Skip to comments.Texans haven't impeached a governor since 1917
Posted on 09/01/2007 3:04:10 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Even though he didn't get a majority for re-election last year, Gov. Rick Perry's 39 percent was ahead of everybody else. And so he's now in a term that lasts into 2011.
In the eyes of some of his detractors in the blogosphere, that's too long. Political activist Linda Curtis has started a website calling on legislators in 2009 to impeach the governor (www.impeachperry.indytexans.org/).
That's a pretty rash idea. But since Texas doesn't allow for recall elections, like the one that nailed California Democratic Gov. Gray Davis in 2003, Texans' only way to toss Perry out before the 2010 election would be impeachment.
Curtis' top two (of 10) reasons for wanting to oust the governor are the imposition of toll roads during the Perry administration, including the possibility of condemning land, lots of land, for the Trans-Texas Corridor; and Perry's veto of $154 million for health insurance for community college staff members.
"We intend to take this campaign out across the state, to all political camps, and to neuter this administration," Curtis wrote. "Whether or not that leads to Perry's impeachment will be up to the Legislature. Let's see if history does indeed repeat itself."
Perry spokesman Robert Black's only response to the impeachment talk was to say "Free speech is a wonderful thing."
It's been 90 years since Texas had its first and last gubernatorial impeachment. That one, in 1917, bagged Gov. James E. Ferguson, primarily over a battle with The University of Texas. Ferguson, in his second two-year term, wanted the school's board of regents to can some professors he found objectionable. The regents refused. So Ferguson vetoed almost the entire appropriation for the university.
To say that irked the Legislature is an understatement. After the Texas House of Representatives voted he be tried for impeachment, the Texas Senate voted 25-3 - well above the required two-thirds of those present - to remove him from office.
Ferguson, however, resigned a day before his actual removal and maintained it didn't apply to him since he'd already resigned. His successor was then-Lt. Gov. William P. Hobby, Sr., whose son Bill later set the state record at 18 years' service as lieutenant governor.
Ferguson, known as "Pa," ran for governor again in 1918, but the elder Hobby beat him. Ferguson ran for the U.S. Senate in 1922, but lost. In 1924, he wanted to run for governor, but the Texas Supreme Court ruled he couldn't take office if he won. So he ran his wife Miriam, known as "Ma," who won, becoming Texas' first woman governor.
"Ma" Ferguson lost for re-election in 1926. She ran again and lost in 1930, but won in 1932 - her last term. She ran again in 1940, but finished a distant fourth to W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel in the Democratic primary.
There was brief talk by Republican Gov. Bill Clements in 1987 of impeaching Democratic Texas Supreme Court Justices William Kilgarlin and C.L. Ray, for allegations of conflicts. That never got off the ground. Later that same year, Democratic state Reps. Paul Moreno of El Paso and Al Edwards of Houston wanted to impeach Clements over the cover-up of a play-for-pay football scandal at Southern Methodist University while he was on its board of regents. That also went nowhere.
DAVE McNEELY is a former political columnist for the Austin American-Statesman.
Trans-Texas Corridor PING!
Perry ought to be impeached alone over the Trans-Texas Corridor abomination.
The last line says it all. The "Anti-American Statesman" is generally a Democrat Party mouthpiece and McNeely was its chief political writer.
There's a difference between impeachment and recall. Impeachment implies official misconduct. Recall simply means popular dissatisfaction.
Unless you can make an actual case for official misconduct, I think impeachment goes nowhere - particularly if one or both chambers are also run by Republicans who would make up the "jury".
So should Bush.
Well, if Dick loves immigration so much, perhaps he should move to Mejico.
I take it Perry is a Gringo de Mexico?
It was a 4-way race. 2 RINOs (Dick and Ma Strayhorn), a rodent (Bell), and a Libertoonian (Kinky Friedman).
I’d go for impeachment in a flash over the toll roads alone. It’s like my native Texas has become a third world country that’s too poor to keep up it’s infrastructure. Imagine where this country would be if the interstate highway system had been built as toll roads. Oh wait, they’re planning to give some of those away as well.
