While Rick Perry is battling a politically charged indictment over Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, it may come as little consolation that he has now joined the ranks of Kay Bailey Hutchison and Tom DeLay. But if you look on the larger scale and look back to the 1840s, one may come to realize that this indictment may serve as a positively prophetic turn of events for Perry’s 2016 hopes.
What Rick Perry probably doesn’t know is that he has a lot in common with John Tyler, the tenth president of the United States. Having just completed extensive research on President Tyler for my upcoming book Our Presidents Rock, I can state that the commonalities between the two men are uncannily obvious, in more ways than one.
First, John Tyler should have been a Texan, as seen through his absolute determination to have Texas become a state under his watch. Although Tyler was born in Virginia and spent his life in Virginia politics, he probably would have been a Texan had Texas been a part of the union at that time. But Tyler fixed that, too. Just over a month before leaving his presidential office, Tyler knew that Congress wouldn’t approve Texas’s annexation with the normal two-thirds majority necessary for a treaty. To remedy the situation, Tyler proposed annexation as a joint resolution which required only a simple majority. On February 28, 1845, Tyler oversaw the annexation of Texas. Thus, Perry, who has been the governor of Texas for the past fourteen years, has Tyler to thank for his state being a member of the United States of America in the first place.
Second, both men were and are champions of the Constitution and states’ rights. In the same way Rick Perry recently decided it was Texas’s right to defend her own border when the federal government failed to do so by sending 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border, John Tyler refused to vote for bills during his time in the U.S. Congress that would have usurped state sovereignty by expanding the national government. John Tyler even isolated his own Whig party by defending his beliefs in states’ rights.
Third, both men were persecuted for issuing a veto.