"Perry went so far as to try to knock down W a peg by questioning the way he uses, of all things, power!"
San Antonio Express-News
Dear Ely, Iowa,
It seems our governor, Rick Perry, was in your neck of the woods recently.
You probably remember him. He was that slicker with the good hair and an unmistakable Southern drawl.
You also probably remember that it wasn't honey coming from his lips, but daggers in the back that would've made Shakespeare jealous.
By now, YouTube has immortalized Perry's words in your fair city on Dec. 6.
But just in case you missed 'em, they went something like this:
"In '95, '97 and '99, George Bush was spending money. George has never, ever been a fiscal conservative," Perry said.
"George," of course, is known back in these parts as either "W," the former Texas governor or the current president of these here United States.
And, as you probably know, Perry brought up W — whom we've been led to believe was Perry's compadre lo these many years — as a way of gussying up the credentials of Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani.
(Pssst. In case you didn't know, Giuliani is from New York City.)
It beats the pants off of me, but Perry went so far as to try to knock down W a peg by questioning the way he uses, of all things, power!
"The governor does have veto power, and frankly, my criticism is that he should have told those guys that you're spending too much money," Perry said.
Trouble is — and pardon me if you already know this — Perry was one of "those guys" when W supposedly was spending money like one of them liberal Democrats.
You see, Perry was the lieutenant governor during that time. In fancy political terms, that means he was the presiding officer over the Texas Senate, which passed every Bush budget.
But under our Texas Constitution, that means Perry was the most powerful politician in this here state.
(I'll let you in on another secret: The only reason Perry became lieutenant governor is because of W's coattails and a big, honkin' loan from a rich fella named James Leininger, who has been anything but fiscally conservative with his moola.)
But let's get back to this business of spending taxpayer money. According to the Dallas Morning News, Perry's folks did the math.
And it shows that state spending during six years with W as governor "grew by 37 percent, or 12.5 percent per two-year budget."
In the last eight years with Perry as the bell cow, spending has grown "almost 33 percent, or 8.2 percent per budget."
I don't know how you folks in Iowa split hairs. But when spending routinely goes up more than 8 percent, that's about as far from fiscal conservative as it is from Paint Creek to that Big Apple place Giuliani calls home.
One last thing and I'll stop bending your ear, Perry is pushing a whole lot of toll roads in Texas because he says the state doesn't have enough money.
But our veto-loving governor hasn't done a thing to stop state lawmakers from raiding the state's transportation fund for stuff that has nothing to do with building roads.
And we're not talking chicken scratch. In the last budget alone, $1.6 billion (read the "b" on my lips) was diverted from the fund under Perry's hawk-like eye.
In closing, I don't know if this makes a hoot of difference in your support of Giuliani. I just thought you might want to know a little more about our guy who's pushing for him.
One of the good citizens of Julius Caesar's Rome, er, Rick Perry's Texas.
To contact Jaime Castillo, call (210) 250-3174 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
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