Note: there is a link to a separate post detailing the positive things that Rick Perry supporters are saying about him at the end of this piece.
[Last updated: 9/5/2011]
This is a continuation of part 1 of a collection of critical statements made against Governor Rick Perry of Texas. The rather long post was broken into two parts to imporve download time, which has become excessive.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I voted for Perry in each of the three gubernatorial elections since 2002 and I am a conservative and a registered Republican. It was easy for me to vote for Perry since the alternative(s) were either uber-RINOs in the primaries or liberal Democrats in the general elections. Under the circumstances, my choice was always easy.
In that spirit, I do realize that anyone who reads this summary has a right to be skeptical of my facts. I therefore invite those who might dispute my findings to challenge them by verifying what I’ve presented here. And cross-check via reliable sources rather than relying on a single posting by some anonymous blogger – some spout “facts” which have no basis in the truth. I will identify the source of my data and in many cases, I’ll provide a link to the source so you can see for yourself … the real facts. And one more thing, you’ll note that none of my information comes from any Perry-controlled site. I do have quotes from some of his sources, but only items that are specifically identified as a quote – no campaign rhetoric.
Following is part two of subjects that are claimed by detractors to be Rick Perry’s failings – they are in no particular order.
9. Perry turned down $555 million in federal stimulus, yet later asked for federal disaster aid for Texas wildfires
That’s true. The reason that Perry gave for refusing that particular “stimulus” was that it was a one-time, temporary influx of money to assist in covering extended unemployment benefits, but had strings attached (the most serious was that the funding would only last about two years). After that, the state would have to find a way to continue the higher payments covered by the federal funding. In other words, it was a one-time, kick-the-can-down-the-road temporary funding that didn’t permanently fix anything and would leave Texas liable for replacing the $555 million when the federal money ran out. Instead Perry got a federal loan to cover the state’s unemployment fund shortfall. While a loan still must be repaid, it didn’t come with the extra burden of federal mandates that accompanied the $555 million stimulus funding. Thus, he avoided the federal meddling that was part of the original stimulus while still shoring up the state’s unemployment fund.
It is true that Governor Perry did accept part of the $787 billion Recovery Act money and used those funds to cover the state’s budget shortfall. Perry has never said that he would never accept federal funds, he has just been careful to decline when the funds came with unacceptable federal intrusion in state affairs attached.
Relative to the wildfires: Over 2.2 million acres of Texas land in 252 counties were lost to wildfires in 2011 due to severe dry conditions caused by drought. Across the state, hundreds of homes and countless livestock have been lost. As a result, Texas Governor Rick Perry requested a Major Disaster Declaration (MDD) and federal emergency funds to assist in fighting the ongoing fires. President Obama refused to issue a Major Disaster Declaration, originally requested on April 16, and instead provided lesser federal assistance for fires fought only between April 6 and May 3, 2011, covering just a fraction of the fires fought in Texas so far this season. A Major Disaster Declaration would have made the state eligible for much more response and recovery assistance from the federal government. Major Disaster aid is an entirely different type of federal aid and is specifically designed to assist states when natural disasters occur. Many in Texas believe that the MDD was withheld for political reasons.
It is hardly hypocritical to refuse federal funding with unacceptable strings attached while requesting federal disaster aid when a natural disaster occurs. It is the federal government’s responsibility to provide disaster relief, one of the few things they have an obligation to the states to fulfill.
10. Perry says he has not raised taxes, but he has
When Perry states that “we don’t raise taxes.” That’s such a broad generalization that it can’t possibly be 100% factual. And it is not. Perry has raised about half a dozen taxes during his tenure, including three 2006 changes that helped cover reductions in school property taxes, being essentially revenue neutral. He also signed into law tax increases on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, fireworks, and diesel equipment. He also implemented a change to the business franchise tax law that increased the franchise tax that businesses pay to operate in Texas – that was an actual business tax increase.
Another tax that has gone up on his watch is the unemployment tax that is paid by Texas businesses. While the tax rate fell steadily from 2004 through 2008, the rate rose in 2009 and 2010 largely due to the national economic downturn. However, the state unemployment rate is set automatically based on the balances in the state’s unemployment fund and is independent of any gubernatorial action, thus Perry is not liable for that one.
