Exoneration too late to matter.
Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 2/26/16
Did you hear that the criminal case against former governor Rick Perry has been dismissed? If you missed that story, you can be forgiven. It has gotten very little coverage.
Such was not the case when Rick Perry was indicted in August 2014 on charges that he abused the official powers of his office.
The indictment came as a result of Gov. Perry carrying out his threat to veto a spending bill that would have provided state funding for the Travis County District Attorney’s public integrity unit. Perry vetoed that bill because he believed that the Travis County district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, was unfit.
He had good reason to think so.
Lehmberg was arrested and convicted in 2013 on charges of drunk driving. Blood tests showed her blood alcohol level at more than three times the legal limit.
But it was video recorded in the Travis County jail at the time of her booking – more than the offense itself – that set Rick Perry against her. From seeing her behavior while in custody, Perry took the position that no state tax revenue would go to the Travis County DA’s office until Lehmberg resigned.
Watch the video and you’ll understand. In action, word and tone, Ms. Lehmberg made it clear that she considered herself above the law. Throughout the video, she is in full “Do you know who I am?” mode.
She was so belligerent during her booking that deputies were forced to put her in a restraint chair complete with handcuffs and leg irons. Throughout the video she refuses to cooperate with even the simplest demands. Her treatment of jail employees fairly drips with condescension.
Her behavior was a towering disgrace and Perry acted appropriately – vetoing the use of state funds so long as Lehmberg remained in office.
But the Democrat pooh-bahs of the most lefty county in Texas didn’t take it lying down. Acting on a complaint filed by a far left group called Texans for Public Justice — which has never found even the slightest fault with a Democrat office holder — they succeeded in getting a Travis County grand jury to indict Perry. They did this just as Perry was gearing up for a second presidential run. That cloud hung over every day of Perry’s short 2016 candidacy.
Using criminal prosecution to settle political scores is a Travis County tradition. Former DA Ronnie Earle indicted Kay Bailey Hutchison on charges of misusing state telephones. That case was laughed out of court on its first day. Hutchison would go on to be elected to the United States Senate.
He later went after then House Majority Leader Tom DeLay with a campaign finance charge that was also eventually thrown out of court. But not before it destroyed DeLay’s political career.
Rick Perry might have been able to win the GOP nomination this time and Donald Trump might have had to thus content himself remaining on reality TV.
Rick Perry was a very effective governor and he might have made a good president.
But thanks in large measure to the corrupt, far-left politics of Travis County, we’ll never know.