Tag Archives: Rick Perry

13 Years of “Oops”

By CAP Action War Room

Rick Perry’s Top 9 Greatest Misses

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has been in the news in recent weeks for leading an effort to make it almost impossible for millions of Texas women to exercise their constitutionally-protected right to have an abortion, all while repeatedly personally attacking the effort’s leading opponent, State Sen. Wendy Davis (D).

Despite his renewed popularity among Texas conservatives, Perry announced today that he will not seek a fourth term for governor and seemed to hint at a potential 2016 presidential run to come.

In view of the damage he’s done to Texas over the past 13 years and what he might do if elected president, ThinkProgress rounded up Perry’s top nine greatest misses:

1. He allowed Texas to become the nation’s worst polluter. Texas under Perry has led the nation in carbon dioxide emissions and is home to five of the tenworst mercury emitting power plants in the country. Rather than try to do something about this, Perry sued the federal government to try to avoid complying an EPA ruling that the state was in violation of the Clean Air Act. Aproudclimate change denier, Perry called the 2010 BP oil spill an “act of God” while speaking at a trade association funded by BP. And his solution to the nation’s economic ills in 2011: more oil drilling.

2. He executed a likely innocent man and impeded an investigation into the matter. In 2004, Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in Huntsville, Texas after being convicted of arson and the murder of his three children. Despitesignificant evidence that arson had not caused the fire (thus exonerating Willingham), Perry refused to grant a stay of execution. Five years after Willingham was executed, a report from a Texas Forensic Science Commission investigator found that the fire could not have been arson. As the commission prepared to hear testimony from the investigator in October 2009, Perry fired and replaced three of its members, forcing an indefinite delay in the process. With a record of executing juveniles and mentally disabled, Perry said in a 2011 GOP presidential debate that he had “never struggled” at all with his decisions to administer the death penalty to more than 230 people.

3. He actively sought to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Perry argued that Texas and other states should be able to opt out of federal entitlements like Medicaid and Social Security — even though such a move would actually cost his own state’s economy billions of dollars. Despite their popularity and success, he called these programs and Medicare “Ponzi schemes,” and suggested they are actually unconstitutional.

4. He consistently backed legislation to restrict women’s reproductive rights. Perry has made news in recent weeks for his embarrassing attacks on State Senator Wendy Davis (D) and his efforts to ram through a likely unconstitutional bill to shut down the vast majority of Texas clinics that provide abortion. But his attacks on women’s reproductive choice are nothing new; in 2011 he pushed for and signedemergency legislation” to require women to have unnecessary sonograms prior to abortions.

5. He demonized LGBT Texans and worked to increase legal discrimination against them. Perry was staunch defender of Texas’ unconstitutional anti-sodomy law which criminalized the private consensual sexual behavior of adults. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, Perry called ban “appropriate,” and blasted the Court decision as the result of “nine oligarchs in robes.” As a presidential candidate, he ran a shockingly anti-gay ad, blasting open service by gay and lesbian members of the Armed Services as part of President Obama’s “war on religion.” He vocally opposed the Boy Scouts of America’s half-measure allowing openly gay Scouts but not leaders, claimingthe tiny step “contradicts generations of tradition in the name of political correctness.” Even in his speech Monday, he proudly boasted that Texas had defended “the sanctity of marriage” by writing discrimination into the state’s constitution.

6. He backed nullification of federal laws and even raised the prospect of secession. Perry rose to national prominence in 2009 when he threatened to have Texas secede from the United States. “If Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that,” Perry told reporters after a Tea Party event. He also signednullification legislation — a state law that portends to undo federal law, despite the Constitution’s clear guarantee of federal supremacy — as governor, the likes of which were used by secessionists in the 19th Century.

7. He refused to let the federal government provide healthcare for low-income Texans, despite the highest rate of uninsured residents in the country. Health care in Texas is abysmal. More than 25 percent of Texans — 6,234,900 people and growing — lack health coverage, the highest of any state in the country. However, when Obamacare was passed and offered millions of dollars in federal money to expand Medicaid and cover poor Texans, Perry rejected the offer even though it wouldn’t cost Texas a dime for at least three years. Despite his state’s awful track record on covering low-income residents, Perryclaimed that Texas has the “best health care in the country.”

8. He vetoed bipartisan Equal Pay legislation to protect Texas women. Though women, on average, continue to earn 77 cents for every dollar men make, Perry vetoed legislation that would have helped women fight discrimination. The bill, HB 950, which passed the Republican-held Texas legislature, would have built on the federal Lilly Ledbetter Act. Perry, worrying that the bill would lead to regulations, vetoed the measure.

9. He called for repeal of the 16th and 17th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, to end popular election of Senators and the federal income tax. In his book Fed Up!, Perry said that both the 16th and 17th Amendments were “mistaken” and should be repealed. The 16th Amendment allows the federal government to collect income taxes and accounts for 45 percent of all revenue, while the 17th Amendment allows voters, rather than state legislatures, to choose their U.S. senators. Perry opposed both amendments, saying they were merely passed in “a fit of populist rage.”

What health and safety really mean in TX


In a few weeks, the Center will return to court to fight for the rights of Texas women.

This is a familiar battleground in the ongoing war on women. Led by Gov. Rick Perry, Texas politicians are fixated on devastating reproductive health care in the state.

It’s time to let Perry know that we won’t stand for his ideological agenda.

