Once again, Texas is front and center on the national political stage, our spokesman an almost cartoon-like embodiment of every Lone Star stereotype: Fast-talkin', gun-lovin', bible-thumpin', boot-wearin', oil-worshipping, death penalty happy, larger-than-life right-wing Republican with a tanned, leathery face reminiscent of the Marlboro man. At this point, we half expect Perry to ride into the next GOP debate on a horse, or better yet, a longhorn, wearing a ten-gallon hat and a cow skull bolo tie.
In fact, we hope he does. That would be awesome, but no Aggie would ride anywhere on a longhorn - Ed.
Let's get one thing straight - we have no desire to see Governor Goodhair in the Oval Office, or any Washington office, for that matter. Ever. But God almighty, we haven't been this damn entertained since Sarah Palin saw Russia from Alaska and Christine O'Donnell deemed it necessary to announce that she was not, in fact, a supernatural being.
In addition to supplying hours of material for late night talk show hosts, Perry is racking up quite a collection of equally amusing photos. So in honor of our esteemed gov'nah and the comedy he so generously provides, Rocks Off presents our Top 10 Rick "oh faces" and the music they bring to mind.
They look alike. They talk alike. Both served as governor of the Lone Star State and pilots in the United States Air Force, had C averages in college, and hail from West Texas. All things considered, it's not hard to understand why the similarities between Rick Perry and former president George W. Bush have many seeing double, with Daily Show host Jon Stewart calling Perry "George Bush Plus Plus" and CNN contributor Will Cain referring to the current Texas governor as "George Bush on steroids."
Perry drew heavy criticism for a heated argument with Ron Paul during the GOP debate, his antics described as "too aggressive," "too combative," or in the words of local KTRK reporter Ted Oberg, "maybe too much cowboy." With the top let back and the sunshine shining, no doubt.
Opponents on both sides of the aisle theorize that the success of Texas' economy has less to do with Perry and more to do with land rich in bubblin' crude. Oil, that is. Black gold. Texas tea. Entering the recession late and emerging early, Texas' economic growth has moved parallel with oil prices, which rose in 2008, fell in 2009, and have since continued in an upward trend.
Rick Perry has been accused of sleeping with just about everyone. Everyone except for his wife, that is. Last month Ron Paul supporter Robert Morrow placed a full page ad in the Austin Chronicle asking that any strippers, escorts, or "young hotties" with carnal knowledge of the governor contact CASH, or Committee Against Sexual Hypocrisy.
Across the bottom of the page, the line, "Note to gay people: If you know the truth about Rick, please QUIT covering for him," hinted at the true agenda behind the ad. Rumors of the governor's homosexuality have been swirling around Austin for years, dismissed by the Perry camp as nothing more than a "smear campaign." But Morrow isn't buying it, telling Business Insider, "The gay rumors are voluminous, intense, and will not go away. Rick Perry is a pink cowboy leading a parade of extremist anti-gay preachers and militaristic neo-cons into a ditch."
The governor's move to mandate HPV vaccinations for school-age girls in Texas was poorly received, with speculation still swirling over a vaccination-autism link, and conservatives foretelling of an unchaperoned-spring-break-scale rise in promiscuity. Perry has since reversed his position, calling the directive "a mistake," but opponents continue to raise the issue as evidence of political radicalism.
In one of the most transparent political moves in history, Rick Perry held an August 6 rally in Reliant Stadium, to "pray for a nation in crisis," a thinly veiled attempt to win the support of right-wing conservatives and evangelicals before a crowd of more than 30,000. As if crossing the line between church and state wasn't controversial enough, the event was organized and financed by the American Family Association, listed as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Perry was in rare form at the recent GOP debate, hustling an incredibly ballsy attack on one of America's longest-running social programs, saying, "It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today you're paying into a program that's going to be there. Anybody that's for the status quo with Social Security today is involved with a monstrous lie..."
With drastically reduced budgets, widespread layoffs, huge class sizes, and plummeting graduation rates, it's no wonder kids in Texas don't know much about, well, anything. In an interview with Meet the Press, former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs criticized Perry's education policy, saying, "I think when it comes to someone like Rick Perry, [voters] are going to wonder why a place like Texas has one of the worst education systems."
On the campaign trail Perry has been touting Texas as the land of milk and honey, where taxes are low and jobs are plentiful, the economy strong and sturdy. However, a recent New York Times article suggests this may be something of a tall tale.
When measured by company payrolls, the state unemployment rate is indeed lower than the rest of the nation. But gauged on total employment and the unemployment rate, based on surveys of households, the numbers are much higher, with 80,000 fewer people employed now than in May, and the unemployment rate spiking at 8.5 percent in August.
Faced with the prospect of accepting federal stimulus money, our fearless leader saw fit to remind America that secession is always a possibility. As he put it, "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."
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In other words, Texas is wheeled up and ready to roll away at any moment.
Wonder what Rick Perry might have to say about all this? Just ask our Random Perry Quote Generator.