Perry has managed to keep taxes low during his 10-year tenure as governor. Countless opportunities to raise taxes presented themselves during Perry’s ten years as governor, yet he resisted the temptation. Texas was ranked 49th among the states in per-capita taxes, at $1,434 a year in 2005, according to a 2009 Census Bureau report and a Texas Public Policy Foundation analysis (Feb., 2011) shows Texas with a 7.9% combined state/local tax burden, ranking it 45th among the states – for comparison, New York’s burden is 12.1%.
After 10 years in office, with ample opportunities to raise taxes, Perry has maintained an enviable record as a low-tax governor.
Currently, Texas imposes no tax on personal income or capital gains. Perry remains opposed to a Texas state income tax and recently vetoed a proposed Internet state sales tax. Perry supports a balanced U.S. budget and a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In his first veto of the year, governor Perry vetoed the Internet sales tax bill (HB 2403). That’s just one more reason for Texas’ low cost of living. Many other states have already enacted new laws to require all Internet sellers to collect a state’s sales tax (regardless of nexus) and others are feverishly getting on the bandwagon – drawn like a moth to a flame – to grab and spend this new source of previously out-of-reach revenue.
11. Perry has presided over the highest number of executions in the nation
Be aware that I used the term “presided over” because that’s the way that several critical comments characterized Perry’s position. Nothing could be further from the truth. Perry did not “preside” over the trials, nor the jury’s decisions, nor did he act as judge. He did not preside over the multitude of appeals that are common in capital cases and he was not part of court decisions that denied a new trial. He was simply in office when these events occurred. He could issue a one-time thirty-day reprieve otherwise, short of a recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, his only option was to grant the reprieve or allow the execution to proceed. That’s it.
231 executions have taken place while Perry was governor. He commuted the death sentence for 31 inmates – mostly those where the defendant was a juvenile at the time of the crime.
Governor Perry followed Texas law. He has done exactly what a Texas governor is bound by law to do. Barring a recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Parole, he cannot unilaterally grant anything other than a single 30-day reprieve, at the end of which (barring a court order) the execution proceeds.
It’s one thing to be against the death penalty on moral grounds, in that case, work to change the laws. But in a nation built on laws, we are bound to abide by the law – even those we may find objectionable. When an individual has been tried in court, found guilty and exhausted all of the appeals available to them, there comes a time when the sentence must be carried out – that’s the law.
12. Perry refused to consider commuting the execution of Mexican national Humberto Leal Garcia even though it had been requested by the U.N. and the White House
Humberto Leal Garcia was sentenced to death for the 1994 rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl. Leal, a mechanic, was born in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, in 1973 and moved to the USA when he was two years old, but never became a United States citizen. He was an illegal immigrant.
On May 21, 1994, Leal kidnapped, raped, tortured, and murdered 16-year-old Adria Sauceda. Police discovered the girl’s nude body on a dirt road in San Antonio in May 1994. Evidence showed she had been gang-raped, bitten, strangled and bludgeoned to death.
She and Leal had been attending a party not far from where she was found. She became intoxicated at the party and Leal is said to have offered to drive her home. Leal carried an intoxicated semi-conscious Sauceda into his car. When Leal placed Sauceda in his car she was clothed. When Sauceda’s body was later discovered she was nude.
Leal was the last known individual to see Sauceda alive.
Official court documents state “There was a 30- to 40-pound asphalt rock roughly twice the size of the victim’s skull lying partially on the victim’s left arm; Blood was underneath this rock. A smaller rock with blood on it was located near the victim’s right thigh.” There was also a 15 inch long stick extending out of her vagina, with a screw at the end. Leal claimed that she fell and hit her head. No one was charged in the gang rape.
Among other evidence, the bite mark was matched to Leal. Her bloody blouse was found at Leal’s home, and Leal confessed to police and his brother that he had killed Sauceda.
The complaint is that even though the 38-year-old Mexican national had lived in the United States since he was 2 years old, he was not granted access to the Mexican consul prior to making incriminating statements (his confession).