Of course they’d love to have you get one of their tracking tags in your car so they can keep up with your movements. Maybe their computers will detect changes in your routine and give them probable cause for a traffic stop.
Politicians always like to name stuff after themselves. I’d like to see these toll roads named after each and every one of the culprits before the next election. A big sign with their name posted in front of every frickin toll booth.
And I haven’t even gotten to the Trans-Texas Corridor yet. sheesh.
I save the rino label for those who truly deserve it, like a few certain senators(and presidential candidates.) How bad was Strayhorn?
Ma was the “Republican” version of Richards. An egomanaic who was determined to run for Governor, but refused to do it as a Republican, and openly courted rodents to install her. The worst kind of treacherous RINO.
In our household it's referred to as the "Altered Statesman".
Bunch of freaking loons.
You're right, this goes nowhere.
The man is not your average bought and paid for republican, he give all the rest of them a bad name.
Great! We know it can be done! Now Texans should do it!
Just because the McNeely and The Statesman said something doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I see a Bi-Partisan disgust with his policies.
Look at their top 10 reasons to impeach and tell me you can’t support at least 5. Get rid of him and we can fight over his successor later.
The HPV vaccine by the 6th grade and his Pharmaceuticals ties should be enough by itself.
If Perry took any bribes, DOJ will get him before impeachment does.
There were four major candidates last year: Perry, Chris Bell (D), Carole Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman (both Indies).
Imagine what she could have accomplished if she had only had her sons help out in the campaign.
You are on a roll!
Name the toll booths after the Politicians. All Highways, Roads, Bridges and Buildings should be named after those that have given the ultimate sacrifice in defense of Freedom.
This is one time I can actually say “There ought be a Law”
Politicians produce zero and then pat themselves on the back, they want something named after themselves they can use their own money (as long as they can prove they stole it from us fair and square).
Screw impeachment, let's give him a medal for this.
I’m disgusted with Perry. I’m all for his early removal.
But is there anything impeachable? Anything most people would say is so illegal or unethical that he deserves to be ousted?
You don't get to remove somebody from office because he does something you don't like. You have to show he did something either so illegal or so corrupt that he should be thrown from office. I'd say it's not even close. You aren't making a case.
Please do not insult Libertarians by naming Kinky one of them. I have Libertarian friends I think a lot of. Kinky, in his own words is “an Ann Richards Democrat”.
Just got back from the Straw Poll. A couple notes on it. Perry did not show up, was put on screen with taped comments. First time in my memory a sitting Gov. was booed and hissed at least as loudly as the smattering of applause. TTC/ stickers were going like hotcakes. A nobody knew him candidate, Ray McKinney from Georgia probably got no more than a few sympathy votes, but gave a heckuva speech, got at least one standing ovation by comparison.
For any number of reasons, this was a bust politically. Poorly timed, poorly promoted, new executive director Talmadge Heflin barely had time to put his pictures on his desk. No change in primary date, but unless that had been done legislatively, it would have been suicidally expensive for the Party to finance its own primary. About 1,300 eligible delegates, I think Tina had a bad hair day on this one.
But is there anything impeachable? Anything most people would say is so illegal or unethical that he deserves to be ousted?Well, the answer from me is I don't know what the Texas standard of impeachment is. I 'm just disgusted with the current state of affairs here. Normally I do a little more research before shooting off my mouth. lol
But the definition of High Crimes and Misdemeanors in the US Constitution takes in a lot more than crimanality. Gerald Ford had a great quote:
"What, then, is an impeachable offense? The only honest answer is that an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history; conviction results from whatever offense or offenses two-thirds of the other body considers to be sufficiently serious to require removal of the accused from office..." Congressman Gerald Ford, 116 Cong. Rec. H.3113-3114 (April 15, 1970).Since we don't have the ability to recall the governor this is really the only alternative. It certainly wouldn't hurt for this governor to worry about what the standard for impeachment is as he pitches his quarters in on the "Rick Perry Memorial Tollway".
