Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 18, 2011

TEXAS' PERRY SEEKS HELP FROM 'OPPRESSIVE HAND'.... A couple of years ago, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) was so outraged by Democratic efforts to address multiple economic crises, he pushed the rhetorical envelope much further than he should have.

Indeed, two years ago this week, Perry denounced the federal government as "oppressive," arguing that it was "time to draw the line in the sand and tell Washington that no longer are we going to accept their oppressive hand in the state of Texas." Soon after, he said he doesn't want to "dissolve" the union of the United States, "but if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that."

Apparently, Perry doesn't perceive that hand as quite so "oppressive" anymore. (thanks to readers V.S. and T.P.)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry sought additional federal help in battling wildfires across his drought-parched state as a woodland blaze gutted at least six homes on Sunday and threatened hundreds more in Austin, the state capital.

An estimated 1.5 million acres of tinder-like brush and grasslands have gone up in flames in Texas since January 1, about half of that during the past week alone under some of the driest conditions in Texas history. [...]

"As wildfires continue to rage across our state, Texas is reaching its capacity to respond to these emergencies and is in need of federal assistance," the governor said in a statement.

My point, obviously, is not to make light of a tragedy. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed, a firefighter was killed late last week, and many communities are being evacuated. It's an awful situation, made possible because of remarkably dry conditions throughout much of the state. Given all of this, it makes perfect sense that Perry would request a federal disaster declaration from President Obama.

But it's also a reminder of how offensive Perry's anti-government rhetoric was in the first place. He hates federal intrusion, except when Democrats in Washington are helping him balance his budget. He wants to keep federal officials out of his state, except when he's facing a natural disaster.

I'm glad Perry has the sense to ask federal officials for some help with these dangerous fires, but I hope he remembers this the next time he's inclined to refuse "their oppressive hand in the state of Texas."

Steve Benen 10:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (28)

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Any word as to the large Thank You card, Perry sent to the Federal Government in Richmond for that needed help?

Posted by: berttheclock on April 18, 2011 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah sure it's a tragedy and all but, well you know...f'em

Posted by: aps on April 18, 2011 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Perry also loves having a huge Federal presence in Texas the form of Fort Bliss, Fort Hood and Lackland AFB and all the federal goverment dollars they bring to the state.

Posted by: popeye on April 18, 2011 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Yes TX GOV Perry is always the very first to:
Scream bloody murder about the horrible intrusion of the Federal Government in Texas as long as he's in a room full of Tea Party Republicans...
and to yell HELP ME as soon as anything bad happens in TX.
If you are looking for a hypocrite, Perry's your guy. Needless to say, he's also a liar.

Posted by: T2 on April 18, 2011 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

With the GOP, it's like responsible people are the parents and they're the 13-year-old kids with free-form hostility and the unrealistic plans.

Posted by: Rathskeller on April 18, 2011 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not saying I don't want the feds to help out. But would it kill Obama to make Perry squirm in public a little bit?

Posted by: beejeez on April 18, 2011 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Perry's lucky Obama's President and not me.

If he asked me for a hand, I'd bitch-slap the MFer, and ask if he'd like another hand?

That wise-ass, assholish comment being said, my heart does go out for the ordinary people of Texas.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on April 18, 2011 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

He will forget, as Jon Stewart called it, he will suffer from Balls-himers.

Posted by: joyzeeboy on April 18, 2011 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Texas Gov. Rick Perry sought additional federal help in battling wildfires across his drought-parched state as a woodland blaze...

Dear Mr. Perry,

We're broke. Thanks for your inquiry.

U.S. taxpayers of the other 49 states.

Posted by: Oh my on April 18, 2011 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

I hope he remembers this the next time he's inclined to refuse "their oppressive hand in the state of Texas."

Frankly, WE might want to help remind Texans and Tejanos of the stupidity and hypocrisy of Perry's rhetoric. I suggest looking up some of the online editions of newspapers in Austin, Houston, Dallas, Ft Worth, El Paso, Corpus Christi ... well, there are a lot of possibilities, and you can cut'n'paste your letter to one and submit it to others with just a few tweaks to the text to customize it. Newspapers are always publishing letters from out of state cranks, so don't worry about not sounding like a 'local'.

Nicholas Kristof touts "The Power of Mockery" in last weekend's NY Times. So make it funny, not earnest and serious. Remember that you're going after Perry, and not the Texans reading your letter. Sure, they elected him - but they are the only ones who can refuse to re-elect him next time around. You don't want to alienate them. Similarly, keep it clean.

I've seen a lot of good writing in these comments sections. We can do it.

