Rick Perry’s Campaign Wrote Me a Letter

In fairness, I’d sent a complaining email about the State Board of Education via a link I found in a campaign email from Bill White. What was the Perry Campaign response as elucidated by Jordan Root?

Jordan Root

Jordan Root @ Texans For Perry

You recently wrote us because Bill White asked you to show some emotion about recent actions at the State Board of Education. Well, Bill White misled you about those actions. He used a cheap distortion of the facts to get your riled up. Maybe Bill White should do his homework?

I’m not Randy Neugebauer or Joe Wilson, so I won’t stand up and holler “You Lie!” or “Baby Killer!” at Jordan Root, but there’s so much wrong with his response I can scarcely credit it as the work of a literate adult.

First of all, Bill White never asked me to show some emotion.
He asked me to join him in urging the Governor to send the state curriculum standards back for review by teachers, educators, and historians. I agreed wholeheartedly, because under the leadership of Gail Lowe and Don McLeroy, the SBOE has tirelessly revised curriculum standards for literature and English, science, and now social studies — and in every case they’ve revised away from fact, away from diversity, toward a discredited ideal of WASP male fundamentalist superiority.

In fact McLeroy told the Washington Monthly he concurred with Peter Barton’s “vindication” of McCarthy; without McLeroy’s appointment to do so, Barton never could have written proposed curriculum guidelines and raised claims that it wasn’t Martin Luther King Jr. who won civil rights for African-Americans, it was Republican men who allowed the rights of those African-Americans to be recognized under the nation’s Constitutional majority rule as potential content for Texas textbooks. McLeroy’s similarly suggested women’s rights arose out of male magnanimity. His bloc of Christian Conservatives booted Oscar Romero and Thomas Jefferson in favor of Joe McCarthy and Phyllis Schlafly, and his board’s members suggested that Jefferson actually lived “hundreds of years later” than the Enlightenment, which it claims included John Calvin.

I’m shamed, and I’m not alone. Texas voters refused to give McLeroy another term during the primaries.

The new board — determined by primary results — may or may not be better, but it can scarcely offer less light while adding more heat to the debate.

Now, for the rest of Jordan’s claims about Bill White:

1. Spending: Bill White used Enron-style accounting during a six-year spending spree that left the taxpayers of Houston with twice as much per capita debt as California. He is a big-spending liberal who mortgaged Houston’s future to spend money citizens didn’t have on projects they couldn’t afford.

2. Texas Values: Bill White joined a group of East Coast mayors in support of gun control measures that limit the ability of citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights. White also opposed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, putting him on opposite side of more than 75 percent of Texas voters. With a record of supporting same-sex marriage, restraints on lawful gun ownership, and his history as a plaintiff’s trial lawyer, White is just another liberal Democrat out of touch with mainstream Texas values.

3. Protecting Illegal Immigrants and Illegal Behavior: Under Bill White, Houston was classified as a “Sanctuary City” by the Congressional Research Services and labeled this way by the Houston Chronicle, making the city a safe haven for illegal immigrants because law enforcement couldn’t ask a citizen’s legal status. In addition, White opposes a common sense measure to protect the integrity of our elections by requiring voters to show a photo ID.

4. Obama’s Ally in Texas: Bill White supports the massive Obama healthcare plan and has indicated support for nationalizing healthcare, meaning the government both finances and runs healthcare for Americans. White also supports California-style environmental regulations that would destroy the Texas economy, in particular industry in the Houston area. He also has a record of lobbying the Legislature to force neighboring cities to adopt his own environmental policies.

Let’s look what the Austin American Statesman found, Jordan, starting with how similar your email sounds to a letter Cathie Adams, the state’s GOP chair, issued recently in a bid to raise money for Rick Perry’s re-election.

Politifact found her claim Houston offered sanctuary to illegal aliens false.

Politifact Texas found her claims White would back regulations destroying jobs and support Obamacare “pants on fire” false.

