Why I Wouldn’t Vote For: Rick Perry

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I do not like Rick Perry.  There are some Presidential candidates from the GOP that I have no feelings about, other than not wanting them to be elected.  Rick Perry, though, is different.  I do not like this man.  I almost feel like calling him a man is not appropriate because he is just so vile.

Rick Perry loves to tout his bringing new jobs to Texas, while the rest of the country has continued to delve further into unemployment. Rick Perry isn’t completely forthcoming with the record, though. Most of the new jobs are in the government sector, not in private enterprise. His state’s unemployment rate is only one percent lower than the rest of the country, which is significant, but also makes it seem like he hasn’t done as much good as he seems to boast about. Paul Krugman, economist and New York Times columnist, has criticized Perry’s claims and said that they are a myth.

Texas’ job growth is at 0.7 percent since the beginning of 2008. While the government of Texas has gained 115,000 new jobs, the private sector has actually lost 40,000 jobs in the same amount of time. That is a decrease of 0.5 percent, which is a smaller decrease than the national average, but it is still a loss of jobs. Jobs in the information section of the private sector, aka publishers, broadcasters, and software developers, are down 10.9 percent, which is the same percentage that they are down in the rest of the country. Manufacturing jobs are down 11.6 percent, which is almost at the 15.8 percent decline that the rest of the nation has seen. Construction jobs are down 14.5 percent, which is not as bad as the 26.4 percent decrease that the rest of the nation has averaged. Oil and gas, retail, private education, and healthcare are the only non-government jobs that are getting better. I understand that the job outlook in Texas is better than other places, but it is ridiculous to treat it like it is somehow optimal compared to the rest of the country.

Rick Perry is opposed to government health care and, like many of his GOP counterparts, loves to use the term Obamacare when referencing the health care reforms passed by the Obama administration. He calls the plan “a misguided, unconstitutional, and unsustainable government takeover of our health care that will undermine patient quality, increase red tape and send costs skyrocketing for taxpayers, patients, and healthcare providers.” I do love how he has combined expected party rhetoric with the vague comments about a law that I doubt that he knows much about. Rick Perry has claimed that his state has added 21,000 doctors due to tort reform, through a referendum called Proposition 12. He says that they come to the state because they can do what they love and not be sued. The number is a lie. The increase is at 12,788. That’s around 8,000 less than his claim. The population of the state went up 20%, while the number of doctors went up 24%. That makes it seem a little unlikely that the doctors came there because of tort reform. Actually, nine years before the reforms were passed, the number of doctors in Texas grew at twice the rate of the population. Of course, what is ridiculous about the two tort reform situation is that passing the reforms actually causes more problems for the taxpayers and patients. Malpractice insurance still gets higher for doctors in Texas, which raises the prices that the patients have to pay for health care. And, if the doctors are somehow negligent, then the reforms that were passed end up harming the patients because the patients who are harmed cannot be given the appropriate compensation for their suffering. If they are permanently disfigured or disabled, then these patients will end up going on various forms of government assistance. This, in turn, costs taxpayers. So, Perry is a bit full of crap on the whole caring about the sick and the taxpayers.

Like so many other people within the Republican party, Rick Perry signed the anti-gay marriage pledge.  He also compared homosexuality to alcoholism and condemns radical members of the gay and lesbian community who, according to him, “want to throw their sexual activity into the face of society, despite the decision by millions of families not to teach the gay lifestyle as an acceptable alternative.” This condemnation and odd comparison is quite infuriating.

As a disabled person who relies on Social Security, I feel very disheartened that he called the Social Security system an “illegal Ponzi scheme” and said that it was unconstitutional. He believes that eventually this country will be a place where Social Security and Medicare don’t exist. And while this is an idea that has been floated from the GOP from time to time, it is still an idea that could have dangerous repercussions. Millions of Americans rely on Social Security and Medicare, with the majority of these people either being elderly or suffering from some sort of disability. Being in either of those groups means that a person is already in danger of being neglected by society, so when a prominent politician has decided to turn to old-school partisan rhetoric, and even go a step further with the Ponzi scheme claim, it is very alarming.

Perhaps, the biggest reason that I do not like Rick Perry is that he continues to tout the Texas Death Factory. Oh, I’m sorry, that’s supposed to be Death Row. I don’t believe in capital punishment. One major reason is that I know that people make the decision to execute a person or not to, and that people can make mistakes. Isn’t it just as bad to execute someone who is innocent as it is to actually go out and murder someone? Isn’t that basically the same thing? Instead of being murder, though, execution is state-sanctioned murder. Now, some states might be able to prove that they are not wrongly executing people. I don’t think that Texas can make that claim.

Of course, earlier this year, I was complaining about the execution of a Mexican national who had been denied representation provided by his consulate. That execution violated international treaties, which could put American lives in danger when they are arrested in other countries. There is another case in Texas that is just as shameful, if not moreso because in this case, the actual guilt is not even fully established.

Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 based on evidence that many experts claim is outdated and incorrect. When a state commission of forensic science experts was convened to investigate the execution, Perry made it very difficult for any actual investigation to go on. And when the former chairman of the commission didn’t go along with the “look the other way” attitude promoted by the governor’s office, he found himself without a spot on the commission. (This was despite letters from members urging his reappointment.) The governor replaced him wtih someone who quickly ended the investigation. The state’s attorney general delivered an opinion that sharply limits the commission’s authority. When these decisions were made, it made it easy for Perry to continuously call Willingham a monster about sending his three daughters to a fiery death in the press. The governor doesn’t openly talk about being briefed on the last-minute filing by a fire science expert that found that the blaze was probably not arson and that he refused to grant a stay of execution for further investigation. The governor’s deputy press secretary justified the lack of a stay because the opinion of Gerald Hurst was reviewed by the appeals courts and the state Board of Pardons and Paroles, which rebuffed a plea for clemency. This ignores the fact that two subsequent reviews have come to the same conclusion as Hurst and that the advances in science related to arson investigations have rendered obsolete most of the “signs” that the fire marshals pointed to as evidence. One of the reviews was done by Craig Beyler, while he was chairman of the International Association of Fire Safety Science; Beyler wasn’t even sure it met the standards for the time the fire happened.  That makes this whole situation very tragic, and it is disgusting that Perry is trying to further vilify someone who might not be deserving of such vilification.

So, I can say that, from all information I have read or heard regarding Mr. Perry,  I will not be voting for him.  There is no sound reason for me to vote for a man who I feel doesn’t truly value American ideals like justice, freedom, and social welfare.  There is no real reason to vote for him based on his record, but there are definite reasons that exist for me to never want to vote for him for any political office ever.

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About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.