The sitting governor of the state of Texas, Rick Perry, is now under grand jury indictment. The charges stem from a statement Perry issued in which he said he would veto funds for the state’s “public integrity unit” if it continued to be led by Travis County Democratic District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. As reported by the Associated Press, “Lehmberg was convicted of drunken driving, but refused Perry’s calls to resign.”
Perry was indicted on charges of abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony with potential punishments of five to 99 years in prison, and coercion of a public servant, a third-degree felony that carries a punishment of two to 10 years.
No one disputes that Perry is allowed to veto measures approved by the Legislature, including part or all of the state budget. But the left-leaning Texans for Public Justice government watchdog group filed an ethics complaint accusing the governor of coercion because he threatened to use his veto before actually doing so in an attempt to pressure Lehmberg to quit.
Now, one might think that such charges would normally hurt a person who is potentially seeking the presidency. But in this case, the Democrats should just walk away from this one. Lehmberg is NOT the person they want to rally around, and the more she is in the spotlight, the better Rick Perry looks.
Here’s a video from her field sobriety test:
Here’s a video documenting her behavior once arrested. It’s interesting to note how many times she says, “I’m not drunk,” considering that “her blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit for driving.”
Lehmberg was sentenced to forty-five days in jail and served about half of that. She remained in her public office, and that’s where Perry took a stand.
Keep in mind that a Texas governor does not need to provide a laundry list of reasons why he or she vetoes a particular bill. The governor can veto at his or her discretion. Perry, however, stated that he would not authorize funding for Lehmberg’s division as long as she was there. Honest, yes. Illegal, no.
But, of course, that doesn’t sit well with the left-wing district attorney’s office of Travis County. This is the same office that brought charges against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
Here’s Perry’s response:
Perry was absolutely outstanding in this press conference, not only for standing strong for his positions, but also taking his accusers to task. These types of political witch hunts cannot be allowed to stand, and even some high-ranking Democrats don’t want to be part of this attack on Perry.
David Axelrod, a senior advisor to Barack Obama, tweeted, “Unless he was demonstrably trying to scrap the ethics unit for other than his stated reason, Perry indictment seems pretty sketchy.”
The left-leaning New York Magazine had this to say about the Perry indictment:
The theory behind the indictment is flexible enough that almost any kind of political conflict could be defined as a “misuse” of power or “coercion” of one’s opponents. To describe the indictment as “frivolous” gives it far more credence than it deserves. Perry may not be much smarter than a ham sandwich, but he is exactly as guilty as one.
Salon.com ran an editorial about Perry’s situation which began as follows: “When I heard that Texas Governor Rick Perry had been indicted, I thought, ‘This had better be good, or it will backfire on the Democrats.’ It turns out it isn’t good and it may well backfire on the Democrats.”
Perry is doing everything right in this situation, and he may just become the beneficiary of the stupidest Democrat move in history. Rather than bringing down a political career, the Democrats are helping gain national attention for standing up for his state and promoting ethical behavior. If the Democrats keep it up, Perry will likely be able to add “fighting corruption” to his national resume as well. Great job, Dems!