In a letter to Texas Governor Rick Perry, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights asked that he commute the sentence to life in prison. “If the scheduled execution of Mr. Leal Garcia goes ahead, the United States government will have implemented a death penalty after a trial that did not comply with due process rights,” said Christof Heyns, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. “This will be tantamount to an arbitrary deprivation of life.”
In its 30-page brief, the Obama administration said that complying with its obligations to notify consuls in such cases would serve U.S.interests as well as those of the condemned man. “It would place the United States in irreparable breach of its international-law obligation to provide consular notification and assistance under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” wrote Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., in a friend-of-the-court brief.
Leal had the benefit of 45 separate hearings and appeals before his execution and his guilt was beyond question.
Update: On July 7, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay the execution on a 5-4 vote and Leal was executed via lethal injection. In his last minutes, Humberto Leal repeatedly said he was sorry and accepted responsibility – admitting his actions for the first time since his original confession, “I have hurt a lot of people. … I take full blame for everything. I am sorry for what I did,” he said in the death chamber before shouting twice, “Viva Mexico!”.
13. Cameron Todd Willingham – was he an innocent man?
This is a troubling case. Willingham was executed by lethal injection in 2004 after being convicted of setting a fire that killed his three daughters before Christmas 1991. But his case and the ensuing controversy frame the death penalty in a new way: whether Perry used his power as governor to try to dodge responsibility for presiding over the execution of a potentially innocent man. Again, that term “presiding” – a term specifically designed to make it appear that he had more responsibility in the execution than is true.
At Willingham’s trial, Texas fire investigators said they found clear indicators that the fire at the Willingham home in the small town of Corsicana had been intentionally set. By the time of Willingham’s execution in February, 2004, the science of fire investigation had dramatically advanced and what investigators had for decades considered telltale signs of arson were no longer considered reliable.
In the final days before Willingham was put to death, his lawyer filed with the courts a report from Gerald Hurst, one of the nation’s most renowned fire scientists. Hurst’s four-page report asserted for the first time in the case that the indicators of arson the investigators cited had been debunked by scientific advances. The fire, Hurst concluded, might well have been an accident – he did not state categorically that it was an accident. Perry reviewed the report and determined it did not present new information, only new opinion. He also decided it did not merit a stay of execution.
Under Texas law, the Governor can only issue a one-time temporary 30-day stay of execution. Any other clemency or commutation of sentence must be recommended to the Governor by the state’s Pardons and Paroles board. None was forthcoming in the Willingham case.
Lucy Nashed, a Perry spokeswoman said, “Willingham’s conviction was reviewed and upheld by multiple levels of state and federal courts, including nine federal courts – four times by the U.S. Supreme Court alone – over the course of more than a decade.”
Here is some detail of Willingham’s various legal manuevers relating to appeals, etc.
State post-conviction litigation: Following a mandatory direct appeal, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Willingham’s conviction and sentence. A motion for rehearing was denied on April 26, 1995. The United States Supreme Court denied a petition for writ of certiorari. Willingham v.Texas, 516U.S.946 (1995). Willingham filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in state court. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied the petition for relief. Ex parte Willingham, No. 35,162 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997). The United States Supreme Court denied a petition for writ of certiorari. Willingham v.Texas, 524U.S.917 (1998). Six years later, Willingham filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in state court, attaching a statement challenging the fire investigation. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied the petition, finding that it did not meet the legal requirements for a claim of newly discovered evidence of actual innocence. Ex parte Willingham, No. 35,162-02 (Tex. Crim. App. 2004).
Federal post-conviction litigation: Willingham filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in federal court. A federal magistrate judge denied the petition, and the federal district court judge agreed with the magistrate’s denial. Willingham v. Johnson, No. 3:98-CV-0409-L, 2001 WL 1677023, at *1 (N.D.Tex.Dec. 31, 2001). A federal court of appeals agreed with the district court. Willingham v. Cockrell, No. 02-10133, 2003 WL 1107011 (5th Cir. Feb. 17, 2003). The United States Supreme Court also denied a petition for writ of certiorari. Willingham v. Dretke, 540U.S.986 (2003).
