Back to Basics is moving swiftly to drive a wedge between rural Texans and Rick Perry, and to that end has re-opened a battle front on one of his weakest flanks, the Trans-Texas Corridor.
Just look at the quotes:
The project was rife with corruption from the beginning:
The huge government land-grab would have paved over 2,400 square miles of prime, productive farmland and displaced a million Texans from their homes and businesses.iv
Citizens of all political persuasions were outraged by this government overreach.ix
- Perry signed the law allowing free roads to be converted into toll roads.v
- A former top aide to Perry lobbied for the Spanish consortium – led by CintraConcesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte, S.A. – that won the lucrative contract to build the first segment.vi
- Even losing bidders got a government payout, totaling millions in wasted taxpayer dollars. vii
- Companies who stood to profit contributed over a million dollars to Rick Perry.viii
Let's look at the checklist: yep, there's Big Government, Big Government Waste, the ubiquitous Perry crony capitalism, and even a dash of 'foreigner' bigotry ("a Spanish company") all nicely mashed together. And this, tying in the importance of a legislative block to executive authority -- and no, we ain't talking about D.C. now...
The legislature tried twice to stop the TTC boondoggle.
First they passed overwhelmingly a moratorium ending the Trans-Texas Corridor. But Perry vetoed that bill, and he refused to sign the law until he succeeded in forcing lawmakers to slip in exceptions to some of his pet projects –- including an exception to allow construction for parts of the Trans-Texas Corridor.x,xi
Then the legislature tried to protect families with a bill preventing eminent domain abuse. The bill would have placed limitations on the government from taking private property for the gain of another private party. Although lawmakers passed these protections overwhelmingly with the support of land and homeowners across the state, Perry vetoed the law.xii
And the future threat to Texas farms and ranches, from South Texas to Central Texas to East Texas (that is a lot of
“I don’t think it was a mistake at all to have a vision of how to move people and produce safely and expeditiously in the state of Texas,” he said during the debate.
— Perry on TTC and eminent domain
That could make Perry’s sales job easier in 2011, when, if re-elected, his aides said he would try to put Texas back on the path to private toll roads. “Absolutely, the governor is going to keep pushing, pushing for putting this tool back in the box,” Heckmann said. “If he had waited for the Legislature to raise taxes or for Congress to send us back an even return on what we send to Washington in gas taxes, then nothing would ever get built.”
— Kris Heckmann, Perry’s deputy chief of staff and transportation expert
Of course this is entirely the wrong political environment for a Republican incumbent to be supporting a massive government project, and that Perry problem, as we all know, is just for openers.
The "Rick Perry lives in a ten-grand-a-month rental mansion and reads Food and Wine magazine" meme also exploits his wealthy elitist tendencies, and he just can't shoot enough coyotes to overcome it.
If you also note that Perry fucked up his race card play yesterday, while at the same time recognizing that Bill White continues to focus on religious conservative -- well, Methodist anyway -- themes, then you can clearly see that the Democratic nominee for governor is slowly succeeding in peeling off Republican base voters.
(Let's see how many of Perry's lickspittles actually read this blog. Note to self: if the governor is eventually compelled to address the lingering concerns surrounding the TTC, then White has already won.)