Thanks for the reminder. Who a paper actually endorses for political office is often the decision of the Publisher, not the editors. Clearly, the editors wrote an endorsement of Kerry while half-heartedly also disclosing their official choice they probably disagreed with themselves.
And McNeely was always a reporter and columnist, never to my knowledge an editor. But, as their chief political writer, much of the content of their state government coverage contained his slant.
Not that any of this matters. The anti-TTC folks get to have another of their rant threads but the idea of impeaching Perry over this is as loony as impeaching Bush for the war on terror.
And it should be no surprise that it is the liberals who keep bringing up both subjects.
You don't get to remove somebody from office because he does something you don't like. You have to show he did something either so illegal or so corrupt that he should be thrown from office. I'd say it's not even close. You aren't making a case
Texas law does not require any finding of misconduct or illegalities in order for the legislature to impeach a governor. Whatever reason the legislature wants to use is sufficient. Getting the votes to remove him from office is another matter but Perry is extremely unpopular with the Republican base in Texas and he only won because of the crowded ballot.
Perry has made clear his contempt for the principles of republican self-governance and for the wishes of the Texas population by many acts, some of which include his veto (after the legislative session ended) of the toll road moratorium law which passed with only one dissenting vote I believe, his executive order requiring all girls age 12 and over have the cervical cancer vaccine, and his going back on his campaign promises on controlling the borders.
Perry, just like President Bush, simply does not believe that the people should get their way on these issues and he is willing to impose his personal preference as policy in defiance of the legislature. He does not believe in the fundamental principle of citizens making these decisions through their elected representatives. This is a profound betrayal of his duty to uphold our system of repubican self-governance. In my opinion, no elected official in Texas history has earned the threat of impeachment more than Perry.
I called his office that day and told his PR idiot that Texas left the Union the second time that day. She had nothing to say.
And it should be no surprise that it is the liberals who keep bringing up both subjects.NO. It's populists with the silly notion that the government should do the will of the people.
I take it you're in favor of the HPV vaccine for 6th grade girls, the franchise tax increase, vetoing eminent domain reform in support of TTC, and giving our roadways away to foreign corporations? There is a lot to despise here.
"One tough Granma" ran as an independent, since apparently the Dimocrat Party wouldn't have her back.
No, I take it that elected officials will sometimes take different policy positions than I would take and that that, alone, is not a basis for removal from office. The remedy is the ballot box, not impeachment.
I wasn’t commenting on labels per se, but it was a 2 RINO-Rodent-Libertarian contest. Just imagine if an actual Conservative anti-illegal/anti-TT Corridor Republican had run.
Actually, as I understood it, Perry vetoed a tougher version of the PPP moratorium while the lege was in session, but he signed a weaker version, SB 792, into law after the lege adjourned. Now, apparently, he’s trying to find a way to get around the moratorium to start building segments of the Trans-Texas Corridor
No, I take it that elected officials will sometimes take different policy positions than I would take and that that, alone, is not a basis for removal from office. The remedy is the ballot box, not impeachment.OK, I already said I was shooting from the hip on this. lol Truth be told, I mostly agree with you. Impeachment or recall is an extreme move. I felt the same about the California recall and I haven't changed my mind a bit.
The threat of impeachment or recall needs to be there to keep them honest. It should have a very high threshold but political crimes should be inbounds as in California. It needs to have 2/3 vote though to raise the bar.
I'd say that if you can't find a third of the people who want you to stay you're not going to be an effective leader. It doesn't hurt for them to worry about that.
I do still like the idea of naming the tollbooths after him.
I’d support his impeachment for whatever cause someone decides to come up with. He should run for office in mexico.
You are correct about the toll road moratorium bill. It was the eminent domain bill (HB 2006) that Perry vetoed after the session ended. The bill was in response to broad support for legislation to protect private property in Texas and it passed the House by a vote of 125 to 25 and the Senate unanimously. In my opinion it was a weasely act, as well as a betrayal of the principles of self-government, for Perry to single-handedly overturn the legislature’s and people’s will on this issue.