He claims to care about the women in his state. On the day he signed the most recent restrictions into law, Perry told reporters, “This is an important day for those who…support the health of Texas women.” 1

But the governor’s actions speak louder than words. The sweeping law he passed has nothing to do with safety, health, or supporting women.

The truth is, if his restrictions take effect, they would make essential health care services practically impossible for many Texans to access, leaving women’s health and safety at risk.

Tell Gov. Perry to stop using Texas women as political pawns—and to stay out of the very personal decisions that determine their health and future.

Thanks, as always, for all you do,

A Texas-Sized Attack on Women

By  CAP Action War Room

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The GOP’s War on Women Marches On

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) called a special session of the Texas legislature to deal with redistricting (Texas’ redistricting plan was thrown out for violating the Voting Rights Act), but then subsequently added abortion to the agenda after Senate Democrats thwarted efforts to pass new restrictions during the legislature’s regular session.

The GOP’s assault on abortion rights includes measures similar to what we’ve seen in dozens of other states, including:

  • An unconstitutional ban on all abortions after 20 weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest.
  • Burdensome and unnecessary regulations that will have the effect of closing 37 of the states’s 42 abortion clinics.
  • A ban on medication abortions (abortions that use an abortion pill) via telemedicine.

In just the latest example of outrageous comments about rape and women’s bodies, the measure’s sponsor, Rep. Jody Laubenberg (R), bizarrely suggested that rape kits are a form of abortion. “In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out,” said Laubenberg.

The measure will leave women in rural Texas with almost no health care options. Some would have to drive 600 miles or more each way simply to consult with an abortion provider, meaning any procedure could take several days including transit time.

The session is over Tuesday at midnight and the Texas GOP is now trying to do everything it can to pass its sweeping attack on women’s rights before the deadline. Last night, hundreds of protesters flooded the Texas State Capitol as House Democrats tried unsuccessfully to block the bill, which was ultimately passed around 3:00 a.m.

Normally bills have to wait 24 hours after passage before they can be taken up the other chamber, but Senate Republicans sought to take advantage of the absence of one Democrat who was attending her father’s funeral to try and get around the limit and pass the bill immediately. While it appears that procedural maneuver will not be successful, a single Democrat will still have to filibuster the bill for the entirety of the remaining hours of the session in order to stop it from passing.

A poll out last week found that a majority of Texans oppose the bill and a whopping 80 percent of Texans don’t even think the legislature should be dealing with the issue during its special session.

We’ll keep you up to date as this story develops, but it’s clear that the GOP has no intention of halting their efforts to outlaw abortion nor their apparently endless series of insulting and offensive comments about rape.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed

The Supreme Court’s stunning attack on workers’ rights.

Affirmative action survived its latest trip before the Supreme Court.

George Zimmerman’s lawyer begins murder trial with a knock knock joke.

Miami is doomed.

Justice Alito would like Justin Ginsburg to keep her opinions to herself.

Why you shouldn’t be surprised that the National Zoo lost a red panda.

Obama administration kicks off campaign to enroll millions using new health care marketplaces.

Immigration reform bill clears major hurdle, likely to pass the Senate by week’s end.

The Roberts Court almost always rules in favor of the nation’s top corporate lobbying group.

Liberal Media

By ThinkProgress War Room

The National Media’s Misbegotten Sequester Coverage

First, Republicans accused the president of over-hyping the impact of the sequester and many reporters dutifully began asking the White House if they regretted the alleged over-hyping. Soon, however, both Congressional Republicans and the media found one impact of the sequester that represented an all-out crisis: the cancellation of White House tours.

(The Secret Service is subject to sequester cuts — $84 MILLION worth — and suspending the tours will save $74,000 a week. This will allow them to avoid furloughing additional workers.)

One-quarter of Americans say that they’ve already been negatively affected by the painful sequester cuts; those making less than $50,000 were twice as likely to have been impacted as those making more than $100,000. The worst impacts of the cuts are still to come and will only get worse over time, yet cable news has hardly covered the impact on some of the most vulnerable among us. Instead there has been absolutely breathless coverage of the apparent national crisis caused by the cancellation of White House tours.

The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein hits the nail on the head in his piece lamenting the “gross obsession with White House tours.” You should read the whole thing, but here’s the key paragraph:

There’s bargaining power for Republicans in upholding the convenient fiction that we can make these cuts and no one will really hurt, because government spending is just wasteful and unnecessary. But the effort here isn’t to make sure no one hurts. It’s to make sure no one with the political capital to do something about it hurts. As such, the minor inconveniences of the politically powerful have become a national crisis, even as some of the politically powerless are losing not just a White House tour, but the very roof over their heads.

The Beltway media should follow the lead of local media outlets covering the impact of the sequester. Instead of hyperventilating about White House tours, local outlets have been covering cuts to things like Head Start, medical research, public housing, schools, and the military (including active duty soldiers).

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed

NRA president defends lobbyist’s shocking Newton comments.

Sen. Marco Rubio: Denying civil rights to gay people “does not make me a bigot.”

Senators, including Dianne Feinstein, destroy Ted Cruz’s argument against an Assault Weapons Ban, which passed a Senate committee today.

GOP rebranding: Rick Perry booed at conservative conference for calling for Latino outreach.

14 GOP congressmen who think the government shouldn’t borrow have big debts of their own.

Family Research Council: Unmarried people should be denied birth control and punished for having sex.

The latest Republican whopper about the Democratic budget.

The man behind the 47% tape revealed.

Longtime crank with no actual accomplishments is rock star of conservative conference.