Political Animal


February 06, 2013 2:19 PM Messing With Texas

By Ed Kilgore

As you’ve probably heard, Gov. Rick Perry’s race-to-the-bottom radio ads inviting California business to “come check out Texas” hasn’t gone over very well in the Golden State. Gov. Jerry Brown, noting how tiny ($24,000) Perry’s ad buy was, said: “It’s not a burp. It’s barely a fart.”

A better response was in this editorial from the Sacramento Bee:

Yes, come check out Texas. Check out a state that ranks dead last in the percent of its population with high school diplomas. Come check out a state that is last in mental health expenditures and workers’ compensation coverage. Come check out a state that ranks first in the number of executions, first in the number of uninsured, first in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted and first in the amount of toxic chemicals released into water.

But the most important charge the Bee made about Perry’s idea of economic development was this one:

Perry can’t create jobs, he can only steal them from other states.

Rick Perry likes to sound all macho and likes to describe his state as some sort of wave of the future. But his basic approach to economic development is to lick the boots (and subsidize the wallets) of anyone willing to move operations to Texas to exploit its heavily cultivated social and economic weaknesses, and it’s about as “future-oriented” as the slavish southern response to defeat in the Civil War: So long as you let us keep holding the inferior races down, we’ll let you yankees maintain us as your own little economic colony.

The Bee appropriately quotes the late Molly Ivins in describing the deliberate backwardness of her state’s conservative leadership:

It’s a low-tax, low-service state - so shoot us. The only depressing part is that, unlike Mississippi, we can afford to do better. We just don’t.

And won’t, so long as people like Rick Perry are in charge, and can enlist the help of “job-creators” from other states in keeping his own people down.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • MuddyLee on February 06, 2013 2:38 PM:

    Ray Wylie Hubbard has the song that sums it all up very well: Screw You, We're From Texas.

  • c u n d gulag on February 06, 2013 2:43 PM:

    It's hard for Texas to have any "Job Creators" and innovators from their own state, when so many people don't graduate from High School.

    Unless one of them can open-up a fast food chain called, "Bubba's Boogers and Paste," what kind of innovation are you going to get from native Texans?

    Yes, I know that was a cheap joke, and there are successful people who never graduated from High School or College, nationwide - it's just that unless those people are really exceptional at something, the road to the middle class is tough enough nowadays - let alone getting to the top of the income ladder.

    Just look at how that state's regarded, since W beat Ann Richards, and Perry came after him.

    I'm just sorry Molly's not around to kick her own state's ass.

  • max on February 06, 2013 2:57 PM:

    And won’t, so long as people like Rick Perry are in charge, and can enlist the help of “job-creators” from other states in keeping his own people down.

    Well, yeah. That's the point. Perry calling is as yesman and asspuppet for the new aristocracy, which is the same as the old aristocracy. Lord, it's not like the boy has any brains to cultivate any actual ideas.

    Everyone complained (or complains) about the D's not having southern whites, but I figured that's for the best since they're all in the other party, which makes it easier to figure out who to revile and despise.

    It will be interesting when Texas goes blue and the rightwing freaks out about how white people gotta pay taxes and stuff now, and the liberal types suddenly discover the 'natural beauty' or what have you. (Hey, the Mojave is beautiful too if you like sand.*)

    ['The real problem with California & Texas is not how different they are but how deeply alike they are.']

    * Actually, I like sand. Reallio trulio.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on February 06, 2013 3:14 PM:

    Once upon a time, I had a sickening obsession with moving to Texas. For the love of god, I know not why. Probably because everything's cheap. But then you get what you pay for...

    But I am glad that circumstances dictated that I keep my ass right where I'm at... Now that gas prices are exploding again, I'm quite happy to expect to drive no more than 10 miles round trip any day; and I cringe to think about commuting/driving in any of Texas's metro areas. That and the tornadoes... The tornadoes I wouldn't be able to deal with... Never seen one, but they scare the living shit out of me.

  • Ron Byers on February 06, 2013 3:56 PM:

    I think it is about time Democrats across the country started calling red state Republicans like Perry and Brownback out for their race to the bottom craptrap.

    For the most part the states doing well in the American economy are deep blue, have highly skilled, high wage workers and are very interested in improving quality of life for all of their citizens, not just their many billionaires. Republicans can race their states to the bottom along with Mexico. When they do they will end up more impoverished.

  • dp on February 06, 2013 4:28 PM:

    In this, as in so many other things, my state of Louisiana is simply "Texas Lite."

  • Mitch on February 06, 2013 4:41 PM:

    @Ron Byers

    Spot on, my friend. I would like to add that Red States also get more money back from the government than Blue States. It never ceases to amaze me that Democrats do not mention that more often. I would mention it every time a Repug like Perry opened his big mouth. (Admittedly Texas is not that bad in this regard.)

    If conservatives hate "takers" so much, then why do conservative dominated states take much more money from Uncle Sam than, say, my beloved California?

  • manalive on February 06, 2013 4:50 PM:

    Comparing Governor Good Hair’s intellect to a bag of hammers is an insult to hammers. - Howdy from Houston.

  • Rick B on February 06, 2013 5:38 PM:

    Governor Good Hair is a really small-towm boy from a farm outside of the town. He grew up in a Texas which had an economy based on agriculture, cattle, agriculture and cattle processing, and oil production. The big fortunes were acquired by crooked oil producers in the 1930's (e.g.H. L. Hunt)who really believed the Ayn Randian fantasy that they created their own wealth. Actually most of them stole it. They fit rather well with the patriarchal southern style land barons that had traditionally run Texas. The Establishment funded much of the John Birch Society and fought every national Democrat since FDR.

    Racism (legal segregation of Blacks and social isolation of the Mexican-American population) kept voting to a minimum. Voting was a privilege of the Whites who could afford the $5 poll tax. The Southern Baptist and Methodist evangelicals were the religious cheerleaders of the existing Establishment. Most of the population lived in smaller communities.

    That's nearly over. In 2008 and in 2012 four of the five large metropolitan areas voted for Obama. Houston has a lesbian mayor and Dallas has a lesbian sheriff who has been reelected. The exception, Fort Worth, is on the cusp of going Democratic.

    Rick Perry is a figurehead for the old Establishment. How else would a guy who has earned a state salary for the last 30 years become a multimillionaire?

    The Establishment knows they are losing control so they are pushing as hard as they can to extract what they can get from government. Tax the poor and give it to the rich, and the poor do not need education because the money from oil and gas comes mostly from outside the state. No income tax and very high sales tax. The conservative idiocies are a result of short-term thinking because the conservatives know they are not going to last in control much longer.

    The fall of the conservatives in Texas would be sooner if more people understood this story.

  • Bobby Goren on February 06, 2013 8:16 PM:

    I think they should change the paper's name to the Sacramento Killer Bee.

  • Richard on February 07, 2013 6:39 AM:

    Omg that quote is so funny: "barely a fart". His agency doesn't seem to be up to the challenge.

  • Red Dirt & Sand blog on February 07, 2013 9:16 AM:

    This is likely Perry's last term as governor. We just need enough opposition to some of the things he's trying to do this legislative session, to keep him from doing permanent damage to the state.