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The 10 Worst Things About Rick Perry (And Why It Would Be Really Bad If He Runs for President)

Rick Perry hasn't officially declared his candidacy, but ads are already on the air in Iowa. Here's why you should be worried he might run for president.

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8. Drill, baby, drill

Obviously the governor of Texas has some oil connections. But with Perry as a candidate, we're almost certain to have more of the sort of pro-oil, anti-environment rhetoric that suffused Sarah Palin's tenure on the Republican ticket.

After all, when the BP spill was still churning oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Perry called it  “just an act of God” and warned against any “knee-jerk reaction” that might include things like halting deepwater drilling until the dangers could be assessed. Unsurprisingly,  Perry also got $129,890 from the oil and gas industry for his last reelection campaign.

Increases in oil prices  tend to be good for Texas—bringing jobs and a rise in GDP for the state—but they're a drain on the rest of the country. And the last thing the country needs is a president who's more interested in maintaining oil profits than preventing more oil-related disasters.

9. Flip-flopping on immigration

Texas' population has grown 20 percent during Perry's time in office, and much of that growth has been immigration from Latin America. Up until he began toying with the idea of a presidential run, Perry was a moderate on immigration.

Even last year, he criticized Arizona's SB 1070, and way back in 2001 he signed the state DREAM Act into law. So why the sudden change?

Shani O. Hilton at ColorLines writes:

“...Perry’s apparently positioning himself to be a social conservative darling. On immigration, he recently  revived a bill that would crack down on so-called 'sanctuary' cities — localities where the government prohibits police officers from asking about the immigration status of legally detained residents.”

The sanctuary cities bill would allow police to inquire about immigration status of any person arrested or detained—even at a routine traffic stop.

It's worth noting that Perry's big business buddies oppose this legislation—and that his willingness to make them angry might just be the clearest sign yet that he's aiming for the national stage.

10. Executing an innocent man

Rick Perry has presided over the execution of 232 people, more than any other governor in history. (The previous record, 152, was held by George W. Bush.) Most of those are forgotten, but a few of them stick out.

Liliana Segura wrote:

“Outside of Texas, the name Cameron Todd Willingham did not mean much to most people until the fall of 2009. In a 17-page article published by  The New Yorker magazine, a curious and brave woman, a brilliant fire expert, and an investigative journalist re-opened the case against this man who was put to death for killing his children. The 'classic arson case' was picked apart, revealed to have been based on junk science and a misguided sense of expert intuition. Proof of the flawed fire investigation had been rushed to Rick Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole before the execution, to no avail. Five years later, the article uncovered new evidence to all but confirm what a number of people had suspected for years: That the state of Texas had executed an innocent man.”

Perry's utter lack of interest in examining the evidence of Willingham's innocence shows us something about the man, of course. (It won't be the first time a presidential candidate faces down a questionable execution on the campaign trail. Bill Clinton, back in 1992, interrupted his campaign in New Hampshire to fly home to Arkansas, where a severely mentally challenged man sat on death row. Clinton wasn't going back to stop the execution, though.  He was going to preside over it. And one of George W. Bush's first acts as governor of Texas was to reject clemency for a man who had severe brain damage and an IQ of 60.  He was executed the evening of Bush's inauguration.)