Politifact had this to say about the Houston budget issue:

The city’s director of finance and its former director countered in November that the city is not broke and “there is no potential for bankruptcy.” Assets exceed liabilities by $1.7 billion, they said, and the city’s general fund balances increased from $136 million in 2004 to $332 million in 2008.
But the city’s debt load did increase on White’s watch. According to the city, the outstanding debts for all municipal entities totaled $9.9 billion as of Dec. 31, 2003, about when White began his first term. The total exceeded $12.8 billion by Dec. 31, 2009, toward the end of his third term. Over the years, debt went up $2.9 billion, or 29 percent.
The subset of debt payable from property taxes — as opposed, say, to income from the airport or other city services — increased at a faster clip. That total was $2 billion as of the end of 2003 and reached $3.3 billion at the end of 2009 — a 65 percent increase while White was mayor. These include $625 million in bonds approved by voters in 2006.
Two can play the debt blame game: White has said the state’s debt load went up 100 percent on GOP Gov. Rick Perry’s watch.

PolitiFact rated that claim as true, Jordan.
Maybe you ought to do your homework.


8 responses to “Rick Perry’s Campaign Wrote Me a Letter

  1. The Other Sarah

    Might’s well include my answer to his email here:

    Dear Jordan Root:
    I’m not a Republican member of the US House, so I won’t stamp my feet and shout “you lie”
    in response to the misinformation and misleading tone of your email below.

    But let’s discuss your response to the email I sent — an email for which I thank Bill White for providing me the link, but unlike your assumptions, an email based on information I obtained by reading and listening to a variety of sources: the Texas Observer, the Texas Tribune, the Houston Chronicle, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and the Dallas Morning News, as well
    as the New York Times and the San Angelo Times Standard, regularly cover the actions of
    the SBOE.

    Lately, Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio programs have done so as well, and the coverage has not been flattering to the SBOE. That’s what I wrote you about;
    but you chose to suggest the most important factor in a Texas gubernatorial campaign is
    guaranteeing not to raise taxes on Texans. That’s not a recipe for good government; that’s a not-so-well-camouflaged campaign to deprive Texans of the benefits of their tax dollars and the functions of their state and local governments.

    So if you want to argue that not raising taxes on Texans is the best way to govern, certainly I’ll disagree with you.

    Crippling our state agencies puts Texans at risk. Refusing to see that we must pay for the services we need — and that to do that we must have a realistic, not a regressive, tax structure in Texas — shortchanges our future in every possible way, from strangling our public safety agencies to undermining our state parks. It’s a bad idea to put all our roads, streets, and bridges into private hands in search of profits, especially in a state as big as Texas — and as bereft of reliable public transportation.

    Just in terms of health care, Texas boasts the highest uninsured rate in the country — 28 percent as of 2009, meaning more than one in four residents of the Lone Star State don’t have coverage. Recently President Obama signed a landmark bill that will have a huge positive impact right here where I live, in the 19th Congressional District:
    • 186,000 families and 14,600 small businesses in the 19th District will be eligible for tax credits, Medicaid, or other forms of federal health-insurance assistance.
    • Insurance companies will be barred from denying coverage to the district’s 16,000 uninsured residents with pre-existing medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease and asthma.
    • The 7,700 Medicare beneficiaries who paid extra for prescription drugs because of a coverage gap known as the “doughnut hole” will see those additional costs erased.
    • Up to 66,000 young adults in the 19th District will be eligible to join their parents’ health plans.
    • The district’s 26 community health centers will receive a total of $33.8 million in additional federal support.

    Pledging to never raise taxes on Texans shortchanges our future in every possible way from not protecting the quality of our air and water to not maintaining our parks, our roads, our streets and school buildings and libraries to not funding our colleges or our public health efforts. That’s wrong, Jordan Root, and Texans like me see the wrong for what it is, just like we see the SBOE action to take Thomas Jefferson out of the world history standards in favor of John Calvin for what that is: further weakening Texas in favor of strengthening profiteers. Here’s what actually happened in the SBOE:

    Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)

    “The Enlightenment was not the only philosophy on which these revolutions were based,” Ms. Dunbar said.

