Rick Perry: Time is not on his side (No it ain’t)

Mug shot art by SABO

Good morning Austin:

The last time Rick Perry ran for president, he got in the race too late, he was just coming off back surgery, and he was not sufficiently prepared. Oops. This time, he’s been laying the groundwork for months – prepping, studying and traveling – he’s healthy, and he’s even shed that occasional time-suck of a job as governor.

Mug shot art by SABO

Mug shot art by SABO

But there’s this indictment that just won’t go away. Yesterday, it wouldn’t go away again. The outcome was not unexpected. It was not big news outside of Texas because what happened didn’t really change things. But, with the first debate in the Republican nominating process now set for August, yesterday’s events were a bracing reminder that Rick Perry has a serious time management problem.

This morning at 11 at the Omni downtown: Gov. Rick Perry will deliver a statement regarding the Travis County Court’s ruling. The governor will be joined by members of his legal team.

Here’s the top of what Tony Plohetski wrote in today’s Statesman:

A judge denied a second, more substantial request Tuesday by former Gov. Rick Perry to dismiss the indictment against him prior to trial, likely extending his criminal case for the next several months as Perry continues to mount a possible presidential campaign.

The ruling by Judge Bert Richardson, a San Antonio Republican, comes five months after Perry’s attorneys filed their motions, a sign of the slow speed at which the case is churning through the criminal justice system. Perry’s attorneys immediately filed court documents saying they would appeal Tuesday’s ruling to the 3rd Court of Appeals.

 “I think it does cloud everything, “ said SMU political scientist Cal Jillson. “With these criminal charges still hanging over his head, anyone who had any doubt at all would now let those doubts decide them, as a donor or an activist, to stay way from Perry and pick from among the other candidates.”

Jillson said an actual trial, no matter the outcome, would not be a pretty sight. “You’ll have Perry’s closest associates from the governor’s office testifying as to what Perry said and did, and what kind of offers he made, and what kind of counter-offers came from Lehmberg’s office. That’s very messy and the danger for Perry is that, if there is a trial, he and his cronies will be forced to described how the sausage is made.”

“Donors have other options, and activists who are not longtime members of Team Perry have other options,” Jillson said.

He said Perry can continue to appear on the campaign trail, but even if he acquits himself well, the indictment will be hanging over him and serving as a distraction at a time when he needs to be single-mindedly focused on the campaign to succeed.

“From this moment forward to that first debate (in August) you’ve got to build your infrastructure and your team and ID your donors and develop them and be out on the stump around the country and you have to have clarity of mind and focus,” Jillson said.

Yesterday’s decision will likely deny him that clarity and focus.

“He’s a way better candidate than he was in 2012. He’s charismatic he’s got the looks, that sort of cowboy swagger that Republicans seem to like, so there are a lot of positives,” said Kirby Goidel, a communications professor at Texas A & M. But Goidel said the Republican field seems too thick with choices for Perry to gain or maintain the loyalty of givers and activists with this big a question mark hovering over his candidacy.

With so many choices, Republicans are looking for ways to winnow the field, and Perry’s continuing legal jeopardy is a very easy and obvious disqualifier.

And things were going so well.

Ross Ramsey put his finger on it at the Texas Tribune,

Everything’s been coming up roses for Rick Perry, but beneath every rose is a pile of manure.

His attempt to snuff out a pesky indictment — what his lawyers call a politically motivated attack from prosecutors in a persistently Democratic county — has been denied. A trial judge in Austin said Tuesday that the case should proceed. And that ruling lands just as the former governor began to gain some traction for his bid for the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential race.

Just as he is gaining some credibility, he is running out of time.

Also, not being governor comes with a cost.

Donors, who once might have been inclined to give to Perry even if they thought his chances of actually going all the way were slim, because at the very least he would still be governor, now have little incentive to give.

Meanwhile, the unfolding of the contracting scandal at the state’s Health and Human Services Commission – a story which seems potentially centipedian in its legs – threatens to tarnish Perry’s legacy, especially in the context of his indictment.

“One of the most dangerous periods for a governor after he leaves offices are those first weeks and months when they’re out of office and someone else is making decisions and if anything doesn’t smell right, it is in the interests of the successor to pin it on his predecessor,” Jillson said.

