The Austin Chronicle

Hightower Report

By Jim Hightower, April 13, 2012, News

Paying for Perry the Pretender's Presidential Run

My state's gallivanting goober of a governor, Rick Perry, is back in the news, with yet another "oops" moment!

This one is even stupider than Perry's failure to remember his own lines in a presidential debate. It has to do with his fierce opposition to spending taxpayer money and his firm stand for rootie-toot-toot rugged individualism. But – oops – Rick keeps failing to remember these principles when it comes to spending taxpayers' money on his own individual desires.

For example, in his grandiose desire to be president, this tightfisted champion of taxpayers dipped liberally into the public till to have Texas taxpayers subsidize his failed run. Perry essentially abandoned the state and his gubernatorial duties for about six months – but the no-show governor kept billing us for his $150,000-a-year paycheck. It turns out that he was also double-dipping by taking another $90,000 a year in pension payments, even though he's not retired. Two state checks a month for doing nothing? Good work if you can get it!

Wait, there's more. Gov. Tightwad also socked us for at least $3.6 million to pay a covey of state troopers who traveled all over the country with him for his campaign and fundraising events. They helped arrange his trips, escorted him everywhere, did logistical errands, and gave him an aura of importance – all on the taxpayers' dime, while he gave speeches ridiculing wasteful government spending.

Perry's excuse for such gross hypocrisy is that it's the law's fault. State troopers are required to "protect" him wherever he travels, explained a spokeswoman. But – oops – how stupid is that? Anyone running for president who can't make an easy executive decision to say "no" to such an unethical waste of taxpayers' money is simply not up to the job – which, obviously, Perry the Pretender is not.

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