Warning signs for Rick Perry

Rick Perry: all hair, no cattle?

Politico’s morning score this morning has Mitt Romney finally paying attention to Rick Perry, whose initial polling is looking good. The media should pay close attention to Perry, too.

Including these potential warning signs:

Jobs – Sure, Texas created them under his watch, but they were mostly low wage, or even minimum wage. Once that seeps in to the larger public (and Democrats will emphasize it), Perry may not seem so shiny and news. David Love writes for TheGrio this morning:

Texas has benefited from a rapid growth rate due to the state’s Latino population, and has attracted businesses with its low-regulation, low-tax environment.

Further, the dirty little secret of the “Texas Miracle” is that most of the newly created jobs aren’t worth having. Texas leads the nation in low wage jobs, which accounted for 37 percent of jobs created in that state last year. At $11.20 an hour, median wages in Texas are below the national median of $12.50 an hour. In 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 550,000 Texans were working at or below the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour–around 9.5 percent of hourly workers in Texas– causing Texas to tie with Mississippi as the leader in low wage jobs. This gives new meaning to the saying “Texas is like Mississippi with paved roads.”

Moreover, many of these jobs lack health insurance benefits. In fact, with one in four Texans lacking health insurance, the Lone Star State also leads the nation in the percentage of its citizens who go without healthcare.

Need a job? Don’t go to Texas. With unemployment at 8 percent, unemployment in Texas is below the national rate, but higher than a host of states that make no claims about an economic miracle, like Massachusetts, Virginia and New York. Meanwhile, Texas is unable to create enough jobs to keep up with its rising population. This, as double-digit unemployment in some Texas counties, and the homeless shelters are bursting at the seams as poverty is on the rise.

Corporate welfare – Per right wing columnist Glenn Garvin of the Miami Herald (who is no friend of President Obama):

As governor of Texas, Perry controls hundreds of millions of dollars in state handouts to corporations for “job creation and economic development.” Not surprisingly, it turns out that the funds are especially good at developing one particular sector of the Texas economy: Perry’s campaign funds.

The Texas Observer revealed earlier this year that of the 55 companies that have dipped into the $345 million Texas Enterprise Fund controlled by Perry, 20 have been have donated money either directly to Perry’s political campaign funds or to the Republican Governors Association, his Washington posse.

We’re not talking chump change: The Observer counted donations over $2 million. Meanwhile, The Dallas Morning News looked into the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, another of the taxpayer teats under Perry’s control, and found eight companies that received $16 million in subsidies who, totally coincidentally, donated $1.4 million to the governor’s campaign.

And Perry is not content to merely pick taxpayer pockets on behalf of his corporate friends; he’ll resort to strong-arm robbery when necessary. The biggest controversy of his decade in the governor’s mansion was an arrogant attempted land-grab called the Trans-Texas Corridor, a $185 billion system of super-highways for which the state would have had to acquire as much as a thousand square miles of territory.

To deal with troublesome property owners who didn’t want to sell, Perry persuaded the legislature to pass a new form of eminent domain known as “quick-claim,” in which the state could have seized any land it wanted with just 90 days of notice, then “negotiate” the price later. The super-highway plan died in 2010 only because the federal government showed more concern for the rights of bugs and bunnies than Perry did for the property rights of his constituents, pulling the plug on its chunk of the budget out of environmental concerns.

Fundraising weirdness – Also from Politico, some uneasiness with Perry’s fundraising chops, from his own team:

Rick Perry’s campaign for Texas governor last year criticized his GOP primary opponent’s ties to a lobbyist caught on film apparently suggesting he could secure meetings for a deposed Central Asian politician with top Bush administration officials in exchange for a $200,000 donation to the Bush library.

But this summer, as Perry’s allies scrambled to build a fundraising network ahead of his late entry into the presidential race, they accepted help from the very same lobbyist, Stephen Payne. He not only attended one of the first Austin get-togethers of Perry backers who have committed to raising — or “bundling” — as much as $500,000 apiece for Perry’s presidential campaign, but Payne also boasted that he helped arrange meetings with former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis to burnish the Texas governor’s foreign policy credentials.

Payne’s involvement could become fodder for attacks against the candidate, multiple Perry fundraisers and allies say privately. They worry Payne’s role highlights a broader problem — that the urgency Perry backers feel to catch up financially to GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is leading to sloppiness and an insensitivity to perception that could leave the Texas governor and his allies vulnerable to criticism from rivals, scrutiny from the media and even legal complaints.

Adding to the problem, these allies say, is that Perry has never had to raise money under the intense national media scrutiny of a presidential campaign or the more restrictive federal rules — and they question whether some of his early fundraising efforts were fully vetted for compliance with those rules, let alone perceptions.

Gaffes - Perry made a comment about Fed chair Ben Bernanke that even gave Republicans the creeps, saying, according to a ThinkProgress tracker:

“If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treasonous in my opinion.” Treason is a capital offense.

Watch the video here. Perry, who has advocated secession, also seemed to question President Obama’s love for the country, saying “you’d have to ask” the president if he loves America.

Al Gore — Perry chaired Gore’s Texas presidential committee back in 1988, when he was a Democrat. Yes, like Michele “family reunion” Bachmann, Perry was a Dem. But Bachmann was a Democrat in the 1970s, when she, like a lot of other evangelicals, supported the first openly evangelical presidential candidate in modern memory: Jimmy Carter. Perry was still a Democrat AFTER the Reagan revolution, and AFTER Al Gore wrote his opus on climate change. He may have some ‘splaining to do on that score.

George W. Bush — I’m telling you, looking and sounding like Bush is going to be an issue for Perry. James Fallows noticed it too:

Until I saw clips of him in the past two or three days, I hadn’t realized how much watching and seeing Perry is just like having George W. Bush back in our living rooms. Maybe this will be an ingredient for strong conservative support. I can’t imagine that any sophisticated Republican operative thinks it’s a plus in winning 270 electoral votes. When Republicans ran against the first post-Nixon Democratic president, in 1980, they didn’t try to find someone who looked and sounded like Tricky Dick.

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2 Responses to Warning signs for Rick Perry

  1. Eddie Gleason says:

    Strange. Why would Perry throw his hat in the ring towing this much garbage in his wake? Because t-party kooks and the christian wrong don’t care about specifics…just an opportunity to beat Obama. Watch, they’ll claim the left wing media is lying about Perry, and the conservatives who raise concerns are merely traitors. Personally, I don’t feel Perry can beat Romney in the primaries. He’s only running because he’s bored with being the longest tenured Governor in this nation.

  2. Fear the Same says:

    One glaring inaccuracy in the above: Al Gore did not write “Earth in the Balance” until after his presidential campain went South as it were. Gore did position his politics to the left for his ’88 run especially social issues, but he did run as a Southern moderate. Prior to his presidential run, Gore had positioned himself more to the right on most issues including abortion. His wife became famous for suggesting that Adults who bought their kids music know something about the contents of the song. He and Tipper worked to disavow this in 1988. 1988 was the beginning Gore’s move to the left. Lefties in the music industry never forgave Tipper for the PMRC. But by becoming Ozone Man, later AGW man, later Climate Change man, Al Gore was able to divorce from that.

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