But mostly it’s about time.

 

 

Many of Perry’s putative Republican presidential rivals indicated they had his back.

 

 

Chris Christie posted his support on Facebook.

 

His successor, Gov. Greg Abbott, along with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton, leapt to his defense.

 

 

Here from Patrick:

 I am extremely disappointed that the case against Governor Rick Perry will continue. Gov. Perry is a dedicated public servant who served our state with integrity and in the best interest of Texans.

I believe he was within his constitutional authority to make the statement he made and to veto the funding for the Travis County Public Integrity Office.

The decision to indict Governor Perry was wrong and undermines our democratic principles and separation of powers. These actions have a chilling effect on the legislative process and on every member of the legislature and executive branch.

We have a duty and a right as office holders to question any official funded by taxpayers. We have a responsibility to withhold funding from any official or agency that we deem is not acting in the best interest of the public.

Harold Cook, a long-time Democratic consultant and pundit, wrote on Facebook:

Politically, Rick Perry‘s indictment is now officially a crippling issue. Difficult to see how he’s viable in a Presidential run for very long, with criminal indictments pending. With the judge’s ruling today, it’s likely that the last quick resolution to his indictment has left the building. Appealing the ruling will probably take months. Preparing for trial even longer than that.

And I remain amused at all the Democrats who fully believe he’s guilty of all charges, and all the Republicans who fully believe he’s innocent as the driven snow, all before the prosecution has laid out the first piece of evidence such that anybody could have a valid opinion either way.

Here is A Facebook post from T.J. Scott, a Travis County Republican Party precinct chair and tea party activist:
 
I do not understand the strategy of Governor Perry’s lawyers.

If it was me I would want to get the case in the court as fast as possible.

Now they are making it look like he did something wrong and they are trying to beat it with lawyer tricks.

Get a jury, walk in to court, put Perry on the stand and he tells them.

“I was the Governor of Texas, The DA of Travis County got caught driving drunk, then made a total fool of herself on camera, and she should have resigned. As governor I said I would veto the money if she was still in the office. She did not resign, she was in the office, I VETOED the funding.”

Here is a video of her being drunk and disorderly, here is a video of me saying I would veto, here is a copy of that veto!

We rest our case!

Cut and dried!

 

From Ray Sullivan, a close Perry confidante who served as his chief of staff and as spokesman for his last presidential bid:

Travis County really likes prosecuting Republicans, but it’s unfathomable that a case challenging a governor’s constitutionally granted veto power will ultimately stand up to legal review. Today’s decision will cost Travis County taxpayers a lot more in legal bills and increase legal defense expenses as well.  The ruling should have no immediate impact on Governor Perry’s ability to connect with Republican voters and activists in Iowa and other early states.

From Matt Moore, the Republican chairman in South Carolina, where Perry was campaigning Tuesday:

Most South Carolina Republicans seem to have moved past the issue. In fact, it might have helped Governor Perry here…he’s earned the benefit of the doubt with many S.C. Republicans. If a governor can’t make veto threats, what good is the veto pen?
Governor Perry has put in the hard work with our grassroots and has helped the state party.
Our activists appreciate his leadership on jobs – which is in stark contrast to the current Presidential administration. Governor Perry has a real success story to tell.
Rick Perry “2.0″ is a completely different candidate in terms of demeanor and preparedness. I think he’s one to watch in South Carolina


 Things had been going well for Perry of late.

Just after delivering his farewell speech to the Legislature, he delivered a well-received keynote at the Republican National Committee Winter Meeting in San Diego.
According to Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri, who introduced him:

Perry gave a real solid performance. The feedback from other RNC members was they were impressed. He was 180-degrees different than what they perceived him to be during the 2012 primary run. There was a good energy. People liked the message. He stayed until everybody had a chance to talk with him. He took pictures with everybody. He really helped himself in terms of image-making at the RNC. He convinced a lot of them to keep an open mind about him, to give him a second look.

 Bloomberg’s David Weigel, has a new piece, The Recowboybooting of Rick Perry: Four years after “oops,” his mind reeducated, his back operated on, his candidacy rebooted, the former Texas governor makes his case.
And here, from David Graham’s Cheat Sheet on the Republican field from the Atlantic.

