The 10 Worst Things About Rick Perry (And Why It Would Be Really Bad If He Runs for President)
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3. Keep your Rick out of my uterus
Just like Republicans in Congress and around the country, Rick Perry's opposition to “government intrusion” doesn't apply to women.
Not only that, but a bill to require all women to have an ultrasound before they can get an abortion was the first major bill debated in the House, and was declared an “emergency” by Perry himself.
As Texas State Representative Carol Alvarado noted in that session, the bill's author didn't understand how intrusive his own bill was. She gave the legislature an in-depth description of a trans-vaginal sonogram, which would be required for women eight to 10 weeks pregnant.
“This is not the jelly on the belly that most of you think, she said as she held up a vaginal probe. 'This is government intrusion at its best.'”
The bill has no provision for victims of rape or incest. It does, however, give Perry more social conservative credentials to trumpet on the campaign trail.
In addition to his changing concerns over government intrusion, Perry's also got a bit of a consistency problem where states' rights are concerned--once again, when it comes to women's bodies. Perry recently said he wanted Roe v. Wade overturned so states could decide for themselves. But then he declared his support for a federal constitutional amendment that would overturn Roe and ban abortion nationwide.
Consistency doesn't matter, apparently, when it comes to abortion.
4. Voter ID, please
"This is what democracy really is all about," Perry said, signing Texas's new voter identification bill into law. "It's the integrity of every vote; that every vote counts. Today we take a major step in protecting the most cherished right of Americans."
The bill makes “illegal voting” a felony; it too was an “emergency” item for Perry's third term as governor. It requires a voter to present one of five forms of ID—a drivers' license, military ID, passport, concealed handgun license, or a state voter ID card that Texas must provide.
"I think it's about disenfranchising groups of people who do not historically vote for the Republican Party," State Rep. Dawnna Dukes said when the bill was passed. Black and Latino voters, the elderly and the poor—all typically Democratic constituencies—are disproportionately less likely to have one of those forms of ID and thus to encounter problems at the polls. In a state like Texas, with a large immigrant population, voter ID is not a neutral issue, but rather another obstacle making it less likely people will vote.
Like other governors around the country, Perry pushed for the voter ID bill despite a lack of any proof that “illegal voting” is actually a problem.
5. The great economy lie
Rick Perry likes to claim—and conservatives like to believe--that Texas' economy is a shining beacon of hope for the country. And it is—if you like your hope low-wage, low-benefit and deficit-ridden.
Texan Jim Hightower wrote:
“...Perry-jobs are really 'jobettes,' offering low pay, no benefits and no upward mobility. In fact, under Rickonomics, Texas has added more minimum wage jobs than all other states combined! After 10 years in office, Gov. Perry presides over a state that has more people in poverty and more without health coverage than any other.”
Of course, that's exactly the kind of job growth the country as a whole is seeing now, and it's just fine with the big-money base of the Republican party. As Joshua Holland wrote in AlterNet recently, even as Texas added those “jobettes,” its unemployment rate magically increased to 8 percent from 7.7 percent—and 23 states have a better employment rate than the miraculous Texas.