Sunday, September 30, 2007

"I’m all for sending this Texas A&M University cheerleader back to the farm... a growing number of other Texans feel the same way."

Time to give Gov. Goodhair the brush-off

September 30, 2007

By Mary Madewell
The Paris News
Copyright 2007

Enough is enough.

It’s time for Gov. Goodhair to go.

And I don’t mean to Washington, D. C., as our nation’s vice-president. It’s pretty obvious that’s what Texas Gov. Rick Perry has in mind as a step up in his career as a politician, but it sends chills through my bones to think of Goodhair being one heart beat away from leading the free world.

Shucks, he can’t even lead his own Republican faithful, let alone stand for everything that is right in a democracy. At every turn, Perry has tried to do an end run around the separation of powers that has made our republic work for more than 200 years.

I’m all for sending this Texas A&M University cheerleader back to the farm. There is a growing number of other Texans who feel the same way.

In doing research for this column, I stumbled upon an abundance of material from an organization I didn't know existed, but learned has been working for years to oust the unpopular governor. I say “unpopular” because he squeaked in a second elected term with only 39 percent of the vote. I would guesstimate there are far less Texans who would vote for him today after the stunts he’s pulled since November 2006.

Perry said following that election that it didn’t matter about the 39 percent because he gets to govern 100 percent of the time. That one remark was a forecast of things to come.

First thing out of the box, Perry angered Texans and Texas lawmakers when he misused limited executive power authority to require young girls be vaccinated against the HPV virus. Legislators appropriately reversed the mandate.

It turned out Perry had received campaign money from the makers of the drug, Merck Pharmaceuticals. Perry’s former chief of staff, Mike Toomey, is a Merck lobbyist.

Earlier, Perry angered educators with an executive order instructing Texas Education Agency to implement a 65 percent rule, which requires districts — no matter its population and demographic make-up — to spend 65 percent of all funds on classroom instruction. Some smaller districts just can’t get there because of fixed facility, maintenance and transportation costs in addition to support staff necessary to implement federal No Child Left Behind requirements.

Perry has used his veto pen to kill bipartisan legislation that would have given Texans a clear, unadulterated shot at a 30-month moratorium on the governor’s hated plan to build the massive Trans-Texas Corridor along with his freeway-to-tollway privatization scheme. Texans should be up in arms about foreign investors making huge profits off Texas motorists. Instead, we should raise the gasoline tax and link that tax to inflation. That way, Texans can reinvest profits in more highways using a pay-as-you go plan rather than saddling future generations with transportation debt.

Our own state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, supports such a plan and has pledged to work toward that goal during the 2009 legislative session.

Perry also struck bipartisan eminent domain reform designed to protect private property rights and prevent the taking of more than 1 million acres of prime farm and ranchland for his Trans-Texas Corridor.

Gov. Goodhair sold out consumer protection for homeowners by stacking the Texas Residential Construction Commission with appointees from the construction industry. Perry took $690,000 from Houston homebuilder Bob Perry of Perry Homes (no relation) and then appointed Perry Homes attorney, John Krush, to the commission.

With his post sine die veto pen, Perry weakened bipartisan criminal justice reform that would slow the pace of incarceration and provide for alternative funding mechanisms to rehabilitate rather than incarcerate troubled Texans.

My thoughts turned to impeachment last week after Paris Junior College president Dr. Pam Anglin said that Perry had pretty much “dug in his heels” to do battle with community colleges over the complete restoration of health care funds Perry vetoed from the Texas Legislature’s biennial budget after lawmakers left Austin.

The impeachment process provided by the Texas Constitution is quite simple. Charges must be brought by a majority vote in the Texas House with the trial taking place in the Senate. The House is charged with prosecuting the case with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas presiding. A two-thirds vote is required for removal from office.

Like our United States constitution, impeachment is based on “high crimes and misdemeanors," but after more than two hundred years there is still no consensus as to what this phrase means in practice.

The process should be used rarely. James Ferguson (1915-1917) is the only Texas governor to be impeached and convicted by the Texas legislature.

Some history buffs have said his impeachment had to do with his attacks on the University of Texas. But one of the reasons for the impeachment involved accusations that Ferguson was giving highway contracts to his friends and taking kickbacks.

I would imagine if enough Democrats and independents put resources together, skeletons can be found in our governor’s closet. I would suggest looking both at the governor’s mansion and at Perry’s new digs, for which Texans are paying $10,000 a month so Goodhair has a plush residence to entertain his wealthy friends and contributors.

That, interestingly enough, is the purpose of a growing number of grassroots organizers who are pushing for impeachment proceedings to be introduced in the 2009 legislative session. Information about the network can be found at

In my opinion, Perry is a wolf without the sheep’s clothing. It will take more than good looks and a healthy head of hair to fend off Texans once enough get fired up to take Goodhair out of office.

Mary Madewell is interim managing editor of The Paris News.

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