by Jeff Siegel
The minute that it looked — even remotely — that the swine flu was going to be a significant problem in Texas, Gov. Rick “Hell no, we ain’t forgettin’ “ Perry called in the federal government.
This was news, of course, because the Republican governor told an Austin audience a couple of weeks ago that the state could leave the union any time it wanted. But what does Perry do the first time there’s a crisis? Cry uncle.
So doesn’t Perry’s request for federal help — specifically, anti-viral medication and federal money to help for pay for the state of emergency that he declared last week — seem to put the lie to his earlier discussion of secession?
Not in Texas, which is something that the cyber-ether doesn’t quite understand. It has been twitttering (pun fully intended) over the past several days with the news of Perry’s “hypocrisy” and having more than one giggle at his expense. The Huffington Post raced to note the seeming faux pas, and a fellow named Rick Starr wrote a nice piece reminding Gov. Ain’t Forgettin’ about U.S. geography.
The problem, which you have to be here in Texas a long time before you completely understand, is that Texans of Perry’s political stripe don’t suffer from hypocrisy. If you’re always right — and they’ll be the first to tell you that they always are — then how can you be a hypocrite?
It’s perfectly rational for Perry to rip the federal government, yet still ask for help. What kind of Texan would he be if he didn’t? It’s significant that his opponent in next spring’s GOP gubernatorial primary, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, has been mostly silent about the secession talk and its swine flu aftermath. That might be surprising elsewhere, but Texas isn’t elsewhere. Here, you’ll get more votes ridiculing the federal government than your opponent.
And don’t worry — Perry isn’t about to change. Shortly before the swine flu hit Texas, and with the memory of secession still fresh, Perry moderated a panel in suburban Dallas that included three right-wing radio hosts, for what the governor called a “critique” of President Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office. He got a standing ovation.
(The photo of Gov. Rick Perry is by Robert Scoble of California, who writes Scobelizer, via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.)
Kay Bailey Hutchison
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by Jeff Siegel