Pardon application: On January 26, 2004, Willingham filed an application for commutation with the Board of Pardons and Paroles (petition for commutation and stay of execution). The Board voted 15-0 to deny the request.
When the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles reviewed the latest evidence, they refused to recommend that Governor Perry act in this case. Governor Perry independently decided that the evidence did not warrant a stay and he allowed Willingham’s execution to proceed in accordance with his responsibility as Governor.
Did Texas execute an innocent man? In a case that could not have been overturned based on something as definitive as DNA evidence and seven years after the 2004 execution, there’s no way to be 100% sure, but under Texas law, the most that Perry could have done was issue a single 30-day stay. When someone takes the position that Willingham was “innocent,” that person is intentionally ignoring all of the legal maneuvers that occurred and is basing that determination on “feelings.” He was never deemed “innocent” by any legal authority.
If one Googles “Cameron Todd Willingham” the majority of the hits will be different shadings of the same story line, that of those against the death penalty (Innocence Project, etc.). Every attempt is made to cast doubt on the evidence that Willingham was guilty, especially using quotes from “experts” in the field of fire science. The problem is that many of the quotes are massaged to remove any doubt and make them appear as unquestioned facts, when most stated that the fire could have been accidental. For someone really interested in the truth of the case, one must also have access to the other side of the issue. Here is a link to an interview with the Dallas Morning News by Dudley Sharp who was investigating the “innocence” of Willingham. Willingham’s “innocence” was never established, and none of his appeals gave the appellate courts reason to call for a new trial.
The charge that Perry was knowingly complicit in executing an innocent man is without merit. He rejected the last evidence (the Hurst report) as a reason to stay Willingham’s execution, just as the US Supreme Court, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals had. His case was tried, appealed, and adjudicated according to the law.
But Perry’s critics don’t give up so easily. As another point of attack, they accuse him of replacing the members of the Forensics Science Commission (FSC) two days before the formal hearing because, they maintain, the commission was going to submit a finding that did not support the governor’s position on Willingham’ s guilt.
Not only is that position based on an incorrect supposition, it is also obviously biased.
The FSC was not established as a commission for establishing innocence or guilt, nor was it established as a forum for debating the merits of capital punishment. It was established to advance the reliability and integrity of forensic science in Texas courts. The Texas Forensic Science Commission is composed of nine members, each selected by appointment through either the Lieutenant Governor (3), Governor (4), or Attorney General’s office (2).
Each member of the Texas Forensic Science Commission serves a staggered two-year term subject to re-appointment. The Governor designates a Presiding Officer or Chair.
Perry did replace the members because: 1) their terms had expired and appointing new members was standard policy, and 2) pushing back the date of the FSC hearing would allow more time for the Corsicana Fire Department (CFDR) and Texas Fire Marshall’s office (TFMR) to respond to the Beyler report (BR). Both were expected to be critical of the Beyler Report. Pushing back the date of the formal hearing also gave the new FSC members time to get up to speed on the details of the case.
The preliminary CFDR blasted the BR on some obvious and important points, making over a hundred comments and corrections to Beyler’s 19 page review of the Willingham case. It made the case that the Beyler report was both inaccurate and biased. The final determination awaits completed CFDR and TFMR reports.
For those interested in more factual detail, here is a link to the FSC Willingham report. Be aware that it’s 47 pages discussing the committee’s recommendations regarding improvements that could be made in fire investigation techniques, it was not within their jurisdiction to discuss Willingham’s guilt or innocence.
And here is a link to the actual hand-written police reports of wittness statements.
14. Perry supports giving in-state tuition to illegals
This is true. Perry signed the bill six years ago. Under the law, any student who has lived in Texas at least three years and graduated from a Texas high school qualifies for in-state tuition. The law also requires noncitizens to apply for citizenship. “I’m for leaving the law like it is because I think it serves a good purpose,” Perry said. Texas was one of the first states to pass an in-state tuition bill for illegal immigrants. Ten states currently have such laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. About 12,138 children of immigrants got in-state tuition in 2009, about 1 percent of students in Texas trade schools, colleges, and universities. Of that number, 8,406 were in community and technical schools, only 3,725 at universities, and 7 at health-related institutes. Read a good summary of the current status of this issue here at a Dallas Morning News article.
