Those Nasty, Nasty Rumors ...
Perry's denunciations were picked up by papers across the state, which hadn't previously mentioned the rumors. "I don't think a rumor can just get to critical mass by itself," Perry told Herman. "I think you have to have a well-thought-out, organized effort to disseminate that kind of information and keep it going day after day after day." Or, failing that, a copyrighted story in the Statesman. (The rumors had suggested that the Perry marriage was near breakup due to the governor's alleged infidelity, perhaps with another man.)
Having been subjected to versions of the Perry rumors for weeks on end, Naked City is compelled to report that "well-thought-out" and "organized" are not adjectives that leap instantly to mind in discussing them. But Perry said his decision to speak out is an attempt to "expose" the "vicious nature" of the rumors, because left unchecked they "could be devastating to public service, to people coming into this business or running for office." After declining, in Herman's words, to "point fingers at particular political foes," Perry singled out (apparently without using his digits) Texas Democratic Party Chairman Charles Soechting for coyly referring to the rumors at a John Edwards rally in Houston last week. Perry blasted Soechting for "crossing the line of everything decent" by repeating "uncorroborated filth."
Soechting responded by denouncing the "utter hypocrisy of Rick Perry injecting his mean-spirited politics into everyone else's personal life while insisting his own personal life is off limits." Soechting didn't elaborate, but Democratic wounds are still healing from the 2002 gubernatorial campaign, when Republicans were happy to suggest that Perry's opponent Tony Sanchez might have mysterious ties to money launderers and drug smugglers.
Statesman Editor Rich Oppel sniffed mightily, "We don't report rumors. We report facts." (That would no doubt explain the paper's enthusiastic dissemination last year of White House "facts" concerning Iraqi weapons.) On Sunday, Oppel further speculated that Perry had spoken out because the scurrilous rumors had reached his conservative political base outside Austin. More likely is that Soechting's impromptu public mention of the rumors (in the wake of a satirical "Rick Come Out" rally at the mansion) foolishly gave Perry precisely the opening he needed; the governor could climb on his moral high horse in a friendly "mainstream" venue and blame the entire sordid episode on the Democrats (and a few defenseless bloggers).
Perry spokeswoman Kathy Walt duly echoed her boss, complete with a juvenile reference to the "Democrat" Party. "The recent revelation that the chairman of the Democrat Party, among others, is responsible for spreading these hurtful lies," Walt said, "confirms the nasty, partisan nature of these attacks." But as Walt very well knows, the Republican loyalists who spent the last several weeks responding (tastefully, off the record) to the rumors most often pointed at Republican opponents of the governor as the likely culprits.
Michael King, Fri., May 24, 2013
Fri., May 24, 2013
Michael King, Fri., May 24, 2013
Richard Whittaker, Fri., May 24, 2013
Amy Smith, Fri., May 24, 2013
at The Belmont
2013 Lambda Literary Awards/Reading at BookWoman
Husbands at The Marchesa Hall & Theatre
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