth $135 million for the construction of a new baseball stadium. Defenders of the deal — which also gave a quasi-governmental sports authority the power to condemn private land for the new ballpark, shops and a hotel — note that local residents approved the tax hike. But support came only after the Rangers threw a tantrum and threatened to leave. Moreover, Bush essentially bribed minorities into voting for the tax increase by campaigning personally at black churches and promising to reward them with racial set-aside construction contracts.

Yuck. With Republicans cheerleading for these crummy corporate welfare pay-offs, who needs big-spending Democrats?


Jennifer Rubin
explains to knee-jerk Perry supporters why all of this matters — and why the vetting of Perry and every other announced candidate is imperative:

The downfall of the Republican majority in Congress in 2006 was the perception that conservatives had gone to Washington and become ensnared by lobbyists, donors and special interests who used the federal government and taxpayers’ money as a piggy bank. Republicans should examine candidates’ records and see not only if they have successfully created jobs but how they have done so, what the appropriate model is for the relationship between government and the private sector and whether that model is one we should adopt in Washington.

How are Perry defenders responding to criticism?

This is typical:

Richard Rekieta
Richard.Rekieta@cityofhouston.net to malkinblog

10:54 AM

Michelle,

I am a fan of yours, but your hack job on Governor Perry was not necessary. Why are we dumping on our own? If you cannot say anything good about a Republican, shut the hell up. There are plenty of Dems around to trash our side. Overall, Governor Perry is the best we got.

Thanks,
RAR

Ugh. Maybe those reports on the death of the Tea Party movement aren’t so premature after all.

Someone give me hope out there, please.

And no, I will not shut the hell up.

***

More on Perry and our favorite Latino supremacists at La Raza.

From the American Thinker, Perry’s problematic jihadi-friendly pals.

On the plus side, he’s saying the right things about global warming junk science. That’s an improvement over the climate change Republicans and GOP enviro-nitwits from the last presidential campaign season.

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