Critics have said it gives a financial advantage to illegal immigrants while U.S. citizens who are not Texas residents still must pay out-of-state tuition rates, which are higher. Personally, I don’t like giving illegals a favorable tuition rate over other state’s legal residents. I understand his reasoning, but I don’t have to like it. I do think that there was some pandering to the Mexican immigrants (legal and illegal) behind the overwhelming votes for this bill.
As a measure of Texas’ version of the “Dream Act,” popularity, it should be noted that it passed the Texas Senate with NO “no” votes – Perry was not out on a limb on this one, it was overwhelmingly supported. It should also be noted that the Texas “Dream” act should not be confused with the federal version. The Texas version relates to higher education only whereas the federal act alsso facilitates giving legal status to children who entered the U.S. illegally with their parents.
15. Rick Perry is gay
A story by Politico predicts that if Texas governor Rick Perry runs for president, he will again have to deal with unproven rumors that he’s gay. Meanwhile, the story itself is helping spread the rumors once more.
As example of the “evidence” that Perry is gay, some have noted that he was a “cheerleader” (and thus, likely to be gay). In fact, he was a Yell Leader, one of five supporting Texas A & M sports teams. Since the school was founded in 1876 and didn’t even admit female students until 1963, no female has been elected to Yell Leader, only men – it’s a tradition thing, not a gay thing.
While running for Governor in 2004,Texas state Democrats asked Perry to address the rumors. In a press conference Perry denied the rumors that he was gay, yet for some his denial raised more questions than it answered.
For his part, Perry continues to be staunchly antigay. He plans to host a prayer-apalooza in August, 2011 at a Houston football stadium, and organizers have confirmed that praying to end homosexuality’s effect on society is on the agenda. The big event is being run in partnership with the American Family Association, which is categorized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group” for its spreading misinformation that the SPLC says is dangerous to gay people.
In the past, Perry has been described as “homophobic.” His conservative Christian posturing has offended many liberals and others concerned with equal treatment under the law for the gay and lesbian community.
Here a statement from Instinct Magazine, a gay publication: “Sheeple worried about Rick Perry’s ambiguous statements in support of a state’s right to pass marriage equality last week can unclench their booties; the Texas Governor and possible 2012 GOP presidential candidate wants to remind you that he is still a raging anti-equality homophobe.”
How does one disprove unsubstantiated accusations except by denying them and by pointing out the absence of any evidence to the contrary? Those critics who maintain that Perry is homophobic and those who believe him to be gay should get together and work it out.
16. Perry is a “weak” Governor (the Governor of a state that limits the Governor’s powers)
This is true – but doesn’t tell the full story. Texas does limit the governor’s powers as compared to many other states, but to conclude that the governor is merely a figurehead, with little power or influence, is simply wrong. Once again, critics are trying to diminish Perry’s achievements by denigrating his part in Texas’ successes, as if his participation as governor was inconsequential.
The formal powers of a governor are measured by using four factors: tenure of office, appointive/administrative powers, budgetary powers, and legislative powers.
The Texas governor has the strongest tenure of office in that he is elected to four-year terms and there are no term limits.
The Texas governor’s appointive powers are limited by the state’s plural executive structure, meaning that he or she cannot count on the loyalty, support, or cooperation of other members of the executive branch. Some of them may even belong to the opposition party. In Texas, the lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller of public accounts, state land commissioner, agricultural commissioner, Railroad Commission, and Texas State Board of Education are all elected by voters, not appointed by the governor.
Unlike most other state governors, the Texas governor has very restricted budgetary powers. In Texas, it is the Legislative Budget Board, dominated by the speaker and lieutenant governor that presents a budget to the legislature for approval. A Texas governor’s most significant budgetary power is the line-item veto power over the state budget bill. Because the legislature has often adjourned within days of the budget bill reaching the governor’s desk, they often have no opportunity to override the governor’s line-item veto.
