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Adios, Rick Perry
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A decade ago, Rick Perry famously signed off an interview with the words, “Adios, mofo.” Now, signing off as governor, he told the same reporter, “Adios, my friend.” He might be on his way out, but he’s leaving behind a cast of characters that promises years of entertainment. The price of oil might be tanking, but stupid will always be Texas’ most abundant natural resource.
It’s really hard to know where to start, Hitler or cupcakes.
OK, cupcakes. It’s easier to talk about Hitler once you have the cupcake thing settled.
Texas has a new Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller. He’s an accomplished cowboy famous as a legislator for requiring that doctors perform invasive sonograms on women seeking abortions. This would give pregnant women the shocking news of their pregnancies, thus compounding government intrusion with uselessness.
You may have seen this lampooned on Doonesbury, which is considered a badge of honor with Texas Republicans. You’re nobody in local political circles if you haven’t been mocked by the likes of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, et al., so if you thought he would react to national mockery by acting like a responsible grownup in statewide office, you’d be sorely disappointed.
First, he had to fight the War on Cupcakes.
Miller’s first act as Agriculture Commissioner was to hold a press conference at which he promised to make Texas classrooms safe for cupcakes. Apparently he was under the misimpression that state regulations banned the tasty treats from school parties. To demonstrate his seriousness, he brought a real cupcake to the press conference.
“There was once a famous line, and it went like this: Let them eat cake,” he said before taking what was reported to be a “big bite.”
Yes, he went there. He compared the War on Cupcakes to the French Revolution, and himself to Marie Antoinette, likewise a clueless dilettante. There are times I am optimistic about prospects for progress in Texas. This was not one of those times.
This might shock you, but it turns out the War on Cupcakes ended in 2004 when a previous occupant of Miller’s current office carved out a loophole for birthday goodies in a ban on junk food in schools. You can abandon the ramparts now.
Less surprising is that another Texas Republican, Congressman Randy Weber, compared Barack Obama to “Adolph Hitler.” Pro tip: When comparing the President to Hitler, at least spell “Adolf” correctly. Otherwise, you look stupid.
It seems Weber was so incensed that Obama didn’t go to Paris to support the free-speech demonstrations that he tweeted, “Even Adolph Hitler thought it more important than Obama to go to Paris. (For all the wrong reasons.)” Even for Twitter, where political conversations inevitably devolve into conflicts and the sober-minded become sociopaths, Weber comparing Obama unfavorably to Hitler didn’t go well.
So he kinda, sorta apologized. He led with the phony nod towards “those who were offended” (so, if you weren’t offended, he’s not sorry?) before dropping this flaming bag of PR on the world’s doorstep: “It was not my intention to trivialize the Holocaust nor to compare the President to Adolf Hitler.”
Right, because how could anyone get the idea you were comparing the President to Adolf Hitler? But at least he got the guy’s name right this time, which is more than we can say for Dear Leader Perry, who recently misidentified the space shuttle that exploded over Texas as the Challenger, not the Columbia.
OK, that’s not fair. In the pantheon of Perry blunders, mixing up the Columbia and the Challenger doesn’t make the top 10, regardless of the horrible reality of the accident. But it’s union rules now. When writing about Perry, you have to work “oops” in there somewhere.
But we’re dealing with a different Perry now. He’s become the kind of guy who eschews the smirking, frat-boy “mofo” for the collegial “friend.” Perry might be getting soft, but Texas is still the same hard case it’s always been, except now oil is half the price it was a year ago. The boom might be over, but they’ll always be doing landrush business in dumb down in Texas.
Adios, Perry.
Jason Stanford is a regular contributor to the Austin American-Statesman, a Democratic consultant and a Truman National Security Project partner. You can email him at and follow him on Twitter @JasStanford