BACK IN TEXAS — Coy seems to be the watchword these days among the growing crowd of would-be candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Pundits and GOP talking points distributors have thrown themselves all into a big ol’ tizzy this week over the on-again off-again presidential ambitions of Sarah Palin, a.k.a. Caribou Barbie, suddenly switched into the on-again position. A piece of interesting journalism from The Christian Science Monitor poses the intriguing question: Will Palin face her “mini-me” in Michelle Bachmann should the almost one-term Alaska governor decide to run? Meanwhile, our good-haired boy Gov. Rick Perry — between denouncing the federal government and asking for its help — is thinking of throwing, at least his coquettishness, into the presidential ring again.
These GOP politicians who otherwise take up valuable air on this planet are, of course, joined by declared candidates his Mormonesque Mitt Romney, his Newtwitishness Newt Gingrich, his Weirdness Ron Paul and other well and less well known Republicans such as pro-Pot former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and pro-anything that works at the time former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Coy. The rest are being coy. Coy can be cute. But it’s not so much in this case.
Soon you will need a program for the players. And, I am not talking about a television program hosted by his Donaldness Donald “The Donald” Trump.
Such a wide-open field makes for a more-interesting race sometimes. In this case, the race might evolve into a contest in which of the biggest harebrain crackpots might be nominated rather than the traditional GOP “good party man.” If this next presidential challenge doesn’t finish off the Republican Party as we know it, then I don’t know what will.
But what if the dog actually catches the car? What will Fido do with it?
My prediction is that a Republican president taking office in 2013 will not be the cure-all for all those, supposedly, long-suffering GOP and/or Tea Party boosters. An example is the furor over the state of Texas failing to receive a major disaster declaration from Spring wildfires.
FEMA rejected a request earlier this month by Gov. Good Hair for a declaration that would help reduce the state and local fiscal burden for those wildfires that have scorched more than 2.2 million acres across Texas. Perry said at the time of the rejected request: “It is not only the obligation of the federal government, but its responsibility under law to help its citizens in times of emergency.”
This is the same governor who shocked millions of Americans by saying Texas could secede if it wanted to do so.
“We are very proud of our Texas history; people discuss and debate the issues of can we break ourselves into five states, can we secede, a lot of interesting things that I’m sure Oklahoma and Pennsylvania would love to be able to say about their states, but the fact is, they can’t because they’re not Texas,” Perry said.
The governor must have been tossing back cold Lone Stars at the Dixie Chicken when Texas History was being taught during his college days at A & M.
An 1845 joint congressional resolution annexing Texas allows, theoretically at least, the state to divide itself up into five states. That doesn’t mean Texas would leave the United States. The Civil War took care of that notion. That was after Texans turned their back on one of its most revered figures, then-Gov. Sam Houston. The leader whose troops defeated Mexico at San Jacinto and who was later president of the Republic of Texas and a U.S. senator for Texas — before Texas he also served as governor of and a U.S. representative from Tennessee — was removed as governor because of his strong opposition to secession.
Knowledge of Texas history aside, Perry has appealed the ruling for no disaster declaration and the Obama administration’s contention that almost $40 million in grants to help battle Texas wildfires was sufficient.
In addition to the millions already granted to Texas, federal help has come in the form of wildland firefighters from 35 states. Many of those who have helped battle fires across the state are from so-called “hotshot” crews which come from three federal agencies, Native American tribes as well as from the states of Alaska and Utah. The U.S. military has likewise lent assistance in the form of helicopters and air tankers.
Having the federal government take an additional burden of the funding for fighting these fires would be welcome and might have been readily deliverable to the state. Unfortunately, Perry and his faux secession act as well as a number of Texas congressional members made that declaration a non-starter.
An increasing number of Republicans were elected to the U.S. House from Texas over the past decade. Yet, few of them have found access to power and have spent more time obstructing and less time working with the administration. Congress members from the state with more tenure and more oomph might have grabbed the president’s ear or found ways to, as that great scholar Larry the Cable Guy says: “Git R Done.”
Sometimes it takes a little more than just sending someone to Congress who is of your party preference. Also, the notion of a House member serving only one or two terms is ridiculous. It takes that long just to find your way from the Capitol to the congressional office buildings.
It seems cruel to say that voters who think the federal government should fork over millions every time their governor says: “Go,” only have themselves to blame. But that is about the gist of it. People who want ideologues in office and get them are often disappointed. Life isn’t easy to stand for your principles unbending. I have seen the word politics defined as “the art of compromise.” Perhaps it is more an inexact science. Although, “compromise” remains an essential particle.
When it comes to picking the next nominee to run against President Obama, perhaps something more substantial than nice hair and a pretty smile might be entertained by Republican voters.