Rick Perry

Is he running? Very likely.

Who wants him to run? Small-government conservatives; Texans; immigration hardliners; foreign-policy hawks. Noah Rothman makes a case here. (Perry’s top backer four years ago, non-relative Bob Perry, died in 2013.)

Can he win the nomination? Maybe, but who knows? Perry and his backers insist 2016 Perry will be the straight shooter who oversaw the so-called Texas miracle, not the meandering, spacey Perry of 2012. We’ll see.

When will he announce? May or June.

Perry and his people treated his original indictment as a fundraising and team-building opportunity, with a beautiful mug shot and a tweeted trip to Sandy’s for custard. With yesterday’s decision, RickPAC reposted their “Setting the Story Straight” video.

 

But, even before this latest setback, Perry was up against formidable odds.

 

 

 

Reader Comments 0

13 comments
Antonious
Antonious

It's funny watching the Dems try to understand the voters who have turned against them.  They first tried to buy them with Obamaphones/welfare/disability/freebies.  Then they called them stupid for not voting after being bought.  And now we hear daily excuses why they lost.  The Dems blame everything except the issues.  The Dems can't see themselves on the losing side of issues.  That is why one Democrat professor said Perry had the "cowboy swagger" Republican like.  Huh?  Nothing about issues, just the cowboy swagger.  Then how do you explain the victories of Abbott and Patrick, no cowboy swagger there.


It is the silly season.  The one where Dems make excuses for their failures.  With a Republican Congress it will be harder for the Dems to try and buy votes with trinkets like Obamaphones.


I don't support Perry.  But let's debate issues, not the "swagger" of a candidate.

broccolid
broccolid

So, is Mr. Abbott going to learn to act like a sitting governor anytime soon?  That tweet was as juvenile as it gets.

jpt51
jpt51

A wise Rick Perry would just proceed with building the grand hacienda on his ten acres in Round Top and fade away.

WILL89
WILL89

I do hope Perry gets to have his little run for President in 2016.  I hope he spends BILLIONS of Koch Republican dollars too.  Fact: he has as much chance against Hillary as Snoop Dog.

1WiseLatina
1WiseLatina

This is just too funny. 2012 was OOPS.  Can we call Perry's 2016 bid OOPS 2.0?  Had Perry known a little felony charge would mess things up, he would have run for gov again!  Now what's he going to do?

Jabroni1_Jr
Jabroni1_Jr

It's funny how Lehmberg may ultimately have a role in determining the next US presidential election.

beancounterz
beancounterz

"This time, he’s been laying the groundwork for months – prepping, studying and traveling – he’s healthy, and he’s even shed that occasional time-suck of a job as governor". Thats funny, Perry studying after claiming IQ is not a requirement to be president (probably sites GW). Healthy? is acting like he is still on the codine for his back - did you see his speech in Iowa - he's definitely abusing some type of drug.  he’s even shed that occasional time-suck of a job as governor - now he's just spending his time defending himself on felony abuse of power charges - for a small government/get gov out of our way with regulations type of guy.

uhhuh
uhhuh

@Antonious You want to talk issues? How about an indictment for  trying to force an elected official to quit office? How about the 21CT scandal during his time in office? Those are some pretty hot issues if you ask me. Perry's ego knows no bounds, but he's not an Aggie cheerleader or running the state of Texas anymore. He sure won't be running the US as executive in chief. 

1WiseLatina
1WiseLatina

@Antonious Since you bring up Obama; let's compare failures.  Hmmm....what's the scoreboard read?  Dem victory for White House 2 - repubs 0. You talk a big game, but you don't have much to show for presidential races.  Even now, Hillary is double digits ahead of any repub candidate.  Thanks for playing.

WILL89
WILL89

@Antonious Debate "issues" with Perry?  I'd rather bang on my thumb with a hammer for an hour.  There is no "debate" with The Lord God from Paint Rock (Paint Brush?)

uhhuh
uhhuh

@WILL89 hey now let's not underestimate Snoop Dog….

JimmyTex
JimmyTex

@Jabroni1_Jr  That is true only if you think Rick Perry had any realistic chance of winning anything.  Fact is, he is a very poor presidential candidate at best even without this baggage hanging over his head.  He's basically going to be some guy wasting his supporters' money.