In terms of legislative power, the Texas governor’s veto power is very strong because gubernatorial vetoes or item vetoes are rarely overridden because the legislature has already adjourned by the time that the governor exercises the veto. In Rick Perry’s case, he has vetoed 273 bills since his first term in 2001. He’s not timid about his veto power. The governor also has the power to call additional special sessions of the legislature and is not limited to the number of special sessions he/she calls.
In comparison to other states: thirty other state’s governors were ranked as having more power than Texas’ chief executive, seventeen are ranked about equal, and three had even less power. In summary, Texas limits the governor’s power primarily in two areas, appointive and budgetary. The weakness in the appointive aspect is because in Texas, most of the other executives are elected, not appointed. And as noted above, the legislature has primary responsibility for drafting a budget. HERE is a link to a University of North Carolina chart which ranks the power of each state’s chief executive – using 2007 conditions.
The low comparative ranking of the Texas governor is consistent with the traditionalistic and individualistic political culture of the state. In other words, it is intentional, not accidental. Judging by Texas’ success, perhaps some other states might want to consider reducing the power of their governors too?
17. Texas’ abysmal rankings on various lists
These rankings were selected by critics for one purpose, and that is to smear Texas and by association, Rick Perry.
No sources have been cited for the rankings, thereby preventing a reader from verifying that: 1) the numbers were accurately reported, 2) they are from a reliable source, and 3) the original context is known.
Nevertheless, we’ll treat them as if they are true and offer a reason to explain such a dismal performance. The rankings themselves (assuming that they’re true) are not anything that the state or Rick Perry should take pride in achieving.
But, the biggest single factor that affects the state’s ranking in almost anything that uses population as a factor, is an estimated 1.6 million illegal immigrants currently residing in Texas. Source: Pew Hispanic Center. (Ten states have populations that are less than 1.6 million).
After all, if the federal government was doing what is clearly their responsibility (controlling the border), Texas wouldn’t have 1,600,000 illegal residents. Think for a moment, how would your state cope with 1.6 million more illegal immigrants? What would that influx do to your state’s rankings?
For example, here is one of the rankings relating to high school graduations, Texas is said to be ranked:
- 1st in the percentage of people over 25 without a high school diploma
This position suffers from the impact that 1.6 million illegals have on the Texas rankings. Most illegal immigrants don’t come to Texas bringing a high school diploma with them and they don’t come to the U.S. to finish high school, they come to work. Though they are counted in the census, few will have graduated, resulting in a disproportionate number of Texas residents without high school diplomas.
And here is another group of awful Texas rankings:
- 1st in percentage of uninsured children
- 1st in percentage of non-elderly uninsured
- 1st in percentage of population uninsure
When one considers that fully 38% of Hispanics in Texas do not have health insurance (that’s almost 3.5 million people, more than the population of 17 states), it’s not surprising that the state would show up poorly on national rankings of residents insured. Over 17.5% of the Hispanic population in Texas is illegal. Those factors, along with the high cost of health insurance and the income level of the illegal residents explain why the state would rank high in uninsured residents.
Here’s another one, Texas is
- 3rd in percentage of people living below the poverty level
Once again, the ranking will be badly skewed by illegal immigrants. The Pew Center estimates that 21% of Hispanics living in Texas are below the poverty level and since 17.5% of the Hispanic population are illegal, that amounts to approximately 336,299 illegal residents below the poverty level. Once again, more than enough to skew the rankings.
There are only two ways to improve these rankings, 1) reduce the number of illegals, or 2) increase tazes to pay for the additional help they will need. It may not be compassionate, but Texans generally will not vote to increase taxes to pay for illegal immigrant support.
All of the Hispanic-related information referenced above can be found at: Pew Hispanic Center.
18. Rick Perry is way too chummy with Muslims
“Perry has had a surprisingly warm relationship with Muslims as governor,” says Mohamed Elbiary, founder of the Freedom and Justice Foundation, a Muslim public policy organization in Texas.
His record indicates that Perry has had a “respectful” relationship with at least one particular group of Muslims, the Ismailis. Perry’s relatively good relations with the group has already sparked distrust among some conservative bloggers. It is sometimes wise to remember that the governor is the governor of all Texans, without exclusion.
