Skip to comments.Rick Perry panic fires up the left
Posted on 08/30/2011 3:42:19 PM PDT by smoothsailing
by Ben Smith & Maggie Haberman
August 30, 2011
In his two weeks as a presidential candidate, Rick Perry has done something that neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney could do: wake up the left.
Perry panic has spread from the conference rooms of Washington, D.C., to the coffee shops of Brooklyn, with the realization that the conservative Texan could conceivably become the 45th president of the United States, a wave of alarm centering around Perrys drawling, small-town affect and stands on core cultural issues such as womens rights, gun control, the death penalty and the separation of church and state.
The epidemic of lefty angst isnt just a matter of specific Perry policies though; it goes to the heart of the liberal worldview. His smashing debut on the presidential stage suggests that the victory of an urban liberal Democrat, Barack Obama, wasnt a step toward a more progressive nation, but just a leftward swing of an increasingly wild pendulum, now poised to rocket to the right.
His entry in the race is a signal and a wake-up call, the Rev. Al Sharpton told POLITICO.
Perry, Sharpton said, is looking to go to the O.K. Corral and start shooting . Rather than the left get caught sleeping, we better load up, because he is bringing it.
For Democrats, the pre-Perry GOP primary process was hardly for the faint of heart, as the other candidates have jockeyed to show who dislikes Obama the most. But even as the primary is fought on conservative turf, liberal leaders say they and their constituents see Perry as far worse than your average, hated Republican, and indeed as bad if not worse than his hated predecessor in Austin, George W. Bush. And progressives who might have had a hard time getting worked up about Mitt Romney find themselves struggling for superlatives with which to express their fear of a President Perry.
His work as governor is unparalleled in its frontal assault on women, said Siobhan Bennett, the president of the Womens Campaign Forum, citing statistics on women living in poverty and without health care in Texas, and Perrys active opposition to abortion. He has gone farther out on a limb legislatively in his capacity as governor and has been expressly anti-woman in the legislation he has done.
He is beyond what we expect from conservative Republicans on the gun issue, said Dennis Henigan, the acting president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, who cited Perrys support for gun rights on college campuses and said it was a sharp contrast with Romneys moderate record. Perrys rise, he said, had already become a strong mobilizing force for gun control activists, whose agenda has been largely ignored by the Obama administration.
People are perceiving a very real threat that he could be the Republican nominee, said Henigan, calling the prospect quite frightening.
Barry Lynn, whose Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is on the front lines of keeping religion out of public life, also labeled Perry an extreme figure.
He doesnt just go to religious right gatherings he creates religious right gatherings and thats a big difference, he said, citing The Response, an 30,000-person event Perry led in Houston in early August.
Lynn said last weeks polls showing Perry in the lead among Republicans had startled his groups supporters.
Any time theres a very viable candidate who has taken on the mantle of a crusader for Christ and ignorer of the Constitution, that makes very many people who care about the real Constitution very nervous, he said.
Backers of another longstanding liberal cause, campaign finance reform, see a similar threat from Perry, given his career tapping the bottomless Texas wells of oil money and his current status as beneficiary of not one but several new Super PACs.
It looks like Rick Perrys campaign and its supporters are taking secret corporate spending to a new level, said New York City Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, who has campaigned against corporate involvement in politics. His actions personify the corporate sponsored campaigns that many of us feared Citizens United would create.
The death penalty, another longstanding liberal target, has figured prominently in Perrys career: He has presided over more executions than any other governor, commuting just one sentence in his three terms years and vetoing a bill that would have banned the execution of the mentally handicapped, something the Supreme Court later outlawed.
Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said Perrys conduct of the death penalty was in fact typical for a conservative Southern governor, and that the high numbers largely reflected the size of his state and the length of his tenure; the rate of executions has actually declined since the Bush years.
But for death penalty foes, a symbol of Perrys shortcomings on the issue is his rebuff in 2004 of the Innocence Projects petitions on behalf of Cameron Todd Willingham, a man convicted of murdering his family on the basis of scientific evidence arson experts described as unreliable. In 2009, Perry abruptly replaced officials who were investigating the case.