Posted by: zandru on April 18, 2011 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Faced with some of driest conditions Texas has seen in nearly a century.....crews were having difficulty getting hundreds of blazes under control due to a rare combination of strong winds, unseasonably warm temperatures and low humidity.

Instead of running to the Fed's teat, maybe Perry should send the firefighting tab to Chevron-Texaco. When your state's income relies heavily on pulling carbon from the ground and pumping it into the air, don't whine when the air makes for "dry conditions".

Posted by: BetweenTheLines on April 18, 2011 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Perry should have been called to Washington to accept the funds in person, in a Rose Garden ceremony.

Posted by: SaintZak on April 18, 2011 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe he should ask Tom Delay to gather up some volunteers to go put out those fires ...

Posted by: stormskies on April 18, 2011 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Let the Market handle this. If there is money to be made in battling wildfires, entrepreneurs will rise to the challenge and provide the appropriate level of goods and services. If not, Federal assistance will require theft-by-taxation from the body politic, and encourage slothful dependency on the part of the aid recipients. After all, we don't want to turn a safety net into a hammock.

Besides, those "victims" CHOSE to live where God might punish the heathen idolaters and sinners with fire and brimstone. Aiding them would go against the word of God.

Posted by: Eeyore on April 18, 2011 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Since North Carolina voted for Obama, give them their disaster funds first to help with the tornado damage. Make Perry squirm or even grovel a little. Make him go to D.C. and pose for pictures with federal bureaucrats, Pelosi, Reid, and Obama. Maybe there should be a fact finding mission first - done by Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. I mean we wouldn't want to give Texas a bunch of money this year just to see them secede next year would we?

Posted by: MuddyLee on April 18, 2011 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

"I mean we wouldn't want to give Texas a bunch of money this year just to see them secede next year would we?"

Uhm, why not?

I don't care how they go, as long as they go!

Posted by: c u n d gulag on April 18, 2011 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Texas is Burning.
Where is my Fiddle?

Posted by: cwolf on April 18, 2011 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Before he secedes Perry is making the new state motto: The 'Hand full of gimme and the mouth full of much obliged" state.

Posted by: paulo on April 18, 2011 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Very tempted to throw a quote from Watts, summer of 1965.

Posted by: chi res on April 18, 2011 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Eeyore@10:43 FTW!

Posted by: chi res on April 18, 2011 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'm all in favor of helping fight wildfires around Austin - those are "our people" we're helping.

But if it's Midland, or Dallas, or Fort Worth or any place north or east of the downtown core of Houston, let the dumb goat ropers burn, baby, burn!

Posted by: TCinLA on April 18, 2011 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

R U kidding me? there's not a chance in the world that he'll ever mention his penchant for calling on the Feds when he needs them.

Never happen.

Posted by: Four Legsgood on April 18, 2011 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

And since there is no such thing as global warming, those wild fires are just a figment of the liberal imagination. Leave them alone and they will inevitably go "up in smoke"

Posted by: dweb on April 18, 2011 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Some of you chastise Rick Perry and let the people of Texas off the hook. Believe me, there are millions of nut jobs in Texas just like Rick Perry.

Lots of them get all fired up about the secession BS. Rick Perry only says what his constituents want to hear so he can win elections.

Don't forget, after all, he used to be a Democrat who campaigned for Al Gore for president in 1988. That was back when Democrats used to win state-wide offices in Texas. Rick will say whatever it takes.

Posted by: Pug on April 18, 2011 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

make him pay for it.

Posted by: drew on April 18, 2011 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Don't be cruel.

The people of Texas are citizens and entitled to all the protection and assistance we as Americans expect from our government.

President Obama should fly Governor Perry to DC and present him with a check to help. A big ceremoney to let all Americans know the good the government can do. Perry should give a long speech thanking the President and the American people for their help in a time of need and promising to help when others are in need.

Then we can all sit back and watch the teabaggers hang him when he gets back to Texas.

Posted by: madstork123 on April 18, 2011 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

You should see the pathetic whinning of Texans, especially Houstonians, as they assert that they are entitled to a space shuttle.

They are for government programs, as long as they benefit.

I'd LMAO if Obama came aout and said that Houston was at the top of the short list for a shuttle until Perry started talking secession.

Posted by: Winkandanod on April 18, 2011 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

If Tibet were to ask the Chinese central government for help with forest fire control, would we begrudge them their wish to wish them out otherwise?

As long as the thugs are milling about, ask em to do something useful.

The two are not exclusive. You can ask oppressive people for help and chafe all the while.

That said, the US is not China even under a Democratic president and Perry is a jackass.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on April 19, 2011 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK
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