“We’ve seen him for 20 years at state level, as lieutenant governor and state governor,” Mr. Elbiary says. “Throughout that whole history, he’s never taken an anti-Muslim or anti-Islam position. He’s a live-and-let-live type of Texan, and relations have been good.” It should be noted that while Perry has remained “respectful” to Muslims, he has been a staunch, unwavering supporter of Israel.
The governor – like other American politicians (from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to President John F. Kennedy) – has built a relationship with the Aga Khan (head of the Ismailis) based on respect and mutual interest, one that could be carried into the White House if Perry gets elected. Here is another source for an analysis of Perry’s ties to Aga Khan. It also includes the complete lesson plan for what critics have called “Perry’s Pro-Sharia School Curriculum.”
In fact, Perry’s relations with the Ismailis, a Shia sect of Islam whose adherents number between 30,000 and 40,000 in Texas and 15 to 20 million worldwide, have been particularly positive, says Mahmoud Eboo, President of the Ismaili Council for the USA. “I believe that Governor Perry’s leadership philosophy has been to serve Texans of all races and religions and his relationship with the Muslim community generally and the Ismaili community in particular has been cordial and respectful,” Mr. Eboo says in an email.
I’ve seen many accusations that reference CAIR’s support of Perry for President, but they all emanate from the same single source – (I won’t give her any publicity), I’ve not found any other independent source for CAIR support of Perry.
CAIR supposedly was upset that Perry didn’t invite them to the “Response” prayer event in Houston. They even teamed up with the ACLU to protest the exclusion. Why on earth would they have wanted to be at a Christian event anyway?
He also took a stand to stop the Gaza flotilla boat, “The Audacity of Hope” with his June 28 letter asking Eric Holder to bring the flotilla participants to justice for violating US law and he has never appointed a Muslim to any significant government position (including Judgeships) in Texas.
I’ve not found any evidence of Perry being supportive of any Muslim group other than the previously mentioned Ismaili group. And since the Islamailis are a persecuted Shia minority in Saudia Arabia, that probably means that the Saudis may not like Perry’s association with them either.
Rather than reaching out – as both presidents Bush and Obama mistakenly did – to problematic organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood’s expressly political agenda, Perry’s choice to engage with a more “progressive” group should be a good sign.
And on the New York mosque issue: When Perry was questioned about a mosque near ground-zero in New York, he said, “To build a mosque near Ground Zero would be insensitive to the victims and families of 9/11 and would make the healing process much more difficult for everyone that was touched by this tragedy.”
He continued, “I’m a big believer in freedom of religion but believe it would be best for all involved to put the facility elsewhere.” “However, zoning is a local responsibility and as a staunch supporter of the 10th Amendment, I do not think the federal government should take steps to intercede or overrule the wishes of local residents. The citizens of New York City will decide the fate of this building.” There’s that 10th Amendment again.
In a nominating race where every candidate is vying for the Christian conservative vote, a critical part of the GOP’s base, Perry will likely be criticized for his relationship with the Muslim community in Texas, says one professor of political science.
Another thing that should be considered when vetting Perry on the Muslim/Islam issue is his support of Israel. Governor Perry has been a staunch supporter of Israel. After a trip to the area in 2007, the governor supported Texas’ divestment from companies that do business with Iran, a main opponent of Israeli freedom. Additionally, the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce was created to help launch future commercial interests and solidify the strong business and cultural connections between the two states.
In 2009, Gov. RickPerry received the Defender of Jerusalem Award, given to public figures who have demonstrated support and commitment to the state of Israel and its capitol, Jerusalem. The governor accepted the award while on his trip to Israel, where he also met with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and business and academic leaders.
During that trip, Perry gave an interview to the Jerusalem Post in which he affirmed his support for Israel, “I’m a big believer that this country was given to the people of Israel a long time ago, by God, and that’s ordained.”
Here’s another article about Perry’s ties with Muslims at Newsmax.
And finally, a word from our sponsor, Pesky Truth:
Groucho Marx once said, “Those are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.”
Doesn’t that sound like most of our politicians took lessons from Groucho?
Click here to go to “What you need to know aboutRick Perry” (that’s the collection of positive information).
Click here to go back to part 1 of the “Seventeen (17) things” post.