There aren’t many Republicans I agree with. Occasionally, however, a stray Republican notices that the party bus is over-full of Bozos. Carole Keeton Strayhorn (1) once called Governor Rick “Goodhair” Perry of Texas a lot of mean things, most notably, “a weak leadin’. . . public school slashin’, slush fund spendin’. . . rainy day fund raidin’. . . do nothin’ phony conservative” (Raw Story). Granted, Strayhorn wanted Perry’s job at the time; however, as the Comptroller of Public Accounts (2), she had a pretty good idea what she was talking about.
Photogenic to a fault, Perry is running for a third term. Thus far, he has accomplished some notable things. He has overseen a 91 per cent rise in state college tuition. During his tenure, Texas has risen to first among the 50 states in the number of adults who have not completed high school and the number of births to teenagers. He might attribute the former to those scary brown people who keep crossing the river without his permission. Most likely, however, he will hold off declaring war on Mexico or seceding from the union until after the election, especially if he can get the president to send us some National Guard units.
His background and education speak for themselves. He holds a B.S. in Animal Science from Texas A&M University and was elected to the post of yell leader (cheerleader) while attending college. This sterling preparation makes him knowledgeable about herd behavior and the college meat market. Thus, he is qualified to lead the state that is ranked 49th in education, and to run its state university systems.
The fact that his plans include running them into the ground is cause for only minor concern.
Perry has some curious ideas about education. So curious, in fact, that U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) managed to insert a phrase into a recent federal law that was aimed squarely at Texas. The bill requires states that receive federal education funds not cut state education funds. It seems Doggett has met Perry. Perry, naturally, is crying foul. The federal government insists that he not take their money if he does not use it for its intended purpose. Those Feds are just so unfair, always trying to interfere in other folks’ bidness.
Since he cannot cut grades K-12, Perry has set his sights on them no-good intee-lekchuls. State universities have been told to cut their budgets by five per cent. Administrators, in a dazzling, if unsurprising, display of self-preservation, have cut costs without cutting administrators. They are paid from a secure revenue stream, so no worries. Apparently no one has realized that when the last professor leaves, their river of student-services fees will also run dry.
Some of the money-saving plans include not repairing buildings, cutting travel budgets and reducing the number of faculty. One truly outstanding cost-cutting measure involves paying tenured professors their full salary for two years not to teach. What better way could there be to save money than to pay people to do nothing? Perry, who courts the Tea Party-Pooper vote, might not want to let that secret out of the teabag.
Of course, owing to his extensive experiences as an elected official and with the Houston Chronicle, which has a nasty habit of printing what he says to them, Perry will not be giving any press interviews until after the November election. Smart guy.
(1) Former Mayor of Austin, Texas; former board member and president of Austin Independent School District and Austin Community College
(2) Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts collects all tax revenues and informs the state legislature of the amount of available funds for the state budget (Wikipedia).