Thats a worrisome series of events about what people are most concerned about when they think about the death penalty and that is innocence, said Dieter.
Perry is certainly to Romneys right on many of these policy issues. Romney, for instance, pushed legislation in Massachusetts that would have reinstated a death penalty only in very limited, carefully vetted circumstances. But Perry isnt necessarily far outside the Republican mainstream in, for instance, his implacable opposition to taxes and abortion, or his support for religion in public life. His stated support for states rights might, in theory, make him less likely to intervene on social issues than some of his GOP rivals.
But Perrys combination of policy, Southern style and an easy, unstudied adherence to contemporary religious and political conservative doctrine has put him beyond the reach even of some Democrats who sometimes cross the aisle. Former New York Mayor Ed Koch, who endorsed George W. Bush in 2004 and has criticized Obamas foreign policy, cited Perrys recent stated skepticism about the theory of evolution.
I cant support anyone who doesnt believe in evolution that to me is too much, said Koch.
And while conservatives enjoy Perrys ability to enrage their liberal foes, some Democratic strategists have also welcomed his emergence.
Whether hes the nominee or not, he absolutely helps fire up our base, said Jennifer Palmieri, the vice president for communications at the liberal Center for American Progress. To the degree to which progressives are disaffected and unenthusiastic this is their holy sh** moment.
Clinton strategist James Carville, however, said Perry remains his second choice.
Actually wed all prefer Michele Bachmann, he said.
Emily Schultheis contributed.
© 2011 POLITICO LLC
Why would these liberals be all upset at Perry ? After all, he was once Al Gore’s Texas Campaign Manager for President and supported the liberal Rudy Giuliani.
If you fail to support, you’re a leftist!
IF you'd rather NOT be pinged FReepmail me.
IF you'd like to be added FReepmail me. Thanks.
You may be on to something, maybe Obama should start shooting coyotes.
It’s OK, Ben and Maggie. Go back to sleep.
I cant support anyone who doesnt believe in evolution that to me is too much, said Koch.”
You’ve gotta be kidding me. Wonders never cease. For the record, a candidate’s view of evolution would never solely determine my vote. Not in a million years. ;) But then again, I’m just one of those narrow-minded right-wing extremists...not an enlightened liberal.
. Well Mr. Koch, Hitler believed in evolution, in fact, he tried to push it from behind. Interesting that this is a high priority for you considering Perry's long standing affection for Israel. And, you voted for the Israel hating Obama. You are very confused man.
Wow, that was fast! ;-)
But they are just pretending all this because they actually want Perry.
Here comes Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday....
Devious little devils, aren’t they! :)
I see our Concerned Trolls are back ( Perry Haters).
They are doing there part to get Barry reelected too but its because are supposedly very worried !
Most of these trolls seem not to worry about
Sorso puppet only the Gop candidates that can beat him.
In fact, they are working every single pro Perry post with tired old astroturf from the left wing websites ! Oddly, this same poster crowd was helping Moonbeam Brown get elected by trashing Meg Whitman non stop but Jerry got a pass.
But they can’t fool a select few here in FR!
“Wow, that was fast! ;-)”
Somebody posted a pic of Helen Thomas?
LOL! Is that “Quickdraw McNasty”?
“Barry Lynn, whose Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is on the front lines of keeping religion out of public life, also labeled Perry an extreme figure. “
Hey Barry, you want to see extreme? Take your “anti-religious” meme and start using it on the Islamic radicals right here in the US. Every time a public foot bath is installed, get on that too. Take it to CAIR and all their sycophants. See how that works out for you.
Or just maybe you really are the phony BS artist we all know you are.
loosely translated the above means the Left thought they could coast to re-election despite 9% unemployment because the base couldn’t give a damn about electing Romney. A Republican candidate that can unite the base and appeal beyond to 5-10% of the swing electorate is a threat and one they haven’t had to face in a few years.
Reason I hit you so fast with the ping list...I refreshed my browser just as the article popped up.