    Last year Don McLeroy led an assault on the science standards, too, as Washington Monthly’s Mariah Blake wrote here: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2010/1001.blake.html.

    “I don’t care what the educational political lobby and their allies on the left say,” he declared at one point. “Evolution is hooey.” This bled into a rant about American history. “The secular humanists may argue that we are a secular nation,” McLeroy said, jabbing his finger in the air for emphasis. “But we are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles. The way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel. Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan—he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes.”

    McLeroy is not the only conservative on the board, and as the New York Times notes, he recently lost his seat. Other members share his views, however: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/education/13texas.html.

    “I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state,” said David Bradley, a conservative from Beaumont who works in real estate.
    Mr. Bradley won approval for an amendment saying students should study “the unintended consequences” of the Great Society legislation, affirmative action and Title IX legislation. He also won approval for an amendment stressing that Germans and Italians as well as Japanese were interned in the United States during World War II, to counter the idea that the internment of Japanese was motivated by racism.

    If anybody needs to do more homework, Jordan Root, it isn’t me — and I doubt it’s Bill White, either.

    Sincerely, and with no intention of giving Rick Perry either one thin dime or my vote,

    The Other Sarah
    Lubbock, Texas

  2. If you believe Politifact, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona I’d like to sell you.

  3. blacksheepone

    Who do you believe, James?

    You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. So … tell me, who do you believe?

  4. grahamfirchlis

    James, I’m fascinated. What was it that tipped you to Politifact being unreliable? Was it last year’s Pulizer Prize, wherein the board commended the use of “probing reporters and the power of the World Wide Web to examine more than 750 political claims, separating rhetoric from truth to enlighten voters.”?

    Or was it theNational Press Foundation award for Online Journalism, or the Knight Batten Award for Innovation in Journalism, or the Newspaper Association of America’s Digital Edge Award for Best Overall News Site, or the First Place Award for Online Political Reporting from the Green Eyeshade Awards?

    Clearly you know something I don’t, James, so please – enlighten me.

  5. grahamfirchlis

    Thanks for all this, Sarah, informative as always. I try to follow Texas politics, Molly Ivens warned us all it would be only prudent to keep an eye on the crazies, but most of my focus is on California politics which are loaded with people who are, and I say this with all due humility, just as crazy and dangerous. I’ll put my Ronnie The Zombie and his puppetmaster Ed Meese up against your GW Shrub and his butt-buddy ‘Berto any day. Not to mention Ahnold Thick-Neck, who won’t make it into the White House thanks to the Founders’ foresight. Who says they weren’t visionary?

  6. The Other Sarah

    if you consider “apocalypto” visionary, maybe they were.

    looks more like obscenity to me. Not that it isn’t just as bad in California as here…

  7. grahamfirchlis

    Just sayin’, the no-foreign born president provision saved us from the possibility of Ahnold, who was for a while a real darling of the Right.

    As to visionary, I was being a little snarky. The Founders made sure to take care of themselves and others like them, which did not include foreigners or the likes of thee and me, then or now. Depends on whose vision we’re talking about, no?

  8. The Other Sarah

    We can be grateful that we don’t have President Schwarzenegger, yes (there was a movement afoot to change that, back in ’06 or so, wasn’t there?).

    Appalling how poorly the TEA Potty fanatics understand the Constitution, (Actually, I have my doubts about their literacy and level of understanding of anything not pumped into their ears by Ailes and Limbaugh.) ain’t it?

    But going back to Reagan’s “vision” — nothing before it had as horrific an impact on the entire population, with the possible exception of The War Between the States.

    It’s decimated family farms. It’s driven our manufacturing base out of business or overseas. It’s gifted us with “downsizing” and voodoo economics, not to mention the foreign policy of Oliver North and the legacy influence of Rumsfeld, Cheney, the Bush family, and their allies. It outright assaulted economically disadvantaged, mentally ill, and labor-union-member Americans’ abilities to thrive.
    Unlike the War of Northern Aggression, it’s lasted more than 30 years now, too. Damn it.

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